Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pearl Hart On Western Wednesday...!

For the most part, the crooks of the Old West were fairly organised, with robberies even planned in advance in most cases. Not so with some amateurs like Pear Hart and her boyfriend.

If ever there was a couple that didn't qualify as pros, they were it. Guess they did the best they could, but obviously it wasn't good enough to get by.

Pearl Hart holds up an Arizona stagecoach

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

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

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

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

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

Evidently Pearl finally found a little peace in doing something she was pretty good at. Good thing, as she didn't make much progress at being on the outside of the Law.

Let's take a chance and have coffee on the patio this morning.I'm game if you are!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

One More Pink Critter...!

Last week I did a post about a pink moth, so I figured that another post was needed for the champion of all of Mother Nature's pink critters. This one really takes the cake.

Female Orchid Praying Mantis

Like many insect species, the male and female orchid praying mantises of Southeast Asia have evolved to look very different from each other. The male is small and brown while the female mimics the visual appearance of the orchid flowers around which they live. This camouflage allows the females to attract insects as prey and allows the males to avoid detection while they look for a mate.

The result of this species’ evolution is a truly extraordinary female specimen. Female orchid mantises have perfected the art of masquerade. Their limbs are shaped like petals and sport spectacular pink and yellow hues. With bodies that look like fully formed orchids, they are easily mistaken for the real thing and can actually be better at attracting insects than the flowers they mimic. This is despite the fact that orchid mantis females do not mimic any particular species of orchid, but rather a generic combination of orchid-like features.

Seems to me that the females of the species are pretty far ahead in the game as far as looks go, but isn't that the case in most of the natural world?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Some more big storms are expected off and on all week.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Placebo Or Real...?

Ever get the feeling that some medicine just isn't working the correct way? About one that does everything it's supposed to, but then you are told the working one is a placebo.Would it matter to you...?

Placebo Effect

The placebo effect is when a person takes something they believe is medicine for an ailment they are suffering (which is not really a medicine), and they get better. A placebo is an inert substance, and when taken (with the advice from others that it will cure them) makes the person get better, simply because they were expecting or believed that it would work. Something similar, called the nocebo effect, is when a person takes fake drugs and thinks they are experiencing problems that would have been caused by the real drugs. They have been known to reduce pain as well. Why they occur is mysterious and they are only one of the many complicated things related to the body-brain connection. In fact, our own bodies hold many unsolved mysteries.

One thing about it, real or not youplacebo effect can bet that they cost a whole lot less that the real thing. Of course, that means that the drug companies make a lot less money, unless the folks at big pharma sneakily sold us the fakes as the real thing. They wouldn't do that, would they?

Coffee out on the slightly damp patio this morning!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

No Knife For Lincoln...!

Politics does seem to take it's toll on the men in office, but few had as many problems going into the fray as did Lincoln.

In many ways, Abe was a deeply troubled man with a history of depression and other issues. He seemed to handle them pretty well and , on the outside at least, kept them under wraps.

He Was Afraid To Carry Knives Because He Might Kill Himself

Photo credit:

On the surface, Lincoln seemed like a fun-loving joker. He would go out with the mask of a smile on his face and crack filthy jokes, letting everyone think he was the cheeriest man alive. When he was alone, though, he struggled with crippling depression.

He told a friend that he “never dared carry a knife in his pocket”[1] out of fear that he’d kill himself. It wasn’t an unwarranted fear—he very nearly did it more than once.

In winter 1840, Lincoln spiraled into a terrible depression. He was engaged to Mary Todd but had fallen in love with another woman named Matilda Edwards. He couldn’t bring himself to call off his wedding. But the emotional struggle was tearing him apart.

In the words of a colleague, “Lincoln went crazy as a loon.” Lincoln had a mental breakdown, becoming unable to work or do anything but sit and talk about how horribly miserable he was.

He may not have carried a knife in his own pocket on any day, but his friends couldn’t trust him to have a blade anywhere in his home during his dark moments. They went through his house, pulling out every kitchen knife and shaving razor, convinced that Lincoln would kill himself if he was left alone for a second.

Truth be told, there were probably many famous leaders throughout history that had a few mental problems, some we never hear about until after the fact. In other cases, however, the signs are often quite obvious, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Nothing crazy about that!

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Little Pink For Freaky Friday...!

Somehow I never figured on the idea of pink bugs. When I think of insects, I tend to think in terms of greens and browns, ya know?

Well, it seems that Mother Nature had other ideas. She threw a few critters with a little more color into the mix, I'm certain just to impress us mere mortals with Her brilliance! It worked!

Elephant Hawk Moth

From caterpillar to fully-fledged moth, this species is a fascinating one. Its name is derived from the appearance of the caterpillar: a slimmer head and thorax than the rest of its body makes the caterpillar look like an elephant trunk.

However, like many moth caterpillars, it has evolved to disguise itself with markings that impersonate a snake, eyes and all, in order to fool potential predators into staying away. It even has a trick to mimic the blinking of an eye; the caterpillars have a growth called an anal horn that can palpitate rapidly to look like a blinking eye.

