Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Heard Of Anti-Proverbs...?

I'll bet that you have not only heard of them, but at some point you have probably used them!

Although they sound kinda funny, some of them make sense in a twisted way. Let's see what they are and you'll know what I mean.


Anti-proverbs—also called perverbs—are permutations of common proverbs, often towards a humorous end. There are dozens of ways of altering proverbs, and the general gist of an anti-proverb is taking a known saying and twisting it around.

It’s been suggested that the original meaning of the term perverb was to describe two proverbs that had been spliced together like a sort of whole-sentence portmanteau. Take the perverb “every dog has a silver lining,” a combination of “every dog has its day” and “every cloud has a silver lining.” As with the further examples below, you can see that the two hybridized proverbs are not random; rather, they follow a certain format that both have in common:

“A fool and his money is a friend indeed.”

“The road to hell is the spice of life.”

“Don’t count your chickens in midstream.”

Anti-proverbs can take other forms beyond this type of splicing, as in “a penny saved is a penny taxed” and “slaughter is the best medicine.”

See what I mean? If you haven't used one or two, I'll bet you have laughed when someone else did!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. High temps already!

Monday, May 30, 2016

A Sound With No Source...!

Now this seems like a good topic for Monday Mysteries, don't you think ?

I believe that if a sound is loud enough that it wakes folks up, or keeps them from sleeping, the the source should be fairly easy to find. Especially if it isn't spread all over the place. But what do I know ?

The High-Pitched Sound With No Apparent Source

Earlier this year, the community of Forest Grove, Oregon, was dealing with a bizarre situation that kept them up at night. Multiple residents heard a strange noise. One woman was even awakened by the noise several times late at night and became seriously bothered by it. She didn’t believe that it was anything sinister, but she still wanted it to stop.

She went to the police and fire departments of Forest Grove for help. But they were unable to pinpoint a cause. The city’s employees did rule out a gas leak, a water valve, or animals making noise.

The woman who was most bothered by the noise captured sound from a video and sent it to the news. Her husband thought that it was a problem with someone’s brake pads. The sound was long, high-pitched, and screechy—similar to a train at a certain speed. But there are no trains in the area.

Although the brake pad explanation seems plausible, it would still not explain why the woman heard the sound throughout the night at odd hours. Although the sound may not be particularly worrisome, the issue has remained unsolved.

Like I said, seems as though someone somewhere could come up with the cause of the sound and then fix it. I have a hard time believing that with all the high tech stuff we have out there today, something couldn't be done!

Coffee out on the patio, as long as you can stand the heat and the 'skeeters!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Lonely In Montana...!

This might be the very first ad for the "Lonely Hearts Club!" Let's face it...times were pretty tough in the old days!

Move over Facebook and Match.com! Might be a restart of an old trend!

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Incurable ? Who Gets To Decide...?

Some of the treatments in asylums back in the days past were brutal, almost criminal !

Back as recently as 1921, laws were being considered that would have made murder legal for some folks needing mental treatment. Here is the story from Listverse.

Chained And Stamped In The Face

There should have been more of an outcry against the treatment of people who were made prisoners in insane asylums. Too many attendants looked the other way, or they joined in on the “fun.”

In 1889, there was a small piece in The State Chronicle (North Carolina) about the sickening abuse of some patients of a Dr. Grissom. Although certain political heads were trying to convince people “that the necessary thing to do to make an insane person act rational is to chain him, throw water in his face, or kick and stamp him in the face,” other people were crying out about the injustice and inhumane treatment.

By 1921, there was a debate among politicians and the doctors for the insane over whether or not it would be better to put the incurably insane out of their own misery. As reported in the Norwich Bulletin (Connecticut):Discussion of the matter was started anew last Saturday by the members of the general assembly’s committee on appropriations, the members being divided as to whether or not a law should be passed providing that persons in state institutions found to be hopelessly insane and suffering mental tortures should be mercifully put to death.

Fortunately, they did not commit mass murder on people they deemed incurable.

The treatment has improved quite a bit from the early day, but there is always room for improvement, ya know ?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. We've had between 8 and 9 inches of rain over the last 24 hours and I'm ready for a break !

Friday, May 27, 2016

Cannibals At Jamestown Colony...!

The harshness and hardships of the first colony in Jamestown is a matter of record, but I wonder if we realize just how rough it really was.

A recent discovery shows clearly that times were more desperate than we ever could imagine. From Listverse this the hard truth.

A Cannibalized Body At Jamestown

Jamestown, Virginia, is known as the first permanent English colony in America. It is now one of the most revered historic spots in the United States, and many researchers still go there to unlock more secrets from that time.

However, in summer 2012, historians made a disturbing discovery in a hole that contained butchered horse and dog skeletons. They knew immediately that this hole had probably been dug during a severe famine, but what they found when they dug deeper only shocked them further.

The body was that of a 14-year-old English girl who had undoubtedly died in winter 1609. The winter was so harsh and the food supplies so low that it became known as the “starving time”. It was well-documented how far the colonists of Jamestown went. In 1625, George Percy, governor of Jamestown during the starving time, wrote a letter describing how colonists ate their horses, vermin, and even leather boots. He then went on to say that some had even dug up the dead in desperation.

The young girl found in 2012 was the victim of this starvation. There had been strikes to the back of her head to get to her brain, which would be the most desired tissue. The attempts were clumsy by whoever was trying to harvest her flesh. It was clear that the person had never done this before.

