Friday, August 31, 2018

The Ear Mound For Freaky Friday...!

Just when I think I've seen or read the freakiest thing around, I find something this !

How much more freaky can you get than a place called "The Ear Mound?"

Proof Of Kill

Photo credit: KENPEI

Sometimes, body parts were taken as proof that someone had been killed. When Japan invaded Korea in the 16th century, samurai warriors cut off the noses of their enemies, partly as trophies and partly because they were paid according to the number of kills that they made. The noses—and sometimes ears—of the dead were brought back to Japan and stored in “nose tombs.”

Discovered in the 1980s, one of these tombs contained over 20,000 pickled noses. Some people in Korea have requested the return of the noses, while others think that they should be properly destroyed. The noses (and many ears) are buried in a 9-meter-high (30 ft) hillock called “The Ear Mound” in Kyoto. It is maintained at the expense of the Japanese government, who seem a little embarrassed about the whole thing.

I found this interesting tidbit over on Listverse. I think it's fair to say it is strange, right?

Coffee out on the patio again this morning!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

You Can Nip Me Some Sugar, Please...!

I think we often take so many things for granted today that we forget the fact that the old ways were not always better or simpler.

Sugar Nips

Photo credit:

Sugar was brought to the grocer in cone shapes called “sugar loaves.” Mountains and hats were often named after them due to their distinctive shape. In wealthy households, the mistress of the house would cut up the loaf using sugar nippers to break the hard substance into smaller, usable parts for the table. Only the mistress would do this as sugar was expensive and kept in boxes under lock and key.

The sugar nips were tongs with a flat surface at the end suitable for lifting pieces of sugar. But they were also sturdy and tough. Nips used for cutting were often made from steel, but decorative tongs for table use were often made from silver with elaborate engravings.

Just think how easy it is to run to the market and buy a bag of sugar now days! Don't even need to keep it under lock and key...well, most of the time.

Coffee inside the kitchen today. No sugar is granulated.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Ishi On Western Wednesday...!

Think of how sad it would be if you were the last of your people...all alone with no friends. Here is the story of Ishi and how he found himself in that situation.


Ishi discovered in California

Ishi, described as the last surviving Stone Age Indian in the contiguous United States, is discovered in California.

By the first decade of the 20th century, Euro-Americans had so overwhelmed the North American continent that scarcely any Native Americans remained who had not been assimilated into Anglo society to some degree. Ishi appears to have been something of an exception. Found lost and starving near an Oroville, California, slaughterhouse, he was largely unfamiliar with white ways and spoke no English.

Authorities took the mysterious Indian into custody for his own protection. News of the so-called “Stone Age Indian” attracted the attention of a young Berkeley anthropologist named Thomas Waterman. Gathering what partial vocabularies existed of northern California Indian dialects, the speakers of which had mostly vanished, Waterman went to Oroville to meet the Indian. After unsuccessfully hazarding words from several dialects, Waterman tried a few words from the language of the Yana Indians. Some were intelligible to Ishi, and the two men were able to engage in a crude dialogue. The following month, Waterman took Ishi to live at the Berkeley University museum, where their ability to communicate gradually improved.

Waterman eventually learned that Ishi was a Yahi Indian, an isolated branch of the northern California Yana tribe. He was approximately 50 years old and was apparently the last of his people. Ishi said he had wandered the mountains of northern California for some time with a small remnant of the Yahi people. Gradually, accident or disease had killed his companions. A white man murdered his final male companion, and Ishi wandered alone until he reached Oroville.

For five years, Ishi lived at the Berkeley Museum. He and Waterman became close friends, and he spent his days describing his tribal customs and demonstrating his wilderness skills in archery, woodcraft, and other traditional techniques. He learned to understand and survive in the white world, and enjoyed wandering the Bay area communities and riding on the trolley cars. Eventually, though, Ishi contracted tuberculosis. He died on March 25, 1916, at an estimated age of 56. His body was cremated according to the customs of his people.

At least he was laid to rest in accordance with his peoples' customs. Stii, it's a heartbreaking story.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning, thanks to the rain.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

No Post Today...!

Sorry, but there will be no post today.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Kidd's Treasure For Monday Mystery...!

I think that one reason we are so fascinated with tales of pirates and such is the standing hope of finding a lost treasure that was left behind by them.

Here is the story of one partial find believed to be part of the pirate Captain Kidd.

Captain Kidd’s Lost Treasure

Photo credit: Ancient Origins

A UK–US archaeological team recently discovered a mysterious 55-kilogram (120 lb) bar of silver in the shallows off Sainte Marie Island in Madagascar. The find might have belonged to the infamous Scottish pirate Captain Kidd.

