Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Lottie Deno On Western Wednesday...!

One more notable woman from the wild west was a lady called Lottie Deno. Another tough ol' gal from I could gather.

Not as well known as Belle Star or Annie Oakley, or any other of the famous names we might be familiar with, this woman deserves some mention, in my opinion.


Lottie Deno went by the names Carlotta J. Thompkins, Charlotte Tompkins, Charlotte Thurmond, Mystic Maud, "the Angel of San Antonio," and "Queen of the Pasteboards" at different times in her life. She came by her gambling skills honestly, learning them from her plantation-owner father. After he was killed in the Civil War, young Lottie went to Detroit, where she fell in with Johnny Golden. Golden convinced her to become an itinerant gambler, which led her to San Antonio, Texas, in 1865. That's where Lottie fell for Frank Thurmond, whose family owned the gambling parlor in which she worked.

When Frank went on the lam over another man's death, Lottie followed, leaving Johnny behind. But Johnny followed Lottie as well, and was killed only a day after finding her in Fort Griffin, Texas. Lottie made a reputation for herself as a gambler all over Texas, even playing against professional gambler Doc Holliday. One night, when she was accused of cheating, someone said she should call herself "Lotta Dinero," after which she was known as Lottie Deno. Lottie and Thurmond traveled the Texas circuit, but eventually opened their own gambling room in Kingston, New Mexico, and later a restaurant in Silver City, New Mexico. She and Thurmond were finally married in 1880 and settled in Deming, New Mexico, where Thurmond later became vice president of the town's bank. Lottie gave up gambling and became an upstanding citizen and a founding member of the local Episcopal Church for the next 50 years. Lottie Deno is said to have been the inspiration for the character of Miss Kitty on the TV show Gunsmoke.

I don't think that many women were well known as gamblers back in those days. I could be wrong, though.

Coffee out on the patio where the temps are supposed to be Spring like.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Sherlock Holmes Again...!

Probably no character in the history of fictional crime fighters has ever been as well known as Sherlock Holmes. A master of using logic and science to solve even the toughest of mysteries, Sherlock was loved by the public and, for the most part, critics alike.

The Valley of Fear is published

On this day in 1915, The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle is published in novel form.

Sherlock Holmes had been a popular character since he first appeared in the story “A Study in Scarlet,” published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887. The thin, highly strung detective with extraordinary deductive powers was modeled partly on Dr. Joseph Bell, a medical school teacher at the University of Edinburgh, where Holmes’ creator studied.

Conan Doyle created Holmes while practicing medicine in London, where his shortage of patients left him ample free time to write. Starting in 1891, a series of Holmes stories appeared in The Strand magazine. Holmes’ success enabled Doyle to leave his medical practice in 1891 and devote himself to writing, but the author soon grew weary of his creation. In The Final Problem, he appeared to kill off both Holmes and his nemesis, Dr. Moriarty, only to resuscitate Holmes later due to popular demand. In 1902, Doyle was knighted for his work with a field hospital in South Africa. In addition to dozens of Sherlock Holmes stories and several novels, Doyle wrote history, pursued whaling, and engaged in many adventures and athletic endeavors. After his son died in World War I, Doyle became a dedicated spiritualist. He died in 1930.

Sherlock Holmes has always been a favorite of mine. I love the writing style of Arthur Conan Doyle...very much.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Yosemite Back On Monday Mystery...!

Sometimes there are just too many mysterious happenings in a certain place to not revisit it. Take Yosemite Park, for instance.

The Mystery of the Severed Deer Heads

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 1998, a ranger for the Backcountry Division had a truly unsettling experience while out patrolling on foot. He stumbled across not one, not two, but three freshly severed deer heads placed meticulously in the middle of the trail. After the first two, he began to grow uneasy, being 30 miles away from his vehicle, but he never encountered the culprit and the mystery was never solved.

Like I said, way too many mysteries coming out of Yosemite with no seemingly easy answers. By the way, this article came from The Line-Up.

How about coffee out on the patio again today?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sunday Morning 'Toon Time...!

It's been a while, but let's do some cartoons today as we did in the past...OK?

And just one more...

Hope you enjoyed these.

Coffee outside this morning.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Seagull Monument...!

Once in a great while, statues are built to honor or remember certain animals for heroic deeds. Such is the case of the monument for seagulls in Utah.

Seagull Monument

Photo credit: Benmckune

The state bird of Utah is the seagull. This might seem an unusual choice for a state bird as it lacks the nobility or beauty of some other birds. But the seagull played a major role in the founding of Utah. Some members of the Mormon faith talk of a “Miracle of the Gulls” which took place in 1848.

When Mormon pioneers arrived in Salt Lake Valley late in the planting season of 1847, they only managed to plant a very small crop which kept them alive into 1848. As a result, their second crop was vital to their survival.