I'd say that the main reason for the failure of the colony had to be very poor planning on the part of the leaders. Now days we know to plan for the worse, and hope for the best!

\Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Several more inches of rain are headed this way.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Socks Of John Logie Baird...!

Who would ever think that someone could go from working on the television to making socks ?

However, the socks invented by Baird became so important that we still used them when I was in basic training . Kept our feet dry, but they still smelled!

John Logie Baird’s Socks

Photo via BBC

John Logie Baird is remembered prominently for his work on the television. Although many people had contributions that led to the TV as we know it today, Baird is usually considered the inventor of television for building and demonstrating the first working mechanical television system in 1926.

Most of his later career was spent working on improvements for the television. However, his earlier work was much more varied. Baird made several inventions, including a glass razor and pneumatic shoes for people with flat feet. These never really went anywhere, but Baird eventually found success with a new type of sock.

In 1915, Baird tried to enlist for World War I but was declared unfit for duty, so he instead worked for a munitions factory. During that time, he became aware of trench foot, a common problem for soldiers who had to wear wet socks for long periods of time. If left untreated, this resulted in infection and could even lead to amputation.

That’s how the Baird Undersock was born. It was simply another pair of socks (or “gents’ half-hose,” as it was called back then) that was worn under the regular pair to soak up moisture. It was also coated with borax, which acted as an antiseptic.

The Baird Undersock was very successful and allowed Baird to quit his job and start selling it full-time. It also benefited from a creative marketing campaign that included soldier testimonials and women walking the cities with sandwich boards promoting the undersock.

I always wondered why we had to wear two pairs of socks. I figured it was to prevent blisters. Oh well...you learn something new every day!

Coffee inside this morning. Rain is supposed to start again this weekend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Joseph Walker For Western Wednesday...!

This ld man may look like he is a little past it, but I'll just bet it ain't so !

His accomplishments are a matter of record and he was an active scout for many years. Truly it was men like Mr. Walker that helped to establish the West into a productive part of the great union we are today !

Joseph Walker

Photograph of Joseph Walker. (Credit: Public Domain)

Like Jedidiah Smith, Tennessee native Joseph Walker was a born explorer who pursued fur trapping and scouting as a way of financing his wanderlust. He first ventured west in 1820 as part of an illegal trapping expedition to Spanish-controlled New Mexico territory, and later served as a guide for the likes of Benjamin Bonneville and John C. Frémont. While working for Bonneville in 1833, Walker led an expedition that bushwhacked its way from Wyoming to California across the Sierra Nevada. His party was forced to eat their horses just to survive, but after exiting the mountains they became the first white men to encounter giant sequoia trees and the wonders of the Yosemite Valley. It was a sight Walker would never forget. He even had the words “Camped at Yosemite” inscribed on his tombstone.

Walker later worked as trapper, scout, wagon train guide and ranch owner, but he continued to explore the blank spots on the map at every opportunity. In 1861, at the age of 62, he set off on a two-year prospecting expedition across New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. By the time his failing eyesight forced him to retire in 1867, he had spent some five decades on the frontier and served as a guide for hundreds of soldiers and pilgrims. Amazingly, during all of Walker’s years blazing new trails and traveling through hazardous territory, only one man is reported to have died under his command.

His isn't a name that I'm familiar with, but I'm gonna see if I can read some more information on Mr. Walker.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. All went well at the heart check-up so we'll celebrate !

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Right Out Of A Coloring Book...!

One thing you have to admit about Mother Nature, she can really paint a pretty picture !

The beauty and wonder of how nature can create such beauty is something most of us will never understand, I reckon. Almost as though nature had some other worldly help, know what I mean ?

The Painted Peaks

In China, there exists a mountain range unlike any other on Earth. The Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park may be a bit of a mouthful, but it makes up for its wordiness with absolutely breathtaking views.

For miles and miles, the jagged landscape is striped with a rainbow of colors. Rich reds, bright yellows, and vibrant whites are all layered atop one another, lending a bizarrely cartoonish atmosphere to this massive landform. It’s so strikingly unique that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010.

The strange stripes are the result of layers of red sandstone and various mineral deposits being laid down one after the other over tens of millions of years and then raised by tectonic activity. Either that or Dr. Seuss spontaneously exploded on a Chinese hiking excursion. As much as I would love to believe the latter, I’m afraid I’ll have to side with the geologists on this one.

I would have never known of this place but for Listverse. That's where I found this story and picture. Thanks to those folks!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I have to leave early for a V.A. check up with the cardiologist, but you know where the coffee is so help yourself!

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Death Of Yuri Gagarin...!

Sometimes I think that we forget the fact that famous foreign figures have been killed in mysterious ways.

While their names are not as familiar to us, the fact that their deaths are clouded in mystery should attract a little more attention than it does. Here is a case in point.

The Death Of Yuri Gagarin

Photo credit: SAS Scandinavian Airlines

In 1968, just seven years after Yuri Gagarin’s historic flight in 1961, he was flying in a training jet with a flight instructor when his plane crashed, killing both. The official Soviet inquest report into his death said that Gagarin had tried to avoid a bird, and the aircraft had subsequently spun out of control. That explanation has been widely challenged by everyone from his fellow cosmonauts to the KGB, who conducted a separate, secret inquest into Gagarin’s death.