The team was led by Barry Clifford, who previously discovered remnants of Kidd’s ship, Adventure Galley. In 2000, Clifford found a metal oarlock, Ming porcelain, and 300-year-old bottles of rum. He believes that the silver bar is part of the same wreck.

Enigmatic engravings cloak the silver. The letters “T” and “S” appear prominently along with smaller numerical carvings. Kidd was a privateer in the Caribbean for years before he turned to the more profitable trade of piracy.

When Kidd was captured in Boston in 1699, the jewels in his ship were valued at nearly $10 million in 2015 dollars. Kidd met his fate on the gallows in 1701. The remainder of his treasure was never found.

Now, is it just me or does a bar of silver weighing 120 lbs. make a pretty interesting find. I say that it does and I would want to find the rest of it, for sure! I got this story from Listverse.

Coffee out on the patio where the rain cooled things off for a bit.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Summer Sunday Cartoons...!

How about some good old fashioned cartoons for this morning, hey? Might be they would make us grin a bit.

And maybe one more...

I reckon that's enough for this morning. Don't want to over do it.

Coffee outside this morning.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Leave My Cookies Alone...!

With all the craziness in the news as of late, now all the sudden some folks want to gripe about cookies. I am talking about the eating kind and not the 'puter type.

Oreos vs. Hydrox

Oreos are the world’s most popular cookie, racking up $1.5 billion in revenue per year according to Nabisco. With that kind of success, one is bound to attract a host of imitators. Perhaps the most established of these cookie counterfeiters was the Hydrox cookie, manufactured by Sunshine, a subsidiary of Kellogg. Except things are really the other way around—Oreo is actually the rip-off brand.

Hydrox (a word combining the words “hydrogen” and “oxygen”) were introduced in 1908, while Oreos didn’t appear until 1912. Compared to Oreos, Hydrox have been called “tangy” and “less sweet,” with a cookie less absorbent to a dunking in milk. Oreo dominated the market share for decades, until Kellogg finally pulled the plug on Hydrox in 2003. There was an uproar from a small but vocal fan base, and the Hydrox reemerged briefly for its 100th anniversary before fading back into obscurity.

All I know is that oreos are just right for dunkin' in a glass of milk, plus they aren't too sweet and crumbly. Next to peanut butter cookies, they are my favorite!

Coffee out on the patio again this morning!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Radium Girls For Freaky Friday...!

Before we knew about some of the dangers of modern devices, like glowing clock facings and watches, we certainly made some colossal mistakes.

Radium Nail Varnish

Photo credit: Messy Nessy Chic

During the early years of the 20th century, radium was used, among many other things, to make a luminous paint that was used to make watch faces visible in the dark. The women who were most exposed to this chemical became known as Radium Girls, and they were the unwitting victims of so-called “modern” progress.

From 1917 to 1926, women were recruited to work in factories that produced watch faces decorated with this radioactive substance. Since the girls were told that it was completely harmless, they decided to have fun with the glowing paint, using it as a nail varnish and a lipstick.

Unfortunately, after a few years, the women started suffering from a host of medical problems, such as bone fractures and anemia. It was eventually discovered that they had radium poisoning, but not before one poor worker visited her dentist to get a tooth extracted and ended up with a chunk of her jaw accidentally being removed.

The scariest part of this whole thing is that I can still remember some of these watches. In fact, I may have worn some back in the day.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Something "Fishy" About This...!

Ya know, Mother Nature has a bad habit of throwing a surprise at us from time to time, as this story from Listverse proves.

The Fish That Doesn’t Swim

Photo credit: Rein Ketelaars

Common logic has it that a fish should be able to swim. Well, there’s one that can’t swim (or, at least, can’t do so very well). Enter the red-lipped batfish (Ogcocephalus darwini ). The red-lipped batfish is found in the waters off the Galapagos Islands, where it walks on the seabed instead of swimming like other fish. Even the walking motion has been described as being more of a stagger than a walk.

It is unknown why the red-lipped batfish moves the way it does, although it is assumed its bat-like body is not streamlined enough. The fish walks with its pectoral and pelvic fins, which other fish use to swim, and propels itself forward with its anal fin. The red-lipped batfish’s seeming inability to swim has some positive outcomes, though. It has no predators and is generally unaffected by any change in the environment since it’s usually hanging out on the floor. This allows it to live for 12 years on average, despite its small size.

As much as I would like to see this little guy, I think it's best just to leave it alone. Seems like it's doing fine on it's own.

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Frank James On Western Wednesday...!

Most of the time when we hear about justice is the Old West, we don't think about trials. This wasn't the case when it came to Frank James, however. Even with the records clearly showing he was guilty of many robberies, he did go to trial with a rather surprising outcome.

Trial of Frank James begins in Missouri

The trial of Frank James begins in Gallatin, Missouri. It was held in the city opera house in order to accommodate the crowds of spectators.

