Friday, November 30, 2018

Museum Full Of Spiders...?

Normally I enjoy roaming around the museum,seeing all the interesting bits of history and learning about other parts of the world. This is one museum that I think I will gladly pass on visiting, even if I had occasion to visit.

The Finnish Museum Infested With Gigantic Spiders

Photo credit: Skorpion87/Wikimedia

A grand old building in the heart of Helsinki, Finland’s Natural History Museum is one of the capital’s premier tourist attractions. It’s also a place where no arachnophobe should ever set foot. The building is home to a gigantic colony of extremely venomous, near-immortal super-spiders.

Known as the Chilean recluse spider, the creatures are normally only found in South America. Unfortunately for Finland, some eggs made their way into a shipment of wood chips the museum ordered in the 1960s. They hatched, and the spiders escaped into the museum. By 1970, the place was overrun with them. In 2016, they’re not only still there—there are more of them than ever.

The trouble is that the Chilean recluse spider is almost indestructible. Females have been known to survive without food or water for 755 days. They can deal with extreme temperature changes and can lay up to 2,250 eggs in a lifetime. As an added bit of freaky detail, they can grow to up to 10 centimeters (4 in), and their bite will leave you howling in agony (if it doesn’t kill you outright).

On the plus side, the recluse spider gets its name by hiding away from humans. In the 50-plus years the museum has been infested, only one bite has ever been recorded. This is extremely good news, as the museum is built above a series of tunnels linking many buildings in Helsinki. The BBC has speculated that it’s only a matter of time before the colony expands outward into other parts of the city center . . . if it hasn’t done so already.

Never mind...just cancel any trips I had pending in Finland. I'll just avoid it all together, I think.

Coffee on the patio this morning. Temps going up to the mid 70s, or so they say

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Lewis Latimer, Unknown Genius...!

Sometimes I think that we forget about the help that all famous folks had at their disposal. Very few ever got credit for the assistance or any extra money. Regardless, their involvement certainly helped things along.

Lewis Latimer

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Lewis Latimer, the son of runaway slaves, was the draftsman who helped Alexander Graham Bell file his patent for the telephone.

That’s kind of impressive, but that’s not all. Latimer also patented a carbon filament for the incandescent light bulb in 1881. Though Thomas Edison is generally credited as the inventor of the light bulb, he had, until that time, only been able to make the bulbs light up for a few minutes at a time.

Latimer patented his method for making carbon filaments, which allowed light bulbs to burn for hours before burning out. Much more useful. Not only that, but Latimer was a pioneer of the electric lighting industry and one of the charter members of the Edison Pioneers, who worked closely with Edison in the further development of electric light. Of the original 100 Pioneers, Lewis Latimer was the only black man.

He went on to invent a number of other useful gadgets, including a flushing train toilet and a device which cooled and disinfected patients’ rooms in hospitals, thus reducing the rate of hospital-acquired infections.

Ever notice how often Thomas Edison shows up in one of these articles? I wonder why that is...

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Almost like Spring weather here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Grand Ole Opry Begins...!

I know that usually have some cowboys and Indian stuff here on Western Wednesday, but this is more or less along those lines.

The Grand Ole Opry begins broadcasting

The Grand Ole Opry, one of the longest-lived and most popular showcases for western music, begins broadcasting live from Nashville, Tennessee. The showcase was originally named the Barn Dance, after a Chicago radio program called the National Barn Dance that had begun broadcasting the previous year.

Impressed by the popularity of the Chicago-based National Barn Dance, producers at WSM radio in Nashville decided to create their own version of the show to cater to southern audiences who could not receive the Chicago signal. Both the Grand Ole Opry and the National Barn Dance aired on Saturday nights and featured folk music, fiddling, and the relatively new genre of country-western music. Both shows created a growing audience for a uniquely American style of music and were launching grounds for many of America’s most-loved musicians–the singing cowboy Gene Autry got his first big break on the National Barn Dance. The WSM producers recognized that Americans were growing nostalgic for the rural past, so all live performers at the Grand Ole Opry were required to dress in hillbilly costumes and adopt old-time names.

The four-and-a-half-hour Grand Ole Opry program became one of the most popular broadcasts in the South, and like its Chicago cousin, helped make country-western an enduring part of the popular American musical landscape.