Alexei Leonov was in the area where Gagarin crashed that day and reported hearing two sonic booms just seconds apart. Leonov also noticed an Su-15, a new fighter jet that was being tested that day, flying lower than it was supposed to. The official inquest made no mention of the Su-15, but Leonov believes the Su-15 pilot could have accidentally killed Gagarin by flying too close to his aircraft and causing Gagarin’s aircraft to enter into a spin.

The KGB, on the other hand, believed that flight controllers might have killed Gagarin by giving him poor weather information. Other theories range from sabotage to Gagarin being drunk on the day he piloted his spacecraft. Whatever the truth, the mystery remains.

I'm not saying that we should dwell on the fact that famous folks from other countries die, but the strange circumstanses surrounding his death are worth a second look. Am I right ?

Coffee out on the patio today. I hope the rain is gone for a couple of days.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Memories Of Treats From Long Ago...!

When I was a young guy (back in the stone age!) we would sometimes have special treats while watching Saturday cartoons or shows like Zorro, or The Lone Ranger...those kinds of shows.

Now we weren't poor, but I don't think my folks had a lot of extra money either. Homemade treats were as special as store bought, maybe even more so. Most of the time the treats were simple, but boy  howdy did we gobble them down. I'm talking about things like home made yeast bread and rolls Put some butter and honey on them and man ! Good stuff !

Then from time to time, we would have some sugar toast! Butter some bread, sprinkle a little sugar on it and stick it under the broiler for a second! You could add some cinnamon and turn it into cinnamon toast in a heartbeat! Then came the old standby...white Karo syrup with peanut butter, mixed all together and served on toast! Easy to make and very, very tasty! Pretty filling, as I remember.

I remember that Karo syrup was a special thing around our house. Most of the time, we had home made sugar syrup and that was plenty good enough for us !

One thing that I remember very clearly was regular ol' saltine crackers, spread with butter and stuck under the broiler long enough to just melt the butter! I had so many fond memories about this one that I made them not long ago! Somehow it wasn't the same. I don't know if it was because my sisters weren't there to pick on and tease, or maybe the Saturday shows were the missing ingredient !

Well, those days are long gone. Plenty of memories to think back on, though. It's funny how sometimes food can cause a sudden rash of good memories to pop up, isn't it?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning because of the rain. Hey...anyone in the mood for some flour gravy and fresh biscuits?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I Hate Spiders...!

I really do hate spiders...all kinds of spiders! I haven't found one thing to make me think kindly of them at all !

Because I have such a dislike for the creepy things, you can bet I'll never live in this next town ! The folks living there are much braver than I, let me tell ya ! I want no part of it !

A Town Is Taken Over By Tarantulas

Tarantulas are not venomous enough to actually kill a human and they generally don’t attack unprovoked, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not potentially dangerous. A fully grown tarantula’s fangs are large enough that its bite is no laughing matter. Recently, a diving species of tarantula was documented for the first time. This species is called the diving tarantula because of its ability to create air bubbles to breathe underwater. Like other tarantulas, its venom can’t kill you, but it is still strong enough to make you sick. People who are bitten report vomiting.

Normally, tarantulas only swarm together in numbers of about 100, but in 2015, the small town of Maningrada, Australia, dealt with a situation straight out of a horror movie. For some unknown reason, roughly 25,000 diving tarantulas descended upon the town and made it their home. While residents were likely less than thrilled, some scientists believe that the swarm could lead to important breakthroughs.

The fact this particular tarantula’s venom is so strong intrigues scientists, and they wonder about the possible medicinal applications. Also, given that this tarantula had only recently been documented, scientists were thrilled at having so many together in one place to study. The simple fact that so many are together is an intriguing anomaly. They also suggest that over time, it could be a big economic boom, but many residents are likely skeptical of this and wish that their town wasn’t infested by hairy, eight-legged monsters.

Thanks to the folks over at Listverse, I have enough creepy thoughts for about a months worth of nightmares ! You know I appreciate it !

Coffee out on the patio today Supposed to get close to 90.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Welcome Home, Apollo BP-1227...!

Sometimes governments just can't help but play games with one another. That was the case of the missing Apollo hardware.

Here is the story as reported by Listverse. Seems to be taken right out of a spy novel!

Apollo BP-1227

Photo via Google Street View

Apollo BP-1227 was a mock-up Apollo capsule used by US ships to simulate the recovery of Apollo astronauts. In 1970, it was apparently lost at sea near Great Britain while being used. However, there was a Soviet ship nearby which could have stolen it. It would soon find its way back into American hands, however.

In late 1970, the US icebreaker Southwind was visiting the Soviet port of Murmansk when Soviet officials there unveiled an Apollo capsule which turned out to be BP-1227. The Soviets claimed that it had been recovered by a Soviet fishing boat off the eastern coast of Spain and transferred the capsule back to the crew of the Southwind with pomp and ceremony. The Southwind carried it back to the United States, where it was returned to NASA and ended up on display.

What happened to BP-1227 between its loss at sea and its handover to the Southwind remains a mystery.

I figure the Russians were taking the thing apart and trying to get a little knowledge from it's design. Could be wrong, but...I'm just saying!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Weather guy says no rain!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

My Mind Is Controlled By What...?

So many times we might have a feeling that something or someone, is controlling the way we feel. Happens to us all from time to time.