After having robbed dozens of banks and trains over nearly two decades, Frank James finally turned himself in October 1882. Discouraged by the murder of his brother Jesse the previous spring, Frank feared it was only a matter of time before someone also shot him in the back for reward money. He decided to try his chances with the courts, hoping that his considerably public popularity would win him a short sentence.

Frank’s trial went even better than he had hoped. Although Frank and Jesse James and their gang of desperados had killed many people, the majority of Missourians saw them as heroes who took money from ruthless bank and railroad companies and redistributed it to the poor. The state prosecutor had a difficult time finding jurors who were not prejudiced in Frank’s favor. Looking at the panel of potential jurors, he concluded, “The verdict of the jury that is being selected is already written.”

After the trial began, several prominent witnesses testified to Frank’s character. General Joseph O. Shelby, who had known him during his days as a Civil War guerilla, encouraged the jurors to see Frank James as a defender of the South against corrupt big businesses from the North. When asked to identify Frank in the courtroom, the distinguished general exclaimed: “Where is my old friend and comrade in arms? Ah, there I see him! Allow me, I wish to shake hands with my fellow soldier who fought by my side for Southern rights!”

Rural Missourians were unwilling to convict the legendary Frank James. The jury found him not guilty. The states of Alabama and Missouri tried to convict him twice more, on charges of armed robbery, with no success. In late 1883, Frank James became a free man. He lived quietly for 32 more years. The only shots he ever fired again were from starter pistols at county racetracks, one of the handful of odd jobs he took to earn a living. He died at his family home in Missouri in 1915 at the age of 72.

This was probably a wise move on Frank's part, knowing how the general public felt about him. So, despite all the evidence against him, Frank was made a free man and lived a mostly peaceful life afterwards.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

An Evil Government Program...!

From time to time, we find out about a program that is almost too disturbing to comprehend, especially if it turns out that it was instigated by our own government. From Listverse here is one of those programs.


Despite its cheery name, Project SUNSHINE was by far one of the darkest conspiracies ever conceived and the most horrifying to be proven real. The project was commissioned by the US Atomic Energy Committee and the US Air Force.

Designed to investigate the effects of nuclear radiation on humans and the environment, Project SUNSHINE saw the US government harvest and use, often without the permission of parents, the body parts of dead children and babies. Younger children typically have higher amounts of strontium in their bones, meaning that their tissues are more susceptible to radiation damage. Thus, they made better test subjects for the project.

This just disturbs me more than I can say. I understand that the testing may have been needed, but only if the parents gave their permission. Terrible...!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, where they promise it will be a little cooler.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Gedi Ruins On Monday Mystery...!

Most of the time when we find remnants of towns or villages, we have some idea of what happened to the people living there. And then there are cases like the Gedi Ruins that we don't have a clue as to what happened.

Gedi Ruins

Photo credit: The Daily Beast

The Gedi ruins in Kenya are located deep inside a forest next to the Indian Ocean. These ruins have lessened the general belief that Africa lagged far behind other civilizations when it came to technology and advancing toward modern living. Proof of this came in the form of flushing toilets, running water, and streets built in a town that is thought to have been established in the 13th century.

It seems that the Muslim inhabitants of the town traded extensively with other cultures, including China and other countries. But then the unthinkable happened. The entire town was abandoned in the 17th century for no apparent reason. Also, despite the fact that several ruins remain, including mosques, a palace, and houses, there are no written records to be found of Gedi.

Theories have been put forward that an unnamed enemy might have invaded the town and destroyed it, but there is no evidence of war among the ruins. Another theory has it that the receding Indian Ocean could have led to the depletion of water wells or that foreign explorers might have introduced the plague, leading to the death of all the inhabitants. However, there is a complete lack of evidence to support any of these theories.

While it's strange for an entire people to vanish without a trace, it isn't unheard of. Many countries around the world have similar cases. Makes you wonder just where they all went.

Coffee inside this morning. Just too hot to go out to the patio.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

A Post For The Birds...!

Part of me thinks this idea is great, while another part of me thinks that we are cheating by training birds to do what we don't want to. It's great that they are trained to pick up small pieces of trash and such, but I'd be willing to bet that if they didn't get their trash would be picked up.

Rooks In The Workplace

Photo credit: nottsexminer

A theme park in France has put rooks to work by teaching the birds to collect and deposit trash.

Rooks, as well as other members of the Corvidae family, have frequently been hailed as some of the smartest animals on the planet. The people at Puy du Fou theme park in Les Epesses found a practical and useful application for that intelligence. The corvids have been trained to pick up cigarette butts and other small pieces of garbage. Afterward, they deliver their cargo to specially designed bins which dispense nuggets of bird food as reward for their diligent work.

Six feathery cleaners were deployed during the successful trial run, and more have been put to work this week. It remains to be seen if the technique catches on in other places.