A swarm of katydids, now known as Mormon crickets, invaded the settlers’ farms and began to eat the crops they desperately needed. When seagulls arrived to eat the insects and save their plants, the Mormons saw it as divine intervention. In honor of this “miracle,” a pillar was erected with two bronze seagulls at the top in Temple Square in Salt Lake City by the Mormon Church.

That's right, folks. A monument for seagulls. Strange as this may seem, it probably makes a whole lot of sense to the Mormon folks in Utah.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Windy, but it isn't raining.

Friday, February 23, 2018

A Freaky Disappearance...!

Nearly everyone loves a good mystery, right? Well, here's a good one for ya!

Louis Le Prince

Inventor Louis Le Prince could have been one of the most influential Frenchmen of the 19th century, but even though he was light years ahead of his time (and even created the world’s first moving picture), you’ve never heard of him.

Why? Because he disappeared from a moving train.

Le Prince was on his way to America in 1890 when he checked his bags and boarded a train from Dijon to Paris. When the train arrived, Le Prince was nowhere to be found.

The windows in his cabin were locked, no one heard a thing, and–get this–his luggage was missing as well. The entire train was searched, with hide nor hair of the luggage or the man found.

Theories range from family financial trouble to Le Prince committing an elaborate suicide (even though he was on his way to brag about the breakthroughs he’d made in his field). There is even a question of whether American competitor Thomas Edison could have been involved.

Le Prince and Edison were in direct competition, with the American inventor blocking Le Prince’s patents in the U.S., and Le Prince returning the favor by leaking Edison’s camera designs in France before Edison could obtain European patents.

Despite the fact that there was no love lost between the two men, there’s nothing that connects Edison to the disappearance. Furthermore, we still don’t have the slightest idea how the man disappeared.

We probably never will.

Pretty strange, I'd say. Missing from a moving train...along with his checked luggage? Sounds like the makings of a good Freaky Friday article to me!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Strange Happenings At Yosemite...!

Besides being a beautiful place, Yosemite Park is known for some really creepy stories. Some of these strange tales come from folks who should know.

The Haunting of Grouse Lake

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The first documentation of this haunting comes from Galen Clark, the park’s first ranger, though there seems to be reason to believe it has been around for much longer. His 1857 account states that he kept hearing cries that made him wonder if there was a dog in distress. He questioned a local Native tribe, who warned him away, saying that it wasn’t a dog and he should not go after it.

The tribespeople told him it was the spirit of an Indian boy who drowned in the lake many years before. He calls out to anyone close enough to hear in the hopes of luring them into the lake and dragging them to their death.

This story is almost enough to keep me away from the beauty of Yosemite...almost! Having never seen it in person, but only in pictures, I would still like to go someday.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Drizzle is still outside.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Cherokee's First Printing Press...!

Many things that we take for granted, like books and newspapers and such, were late in coming to some Native Americans. The main reason...they had no written language.

With the creation of a written alphabet, the printing press could help to teach and inform the people of current events.

Cherokee receive their first printing press

The first printing press designed to use the newly invented Cherokee alphabet arrives at New Echota, Georgia.

The General Council of the Cherokee Nation had purchased the press with the goal of producing a Cherokee-language newspaper. The press itself, however, would have been useless had it not been for the extraordinary work of a young Cherokee named Sequoyah, who invented a Cherokee alphabet.

As a young man, Sequoyah had joined the Cherokee volunteers who fought under Andrew Jackson against the British in the War of 1812. In dealing with the Anglo soldiers and settlers, he became intrigued by their “talking leaves”-printed books that he realized somehow recorded human speech. In a brilliant leap of logic, Sequoyah comprehended the basic nature of symbolic representation of sounds and in 1809 began working on a similar system for the Cherokee language.

Ridiculed and misunderstood by most of the Cherokee, Sequoyah made slow progress until he came up with the idea of representing each syllable in the language with a separate written character. By 1821, he had perfected his syllabary of 86 characters, a system that could be mastered in less than week. After obtaining the official endorsement of the Cherokee leadership, Sequoyah’s invention was soon adopted throughout the Cherokee nation. When the Cherokee-language printing press arrived on this day in 1828, the lead type was based on Sequoyah’s syllabary. Within months, the first Indian language newspaper in history appeared in New Echota, Georgia. It was called the Cherokee Phoenix.

One of the so-called “five civilized tribes” native to the American Southeast, the Cherokee had long embraced the United States’ program of “civilizing” Indians in the years after the Revolutionary War. In the minds of Americans, Sequoyah’s syllabary further demonstrated the Cherokee desire to modernize and fit into the dominant Anglo world. The Cherokee used their new press to print a bilingual version of republican constitution, and they took many other steps to assimilate Anglo culture and practice while still preserving some aspects of their traditional language and beliefs.