Now imagine that it's not just a feeling, but an actual fact. Scary thought, right? According to science, this may be happening to some of us. That could explain a lot, I reckon.

You Might Be Under Control Of An Evil Parasite

Photo via Wikimedia

How would it feel if you suddenly discovered that your life was not your own? That something else was affecting your daily decisions, altering your moods, and generally running your existence for its own benefit? Pretty freaky, huh? Well, prepare yourself for some bad news. There’s a scarily good chance that this is exactly what’s happening to you.

We’ve known for years that there are certain parasites that can control animals. The hairworm, for example, infects grasshoppers and forces them to commit suicide by jumping into water—where the hairworm reproduces.

It’s only recently, though, that we’ve begun to realize that such organisms could affect humans, too. The leading candidate is Toxoplasma gondii. Found in soil, spoiled meat, and cat feces, this single-celled brain parasite is thought to have infected up to one-third of all humans. And studies are suggesting that it changes their personalities.

In 2006, one study suggested that Toxoplasma gondii could screw up your mind in a way that we normally associate with brain injury. Guilt, intelligence, and even affection—potentially significant areas in determining your personality—were all found to be changed by the creature.

It’s even thought that Toxoplasma gondii could have inadvertently helped to shape human culture over the centuries. If that’s true, then it’s entirely possible that we owe the modern world less to human ingenuity and more to the nightmare worm monsters living in our skulls.

I wonder how long it will be before some slick lawyer uses this bug as an excuse for his client's crazy behavior? Not long, I reckon.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain storms are on the way!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Black Elk On Western Wednesday...!

One of the great all time leaders of the Sioux was called Black Elk. Here is part of his story.


As a young member of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) tribe in 1876, Black Elk witnessed the Battle of Little Bighorn, in which Sioux forces led by Chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse dealt a crushing defeat to a battalion of U.S. soldiers led by Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer. In the 1880s, Black Elk toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show before returning to the Pine Ridge Reservation established for the Oglala in South Dakota. After the massacre of more than 200 Sioux at Wounded Knee Creek in late 1890 effectively put an end to Native American military resistance in the West, Black Elk remained at Pine Ridge, where he later converted to Christianity. In 1930, he began telling his story to the writer John Neihardt; the result was “Black Elk Speaks” (1932), a vivid and affecting chronicle of Lakota history and spiritual traditions.

You can find out much more about the history of Black Elk right here. Makes for an interesting read.

Once more, coffee in the kitchen. Homemade cookies are waiting!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Want A Nice Cold "Onion" Soda...?

The name in the title is no joke. There is actually such a thing, if you really want to try it!

With summer coming on, I know many of us will be wanting something cold to sip on. There are some crazy soft drinks out there, believe me, and this has to be one of the strangest!


You know those hot summer days when the only thing you can think about is getting your hands on a nice crunchy onion and just going to town? No, you don’t because you are a sane human being. You are also not in the target market for South Korea’s onion soda.

Produced by Tamla Village Company, Ltd., this fizzy, sulfurous abomination is basically concentrated and carbonated essence of onion. If you can successfully wrestle the can past your nose, the drink is supposed to have amazing health benefits. The drink is believed to reduce cholesterol, clean the blood, and prevent cancer, so it’s no wonder the beverage’s tear-jerking aroma is tolerated.

Of course, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether any of these claims are actually true or just a combination of cultural superstition and clever marketing. Personally, if it means never having to put the foul liquid anywhere near my mouth, I’ll take their word for it.

I think I'll pass on this particular flavor and stick with my Pepsi. Maybe a little sweet tea, ya know? No Onion soda for me...thanks!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is back again...with a vengeance!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Shaking It Up In Arkansas...!

Most areas in the South are not accustom to earthquakes, especially like the ones in Arkansas.

The one area that seemed to attract the most was a small town of Guy. Why was this spot hit so hard? Good question...and good mystery!

The Guy Earthquake Swarms

A small community just north of Little Rock, Guy wasn’t accustomed to drawing national attention. That all changed in 2010, when a series of relatively minor earthquakes shook the town. The first swarm struck in fall 2010, with most quakes registering under 2.0 on the Richter scale, meaning not everyone in town may have felt or even noticed the shaking. However, the swarms continued over the next two years and increased in magnitude, with one reaching as high as 4.7 in February 2011.

With the trembling becoming more noticeable, residents began to wonder if the quakes were a result of hydraulic fracturing techniques being used to drill for oil and gas in the area. The Arkansas Geological Survey was called out to investigate, and while the group noted that there is some evidence that fracking can cause minor earthquakes, they found no link between the drilling and these particular swarms.

Earthquake swarms aren’t entirely unusual in Arkansas. The state’s had a handful of them before, but none have reached the magnitude of those in Guy. Through 2013, over 500 quakes have rocked the town. As northeast corner of Arkansas was home to one of the country’s most violent swarms—the 1811-12 New Madrid earthquakes—the seemingly endless quakes have left some residents particularly on edge.

Seems to me that if this made me nervous or scared, moving to another locale would be a good idea. Know what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Let's take a chance.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

June Bug Bites...!

Here's a little story from Listverse that you can ponder over coffee this morning!