Like I said, I think the idea is a good one. At least now instead of picking up small pieces of trash, all they need is someone to wash away the bird poop from the area.

Coffee out on the patio this morning, where it is supposed to be a tad cooler.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Watch Out For Those June Bugs...!

This story seems a bit strange to me, as I'm sure it did to the business owners. Without calling anyone a liar I guess you would be forced to believe the folks claiming to be bitten.

The June Bug Epidemic

Photo credit: Patrick Coin

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

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

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

Now, I've lived nearly all my life in the South, and I've seen more than my share of June Bugs. That being said, I don't ever recall being bitten by one at any time in my life. What ever it was, I don't think it was a June bug.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Three Head Coffin For Freaky Friday...!

When talking about mummies and such, you don't often hear about a mystery like this one from Listverse. At least, I never do.

The Triple-Mystery Head

Photo credit: Ancient Origins

When archaeologists opened a tomb in 1915, they encountered a grisly sight. Perched on top of a coffin was a decapitated head. The tomb belonged to a 4,000-year-old couple, a governor called Djehutynakht and his wife, who had been buried in the Egyptian necropolis of Deir el-Bersha. It became the FBI’s oldest case after Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts contacted the agency.

Nobody knew whose head it was. Despite the agency’s misgivings, they managed to extract genetic material from a tooth in 2016—a first from such an old Egyptian mummy. DNA proved that the head was male and thus belonged to Djehutynakht.

But two more mysteries remain. Somebody expertly performed a coronoidectomy with a precision not thought possible. All the chewing muscles, cheekbones, and jaw hinge were removed without marring the face. Though it’s uncertain, it might have been done during a mummification ritual known as the “Opening of the Mouth Ceremony.”

The DNA also showed that the governor had Eurasian ancestry. It was such a surprise that FBI scientists feared that they would not be believed. However, in 2017, the same thing was found by researchers independent of the agency and with different Egyptian mummies.

This whole thing kinda creeps me out, ya know? Imagine calling the FBI to help identify a mummy. The museum must have been desperate, that's for sure.

Coffee out on the patio if that's OK.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Car Thief Was A Bear...!

This article from Listverse almost reads like a Yogi Bear!

The Bear Who Stole A Car, Crashed It, And Relieved Itself

Photo credit: BBC

Bears have been known to steal food from homes, terrorize towns, and even break in on some occasions. But this story most likely takes the cake.

A family in Colorado woke up at 5:00 AM to find out that a bear had entered their car during the night. While looking for food, the animal got stuck, accidentally released the gear, and crashed the car into their neighbor’s mailbox. Additionally, before leaving, the bear left a thoughtful gift in the form of its own poop.

Thankfully, no one was hurt. However, the car was damaged, leaving the back window completely shattered and its radio and steering wheel practically torn out. The family was certainly extremely surprised by what had happened but mostly took it in good humor.

Nevertheless, the car was crashed and the mailbox practically destroyed. Therefore, the bear had committed damage of property and car theft.

I sure hope these folks had some good insurance! The car appears to me to be totaled, but I'm certainly not an expert on bear damage.

Coffee out on the patio while it's still cool enough.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Vigilante X For Western Wednesday...!

Today's post is about one of those folks we seldom hear about in our history books. There are a lot of them, so it seems. The thing is, in order to get the whole truth, you have to take the bad with the good.

Montana “Vigilante X” is born

John X. Beidler, one of the best known of the notoriously secretive Montana vigilantes, is born in Pennsylvania.

Beidler, who preferred to be called simply “X,” had little formal education and tried his hand at a variety of trades. Initially a shoemaker, he also worked briefly as a brick maker and then traveled to Kansas where he took up farming. A supporter of John Brown’s radical abolitionist movement, he left Kansas for Texas after Brown was captured and executed for his abortive raid on the Harper’s Ferry armory in Virginia. From Texas, Beidler wandered northward, eventually joining the Gold Rush to Montana Territory in 1863.

When Beidler arrived in Virginia City, the area was plagued by marauding bandits who roamed the isolated roads of the region robbing and killing. The bandits were led by a charming psychopath named Henry Plummer who had managed to con the citizens into electing him sheriff of the nearby town of Bannock. Frustrated by the ineffectiveness of the local law enforcement, the citizens of Virginia City and Bannock formed a highly secretive vigilance committee and began systematically hunting down and hanging the road agents, including Sheriff Plummer.

Not long after arriving in Virginia City, Beidler joined the vigilantes and became one of the group’s most active members. Unlike most of the members, who took pains to conceal their identities, Beidler welcomed attention. Numerous legends arose around the so-called “Vigilante X,” and Beidler did little to discourage exaggerations—in fact, much of the Beidler lore was true. He was the principal hangman for at least five of the vigilante’s victims, and he survived several narrow escapes in his relentless pursuit of dangerous men.