If the caterpillar can survive and make it to the cocoon stage, it will emerge as one of the prettiest moth species on Earth, and certainly one of the most distinct moths in its native United Kingdom. Unlike many moth species, which are typically gray or brown, the Elephant Hawk Moth is pink and olive-coloured. They are often mistaken for a pink butterfly, but they are nocturnal and have stout, fuzzy bodies, like most moths.

Actually, the pink is somehow very nice looking on this particular moth. I just never had thought of it before. The beauty of the internet (and sites like Listverse), is that the knowledge is out there for all of us to find. All we have to is open our eyes and look in the right places.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. No rain in the forecast until later in the week-end.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Some Facts About The Toilet...!

An everyday fixture that we are all familiar with, I'm sure. What you may not know are these interesting facts about the poor unfortunate piece of plumbing we call the john.

1. The film “Psycho” was the first movie to show a toilet flushing – the scene caused an inpouring of complaints about indecency

2. Pomegranates studded with cloves were used as the first attempt at making toilet air-freshner

3. Hermann Goering refused to use regulation toilet paper – instead he bought soft white handkerchiefs in bulk and used them

4. Over $100,000 US dollars was spent on a study to determine whether most people put their toilet paper on the holder with the flap in front or behind; the answer: three out of four people have the flap in the front

5. King George II of Great Britain died falling off a toilet on the 25th of October 1760

6. The average person spends three whole years of their life sitting on the toilet

7. The first toilet cubicle in a row is the least used (and consequently cleanest)

8. An estimated 2.6 billion people worldwide do not have access to proper toilet facilities, particularly in rural areas of China and India.

9. The Roman army didn’t have toilet paper so they used a water soaked sponge on the end of a stick instead!

10. The toilet is flushed more times during the super bowl halftime than at any time during the year.

11. 90% of pharmaceuticals taken by people are excreted through urination. Therefore our sewer systems contain heavy doses of drugs. A recent study by the EPA has found fish containing trace amounts of estrogen, cholesterol-lowering drugs, pain relievers, antibiotics, caffeine and even anti-depressants.

12. Lack of suitable toilets and sanitation kills approximately 1.8 million people a year, many of them children.

13. The toilet handle in a public restroom can have up to 40,000 germs per square inch.

14. While he didn’t invent the toilet, Thomas Crapper perfected the siphon flush system we use today. He was born in the village of Thorne – which is an anagram of throne.

15. In a 1992 survey, British public toilets were voted the worst in the world. Following quickly behind were Thailand, Greece, and France.

Now that should give you something to ponder on while taking care!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Weather isn't too hot yet.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Two Spirited Natives On Western Wednesday...!

While many folks have questions about how we deal with and handle sexual preferences in this day and age, but as far back as we care to go in our history the questions have been handled in many different ways.

Even the Native Americans, considered by many to be "savages", dealt with the issue far better than some of us in this era of enlightenment. Maybe we should take some pointers, ya think?

Native Americans

Photo credit: The Numinous

The phrase “two-spirited” has become an LGBT catchphrase. It’s something a lot of people embrace, imagining a precolonial America in which LGBT people were celebrated. In a way, they were—but it was a bit different than most people imagine.

The concept of “two-spirited” people existed in about 130 North American tribes, which is a lot, but there were more than 500 tribes, so it was by no means the majority. Every tribe was different, too, so the details were never exactly the same.

Generally, though, a two-spirited person was someone who didn’t fit gender norms. If a young boy showed an interest in sewing, for example, or a girl showed an interest in hunting, some tribes would say that they had two spirits and would give them a special role in the community.

A two-spirited man might end up wearing women’s clothing and doing a woman’s work, but he wasn’t necessarily gay. It was perfectly natural for a two-spirited person to be heterosexual or even to switch between male and female clothes from day to day.

For savages, I'd say they handled the situation in a manner that was peaceful and certainly with more dignity than some today. More power to them is all I can say.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning, needless to say. Another storm moving in masquerading as a cold front.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Someone Lost A Tooth...!

Actually, it was a tooth from what appears to be some sort of gear. The strange part is the rest of the story, as it appeared on Listverse.

The Russian UFO Tooth Wheel

A Russian man found a strange piece of machinery from Vladivostok, the administrative capital of the Primorsky Krai area. The object resembled a piece of tooth wheel and was embedded in a piece of coal he was using to light a fire. Although discarded pieces of old machines are not uncommon in Russia, the man became curious and showed his find to some scientists. Testing revealed that the toothed object was almost pure aluminum and almost certainly artificially made.

Also, it was 300 million years old. This raised some interesting questions, as aluminum of this purity and shape can’t form naturally and humans didn’t figure out how to make it until 1825. Curiously, the object also resembles parts that are used in microscopes and other delicate technical devices.

Although conspiracy theorists have been quick to declare the find a part of an alien spaceship, the scientists researching it are not willing to jump to conclusions and wish to run further tests in order to learn more about the mysterious artifact.