Guess you could say that this was the show that started it all, as far as the country music craze. I know my folks used to love to listen to it.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Going to be a tad warmer, I think.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Smell Like Snow...?

I know that many folks think that they can smell the snow in the air, but according to this study that is not the case. I hate to pop the bubble, but not really...because I don't care for the snow.

When you think you can smell snow, you aren’t actually smelling anything. It’s a sensory experience caused by colder weather, humidity, and the feeling of cold air. The cold slows down air molecules, humidity boosts your olfactory nerves, freezing air hits the nerve that transmits sensations from your face to your brain, and this creates the crisp ‘scent’ of snow. Source

See? There is always a reasonable explanation, but it may not be what you want to hear.

Coffee in the kitchen again today.

Monday, November 26, 2018

William Cantalo On Monday Mystery...!

Sometimes a mystery is caused when a family member just wants to disappear. Now I'm not saying that's what happened in this case from Listverse, but it does seem very likely to me.

William Cantelo

Photo credit: Barry Cantelo

William Cantelo (possibly pictured above) was the inventor of an early form of machine gun. Cantelo kept a laboratory in the basement of the pub he ran in Southampton, England, and neighbors would often hear sounds like rapid gunfire coming from below. Sometime in the 1880s, Cantelo told his sons he was going on a business trip to try to sell his new invention and was never seen again.

It was first assumed that Cantelo had met with an accident on his travels, until his sons saw a newspaper photograph of another inventor named Hiram Maxim. Maxim is credited with creating the Maxim Gun, a type of machine gun. And he bore an uncanny resemblance to William Cantelo.

Cantelo’s sons certainly believed that Maxim was their father and hired a private investigator to establish the truth, without success. There is also some evidence that Maxim visited Southampton and may have met Cantelo, if, indeed, he wasn’t Cantelo. Whatever the truth, Hiram Maxim died an extremely rich man, while William Cantelo’s sons inherited a pub with bullet holes all over the basement.

Like I said, I believe the man just may have wanted to get away from family for a forever!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Key Lime pie anyone?

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Once This Song Was Banned...!

Once in a great while, the folks in charge of what is good for all the rest of us deem that we shouldn't hear certain songs...and so, in their infinite wisdom (?) they banned them from being played on the radio. What makes this so strange in this case is that the song in question has no words! Not a single word at all! It was banned strictly because of the title! Here is the song and the story behind the reason for this madness!

Link Wray

Link Wray’s 1958 classic “Rumble” was originally banned from many US radio stations, notably in Boston and New York, for fear of the song inciting gang violence. Although it did not take much for a song to be banned back in the 1950s, even by the sensibilities of the time, banning “Rumble” is a stretch for the imagination because the song contains no vocals. That is zero words.

It was not the raucous rock ‘n’ roll sound of the song that caused the widespread boycott from radio stations but rather the song’s title that caused the ban. The use of the word “rumble” as the title proved just too much for several radio DJs, and therefore, the song was banned.

Surprisingly, the banning of Link Wray’s song didn’t have much negative impact on the tune’s commercial success. “Rumble” remained in the charts for ten weeks after its release, and even today, it is revered as iconic.

I have to say, I can remember this song and always liked it, but not one single time that I heard it did I ever think of fighting someone...NEVER!!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Pretty nice weather!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Bad Breath As A Weapon...!

Now here is an interesting story from my research on the web that you might find interesting. It involves the weaponizing bad breath as a defense mechanism.

Around the world, cigarettes and tobacco-related products are covered in dire health warnings. Some are pretty straightforward like, “Cigarettes can cause cancer.” Others are a little gorier, displaying horrifying pictures of tracheotomies and rotting teeth. But if the hornworm caterpillar could read, he’d just shake his head and laugh. These little larvae can handle more nicotine than Don Draper and the Cigarette Smoking Man combined. In fact, the hornworm caterpillar has a nicotine tolerance that’s 750 times greater than any measly human’s, and that comes in handy when he’s attacked by eight-legged predators.