The June Bug Epidemic

Photo credit: Patrick Coin

Here’s an odd one. The June bug epidemic refers to an incident in summer 1962 when a worker in a textile mill in the USA claimed to have been bitten by some sort of dangerous insect. Convinced that the latest batch of fabric that the mill had received from England was infested with creepy critters, the woman refused to go back to work. She complained of headaches, dizziness, and a painful rash. Before long, more than 50 of her colleagues were also insisting that they had been bitten by the elusive “June bug.”

Understandably, the mill was closed down for inspection, and officials from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta were dispatched to deal with the outbreak. But to their surprise, they could find zero evidence that such a creature even existed. The health inspectors found only two biting insects in the entire plant, neither of which could have caused the symptoms described by the workers.

Despite this dumbfounding discovery, they decided to have the mill sprayed for insects anyway. After all, there was nothing else they could do. But the most incredible part of the story is this: After the mill had been sprayed and reopened, not a single person complained of June bug bites again. Was there really something hiding in the fabric?

Now, I don't know what kind of bug these folks were bitten by, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't a "June bug!" We get them all the time around my house and I've never been bitten by one yet.

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Texas Food Pyramid...!

When it comes to good food, few states have any better than Texas.

The main reason for this is a little thing called the food pyramid. I know you've heard of it, but here in Texas we have changed ours up a little bit to better reflect the way we actually eat.

Gotta eat right to stay healthy, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It might hail again!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Name That Cow For Freaky Friday...!

Now here is a study that might surprise you, but be useful at the same time!

Scientific studies are always going on and many times the information is not much use to the average person. However, if you have some milk cows this study might actually be of some use. Hey...never hurts to try, right? Best part is that it won't cost anything!

Cows With Names Produce More Milk

Small Dairy farmers could potentially increase their incomes with one simple but weird trick—give their cows names. A scientific study published in Anthrozoos suggested that cows with names produce more milk than their nameless counterparts. 

This bizarre study was conducted by Drs. Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University, and it involved over 500 dairy farmers from the United Kingdom.

On average, cows produce 7,500 liters (2,000 gal) of milk over a period of 10 months. But Douglas and Rowlinson discovered that cows with names produced 260 liters (70 gal) more.

Many dairy farmers have long suspected that giving their cattle some “one-to-one attention” increases milk production, but this research was the first that tried to prove it scientifically. According to the study, cows that are herded as a group also produce less milk

See? Even milk cows need a little one-on-one attention from time to time. All my relatives in the country that had milk cows gave them names. Maybe they knew something we didn't know!

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Walt Whitman's Notebooks...!

You would think that when the government is handed over something to care for, then they are safe...right?

Unfortunately this isn't always the case. true, these were only notebooks containing the notes and documents of one of our most celebrated poets. It's not like they were atomic weapons or anything of that importance (even those have been lost, misplaced, or stolen). Still, there is no excuse for this kind of poor handling of something so valuable and non-replaceable.

Walt Whitman’s notebooks

Walt Whitman’s notebooks. (Credit: Public Domain)

In the early 1940s, during World War II, the Library of Congress packed up a number of valuable items in its collections, including 10 notebooks once belonging to celebrated poet Walt Whitman (1819-92), and sent them to locations outside of Washington, D.C., for safekeeping. Sometime during the process, Whitman’s notebooks, which had been donated to the library in 1918 by one of his literary executors, disappeared and were thought stolen. Prized by scholars, the notebooks contained early versions of material that later appeared in Whitman’s famous 1855 book of poetry, “Leaves of Grass,” and also included a chronicle of Whitman’s time as a nurse for the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War. In 1995, some 50 years after the notebooks went missing, four of them re-appeared at Sotheby’s auction house in New York, brought there by a man who’d discovered them among his deceased father’s possessions. According to the man, his father had been given the notebooks as a gift and kept them for three decades. The man didn’t realize the notebooks, which in 1995 were reportedly worth as much as $500,000, had been stolen. Sotheby’s returned the notebooks to the Library of Congress; the whereabouts of the other six volumes remains unknown.

Now, I realize that there was a war going on but still, more care should have given these notebooks, if only because of their historical value! I wonder what else they manage to "lose?"

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Better bring an umbrella just in case.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Death Crowns...!

Some strange omens can be found in the different rural areas of the United States, including the Death Crown.

Customs can be strange, or at least seem strange to those of us outside the region. However, many of these omens have migrated to other parts of the country over time.

Death Crowns

Photo credit: Lori Kimball/veraviola.com

In the Appalachia, hardened crown-like masses of feathers found in pillows of ill people were viewed as an omen of death. These feather crowns measured 3–5 centimeters (2–3 in) in diameter and were about 1.5 centimeters (1 in) thick. They were known as “death crowns” or, less often, as “angel crowns.”

The phenomenon of these death crowns seems to have been confined almost solely to Appalachia, due to the isolated nature of the area. However, the phenomenon also traveled to places like Missouri and Indiana or anywhere else where the mountain folk migrated.

Death crowns were more than likely a consequence of an ill person’s movements (i.e., tossing and turning). If you found such an artifact inside an ill person’s pillow, it meant that the person would die within three days. It was said that one way to break the omen was to break the feather crown. However, if a death crown was found in the pillow of a recently deceased, it was viewed as a comforting sign, as it meant that the person went to heaven. Many of the still existing death crowns today have made their way into museums. Today, the largest collection of death crowns can be found in the Museum of Appalachia in Clinton, Tennessee.

There are so many omens, both good and bad, coming out of the mountainous areas of the U.S. Makes for an interesting study or discussion, don't you think? This topic was taken from Listverse, of course.