Sadly, despite the Cherokee’s sincere efforts to cooperate and assimilate with the Anglo-Americans, their accomplishments did not protect them from the demands of land-hungry Americans. Repeatedly pushed westward in order to make room for Anglo settlers, the Cherokee lost more than 4,000 of their people (nearly a quarter of the nation) in the 1838-39 winter migration to Oklahoma that later became known as the Trail of Tears. Nonetheless, the Cherokee people survived as a nation in their new home, thanks in part to the presence of the unifying written language created by Sequoyah.

In recognition of his service, the Cherokee Nation voted Sequoyah an annual allowance in 1841. He died two years later on his farm in Oklahoma. Today, his memory is also preserved in the scientific name for the giant California redwood tree, Sequoia.

I can imagine just what an impact this must have had on the Cherokee people. Imagine the first moment that the people were able to see their own language in print!

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Death Of Young Willie Lincoln...!

The death of a child, especially a family member, is a hard thing for any parent to deal with. Sadly when said death is part of the family of the President, the strain would drive many to the point of madness.

Young Lincoln's death came at a time in the history of our nation when the strength and firm resolve of the President was needed more than ever.

Willie Lincoln

Photo credit: Library of Congress

On the cold winter day of February 20, 1862, 11-year-old Willie Lincoln took his last breath, casting a pall over the White House that would linger for the remainder of his father’s presidency. The child, who is believed to have contracted typhoid fever from the mansion’s contaminated water supply, was clothed in usual everyday attire and placed in a plain metallic coffin in the East Room of the White House.

The weeks prior to his death were an agonizing stretch for the president and first lady, who, on the inside, died along with their son, plunging the couple into insurmountable sorrow. According to Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave who had become Mrs. Lincoln’s seamstress and confidante, President Lincoln’s grief “unnerved him, and made him a weak, passive child. I did not dream that his rugged nature could be so moved.” Mrs. Lincoln was inconsolable to the point that the president led her to a window and pointed toward St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, an insane asylum, stating, “Mother, do you see that large white building on the hill yonder? Try and control your grief, or it will drive you mad, and we may have to send you there.”

Following a long procession through unpaved streets, Willie’s remains were placed in a marble vault in Oak Hill Cemetery as a temporary resting place until the Lincoln family returned to Illinois. Even as he tried to hold the country together, the president consistently visited his son’s tomb until his assassination on April 15, 1865. In the end, the caskets of father and son were placed beside one another aboard the presidential funeral train for their journey home.

The strain of this time must have been almost unbearable, to say the least. I can't imagine what a loss of that kind would do to me. Thsi information came from the folks at Listverse.

Coffee out on the patio again. It's windy, but warm.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday Mystery With The Boy In The Box...!

How very sad it is when the body of a young person is found and, despite all attempts, the body is never identified.

I'm constantly surprised at how cruel we can be with one another at times. In my mind, there can never be any excuse for the harming of a child.

Boy in the Box

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

On February 25, 1957, a trapper in the Fox Chase area of Philadelphia, PA stumbled upon a blanket-covered body stuffed into a cardboard box. Although he kept silent to avoid having his traps confiscated, a passing college student later reported the body. The naked victim was four to six years old with signs of severe malnourishment, a lifetime of beatings, and recently shorn hair. Further searches unearthed a child’s cap, scarf, and handkerchief, while media attention brought forth several confessions.

Most strikingly, one woman claimed her abusive mother had purchased, tortured, and accidentally murdered the boy before dumping his body. In 2016, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children added his facial reconstruction to their database, but, to this day, the identity and death of “America’s Unknown Child” remains a mystery.

There is really nothing else I can say. Crimes against children will never be excused, in my way of thinking.

Coffee out on the patio once again. Gotta love it!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Modern Benjamin Buttons...

Sometimes nature can play dirty tricks on the most innocent of all, the children. Born with deformities or conditions beyond their control, they do the best they can to overcome their problems and make the best of the lives they have...

Bayezid Hossain
Real-Life Benjamin Button

Photo credit:

Bayezid Hossain was born in Magura in 2012 with progeria, an extremely rare condition. Progeria is known for its characteristic aging of the body at up to eight times the normal rate. As a result, six-year-old Bayezid lives inside the body of a 70-year-old person.

His hollow eyes and sagging skin scare other children, and his aching joints and weakened body will not allow him to physically participate in school activities. Due to his increased brain activity, however, he has above-average intelligence for his age. This constantly impresses his mother and teachers.

It is predicted that Bayezid will not live past his teenage years because progeria patients are known to die of heart attacks around an average age of 13. While it breaks his mother’s heart that she will not have her son for as many years as she had expected, she is constantly amazed by his intelligence and determination to enjoy life like a normal child.

Bonus Fact: Progeria is the condition which inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald to write his short story, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which has also been made into a movie starring Brad Pitt. In the story, the protagonist is born as an old man and ages backward.