Wolf spiders love munching on juicy little caterpillars, but the hornworm is more of a challenge than most insects thanks to its unique diet and genetic makeup. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Chemical Ecology in Germany discovered these little guys occasionally chow down on tobacco plants. It’s not that they’re particularly fond of the taste, and in fact, detoxifying all that nicotine takes a really long time and really slows the caterpillar down. But as researchers found out, the hornworm has an amazing way of turning the poison into a toxic weapon, a kind of “defense halitosis.”

Hornworms use a sci-fi sounding gene called “CYP6B46” to mix the nicotine with the caterpillar’s hemolymph (essentially insect blood). When the wolf spider shows up looking for a snack, the caterpillar excretes its hemolymph through little holes known as spiracles. The spider gets a whiff of all that nicotine and decides the hornworm is way too toxic to eat. The eight-eyed arachnid takes off, and the hornworm lives to see another day. Talk about smoker’s breath.

Since I'm a smoker I guess I won't have to be worried about being bitten by the Wolf spider any time soon. Hey, just protecting myself, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Cool but least so far.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Food Post For Thanksgiving...!

No...this post isn't going to be about turkey or anything like that, but it is going to be about eggs! Specifically, the eggs of the Emu. Here are some of the things you might want want to know about the Emu egg, or not!


Often confused with ostriches due to their similar size and long necks, emus are huge birds whose eggs are in significant demand. Emu eggs weigh about 0.9 kilograms (2 lbs) and are a stunning blue-green color. However, the selling point is that one emu egg equals roughly 12 chicken eggs.

Eating emu eggs is common in Australia, where the birds are endemic. In fact, there has been a spike in demand in the past few years.

As emu eggs are 50 percent whites and 50 percent yolks, the eggs can be used for a variety of dishes from breakfast to dessert. Australia’s demand for emu eggs has increased as cooking shows and restaurants look to add these eggs to their menus, either by scrambling, frying, or even turning the eggs into milkshakes.

In the United States, the popularity of emu eggs is also rising. Restaurants have started to add them to their dishes at up to $90 an egg. A dish with one egg serves up to six people and is scrambled with mushrooms and black truffles.

Even farmers’ markets are quickly selling out of emu eggs, which go for around $20 each! They are said to have a more decadent taste than chicken eggs, though you may have to taste them to believe it.

I think I will stick with the traditional stuff this food holiday...thanks all the same. BTW...Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Coffee inside this morning, but I have some birthday cake from yesterday that I'll share! Chocolate with fudge icing!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Tom Horn's Backstory...!

Many times in our history, we judge things without knowing the back story. This backstory is really nothing, except the events leading up to whatever we are trying to judge. In the story of Tom Horn, I think that knowing this information can help us to understand a bit more about what led to his terrible lifestyle.

Tom Horn is born in Missouri

The notorious hired killer Tom Horn is born on this day in 1860, in Memphis, Missouri. “Killing is my specialty,” Horn reportedly once said. “I look at it as a business proposition, and I think I have a corner on the market.”

Horn was raised on a farm, and like many young farm boys, Horn loved to roam the woods with his dog and rifle, hunting for game and practicing his marksmanship. He was an unusually skilled rifleman, an ability that may have later encouraged him to gravitate towards a career as a professional killer. That his father was a violent man, who severely beat his son, might also explain how Horn came to be such a remorseless killer.

However, the young Horn did not immediately begin his adult life as a professional murderer. Fleeing his home in Memphis after a particularly savage beating from his father, the 14-year-old boy first worked as a teamster in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he demonstrated a quick intelligence and learned Spanish. Horn’s packing and language skills later won him a job with the U.S. Army, where he served as an interpreter with the Apache Indians, learned to be a skilled scout and tracker, and tracked the cunning movements of the famous Apache warrior Geronimo.

Ironically, Horn’s career as a hired gunman began legitimately when he signed up with the well-known Chicago-based Pinkerton Detective Agency, which supplied agents to serve as armed guards and private police forces. Though Pinkerton detectives generally stopped short of carrying out actual murders, they were sometimes called on to fight gun battles with everyone from striking miners to train robbers.