If indeed this gear came from a piece of machinery, my guess is that it isn't working too well any more. That is, of course, unless it was replaced!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, unless the rains start back up!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Space Wonder On Monday Mystery...!

It seems to me that the more we learn about everything around us, the more mystery we are faced with, know what I mean?

Instead of a mystery concerning murder and mayhem today, let's travel to a place that will more than likely always remain a big mystery to us!

Ahuna Mons

Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/LPI via

Ahuna Mons (aka “the Pyramid”) is located “in the middle of nowhere” on the dwarf planet Ceres, which mystifies NASA’s Dawn spacecraft mission science team member Paul Schenk, a geologist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas. Normally, such formations are associated with craters. Nearly 6.5 kilometers (4 mi) high and 16 kilometers (10 mi) wide, the pyramid-shaped peak is also mysterious for another reason: Inexplicable “bright streaks” run down its sides, resembling the equally mysterious bright spots that appear inside Ceres’s Occator Crater.

Initially stumped as to the origin of Ahuna Mons, scientists now believe it may be “a gigantic ice volcano.” Erupting saltwater from the planet’s interior caused the Pyramid to form gradually, over millions of years. David A. Williams of Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration says scientists hope to see “some venting” as Ceres approaches the Sun.

So here we are, stuck for the time being on the planet Earth, and we are trying to figure out what's going on in a place far, far away. Does that seem logical to you? Most of us are having a hard enough time trying to figure out what is going on around Washington, ya know?

Coffee inside this morning, as they are predicting rain

Sunday, May 21, 2017

More Sunday Funnies...!

Back to the old way of doing thing, I reckon. Cartoons on a Sunday seems natural right now!

And one more...

That's enough...I gotta get back to work...OK?

Coffee inside in case it rains today. Smell that home baked bread?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

It Only Takes A Minute...!

Here are a few facts that you may or may not know. Considering the time's all pretty amazing!

What Happens in One Minute Around the World?

A minute is a funny amount of time. It’s long enough to notice—reading this article will take just about a minute—but it’s too short to do much of anything with. There are famously only about five hundred thousand of them in a year.
But when you add all of humanity together, a lot starts to happen in that lowly minute. Here at The Atlantic, we did some calculations and consulted research, and—as you’ll see in the video above—a minute of life on Earth is almost unbelievably full of life. Before the second hand of a clock completes one rotation:

25 Americans will get a passport, according to the U.S. Department of State.

58 airplanes will take off around the world, according to the International Air Traffic Association.

116 people will get married, according to data from the United Nations and some Excel handiwork.

144 people will move to a new home, according to Gallup.

11,319 packages will be delivered by UPS, according to UPS.

83,300 people will have sex, according to the (offline) Atlas of Human Sexual Behavior.

243,000 photos will be uploaded to Facebook, according to Facebook.

5,441,400 pounds of garbage will be created, according to the World Bank.

136,824,00 pounds of carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere as a byproduct of burning fossil fuels, according to the CIA World Factbook.

7,150,000,000 human hearts (according to the United States Census Bureau) will beat…

500,500,000,000 times, according to the American Heart Association, as their bodies create…

858,282,240,000,000,000 new red blood cells, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Pretty mind blowing, wouldn't you say?

Coffee out on my messy patio this morning!

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Right Hand For Freaky Friday...

Some things that seem really creepy just can't be explained away logically.

If this next story doesn't creep you out at least a little, nothing will. It's not a story I would use to put the kiddies to bed with, I don't think!

Saint Stephen (“The Holy Right”)

We may not have access to Saint Stephen’s entire body (it seems that only his right arm was incorrupt), but his right fist takes part in a yearly parade on his feast day in Hungary. It’s known as the “holy right,” unless you’re an incorrigible local youth, in which case you might refer to the relic as the “monkey paw.”

For founding the Christian Hungarian state, Saint Stephen was canonized in 1083, and, when his body was exhumed, the Church found his right arm to be completely intact. They promptly removed it (as you do) to be venerated. It went on a bit of a journey due to the Tartar invasion – to Croatia, where it was cut in two so it could be shared with a church in Vienna – before returning to Hungary in 1771. During WWII, it was removed once again, this time to Austria for safekeeping.

It’s now back home at the Basilica of Saint Stephen in Budapest, where you can see it…briefly. A light will shine on the relic if you deposit a coin, but only for about 30 seconds at a time.

Which, honestly, is probably more than enough time to stare at a mummified fist.

I'm sorry , but I don't find anything holy about this fist. Reminds me way to much of the Mummy movies, ya know?. Nice visit from Baby Sis yesterday. She and her hubby just got back from a trip all the way to Ireland and other very scenic places.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Contractors are finished with my hall bath, so it's quiet again!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Very Short War From Hermit's History...!

Why is it that they never taught us about the real cool history stuff in school? Too much trouble, I reckon!

Well, here is the Hermit's view of something that they should have mentioned...the shortest war in history! If we have to fight a war, maybe we should follow this example, ya know?