Sad to know that so many young people are stricken with this kind of sickness, or any kind for that matter. But no one ever said that life was fair, I reckon. This article came from Listverse.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Some sunshine and temps in the high 70s.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Spooky Saturday Tale...!

Here is a story from the folks over at The Lineup that is strange, to say the least.

Bumps in the Night

One night a man was dozing in the spare bed in his infant daughter’s room when he heard a strange bump outside his house. Initially the man thought nothing of it, believing it to be the family cat. But the thumps continued. The man checked the porch but the cat was nowhere to be found. He then walked into the kitchen and found two figures loitering outside his front door. They knocked on the door. Both were boys, around 10 or 11, and gave off a pungent, moldy odor. “May we use your telegraph?” one of the boys said, looking up at the man. To his horror, the man realized both boys had eyes that were completely black. Ignoring the odd remark about a “telegraph,” the man told the boy he didn’t have service in his house, and shut the door. As the man slowly made his way back to his daughter’s room, the two boys thumped on the walls. The man clutched his daughter to his chest as the boys incessantly knocked against the window. Their eerie eyes and awful persistence made the man too scared to fall asleep. He remained crouched on the floor of the room for several hours, fighting to ignore the knocks that occurred every couple of minutes. The moment his wife’s alarm clock went off, however, the knocking ceased, and the black-eyed children were nowhere to be seen.

Good story for those cold and rainy nights, when you are all alone in the house...right?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is back again.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Marbled Crayfish For Freaky Friday...!

What makes this critter so unusual is the fact that it seems to be a new comer to the system.

If you happen to come across one, do yourself a BIG favor and don't eat it! Who knows what the results could be! Pretty scary thought!

Marbled Crayfish

Photo credit: Ranja Andriantsoa

The most interesting thing about the marbled crayfish isn’t that it reproduces itself asexually; it’s that the species didn’t exist until sometime in the late 1990s. It only exists now thanks to a single mutation in a parent species that resulted in the speciation of a brand-new type of crayfish. These little critters are rather beautiful and have made their way into the pet market in Germany, but that presented a small problem: Marbled crayfish clone themselves by the hundreds!

A single female marbled crayfish can lay hundreds of eggs at one time, so people who place one into an aquarium soon find themselves in possession of more than they can handle. As a result, the species has become invasive all over the world, with especially damaging effects in places like Madagascar, where millions of clones threaten native wildlife. They have been compared to Star Trek ’s tribbles, which reproduce uncontrollably, and while they are interesting, they represent a dangerous threat to a number of ecosystems.

I wouldn't eat a mudbug if ya paid me, so there is nothing for me to worry about. Plus, I don't have an aquarium to put one of these critters in!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Mid 70s are predicted.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Now This Scary Strange...!

Sometimes the way people act just can't be explained by anyone in their right mind.

Take this guy for instance. What reason did he have for doing what he did, ya reckon? He must have had a reason...drunk, crazy, or maybe some of both. Who knows?

Naked Came The Stranger

Photo credit: Monty Severe via the East Oregonian

On a Saturday in March 2016, Gail Wilson’s weekend began the way that so many do—with a strange naked man casually strolling through her front door and saying “Hi!” It ended in a similarly mundane fashion—with said naked man hanging upside down from a tree on her property, trying in vain to fight off the police.

After making his entrance, the man tried several times to hug Gail, which for some reason she wasn’t too keen on. While the man dragged Gail’s dog into another room, Gail managed to call 911, fearing the worst. Then, the man was suddenly in her backyard, poking around the shed, which was situated near a 15-meter (50 ft) cliff. When the police arrived, he took off running and scaled a fence . . . and over the cliff he went.

Police found him at the bottom in the condition described above, flailing and combative. After an hours-long rescue operation and a brief trip to the hospital, Steven Burton was booked on a litany of charges, including disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

First thing I would do if I were the lady, is to get a different dog! Then I would start locking the front door to my house, ya know? C'mon folks! Things like this are common sense, not rocket science!

Coffee out on the patio again. Nearly 80 is predicted and I'm loving it!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Madame Mustache For Western Wednesday...!

So often when we think of the Old West, we forget about the many roles the women played, but there is no doubt that the fairer sex played an important part in the shaping of the West as we know it.

Eleanor Dumont

Perhaps born in New Orleans to Creole parents around 1829, Dumont’s early life is not well-known. What is known is that she appeared in Nevada City, opened up a gambling house and immediately enticed men with her good looks and even better manners. Dumont fell in love with conman Jack McKnight who stole her money and sold her ranch. Dumont tracked McKnight down and shot him dead. After that, she returned to gambling. She became plump and a thick line of hair began to grow on her upper lip, earning her the nickname Madame Mustache. After that, Dumont’s fortunes continued to dwindle. In 1878 she lost $300 of borrowed money in one night of gambling. She was found dead the next morning.

It seems as though even the women of the West could fall on hard times. Some ladies just weren't cut out for that particular lifestyle, I reckon.