Coffee out on the patio again.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Almost An Epidemic...!

Sometimes the consequences of a stupid act are felt that could be deadly.

Here's a case where a ship gets too close to an island and nearly causes a world-wide epidemic, thanks to some cold war bio-weapon research.

Scientist Takes Plankton Samples And Nearly Causes Pandemic

During the Cold War, the Soviets had an active bioweapons program and conducted various tests of biological agents in natural environments. On an island in the Aral Sea in 1971, one such test nearly caused an outbreak of a virulent and hemorrhagic form of smallpox that could have spread across the world.

A Soviet scientific research ship had unknowingly sailed close to the island to take plankton samples. A scientist aboard the ship became infected. After the ship returned to the port of Aralsk, she infected others.

When the Soviets realized what was happening, they initiated a massive vaccination program and shut down transport from Aralsk to other parts of the Soviet Union. This prevented a potentially global outbreak of hemorrhagic smallpox.

Three people died. Even those who had been vaccinated against smallpox got mild to severe cases of the disease, which was an indication of the virulence of this particular strain.

I wonder how many more cases of this type of research are going on. Could they cause another spread of some deadly disease? More than we really want to know, I'll bet!

Coffee out on the patio. They say rain, but I say...so what?

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Chaocipher On Monday Mystery...!

This one is good for those that work a lot of word puzzles and can do some cipher work as well.

Sometimes the right answer is a lot closer than we think. This cipher must have been a good one, seeing how long it took for the answer to be found. Take that, all you government code breakers!

Solving The Chaocipher

The Chaocipher was once famous for its complexity. Now, it’s famous for its simplicity. This cipher machine was extremely small, but it generated ciphers that went unsolved for almost 50 years. John Byrne was a writer who began creating the cipher in the 1920s and soon had a code that he claimed was unsolvable. In his many attempts to show the government and the Navy, he was ignored due to his seeming lack of skills as a cryptanalyst.

Byrne never gave out any details about the Chaocipher until he published his autobiography, Silent Years, which contained examples of famous documents in both plaintext and ciphertext. But even though the Chaocipher was finally available, no one knew how to figure it out. After Byrne’s death, the American Cryptogram Association contacted Byrne’s son to see if he would reveal his father’s secrets. To their dismay, he refused. The code remained a mystery until Patricia Byrne, John Byrne’s son’s widow, finally revealed the secret in 2010.

The mechanism contained two circles with all the letters of the alphabet on their outer edges. The right circle had the alphabet going clockwise in plaintext, while the left circle had it going counterclockwise in ciphertext. By replacing certain letters in a sequence, the machine could create a code that was indecipherable without the machine to translate it back. The system wholly violates Kerckhoffs’s principle, which states that a cryptogram should be secure even if the secret of how it works is public knowledge. Cracking the code was so difficult simply because no one knew exactly how Byrne built his machine.

Maybe the government should have listened to him instead of blowing him off just because he wasn't "officially" trained. Sure would have things a lot easier in the long run don't ya think ?

Coffee inside this morning. Rain is moving back in!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Poe Wasn't Just A Horror Writer...!

We all know that Edgar Allen Poe could write a mean and scary story, but he had some other talents as well.

This story from Listverse shows just what kind of talent the man had. Not only did he fool the public, but he got his editors all excited and eager to publish what he came up with! Serious talent, if you ask me!

Good Stories Are Hard To Find (And Prove)

Newspapers in the 1800s were easy targets for hoaxes because they were in a constant battle to be the first to publish important news. Often, a paper wouldn’t check too closely before publishing a spectacular story, lest another paper print it first.

It was in this environment that on April 13, 1844, The New York Sun announced the stunning story that the North Atlantic had just been successfully crossed in only three days by a manned balloon. The balloon, the newspaper reported, had been constructed by a team of well-known balloon enthusiasts, including Monck Mason and Robert Holland, who had previously flown from London to Weilberg, Germany. The men’s intention had been to fly from Wales to France, but the balloon had been blown off course, and they found an air current that carried them safely across the ocean in record time, opening up all sorts of new possibilities in international travel.

The public was amazed, newspapers were sold, and two days later, the Sun had to admit it wasn’t true. Though short, the one-day lifespan of the infamous “Balloon Hoax” had its intended goal: Edgar Allen Poe, who had a sick wife and mother, got some sorely needed cash for handing the story to the newspaper.

I'm thinking the man had a terrific imagination and maybe we don't give him the credit he deserves. Just my opinion, of course!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Happy Mother's Day to all the Mothers out there!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Don't Believe All That You Read...!

Ever hear the old saying "never believe anything you read and only half of what you see?" Here's a good example of that very thing from Listverse!

The Great Escape

On November 9, 1874, The New York Herald lent its front page to an astounding announcement that every dangerous animal in the zoo had escaped and was wandering the streets of the city, killing anyone foolish enough to be out. The trouble began when a reckless zookeeper annoyed a rhinoceros enough for it to bust out of its enclosure and gore him to death. Attempts to capture the loose rhino resulted in the animal accidentally breaking the enclosures of all the other animals. Soon, lions, tigers, elephants, bears, hyenas, and more were wandering about the city. The newspaper reported a number of unfortunate deaths and a few acts of courage: A General Dix managed to drop a leopard with one expert shot, and John Morrisey, a well-known gambler and politician, managed to land a deadly punch to a tiger’s head.