The Shortest War In History

Photo credit: Richard Dorsey Mohun

A mysterious death. A shady relative. A colonial British presence. The perfect ingredients for war.

In 1896, Hamad bin Thuwaini was ruling over Zanzibar, a protectorate of the British Empire, after being instated as a “puppet” sultan by the British. His reign had lasted just three years when he suddenly died in his palace on August 25. Rumor has it that his cousin Khalid bin Barghash had him poisoned, a belief seemingly confirmed by the fact that Barghash quickly moved into the palace and assumed the status of sultan without British permission.

Basil Cave, the chief British diplomat in the area, caught wind of the affair and didn’t approve of the change in leadership. Cave requested the assistance of British military warships stationed nearby. While he awaited permission from Britain to open fire, Barghash gathered his own surprisingly well-armed forces.

At 9:00 AM on August 27, Cave gave the order to begin bombarding the palace. At 9:02 AM, Khalid’s army was essentially destroyed and the palace began to crumble. By 9:40 AM, the sultan had pulled down his flag and the British ended their attack. In 38 minutes, the shortest war in history was over.

See what I mean? History doesn't have to be long, dull, and boring. Dates we would never remember, names we never could pronounce. Instead trhey should have taught us some really interesting like this from Listverse! Would have been much more fun!, don't you think?

Coffee out on the patio. Just pardon the contractor's mess!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Geronimo On Western Wednesday...!

Been a while since we did a post about of of our better know names from long ago. Here is a bit of history about Geronimo...remember him ? Of course you do!

Geronimo flees Arizona reservation

For the second time in two years, the Apache chief Geronimo breaks out of an Arizona reservation, sparking panic among Arizona settlers.

A famous medicine man and the leader of the Chiricahua Apache, Geronimo achieved national fame by being the last American Indian to surrender formally to the United States. For nearly 30 years, Geronimo and his followers resisted the attempts of Americans to take away their southwestern homeland and confine them to a reservation. He was a fearless warrior and a master of desert survival. The best officers of the U.S. Army found it nearly impossible to find Geronimo, much less decisively defeat him.

In 1877, Geronimo was forced to move to the San Carlos, Arizona, reservation for the first time, but he was scarcely beaten. Instead, Geronimo treated the reservation as just one small part of the vast territory he still considered to belong to the Apache. Fed up with the strictures and corruption of the reservation, he and many other Apache broke out for the first time in 1881. For nearly two years, the Apache band raided the southwestern countryside despite the best efforts of the army to stop them. Finally, Geronimo wearied of the continual harassment of the U.S. Army and agreed to return to the reservation in 1884, much on his own terms.

He did not stay long. Among the many rules imposed upon the Apache on the reservation was the prohibition of any liquor, including a weak beer they had traditionally brewed from corn. In early May 1885, Geronimo and a dozen other leaders deliberately staged a corn beer festival. Reasoning that the authorities would be unlikely to try to punish such a large group, they openly admitted the deed, expecting that it would lead to negotiations. Because of a communication mix-up, however, the army failed to respond. Geronimo and the others assumed the delay indicated the army was preparing some drastic punishment for their crime. Rather than remain exposed and vulnerable on the reservation, Geronimo fled with 42 men and 92 women and children.

Quickly moving south, Geronimo raided settlements along the way for supplies. In one instance, he attacked a ranch owned by a man named Phillips, killing him, his wife, and his two children. Frightened settlers demanded swift military action, and General George Crook coordinated a combined Mexican and American manhunt for the Apache. Thousands of soldiers tracked the fugitives but Geronimo and his band split into small groups and remained elusive.

Crook’s failure to apprehend the Indians led to his eventual resignation. General Nelson Miles replaced him. Miles committed 5,000 troops to the campaign and even established 30 heliograph stations to improve communications. Still, Miles was also unable to find the elusive warrior. Informed that many of the reservation Apache, including his own family, had been taken to Florida, Geronimo apparently lost the will to fight. After a year and a half of running, Geronimo and his 38 remaining followers surrendered unconditionally to Miles on September 3, 1886.

Relocated to Florida, Geronimo was imprisoned and kept from his family for two years. Finally, he was freed and moved with this family to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. He died of pneumonia at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1909.

In my opinion, this man was one tough and wise old bird. I certainly wouldn't want to ever face him in battle! Know what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, but it may rain later, so be ready!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I'm Back With A Story About The "Arm Pit..."

First of all, let me thank everyone for all the good wishes and positive thoughts sent my way over the last couple of days! It means a lot when you are under the weather.

Now this arm pit isn't the kind that belongs to the guy on the bus that you wish wasn't sitting next to you. Instead it's another example of how men can come up with some strange ways of putting the hurt on their fellow men.

A Pit Of Amputated Arms

Photo credit:

A team working in France found a horrible glimpse into our past: seven severed arms that had been brutally hacked off and thrown into the bottom of a pit 6,000 years ago.

The people whose limbs were buried there, the archaeologists believe, were farmers—although one was torn off the body of a child. After their arms were thrown into the pit, dozens of full bodies were piled on top of them. Their arms were still intact, but their skulls had caved in.