After helping rid Montana of crime, Beidler became a stagecoach guard and deputy U.S. Marshall. He appears to have been highly effective in these roles, though he was criticized for sometimes overstepping the bounds of his authority. Apparently, the former vigilante still liked to take the law into his own hands.

As an old man, he fell on hard times and became dependent on the charity of Montanans who remembered his previous service. When he died in Helena, Montana, in 1890, his death certificate listed his occupation as “Public Benefactor.”

Sounds to me as though the PTB did just what I said and took the good and the bad, and gave the old man a little respect for the good he did.

Coffee out on the patio this morning, before the heat sets in.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Crazy Note Mystery...!

One of those cases we will never have the answer to is the apparent murder of one Gunther Stoll. This is a strange one indeed.


Gunther Stoll was found severely injured in his car in the early hours of the morning in 1984. The car was in a ditch on the side of the autobahn. He’d been out drinking the previous night, and the case seemed like nothing more than a simple traffic accident. Unfortunately, he died on the way to hospital before he could give an explanation for the accident. The subsequent examination of Stoll’s injuries led authorities to conclude that he’d been run over before being placed back in his vehicle.

Another puzzle came from a note found beside Stoll. On a scrap of paper, he had written “YOGTZE.” It’s not a word in any language that anyone has been able to find. It may be an acronym or possibly an encryption, but if that’s the case, nobody’s cracked the code. The day before he died, Stoll had declared to his wife, “Now I get it!” before he made the note and left the house.

Two decades later, the death and the note both remain a mystery. People have speculated that it may have been YO6TZE, a Romanian radio call sign. It could also be a reference to the yogurt flavoring TZE (Stoll worked as a food technician). Neither of those ideas, however, give any insight into how Stoll ended up apparently murdered in his own car, and the case remains unsolved.

Makes me wonder what the man was really involved in, ya know? The whole thing is mysterious to me and I'm sure that I'm not the only one that would like an answer to this riddle.

Coffee out on the patio where the mornings have been a lot cooler.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Another Ocean Mystery For Monday...!

What would we do without our endless supply of mysteries from the oceans of the world? This one is from the Gulf Of Mexico, which is in my neighborhood (sort of...).

Gulf Of Mexico Shipwreck

In 2001, ExxonMobil got a lot more than they bargained for when they laid an oil pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico. While busy with the construction of the pipe, they struck a 200-year-old shipwreck lying forgotten about 800 meters (2,600 ft) under the surface. Immediately, marine archaeologists took the opportunity to explore the wreck by using the latest technology available at the time.

Brett A. Phaneuf, a scientist from Texas who put the expedition together, had expected to finish the investigation by 2002, but what came to be known as “the curse of the wreck” seemed to throw more than just a spanner into the works. Twice, he and his team of experts tried to extract artifacts from the ship without any luck.

On his third attempt to bring up something from the ship using a robotic submarine, things once again went wrong. Not even 30 minutes into the water, the sub’s hydraulic system gave in, as did the electronics monitoring the sub. After these problems were sorted out over the next two hours, the submarine safely reached the wreck, and Phaneuf immediately noticed a piece of wood stuck awkwardly at the bottom.

But before he and his crew could investigate, the sonar failed, as did the camera’s ability to zoom in on objects. Not wanting to give up, the operators of the sub tried to use the robotic arm to pull a sheet of copper off the ship’s hull, as this might have indicated whether the ship was indeed built in the early 1800s, when the British Navy started nailing copper plates to their warships to protect them from insects. Phaneuf thought that the signature mark or name of the coppersmith who provided the copper might be visible on it. The submarine arm had the sheet firmly in its grip as it backed away, but then the sheet tore, leaving only a small piece stuck in the claw.

The next efforts to obtain a piece of the ship or its artifacts saw a new robot submarine getting lost in the water after veering out of control. Then, the robotic arm of the next one was too short to reach anything from the ship. Another time, a robot sub managed to grab the stern post of the ship when its hydraulics failed, and the stern post was lost.

Many more mishaps continued to occur, leading some to believe that the wreck was indeed cursed, and the ghosts of those who may have perished aboard the ship did not want to be disturbed. The shipwreck and its “treasures” therefore remain a mystery.

It's stories like this from Listverse that leads me to think just maybe there is something to this curse of the wreak talk. Definitely something strange going on, don't you think ?

Coffee out on the patio again this morning. No rain in sight.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Taking Sunday Off...!

I'm taking the day off today. I need the rest...OK?

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Something A Little Different For Saturday...!

How about a video, just as a change of pace today? Nothing too long, and not too weird.

And this one...

Well, there ya have it. I even threw in some cowboy stuff to enjoy.