The article panicked the city, causing people to lock themselves indoors wherever they were when they heard the news. That’s a bit odd, since the last paragraph of the article read, “Of course the entire story given above is pure fabrication. Not one word of it is true. Not a single act or incident described has taken place.” Much to the editor’s chagrin, the hoax mostly proved that readers never finish reading articles.

Sort of reminds me of the Orson Wells radio program about a Martian invasion, ya know? People can be so gullible at times !

Coffee out on the patio again. No rain expected until Monday.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Zombie Ladybugs For Freaky Friday...!

If you are lucky, you'll see a few Ladybugs around your garden. They are supposed to be good for growing flowers and veggies.

The sad thing about Ladybugs is that the very thing that protects them from predators also makes them a target for a certain wasp. Talk about having a target painted on your back...! Here from Listverse is the scoop!


Parasite: Dinocampus coccinellae

Ladybugs (or ladybirds outside the US) are distinctive for their bright red shells and black spots. As you might know, the bright colors are a defense mechanism, letting predators know that it’s probably poisonous, or at least not very tasty. And that’s exactly why dinocampus coccinellae wasps choose ladybugs to guard their young.

When an adult wasp finds a suitable ladybug, it will land, bend its stinger underneath the beetle, and implant a single egg in the ladybug’s belly. After about five days, the wasp larva will hatch and eat any ladybug larvae that might already be inside the host. Then, it will hook into the ladybug like a life support system, absorbing nutrients directly from its body (the ladybug is still moving around and eating at this point).

The wasp larva will live like this for up to a month, but after enough time has passed it slices the nerves that go to the ladybug’s legs, paralyzing it, then digs out through its belly and builds a cocoon between the ladybug’s legs. But it doesn’t kill the ladybug, not yet, because it still needs protection. So it manipulates the ladybug into sitting still, but moving and twitching slightly—just enough to let predators know it’s still alive. After 6-9 days, the fully grown wasp emerges. If the ladybug managed to stay alive for the almost 40 days it was under the control of the wasp, it’s free to go on its way.

I don't know about you, but I have a whole new respect for Ladybugs after reading this! I mean...who knew?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Let's watch for Ladybugs!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Falling Trees For Thoughtful Thursday...!

I figured that we needed to have a new topic to ponder, so here's one that's been discussed for a while now.

I don't know if there is really a right or a wrong answer, but I have a feeling this is one that will never be answered.

If A Tree Falls In The Forest

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

This old question has caused endless debate without getting closer to a definitive answer. Some people will gladly take a strong stance on the issue, insisting that the tree makes a sound because animals are probably there to hear it.

Others counter that the term “no one” means no humans or animals. According to their argument, there isn’t any sound if no person or animal hears it because perception is what creates a sound.

To prove the answer one way or the other, you need some kind of observer, even if it is only electronic. An electronic observation could then be translated by the person who listened to it for evidence. However, if there is any type of observer, then the “no one around to hear it” condition is violated. This makes the question impossible to answer.

However, this kind of question was likely formed without expecting a definitive answer. Originally, the question may have been a philosophical exercise to consider how much an action mattered if no one was around to observe or be affected by it. Over the years, it has turned into an actual debate among some scientists.

I got this little gem from the folks over at Listverse.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I'm pretty sure you can hear the doves making their music.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Jack Slade For Western Wednesday...!

Sometimes we forget that the criminal types in the West often started out as one of the good guys. Somewhere down the line they changed direction morally.This was the case with ol' Jack Slade!

Jack Slade joins the army

Jack Slade, who later became a victim of the Montana vigilantes, begins his involvement with the West by joining the military.

Born in 1829 in Illinois, Joseph Alfred Slade was the son of a prominent businessman and congressman. He joined the 1st Illinois Infantry when he was 18 and was introduced to a hard but adventurous life when his unit traveled to New Mexico. Slade left the army after only one year and returned to Illinois, but he headed westward again in 1850, reportedly fleeing charges that he had killed a man with a rock.

For several years, Slade wandered about the West–even visiting California during the height of the gold rush. By the late 1850s, he was finding steady work as a wagon boss supervising the shipment of freight across the Overland Trail. Slade earned a reputation both as a skilled frontiersman and as a hard-nosed boss given to vicious drunken rages. According to one source, Slade killed one of his own teamsters west of the Green River in Wyoming while he was drunk, though the murder was unverified and he was never prosecuted for any such crime.

Many employers considered a certain amount of violent ruthlessness to be a useful trait in a wagon boss, and Slade’s tough reputation and experience eventually won him a new job. He became an agent in charge of operations on the Overland Mail Company’s stage line from Julesberg, Colorado, to South Pass, Wyoming. It was one of the roughest sections of the line, plagued by attacks from hostile Indians and outlaws. Fearless, cool, and merciless, Slade worked with law enforcement officers to tame his segment of the trail by hanging any stage robbers or horse thieves he could catch and keeping his drivers armed.

Though he certainly presided over a number of vigilante-style executions, evidence that Slade personally killed people is sparse. Legend has it that Slade viciously killed a man by the name of Jules Reni (or possibly Beni) by having him lashed to a corral post and then slowly shooting him to death, but discrepancies and contradictions abound in accounts of the incident. Slade did carry a pair of human ears with him, which he claimed were Reni’s.