It’s not clear exactly what happened to these people. The only thing we know for sure is that a horrible massacre happened here. Only losing an arm, the researchers believed, may have been a mark of social status—a more merciful penalty for living with a tribe that was to be wiped out.

The rest is unclear. We don’t know who killed them or why their arms were removed. This pit, though, along with others like it, supports the idea that life in 4000 BC was often brutal and violent.

I'm sure glad that I didn't live back then, that's for sure! Whatever these poor farmers did, it must have pissed someone off big time!

Thanks again to all out there that sent me all the good wishes. That's why I consider you all my special friends! Coffee out on the patio this morning! Cookies for everyone!!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Visit To The E.R. At V.A....!

I spend most of yesterday in the E.R. at the V.A. due to a long lasting nose bleed! The last time this happened, I ended up in the hospital for 4 days.

Imagine being awake at 6 A.M. with a nose bleed that just won't quit. The bleeding continued until I was admitted to the E.R. for test. They finally released me at around 6P.M., so I was wiped out. I hadn't eaten all day, but the fun really started when I got home and then became very sick because of an upset stomach

Anyway, that's it. Don't look for any post for the next couple of days. I may be forced to take a couple of days off, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio, even if I'm not there...OK?

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Plant That Can Eat Rats...!

Now I know this sounds like a made-up tale, but it's true...I kid you not!

The length's that all living things will go to in order to get the food needed to survive is amazing. All living things, including plants. Want proof? Consider the Tropical Pitcher Plant.

Tropical Pitcher Plant

The carnivorous tropical pitcher plant is less known than its infamous relative, the Venus flytrap. Its flowers are a pitcher shape, coated on the inside with extremely slippery wax walls and sweet-smelling nectar at the bottom, all topped off by a lid. There are two different variations of the pitcher plant: the highland and the lowland. They both occur in the tropics in places with constantly humid air. The highland species is much more common and has a more tubelike shape compared to the lowland version, which has a wider, more typical flower shape at the top of its pitcher.

The pitcher plant is best-known for capturing small insects and bugs, which smell the nectar and unwittingly climb in looking for a sweet treat. However, the liquid at the bottom contains digestive proteins which will immediately get to work, while the trapped animal tries tirelessly to crawl up the slimy walls. Although it is common to find small insects or bugs in these traps, tropical pitchers are the only plants known to have devoured entire rats! They can grow to a large enough size that even animals as large and clever as rats have become prey.

I wonder if they work on mosquitos? I figure if a plant is bad-ass enough to eat a rat, then it should be able to handle Texas mosquitos, right? How's that for a Freaky Friday topic?

Coffee out on the patio again this morning. It's only supposed to get to 85 today.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Winkie Saves The Day...!

Here is a feel good story for ya. A carrier pigeon was responsible for saving the crew of a downed bomber in the North Sea during the war. Here is the story with all the details.

During World War II, Maria Dickin, founder of the veterinary charity People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), was so touched by the plight of animals in wartime that she instituted the PDSA Dickin Medal.

The animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, the bronze medallion acknowledges extraordinary valor and has worldwide recognition as the highest honor that can be given to any animal in military conflict. Exceptional acts of bravery performed on the civil front by police dogs, horses, and guide dogs can also earn the elite medal bearing the words “We Also Serve.”


On February 23, 1942, a Beaufort bomber and her crew were in serious trouble. While returning from a World War II mission over Norway, enemy fire seriously crippled the aircraft.

Although the men survived both the attack and the crash landing into the ocean, their odds for survival weren’t looking good. The men were somewhere in the freezing North Sea and a long way from the safety of the nearest RAF base.

When they realized that their radio was dead, the desperate crew pinned their hopes on a carrier pigeon named Winkie. The blue chequered hen was released and flew home under incredibly difficult circumstances, covering 200 kilometers (120 mi) across the North Sea.

When her owner found the exhausted bird in her loft in Broughty Ferry, she was full of oil. She also carried no message. This didn’t deter the RAF from launching a rescue mission.

By calculating the time that the plane went down, the wind direction, the time of Winkie’s arrival, and the effect of the oil on her speed, the position of the bomber was discovered. Her crew was rescued within 15 minutes.

Without the dramatic flight of their carrier pigeon, the men most certainly would have died. A year after playing her part in the rescue, Winkie became the first animal to be given the Dickin Medal.

Sometimes I feel that many animals, even acting on nothing but instinct, are more courageous than many humans. Certainly more loyal than many people I could name, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New Bullets On Western Wednesday...!

Even though this post is more on the topic of the Civil War, it sort of fits into the western era. At least, some of the reasons for the Wild in the Wild West was because of the attitudes and weapons carried over from the horror that was the war!