Coffee out on the patio. The rain was promised, but never showed at my house.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Golden Rooster For Freaky Friday...!

Believe it or not, the Federal Government has from time to time put inanimate objects on trial...seriously! The one case that really stood out for me was this article from Listverse. Take a look...

United States v. One Solid Gold Object In The Form Of A Rooster

Photo credit: Coeur D’alene Art Auction

In July 1960, the US government issued an arrest warrant for a rooster—not a living one but a 6.4-kilogram (14 lb) rooster made of 18-carat gold. The rooster was exhibited in a glass display case at Nugget Casino, Sparks, Nevada. It had been sculpted in 1958 at the behest of the casino owner, Richard L. Graves, to advertise a fried chicken restaurant inside the casino.

The sculpture happened to have been commissioned at a time when the US needed more gold. Years earlier, the federal government had passed the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, which required Americans to surrender their gold to the Department of the Treasury. Secret Service agents met with Graves to inform him that he had violated the Gold Reserve Act but left him alone after confirming he’d received permission from the San Francisco Mint.

Things took a turn in July 1960, when federal agents arrested the rooster and sent it to a bank vault in California. The rooster appeared before a jury in July 1962, and Graves and the Treasury Department argued over whether it was an art or a tool of commerce.

The Treasury Department argued that the rooster was a tool of commerce since it was used for advertisement. Paul Laxalt, Graves’s attorney and future lieutenant governor, governor, and senator, argued that it was art. Laxalt won, and Graves got his golden rooster back. Had Laxalt lost, the rooster would have been melted down and added to the Federal Reserve.

Now, I have a couple of questions about this whole thing. Why does the government need more gold...and who in their right mind would use 14 lbs. of gold to make a rooster? Crazy all around, if you ask me!

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Outhouse Mystery...!

The only thing worse than having to use an outhouse in the middle of the Winter is to find a body in the outhouse. A murdered body at that! EWWW...!

Sacked With Arms Sticking Out

Imagine waking up one morning to head out to the bathroom. You open the door, already expecting the stench on a warm, damp morning. But instead of the smell, you are greeted with a sight that you would not soon forget. In truth, it was something straight out of a horror movie.

It was summer 1910 when a horrifying discovery was made in Bonner, Montana. The body of a man was found inside an outhouse. The victim had been stuffed inside a gunnysack which was then sewn closed. Oddly enough, whoever sewed the victim into the bag had left the man’s arms sticking out of the sides of the bag at the seams.

While suicides in outhouses were fairly common in the early 1900s, it was doubtful that a man might sew himself up inside a bag, leaving his arms out, and then commit the terrible deed. For this reason, the police and investigators at the scene were near certain that this was a case of murder.

I didn't know that there were that many suicides in outhouses back in the 1900s...certainly not so many that they considered them common place.

Coffee inside the kitchen this morning. Supposed to rain some more.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Predicting An Eclipse On Western Wednesday...!

Even this didn't happen in the western U.S., it is an impressive use of science to impress less knowledgeable folks. Even though he never claimed to cause the eclipse, the native Alaskans had their doubts.

Astronomer impresses Indians with eclipse

George Davidson, a prominent astronomer and explorer, impresses Alaskan Native Americans with his ability to predict a total solar eclipse.

A native of Nottingham, England, Davidson immigrated to the United States in 1832. He went to school in Philadelphia, where he proved to be a brilliant student and eventually earned a doctorate in astronomy. In 1845, he joined the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, and for two decades, he studied the large-scale geography of California, Oregon, and Washington.

In 1867, Davidson traveled north to the still relatively unexplored territory of Alaska. The United States government was in the midst of concluding negotiations to purchase the area from Russia, and American leaders were eager to learn more about the new territory. Davidson made initial surveys at Sitka, Chilkat, Kodiak, and the Unalaksa Islands. Much work remained to be done, though, and Davidson planned to return to the territory two years later.

In 1869, Davidson began preparations for another scientific trip, to the Chilkat Valley. He was warned, however, that the Chilkat Indians had been angered by some American provocation and might welcome him with guns and spears rather than open arms. Undaunted, Davidson proceeded with his mission. His initial meeting with the Chilkat on August 6 was tense. Davidson explained that he had come for purely scientific reasons, and he meant them no harm. He told the Chilkat that he was especially anxious to observe a total eclipse of the sun that he predicted would occur the following day. The Indians scoffed at Davidson’s prediction, but they left the party in peace for the time being.

On this day in 1869, the sky grew dark over the Chilkat Valley as the moon eclipsed the sun, as Davidson had predicted. Apparently dismayed by this frightening display of power–some may have believed Davidson actually caused the eclipse rather than merely predicting it–the Chilkat fled to the woods. Thereafter, they left Davidson and his party alone, leading one historian to speculate that the astronomer’s prediction may have saved the entire team from attack.