In 1862, the Overland Mail Company fired Slade for a drunken spree. The following year he joined the gold rush to Virginia City, Montana. He established a freight business in the booming frontier-mining town and began ranching along the nearby Madison River with his wife Maria. When sober, Slade was by all accounts a peaceful and upstanding member of the Virginia City community. When drunk, he became boisterous and threatening. Several times, he shot up saloons and businesses, though he always paid for the damages after sobering up. More worrisome, he sometimes made wild threats to kill prominent Virginia City citizens.

In 1863, many of the people of Virginia City banded together and formed a committee to halt the depredations of the violent Plummer Gang, which had committed a string of robberies and murders. Within a year, the Montana vigilantes had tracked down and executed much of the gang, and they turned their attentions elsewhere. Swayed by unverified rumors that Slade was a ruthless murderer, many of the vigilantes believed it was just a matter of time before he made good on his threats to kill someone. On March 10, 1864, the vigilantes arrested Slade, gave him a few minutes to pen a last letter to his wife, and summarily hanged him. The questionable justice of hanging a man who had committed no crime in Virginia City more serious than shooting up saloons helped convince many Montanans that the vigilantes were no longer useful. After Slade’s death, the organization became less active, and the vigilantes had faded into history by 1867.

One thing we have to admit about Jack. He was certainly a colorful fellow. His lifestyle was his choice and his downfall!

Coffee out on the patio again this morning. OK with you?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Some Humorous Quotes...!

It's been a while since I've done a post featuring featuring humorous quotes from famous people, so I figured this would be a great time!

A stockbroker urged me to buy a stock that would triple its value every year. I told him, 'At my age, I don't even buy green bananas.'
Claude Pepper

I don't need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that for me.
Stephen Fry

My definition of an intellectual is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger.
Billy Connolly

Older people shouldn't eat health food, they need all the preservatives they can get.
Robert Orben

We owe a lot to Thomas Edison - if it wasn't for him, we'd be watching television by candlelight.
Milton Berle

If it weren't for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we'd still be eating frozen radio dinners.
Johnny Carson

I never expected to see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they now do.
Will Rogers

He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.
Raymond Chandler

A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore.
Yogi Berra

There! I hope you enjoyed these bits of humor. Some I even laughed at.

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Medical Miracle For Monday Mystery...!

Sometimes things seem to happen for which there is just no explanation...thus the mystery!

Hospitals have been the place for a number of these unexplained happenings. The story that follows will show you just what I mean.

The Miraculous Recovery Of Chucky McGivern

In December 1982, seven-year-old Chucky McGivern was admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and diagnosed with a rare disease called “Reye’s syndrome,” which attacked his brain, liver, and nervous system. Chucky soon went into a coma, and his family was told he only had a 10 percent chance of survival.

Hoping for a miracle, Chucky’s mother pinned a medal to his bed featuring the likeness of St. John Neumann, a noted religious figure who became the Bishop of Philadelphia during the mid-19th century and was eventually canonized by Pope Paul VI. For whatever reason, the presence of this medal seemed to pave the way for a series of miraculous events.

The medal containing St. John’s likeness had been threaded to a safety pin alongside two other medals. But on numerous occasions when Chucky’s mother returned to the room, she discovered that the medal had been unthreaded and turned face down.

Things got even stranger when a picture of St. John was found taped to the wall. No one from Chucky’s family or the hospital staff admitted to doing these things. An unidentified boy also kept showing up in the ward, entering Chucky’s room, and interacting with his family. Whenever security was called, they couldn’t find this boy. No one ever saw him entering the hospital, either.

Four days after falling into his coma, Chucky suddenly woke up and made a miraculous, unlikely recovery. He described a dream in which he saw this same, mysterious boy standing over him. After Chucky was discharged from the hospital, his family made a trip to the Shrine of St. John Neumann (pictured above) and saw a painting of St. John when he was 12 years old. He looked exactly like the mysterious boy everyone had seen at the hospital.

Was it a true miracle...or not? Whatever the reason, the young man came out of the coma and all ended well That's the important thing!

Coffee out on the patio today The weather guy says no rain!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Nudes Of Dr. Seuss...!

The man we all know as Dr. Seuss was actually a successful artist before writing the Dr. Seuss books.

He worked for the government for a while making the "Pvt. Snafu" propaganda films. He wanted to do something a bit different, so that's how the book about the 7 nudes came about.

Smut About Seven Naked Ladies

Photo credit: Random House via Amazon

Before Dr. Seuss started his career as everyone’s favorite children’s author, he made an unusual deal with Random House. Seuss demanded a clause in his contract that allowed him to write a book about seven nudist sisters before he started writing children’s books.

As Seuss was convinced that such a book would be popular, he wanted his publisher to give him a chance to titillate the public with his erotic pictures. So he wrote The Seven Lady Godivas.

The pictures looked much like you’d expect from Seuss. In fact, his naked ladies looked exactly like the people in his kids’ books except that his erotic people didn’t have any clothes on.

But the erotic book flopped. Seuss lamented that he’d failed because he couldn’t draw the “sexy babes” as he’d wanted to. Then he went on to become the world’s most popular children’s author—all because he couldn’t draw a sexy enough picture. If you want to know more about this famous man, you can check him out on line. The place to start is right here!

Coffee out on the patio today. I don't have a clue what the weather is going to do!