Coffee out on the patio, where they say the temps are going to be in the 70s...and that's fine by me!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Twain Manuscript Authenticated...!

Sometimes a document is thought to be lost forever, only to be found many years later.

Normally this might not draw a lot of attention, but when the author is Mark Twain and the manuscript is an edited original first half of Huckleberry tends to make the news.

Long-lost Twain manuscript authenticated

On this day, Sotheby’s announced the discovery of a long-lost manuscript of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

The manuscript was the first half of Twain’s original version, heavily corrected in his own handwriting, which had been missing for more than a century. The manuscript surfaced when a 62-year-old Los Angeles librarian finally got around to sorting through some old papers in six trunks sent to her when an aunt from upstate New York died.

Twain, it turned out, had sent the second half of the manuscript to the librarian’s grandfather, James Gluck, who had solicited it for the Buffalo and Erie Library in Buffalo, New York, where Twain had once lived. At the time, Twain was unable to find the entire manuscript, and it was presumed lost for more than 100 years. However, it turned out that Twain did eventually find the manuscript and send it to Gluck.

A custody war over the manuscript ensued, with the sisters, the library, and the Mark Twain Papers Projects in Berkeley, California, squabbling over rights to the papers. Ultimately, the three parties struck a deal: The library would hold the rights to the physical papers, but all three parties would share in the publication rights. Because the novel contained previously unpublished material, and showed Twain’s edits, interest in publishing the manuscript was high, and in 1995 Random House won the rights to publish the book for an undisclosed price.

So often the true worth of a manuscript, or painting, or any other creation is not realized until after the death of the creator. I reckon this is true in all forms of creativity. Funny how that works, isn't it?

Coffee inside again, because it's cold and rainy again here!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Haunted Plane For Monday Mystery...!

Many strange tales come out of wartime and, and you can imagine, many involve war machines.

This particular story , found on Listverse, is about an aircraft known as Pippo.

Pippo, The Ghost Plane

In World War II, the Italian population was taking quite a beating. Their own fascist government and its Nazi allies terrorized them, while the Allied forces considered them an enemy. Still, the people in Northern Italy had an even bigger (and stranger) fear: something was out to get them, and it was personal.

That something was a mysterious plane called Pippo.

No one knew where Pippo came from, what type of plane it was, or who piloted it. Even its allegiance (whether it was loyal to the fascists or the Allied forces) remained a mystery. Pippo came from nowhere, and it was said that it fired its machine guns at anyone foolish enough to get in its way. It was recognized by the distinctive “pip-pip” sound of its engines (hence the name) and was mostly heard at night. Mostly.

Many people were terrified of Pippo, which they felt was a mystical presence that was specifically after them. You had to block all lights in your house or Pippo might open fire. Its various lethal payloads were said to include exploding pens, poisoned candy, and powerful bombs. If Pippo was bored, it would open fire on innocent farm workers.

Although Pippo sounds like a bogeyman-like ghost character, historians agree that there was something behind the myth. In reality, the plane known as Pippo was probably a series of British reconnaissance planes of the de Havilland Mosquito type (the plane model had a distinctive engine sound similar to that of Pippo) that flew all over the countryside at night. Still, Pippo the demon plane remained a ghost in collective consciousness, a means to make the horrors of war tangible. Even in the ’90s, it was still a well-known memory in Northern Italy.

This must have scared a lot of people, especially when so many folks were jumping at shadows due to the war. Bad enough when you have some idea who is trying to kill you, but even more maddening when phantoms are getting in on the act.

Coffee inside again today.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Taking Sunday Off...!

No particular reason, but it's raining and I want to sleep in a bit. In other words...I am LAZY!

See ya tomorrow!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

What Makes White Sand Beaches...?

This isn't a trick question at all, but the answer may come as a surprise.

Much of the white sand beaches round places like Hawaii are made from Parrot fish poop. Here is how that happens...

Absurd Creature of the Week: This Goofy Fish Poops Out White-Sand Beaches

AH, HAWAII. THE resplendent luaus and awe-inspiring volcanoes. Tom Selleck and his mustache running around private-investigating stuff. The beautiful white-sand beaches made of fish poop.

Oh, that’s right. Your precious Hawaiian beach vacation was actually a frolic through epic amounts of doody. Specifically, the doody from a very special kind of critter: the parrotfish. You see, parrotfish are quite partial to the algae that grow on coral, and they gnaw it off with two impressive rows of fused, beak-like teeth (hence their name). Simply by chewing on reefs, a large Hawaiian parrotfish can ingest a coral’s calcium carbonate and poop out up to 800 pounds of sand each year, according to marine biologist Ling Ong of Hawaii’s SWCA Environmental Consultants. One Australian species, she notes, produces up to one ton per year.