Davidson continued to be a prominent member of the scientific community until his death in 1911. Several geographic features in Alaska were named in his honor.

Guess the old saying that "knowledge is power" is true after all.Seems to have saved their hides, for sure.

Coffee out on the patio until the rain starts...OK?

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Thank You Major Martin...!

You may not know the name, but Major Martin was responsible for saving many allied troops during W.W. 2. There was even a movie made about him called The Man That Never Was. Here is his story.

Major Martin

Major Martin was a homeless man, who died of pneumonia and was then used as a weapon of deceit by the British in Operation Mincemeat. The body was disguised as a dead Royal Marines Officer and left to be found in the sea off the Spanish coast, with a briefcase full of top secret files chained to his wrist. When the body was brought to Madrid, those documents indicated that the Allies were preparing an invasion in Sardinia. However, this was all a trick to persuade the Germans into thinking that the Allies were going to invade Sardinia, instead of Sicily. The trick miraculously worked, and the Germans pulled thousands of troops from Sicily to defend Sardinia. Thousands of Allied troops owed their lives to the deception of Major Martin.

I don't know if they ever found out the name of the homeless man, but he should have been recognized in some form after the war, I believe.

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning thanks to the rain.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Copper Scrolls For Monday Mysteries...!

Now here is a mystery slightly different from the ones we normally have here. Copper scrolls telling the locations of treasure...LOTS of treasure! Trouble is, no one seems to fully understand it.

Lost Treasure Of The Copper Scroll

Photo credit: Ancient Origins

Discovered by an archaeologist on March 14, 1952, the enigmatic Copper Scroll stands in stark contrast to all other Dead Sea Scrolls of Qumran Caves. The material, author, script, language, and style all suggest that it was added to Cave 3 at a different date than the 14 other works made of parchment and papyrus. According to Professor Richard Freund, the Copper Scroll is “probably the most unique, most important, and least understood.”

In 1955, unable to unroll the corroded scroll, researchers had to break it apart to access its content. The language within bore little similarity to that of the other Dead Sea Scrolls. Dated between AD 25 and 100, the copper scroll contains a list of 64 locations where fabulous treasure could be found. It references enormous caches of gold, silver, tithing vessels, and priestly vestments worth over a billion dollars in today’s money.

Seems to me that someone should be working overtime to find out more about where this "lost" treasure is located. I think I would be.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's a tad cooler than it has been.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Cartoons For A Rainy Sunday...!

Sometimes there is nothing to do but to sit back and enjoy a good dose of silly...right?

And maybe one more...!

I warned ya they were silly, didn't I ?

Coffee inside once again this morning!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Story Of One-Eyed Charley...!

Here is something I would be willing to bet you didn't know. The first woman to vote was named One-eyed Charley. Here is his...I mean her story.

One-Eyed Charley: The First Woman To Vote In The United States

Photo credit: The Gay Almanac

One-Eyed Charley was born Charlotte Parkhurst in 1812, but somewhere along the line, she changed her name. Charlotte put on a pair of pants and became One-Eyed Charley: one of the most feared names in the Wild West.

Unlike the other women in this list, One-Eyed Charley probably wasn’t just in disguise for a job. It’s believed that Charley self-identified as a man and decided to live as one. But man or woman, Charley made history.

One-Eyed Charley was one of the toughest, hardest-drinking cowboys on the American frontier. He’d lost his eye after being hoofed in the face by a horse, and it seemed to have left him bitter. He worked as a stagecoach driver and had a reputation for carrying guns and having an itchy trigger finger. The bandit Sugarfoot found that out firsthand when he tried to hijack One-Eyed Charley, only to find out that Charley was just as ready to put a bullet in someone’s stomach as Sugarfoot was—and twice as fast on the trigger.

Nobody questioned Charley’s gender until he died. Even for a man, he had an unusually deep and gruff voice. It wasn’t an affectation—Charley’s lifelong habit of chewing tobacco had left him with mouth cancer. That’s why it was such a shock when they got his body ready for burial and realized he’d been born a woman.

By then, though, Charley had already done something worthy of the history books. In 1867, he’d registered to vote in California—making him the first person born as a woman to cast a vote in an American election.

This story came from the folks over at Listverse. Crazy, isn't it?

Coffee inside this morning. Rain is coming back.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Crazy History For Freaky Friday...!

Today, boys and girls, let's tell a well kept secret from long ago. It seems the government, in all it's wisdom, allowed our country to be led by the First Lady. How about that? Here is the whole story from our friends over on Listverse.