Before the development of the Minié ball, muzzle-loading rifles were not used in combat situations because of how difficult they were to load. Because the ammunition used had to engage the spiral grooves, or rifling, inside the rifle barrel, it had to be equal in diameter to the barrel, and shooters would have to jam the bullet into the rifle by force. In addition, the rifle tended to become even more difficult to load as gunpowder residue collected inside the barrel. The French army officer Claude-Etienne Minié was not the first to come up with the design of a bullet that expanded when fired, but he simplified and improved on earlier designs–including those developed by Britain’s Captain John Norton (1818) and William Greener (1836)–to create his namesake bullet in 1849. Cylindrical in shape, with a conical point and a hollow base containing an iron plug, the Minié bullet was smaller than the diameter of a rifle barrel, and could be easily loaded, even when the rifle became dirty.


When a rifle containing a Minié bullet was fired, the bullet was rammed back on the charge, which exploded and sent the bullet hurtling down the barrel. On its way, the iron bullet expanded, gripping the spiral rifling and spinning so tightly along its course that its range and accuracy were greatly increased, with fewer misfires. The effective range of a Minié bullet was from 200 to 250 yards, a huge improvement on earlier ammunition.

The French army never adopted the Minié bullet, but the British did, paying Minié for his patent to use the ammunition in 1851. During the Crimean War of 1853-56, which pitted Britain, France and the Ottoman Turkish empire against Russia, the bullet so improved the effectiveness of infantry troops that 150 soldiers using the minié could equal the firing power of more than 500 with a traditional musket and ammunition.


In the early 1850s, James Burton of the U.S. Armory at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, improved further on the Minié bullet by eliminating the need for the iron plug and making it easier and cheaper to mass-produce. It was adapted for use by the U.S. military in 1855.

During the Civil War (1861-65), the basic firearm carried by both Union and Confederate troops was the rifle-musket and the Minié ball. The federal armory in Springfield, Massachusetts, produced a particularly effective rifle-musket that had a range of around 250 yards; some 2 million Springfield rifles were produced during the war.

The long-range accuracy of the Minié ball meant that the traditional model of warfare, when infantry and cavalry assaults could be successful, was over. Soldiers armed with a minié-loaded rifle could hide behind trees or blockades and take down approaching forces before they could get close enough to cause any damage. Weapons of an earlier age, such as the bayonet, became almost obsolete in this new kind of warfare, and the role of cavalry and field artillery was greatly reduced. Casualty figures for the American Civil War reached staggering proportions, with more than 200,000 soldiers killed and more than 400,000 wounded. The rifle-musket and the Minié bullet are thought to account for around 90 percent of these casualties.

It's hard to imagine just how that many deaths that was during those times and how it must have affected all walks of life.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Really nice lately!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Moving Skull Puzzle...!

Most of us find little comfort in going to a morgue, and may not even been to one. That's probably a good thing.

However, if you were to experience what this doctor did in 1901, it may have been a scary time. I'm certain that my reaction would have different that the good doctor had I been there.

The Moving Skull

Pranks in the dead house used to be a common occurrence. There are numerous accounts of medical students posing as dead people and faking ghost haunts, but one doctor had a totally different night fright.

As he told a New Orleans newspaper in 1884, he once had a patient with an aneurysm. As the case puzzled the doctor, he decided that he was going to perform an autopsy upon the patient’s death. The doctor did not have to wait long for the patient to die, and the body was sent to the dead house to await inspection.

The doctor went to the dead house an hour before midnight. There, he cut open and examined his former patient. As the doctor did his work by one lit gas burner, he heard a shuffling noise from the corner of the room. It caught him off guard because he believed that he was the only living person in the room.

He inspected the area from where the noise came. But he only saw five skulls resting on the floor that were being prepared by the medical students for their cabinets.

He went back to work on his autopsy. No sooner did he start than he caught sight of some movement from that area. He stopped his work again and watched as a skull moved slowly toward him.

He eyed the floor, expecting to find string pulling the skull, but his inspection yielded no tricks. The doctor, claiming to feel rather peculiar at that moment, sat on a stool and smoked his pipe. He could not take his eyes off the skull.

The skull moved again, coming straight at him. It screeched along the floor until the doctor could not take the suspense any longer. He jumped up from his stool and picked up the skull. Inside was a rat that had managed to get itself stuck inside the brain cavity. The rat was freed, and the doctor went back to work.

So this doctor calmly sits down and smokes his pipe after seeing the skull move? Must have had nerves of steel, or was smoking something other than tobacco in his pipe, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio again today. Blood test at the V.AQ. later, but there's no rush.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Eugene Izzy's Death On Monday Mystery...!

Sometimes even the experts are baffled by a death, not knowing for sure if it was suicide or murder. This was the case with Mr. Izzy.

Seems as though there was no evidence of a crime, the authorities were faced with an interesting and intriguing mystery with nothing clearly pointing to suicide.

How Did Eugene Izzi Die?

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Eugene Izzi enjoyed a successful career as a writer of hard-boiled detective stories set in his hometown of Chicago. However, the most enduring mystery he left behind was that of his untimely death.