And the parrotfish isn’t alone here. “In places like Hawaii, where we have very little terrestrial input of sand, almost all of our sand is of biological origin,” Ong said. “So I like to tell people that the sand you’re standing on in Hawaii has probably gone through the gut of something. It’ll have gone through the gut of a parrotfish, a sea urchin, some kind of worm.”

You can read the entire article right here.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Raining again.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Gifting-Jay Bird Style...!

Just when we think that there are few surprises left in nature, She hauls off and hits us with another.

It seems that there is a bird called the Eurasian jay that gives his mate gifts from time to time, just because. With valentines day coming up, maybe some of us men could learn from this practise of the jay bird.


Photo credit: Luc Viatour

Some animals may only give gifts because they think they’re going to get something in return but not the Eurasian jay. It appears that these stand-up guys like to give gifts to their mates simply because the females will enjoy the presents. While that may be difficult for us to understand, it seems that these birds may have what is called the “theory of mind,” which is the ability to think from another person’s (or bird’s) perspective.

In one experiment, males would be able to see their mates eating either moths or worms and would then have the opportunity to give them either one. If the female had been eating moths, she’d be given a worm. If she was eating worms, she’d get a moth. When the males could not see what she had eaten, there was no correlation.

This shows that the males understand that the females would rather have something new than more of the same. The researcher conducting the experiment likened it to a man giving his wife regular chocolate versus her favorite chocolate. She’ll accept both, but one is going to make her happier.

Sounds like a very workable plan that many husbands could follow today. Seems as though we are learning new lessons from Mother Nature all the time. This info came from the folks over on Listverse.

Coffee out on the patio where the temps will be in the high 60s, and the sun is shining!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Laura Bullion Of The Wild Bunch...!

Not all the women of the Old West were school marms and housewives. Many were outlaws as well.

The women of that lifestyle were often as tough and mean as the men they hung out with, and some were even as good at shooting as the men, if not better! Here is the story of Laura of those ladies.

Laura Bullion

Bullion was born into a life of crime. Her father was a bank robber, and Bullion, after spending her teenage years as a prostitute, joined the Wild Bunch Gang and became known at the “Rose of the Wild Bunch”. Bullion sold stolen goods and made connections that kept the bunch in steady supply of horses. She was romantically involved with several members of the gang, on and off. On certain occasions she dressed as a man and joined the rest of the gang in train robberies. In 1901, she was arrested with $8,500 worth of stolen banknotes in her possession. When she was released from prison, Bullion retired from her life of crime and became an interior designer in Memphis, Tennessee. Bullion died of heart disease in 1961. Her gravestone is embossed with a rose and thorny vines and reads “The Thorny Rose.” Bullion was the last surviving member of The Wild Bunch Gang.

See what I mean? You have to admit that making the jump from outlaw to interior designer is certainly the indication of just how determined this woman could be, no matter the career choice she made.

Coffee in the kitchen once again. Still wet outside.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Wild Bill Longley On Western Wednesday...!

Few men have ever deserved a nickname like "wild Bill" more than Longley. More than a little crazy, I think.

Many gunfighters in the old west were killers, but none seemed to enjoy it more than Wild Bill. He seemed to kill at the smallest slight, even those imagined in his own twisted mind. Here is part of his story.

1851 Psychopathic gunfighter “Wild Bill” Longley is born in Texas

The sadistic and murderous western gunman William Preston Longley is born on October 16 in 1815 in Austin County, Texas.

Little is reliably known of the youth of William Longley, or “Wild Bill” as he was later aptly called. But it is certain that before he was even 20 years old, Longley had already killed several men, and the evidence suggests he was probably what modern-day psychologists would term a psychopath. Notoriously short-tempered, Longley frequently killed for the most trivial of reasons. More than a few men died simply because he believed they had somehow slighted or insulted him, like an unarmed man named Thomas, who Longley murdered in cold blood for daring to argue with him over a card game. He had a particularly strong dislike of blacks, and African-Americans in Texas avoided him whenever possible.

Wherever Longley traveled he left behind a trail of pointless murders, but most of the details of his life are shrouded in myth and supposition. Legend has it that Longley was once hanged along with a horse thief; but shots fired back by the departing posse cut his rope, and he was saved. Reports that he was imprisoned for at least a time and once lived with the Ute Indians are more believable, though not confirmed.

After fleeing to Louisiana to escape punishment for killing a minister named Roland Lay, Longley was captured and returned to Lee County, Texas, where he was tried and found guilty of murder. Sentenced to hang, during his final days Longley became a Catholic, wrote long letters about his life, and claimed that he had actually only killed eight men. On the day of his execution, October 28, 1878, he climbed the steps to the gallows with a cigar in his mouth and told the gathered crowd that his punishment was just and God had forgiven him. After kissing the sheriff and priest and bidding farewell to the crowd, the noose was fitted around his neck, and he was hanged. Unfortunately, the rope slipped so that Longley’s knees hit the ground, denying him a quick and painless death. After the hangman pulled the rope taut once more, the famous killer slowly choked to death. It took 11 minutes before he was finally pronounced dead.