The First Lady Who Ran The Country

Photo credit: Harris & Ewing

In October 1919, President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke that rendered him incapable of governing. Some of us probably know that part. What you might not know, however, is that after his stroke, his wife, First Lady Edith Wilson, decided what matters were important enough to bring to Woodrow’s attention, essentially giving her the unofficial role of president until Warren Harding took over in 1921. Because Woodrow never technically resigned, the vice president at the time, Thomas Marshall, could not take over, and Wilson instead decided to allow his wife to govern for some time.

Perhaps the scariest thing about this whole story is that the US government didn’t inform the public of this. (The people only learned of Wilson’s stroke in February 1920, and even then, the full details weren’t known.) It’s events like these that are the framework of the relatively modern and widely believed Deep State conspiracy theory, which posits that there is an unknown party in the government, independent of changing administrations, that makes most of the decisions.

I have nothing against a woman in the Oval Office, but firmly believe that she should be chosen by the voters. If the President is too ill to serve as our leader, he should resign and let the vice president do his job. I would hope that there are rules in place today that would prevent this sort of thing from happening again.

Coffee in the kitchen again.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Reanimation Experiments...!

It's scary to think that this type of experiment was actually carried out here in the United States, and it really wasn't that long ago.

Robert Cornish

Dr. Robert Cornish was a genius. He graduated from Berkeley at 18 and received his doctorate at 22. If he had applied his knowledge to a different subject, there’s a good chance he could have changed the world for the better. Unfortunately, he became obsessed with one idea that would dominate his career—reanimation.

His status at Berkeley meant that he could return as a researcher and undertake his studies relatively uninterrupted throughout the 1930s. Cornish believed that a body that had not sustained too much organ damage could be reanimated using a seesaw-like machine that would move the body and restart blood circulation when helped by a healthy dose of anticoagulants.

The weird part was that Cornish succeeded in reanimating two dogs. His efforts were even turned into a 1935 movie where Cornish had a cameo.

Then came his real challenge—reanimating a human. His biggest obstacle was finding a test subject. For years, he petitioned prisons to let him use recently executed criminals. In 1948, Cornish finally found his man. A child killer named Thomas McMonigle was willing to use the “Cornish teeter” after being executed, and San Quentin was apparently willing to let him.

However, there was one problem that Cornish couldn’t overcome: He needed the body right after execution, but procedure dictated that it must remain in San Quentin’s custody for several hours before being released. Cornish never succeeded in performing his experiment on a human test subject.

In case you are interested, the name of the movie was Life Returns and was made in 1935.There is a clip on YouTube.

Coffee in the kitchen once again.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Ira Aten On Western Wednesday...!

Sometimes it's easy to forget that some people from what we call the Old West days managed to live long and happy lives, some even making it all the way to the 1950s.

1953 Texas Ranger Ira Aten dies

Texas Ranger Ira Aten, one of the last survivors of the days of the Wild West, dies at his home in Burlingame, California. He was 89 years old.

Born in 1862, Aten was among the final generation of Americans who had a chance to come of age on a wilderness frontier. Aten was introduced to the frontier at the age of 13, when his family moved to a farm near the isolated central Texas town of Round Rock. Not long after, he learned about the hard justice of the frontier when his father, a minister, provided the last rites for a mortally wounded outlaw. Aten was determined to survive in a violent world–he honed his skills with a pistol and became a crack shot with a rifle.

At age 20, Aten joined the Texas Rangers, a band of law enforcement officers created during the Texas Revolution of 1835. He had the hazardous job of patrolling the Rio Grande River, where many bands of cattle thieves and other outlaws crossed to hide in Mexico. In May 1884, Aten and six other Rangers spotted two presumed cattle thieves near the Rio Grande. When the Rangers tried to apprehend the men, a gun battle broke out. Several of the Rangers were wounded, one fatally, but Aten was able to injure the two outlaws and take them prisoner.

Promoted to corporal, Aten was reassigned to west central Texas, a region that was no more peaceful. In 1887, Aten confronted an outlaw named Judd Roberts. Aten shot Roberts in the hand, but the outlaw managed to escape. Two months later, Aten again wounded Roberts, but the outlaw again lived to escape. Finally, Aten caught up with Roberts, this time shooting him dead.

In 1889, Aten left the Rangers to become sheriff of Fort Ben County, Texas. During six years as a sheriff, he continued to track down outlaws and fight more than a few gun battles. Aten always came out ahead, but eventually he began to yearn for a safer and more peaceful life. In 1895, he left law enforcement to become the superintendent of the Escarbada Division of the giant XIT Ranch. Nine years later, he finally left the wilds of Texas and settled in California with his wife and five children. He lived the remainder of his long life in relative peace and quiet. He died on this day in 1953, one of the last survivors of a vanished era.

I'm glad the man had a chance to live out his life in peace and quiet. Just imagine what stories the man could tell us about the old days.

Coffee out on the rain cooled patio this morning!