Izzi died on December 7, 1996. His body was found dangling outside his 14-story office in downtown Chicago. He was hanging from a rope tied to a steel desk located in his office. At first glance, it seemed like a straightforward suicide case (and that was the official ruling). However, the details made the death seem straight out of a mystery novel.

For starters, there was a lack of motive. Friends and family found it hard to believe that Izzi would commit suicide, particularly as he had a new book coming out. More bizarre, however, was the fact that the writer was found wearing a bulletproof vest. In his pockets, police found brass knuckles and mace. There were reports that Izzi also had a .38-caliber revolver in his office.

Did Izzi have a reason to fear for his life? Friends claimed that he had infiltrated a paramilitary group in Indiana as research for a new book. He had received at least one threatening voice mail. This was further supported by an article submitted to the Chicago Sun-Times where Izzi attacked militias and hate groups.

To me, a suicide without a note is always suspicious. And what was the reason for the vest, gun, and brass knucklesa if he killed himself? Way too many questions, in my opinion.

Coffee out on the patio again today. Got some rice crispy marshmallow treats I'll share.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Some Old School Funnies...!

I think that the older cartoons are much funnier than those made today. Most have some kind of moral to them and the cartoons are much better done, in my opinion.

Maybe just one more...

That's all for today. Hope you enjoyed them.

Coffee out on the sunny patio this morning!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Even Writers Have Their Fears...!

Many times I have curled up with a good ol' King story and have enjoyed the development of his stories and characters immensely. I never knew this fact about him, however.

I guess this just shows that anyone can be afraid of something as offbeat as a number. I find it very interesting, considering his main theme in his books, which can only be classified as horror.

Stephen King Is Scared Of The Number 13

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Stephen King is the most popular and successful contemporary horror writer in the United States. He has published over 260 titles, sold over 350 million copies worldwide, and continues to produce best-selling literature at a rate of about one book per year.

As the creator of The Shining (1977), Cujo (1981), Pet Sematary (1983), IT (1986), and Misery (1987), King has built the reputation of being the godfather of modern horror, both psychological and supernatural. Many believe that his taste for the horrific means that King is comfortable with the darker side of literature and life and has nothing to fear himself. But as King described in 1984, he is mortally afraid of the number 13.

Fear of the number 13[9] (aka triskaidekaphobia) can result in physical symptoms, such as panic attacks, and affects up to 10 percent of the US population. For King, this phobia manifests itself in more impractical ways. For example, he has to take the last two steps of a 13-step staircase in one stride, meaning that he only takes 12 steps. He also refuses to finish reading if he lands on pages 94, 193, 382, and so on, because the individual digits within these numbers all add up to 13.

King is especially frightened of what he calls “triple-whammy years,” in which Friday the 13th occurs three times. It’s even worse when these dates are 13 days apart. In one of these years, 1984, King stated that he was particularly fearful because he had been married for 13 years, had a 13-year-old daughter, and had published 13 books to date.

To King’s relief, most hotels do not have a 13th floor, many airplanes do not label the 13th seat, and France promotes the hiring of a professional 14th guest to avoid having 13 people sit at a dinner table.

I hqave to say that this is a total surprise to me. I can't imagine someone being afraid of a number, but there is just no way to explain the human mind and it's fears...even if they seem foreign to us.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Sorry I.m running late!

Friday, May 5, 2017

How About Some Skull's Moss On Freaky Friday...?

Over the years, our knowledge of medicine has improved quite a bit, that's for sure.

Some of the old remedies seem to work, at least a little, but others are considerably questionable. In fact, more than a few are down right disgusting!

Skull’s Moss

The dubious curative powers of human skull extended to the mildew or moss that grew on unburied human skulls. Called usnea, it was found in plentiful supply on exposed skulls on the battlefield. Soldiers met the required violent end needed to maintain the “vitality,” or life essence, within the body. Somehow this soul essence was absorbed into the skull moss under the influence of “celestial orbs.”

Usnea was used extensively during the 17th and 18th centuries. As a powder, people stuffed it up their noses to stem nosebleeds or used it internally for wide-ranging concerns from epilepsy to menstrual problems. The “father of medicine,” Sir Francis Bacon, proposed its use as part of a wound salve to be rubbed on a weapon. The idea was that rubbing the blade of the weapon would heal the wound it caused.

I hate to admit it, but the idea of taking something like this really turns me off, ya know? I think I'd rather be sick!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's gonna be a nice one!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Shotgun Man...!

This is a case where the myth just might have a little truth in it.

Given the time and location where the legend started, this legend probably has a lot of fact behind it. The folks known as the Black Hand back then were not above a taste of violence from time to time, and probably had a lot to do with spreading the story around.

Was The Shotgun Man Real?

Early 20th-century Chicago was a dangerous place for Italian immigrants living in Little Sicily. Black Hand extortion was a popular racket practiced by many criminals with no connections to each other. They knew that most people were scared enough to pay. Otherwise, these people would be visited by the Shotgun Man—an enforcer targeting people who refused the Black Hand.