Not a pleasant way to go out, I reckon. Still, when you want to dance, you have to pay the piper. At least, that's always what I've heard.

Coffee inside again this morning. Cold and rainy out on the patio again.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Robots Making Coffee...?

I don't know why I wasn't surprised at this story from the Houston Chronicle. After all, we use machines every day in some fashion to make our food and coffee, right?

Still, the idea of a robot making my coffee is a bit of a shocker. But hey...if the coffee is good, then everything is cool!

Robot makes coffee at new cafe in Japan's capital

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has a new cafe where customers can enjoy coffee brewed and served by a robot barista.

The robot named Sawyer debuted this week at Henna Cafe in Tokyo's downtown business and shopping district of Shibuya. The shop's name in Japanese means "strange cafe."

The single-armed robot scans a ticket purchased from a vending machine and greets the customer.

"Would you care for a delicious coffee?" the barista, with a screen showing a pair of cartoon eyes, asks in a flat tone. "I can make one better than human beings around here."

It grinds the coffee beans, fills a filter and pours hot water over a paper cup for up to five people at once. A cup of brewed coffee costs 320 yen ($3) and takes a few minutes.

Sawyer can also operate an automated machine for six other hot drinks including cappuccino, hot chocolate and green tea latte.

Customers, many of them young men, took photos with their smartphones while they waited in line.

The cafe operator, travel agency H.I.S. Co., says robots can increase productivity while also entertaining customers.

"An essential point is to increase productivity," said Masataka Tamaki, general manager of corporate planning at H.I.S. He said only one person needs to oversee the robot cafe, compared to several people needed at a regular coffee shop, so it can serve better quality coffee at a reasonable price.

Tamaki says it's not just about efficiency. "We want the robot to entertain customers so it's not like buying coffee at a vending machine," he said.

Takeshi Yamamoto, a 68-year-old restaurant employee who works in the neighborhood, said his first experience with the robot cafe was very enjoyable, and his robot-made coffee was delicious.

"It's quite rich, and tastes very good," Yamamoto said, as he took a sip. "You can get machine-made coffee at convenience stores, too, and it's actually good. But here, I had great fun."

I reckon that's what coffee time is all about, having a good time with friends while enjoying some good coffee.

Coffee inside this morning, as the rain is coming back.

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Iceman's Axe...!

If ancient history and archaeology have shown us one thing, it's that we know next to nothing about some of the finds we have uncovered over the years.

Anytime we have to ask why about an archaeology discovery, we are in deep trouble. Take the case of the Iceman's axe, for instance.

Ax Of The Iceman

Photo credit: South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology

In 1991, hikers discovered Otzi the Iceman sticking out of a glacier in the Otzal Mountains on the Italian-Austrian border. Dated to 5,300 years ago in the Copper Age, Otzi was killed by an arrow to the back and remains one of the world’s earliest known murder mysteries.

In July 2017, researchers made a surprising announcement about Otzi’s world. His copper ax was imported. Isotope analysis of the blade revealed that the copper used in the world’s oldest preserved Neolithic ax came from Southern Tuscany, hinting at extended networks of prehistoric trade. Initially, researchers believed the ore used was mined within 100 kilometers (60 mi) of Otzi’s final alpine resting place. It is unknown whether the finished blade or only the source material was imported from the south. Copper was mined in the Alps during this period. Why Otzi chose Tuscan material over locally sourced ore remains a mystery

I found this intriguing mystery on Listverse, which is always a good source of information for me.

Coffee out on the patio again. Temps are gonna be in the 60s, but with plenty of sunshine.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sunday Cartoons One More Time...!

I know some folks have to be careful of the use of their web, but all I can say is Sunday is the day for 'toons.

And maybe just one more...

OK...that's all for today. Let's all go have some coffee on the patio.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Remembering The Day The Music Died...!

For those of us that are old enough to remember such things, the tragic plane crash that killed three of rock music's favorite performers is hard to forget.

Here is the story of the unfortunate events of that day.


The day the music died

On this day in 1959, rising American rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson are killed when their chartered Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashes in Iowa a few minutes after takeoff from Mason City on a flight headed for Moorehead, Minnesota. Investigators blamed the crash on bad weather and pilot error. Holly and his band, the Crickets, had just scored a No. 1 hit with “That’ll Be the Day.”

After mechanical difficulties with the tour bus, Holly had chartered a plane for his band to fly between stops on the Winter Dance Party Tour. However, Richardson, who had the flu, convinced Holly’s band member Waylon Jennings to give up his seat, and Ritchie Valens won a coin toss for another seat on the plane.

Holly, born Charles Holley in Lubbock, Texas, and just 22 when he died, began singing country music with high school friends before switching to rock and roll after opening for various performers, including Elvis Presley. By the mid-1950s, Holly and his band had a regular radio show and toured internationally, playing hits like “Peggy Sue,” “Oh, Boy!,” “Maybe Baby” and “Early in the Morning.” Holly wrote all his own songs, many of which were released after his death and influenced such artists as Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney.

Another crash victim, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, 28, started out as a disk jockey in Texas and later began writing songs. Richardson’s most famous recording was the rockabilly “Chantilly Lace,” which made the Top 10. He developed a stage show based on his radio persona, “The Big Bopper.”

The third crash victim was Ritchie Valens, born Richard Valenzuela in a suburb of Los Angeles, who was only 17 when the plane went down but had already scored hits with “Come On, Let’s Go,” “Donna” and “La Bamba,” an upbeat number based on a traditional Mexican wedding song (though Valens barely spoke Spanish). In 1987, Valens’ life was portrayed in the movie La Bamba, and the title song, performed by Los Lobos, became a No. 1 hit. Valens was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Singer Don McLean memorialized Holly, Valens and Richardson in the 1972 No. 1 hit “American Pie,” which refers to February 3, 1959 as “the day the music died.”

I really like the music from that time, especially Buddy Holly. Brings a flood of memories back when I hear one of his old tunes now.

Coffee in the kitchen today. Rain is expected a bit later.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Scary Fact Or Fiction...!

From Listverse I picked up this article that could be disturbing, to say the least.

I don't know if this weapon is real or not, but at this point, I wouldn't be surprised were it real. Part of me wants it to be phony, and part of me leans toward wanting it to be true. The only reason I would want it to be real is the non-nuclear aspect of the whole thing.

Project Thor

Photo credit:

Potentially overshadowing the MOAB as the most lethal nonnuclear weapon in the United States’ arsenal, Project Thor is a technology designed by Jerry Pournelle in the 1950s that would obliterate enemies with bolts from above.

Colloquially termed “rods from God,” this type of Kinetic Energy Penetrator (KEP) would theoretically consist of a pair of satellites. One serves as a targeting hub, and the other is equipped with 6-meter-long (20 ft) tungsten rods that would be dropped on a target from orbit. Capable of penetrating hundreds of feet into the Earth’s crust, these thunderbolts from Thor would produce damage equivalent to a nuclear blast without the fallout.

Though the cost of delivering such rods into orbit is seen as prohibitive, reopening the Project Thor initiative was seriously considered as recently as the George W. Bush administration. With $21 trillion supposedly appropriated without authorization by the Department of Defense and a few other agencies, it’s hard to know what potentially cost-prohibitive theoretical projects the United States government might be silently making into reality without the knowledge or consent of its people.

This is one of those things I really don't want to spend a lot of time thinking about, as it would more than likely make me crazier than I already am.

Coffee out on the patio again today. Weather has been really nice the last couple of days.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Vending Machines For The Homeless...!

When I first read the headline for this story, I thought it must have been an error.

However, after doing a good amount of thinking about it, it made more and more sense to me. Pretty cool idea, actually.

Vending Machine Provides Free Food, Socks, and Toiletries to Homeless People


For people without homes, finding basic necessities like food, water, and toiletries can be a daily struggle. Homeless shelters are set up to provide these items to people who need them, but those resources are only useful when their doors are open. The nonprofit Action Hunger is experimenting with an alternative service that’s accessible 24 hours a day.

As Fast Company reports, Action Hunger has installed a vending machine inside the entrance of a Nottingham, UK shopping center stocked with contents meant exclusively for homeless consumers. To use it, visitors must have a card they can pick up from the local homeless center. Once their status has been confirmed, they’re given free access to fruit, sandwiches, socks, water, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and other basics. The can use the card up to three times a day and cardholders must check in with the participating shelter once a week to keep using it.

Huzaifah Khaled, the founder of Action Hunger, got the idea for the vending machine while commuting to and from Nottingham. In between his travels he had a chance to talk to the homeless people staying in the train stations and better understand their specific needs. He reached out to dozens of vending machine manufacturers before N&W Global agreed to donate a machine to the cause. It’s stocked with leftover food from local restaurants, charities, and supermarkets. When food runs low, the host homeless center can order refills via UberEats.

The vending machine is meant to supplement homeless shelters where they fall short, either because they’re closed for the night or running low on supplies. By requiring regular contact with the local services to use them, Khaled hopes the machine will act as more of a steppingstone for homeless users than a long-term crutch.

After receiving a donation of 100 machines, Action Hunger plans to expand their project overseas. The first stop is New York City in February, and after that there will be machines installed in Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. If you’re interested in helping the initiative, you can visit Action Hunger to volunteer or donate.

Seems to me to be a much better solution than having everyone begging and panhandling on the street corners, don't you think? Besides, it seems to be offering the basics of everyday life.

Coffee out on the patio this morning, where they say the temps will be in the mid 70s. YEAH!