The Shotgun Man was Little Sicily’s boogeyman, said to prowl the intersection of Oak Street and Milton Avenue that was known as “Death Corner.” He would wait at the bottom of a staircase, shotgun at the ready. As soon as his victim came into view, the Shotgun Man opened fire. Then he disappeared before anyone realized what had happened.

It’s been over a century since the Shotgun Man roamed the bloody streets of Chicago, and his legend has been growing steadily ever since. Nowadays, people say that he killed over 100 victims. He was so feared that he could casually walk the streets, gun in hand, even after a murder, without anyone reporting him.

These are almost certainly the exaggerations that occur with most myths over time. Some murders ascribed to the Shotgun Man never occurred. Others had no distinguishable connections between them. The city was undoubtedly rife with crime, but there’s no evidence to place most of it on the shoulders of just one man.

Sounds to me that real or not, the story accomplished what it intended. People were scared and with good reason. It was a very violent time. Thanks to Listverse for this information.

Coffee inside this morning. It's raining outside.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Sitting Bull And Annie Oakley On Western Wednesday...

Just when you think you might know all about some of the figures of the Old West, some little bit of history pops up to surprise you.

Chief Sitting Bull considered Oakley his adopted daughter.

Eight years after the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the Lakota Sioux leader who orchestrated the defeat of General George Custer’s troops attended one of Oakley’s performances in St. Paul, Minnesota, in March 1884. Mesmerized by her marksmanship, the Native American chief sent $65 to her hotel in order to get an autographed photograph. “I sent him back his money and a photograph, with my love, and a message to say I would call the following morning,” Oakley recalled. “The old man was so pleased with me, he insisted upon adopting me, and I was then and there christened ‘Watanya Cicilla,’ or ‘Little Sure Shot.’” In addition to a nickname that followed Oakley the rest of her life, Sitting Bull also reportedly gave her a pair of moccasins that he had worn at Little Bighorn. The two became even closer friends the following year when Sitting Bull joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show for a four-month stint. “He is a dear, faithful, old friend, and I’ve great respect and affection for him,” Oakley wrote of Sitting Bull.

Seer what I me3an? History cxan be chock full of surprises. No wonder it's so much fun to study!

Coffee outside on the patio this morning. The contractors are still working inside today!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mystery Of The Band Of Holes...!

In doing so much research around the web, I've run across a lot of mysteries. Some are solved, many others are still a mystery.

This next article, taken from Listverse, is about a band of man-made holes and the reason they were created. Makes for some interesting reading, I tell ya!

Band of Holes

A rather overlooked phenomenon in Pisco Valley lies right on the same plateau as the very well-known Nazca Lines. A band of shallow holes has been carved into rock covering miles of uneven surface.

These holes number into the thousands; each a meter wide and up to two meters deep. Considering that they had been carved into mountain rock, a lot of hard labor must have gone into creating them. There is no discernible pattern to the holes, with some being in a straight line and others just haphazardly dotting the rock surface.

The only certain thing about these mysterious carvings is that they were man-made. Their purpose and who created them remains an unsolved mystery. A recent theory has been put forward that the holes could be the remains of an ancient Inca tax system. Other theories include vertical burials, food/water collection points, and trail markings.

I know that i8f I had gone through all the trouble to dig those holes, I'd be damned sure I let folks know where they came from and that I made them, ya know? Gotta take credit for those kinds of things, I think.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning. Temps are going to be in the high 80s.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Ellen Austin On Monday Mysteries...

As we all know, the sea is an endless source of mystery involving ships, especially the kind with sails. Here is yet another tale of a truly strange series of events involving the Ellen Austin.

Ellen Austin

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In 1881, the Ellen Austin set sail from England to journey to New York. A month later, its journey was coming to a close. But as it was sailing through the Bermuda Triangle, it was surrounded by a mist so thick that visibility was severely compromised. The crew began sailing slower, and a lookout was positioned in the crow’s nest. Not long later, the lookout declared that he could see a ship. The rest of the crew were unable to see through the fog, but called out to it nonetheless. Although no replies came, they could still hear the other ship, and stayed relatively close by. When the fog eventually cleared, they realized that the other ship was abandoned.

Captain Baker of the Ellen Austin ordered six of his men to board the ghost ship and sail it to New York, alongside the Ellen Austin. The captain’s log and the trail boards were missing from the second ship, meaning its name could not be known, although Captain Baker believed it probably came from Honduras. So the Ellen Austin and the mystery ship set sail, and had a pleasant few days, until a storm hit and forced them apart. After the storm, the unnamed ship had vanished. Captain Baker soon spotted it, and, after chasing it for several hours, the Ellen Austin caught up, and found that it was, once again, empty. The six men of Ellen Austin were gone. A reluctant crew was convinced by their captain to board the empty ship, on the condition that they were given guns. The two ships set sail in close proximity once again. A few hours later, another fog set in, and the unnamed ship disappeared for good, along with its third crew.

I'm not sure which ship was the focus of the mysterious happenings, but I don't think I would want to sail on the Ellen Austin again if I was a sailor, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Temps are on the rise again to near 90.