Horn’s four-year stint with the Pinkertons doubtlessly impressed his next employer, the giant Wyoming ranching operation, Swan Land and Cattle Company. Swan and other big ranches funded Horn’s reign of terror in Wyoming, where he assassinated many supposed rustlers and other troublemakers. To take only one example, a Wyoming homesteader named William Lewis had stubbornly claimed his right to farm on what had previously been open range for cattle. He openly bragged about stealing and eating the cattle he found there. The big ranchers warned Lewis to leave the territory, but he refused to back down. In August 1895, he was shot to death with three bullets fired from a distance of at least 300 yards. Few doubted that the sharpshooting Horn killed Lewis.

Horn’s reign of terror ended in 1903, when he was hanged for killing a 14-year-old boy.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't condone what he did for a living, but I can see where just maybe his home life may have had a bad influence on his career.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is supposed to happen again.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Drunk Racoons Arrested...!

Everyone here stateside knows that driving under the influence is not a good thing, right? I mean, you can be arrested, fined and it carries a blot on your record that doesn't fade away with time. But what happens when animals appear to be menacing the general public by being rabid? Basically, trouble very much akin to a DUI.

One Crab Apple Too Many

Photo credit: Milton Police Department

A group of raccoons in a small West Virginia town caused quite a scare for the locals after reports emerged that they were rabid. As it turns out, they were just drunk on fermented crab apples.

Last week, the Milton Police Department received two calls about raccoons with rabies prowling around town. People were instructed to be on the lookout but to avoid contact with the animals. Last Sunday, authorities managed to capture one raccoon, which they named Dallas. It appeared to be disoriented and staggering, but it wasn’t rabid. It had actually gotten drunk from eating too many fermented crab apples.

Another two “trash pandas” were captured later. They were allowed to sober up and then released back into the woods. Subsequently, a Milton PD representative said two of the raccoons showed signs of extreme lethargy and might have been suffering from distemper all along. Only Dallas made a clean getaway and is believed to have been initially inebriated.

Good story to serve as a reminder to all of us, regardless of the species, to be in public after imbibing anything containing alcohol. No telling what could occur, especially with the holidays just around the corner!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's cool, but we have sunshine!

Monday, November 19, 2018

King Tut's Death On Monday Mystery...!

One mystery that has been going on for a very long time, is the cause of the death of King Tut. Scholars are still unsure of what caused his demise, even after all these years. From Listverse here is the article.

The Mysterious Death Of King Tut

King Tutankhamun was only 19 years old when he died, and nobody knows for sure what happened. His death is a complete mystery—but not because he was in the prime of his life. The reason that Tut’s death is such a mystery is that there were so many things wrong with him that it’s hard to tell which one finished him off.

King Tut was in terrible health. He had malaria, for one thing, and he was born with so many genetic disabilities that historians are convinced his parents must have been brother and sister. He had a club foot and genetic defects that, some believe, may have made his death nothing more than a matter of time.

He also had a fractured skull that, for a long time, was thought by archaeologists to be a sign that he’d been stabbed in the head. Today, it’s believed that his head just got damaged while his body was being embalmed, but the possibility that he was murdered hasn’t been ruled out.

He broke his knee shortly before he died, too, which has lead to a theory that he was killed in a chariot accident. If he was, though, getting on that chariot in the first place was a strange decision. Tut was so deformed that he couldn’t even stand without someone propping him up.

It could have been anything, or it could have been a whole slew of different things affecting him at once. The only thing we know for sure is that King Tut didn’t get a lot of good news in his last month alive.

I reckon the moral of this tale is...when it's your time, it's just your time! Sad to think he more than likely died a very unhappy man.

Coffee back in the kitchen this morning. Rainy and cold outside!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Karma Wins Again...!

So many times we forget the old saying that what goes around, comes around. In other words, Karma can and will bite you in the but eventually. This story from Listverse shows just what I mean.

Genealogy Website

Photo credit: AP

Like Dennis Rader, Joseph DeAngelo would get away with murder for a long time—a very long time. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s in California, the man, then only known as the Golden State Killer, committed at least 12 murders and at least 50 rapes. This monster would evade capture for decades until early 2018, when authorities would finally be able to link him to his crimes using the latest in DNA technologies with one other aid: a genealogy website. People who submit their DNA for testing by genealogy websites online have much less freedom and security with their DNA, or even their family’s DNA, as opposed to other DNA databases.

Police were able to track him through an ancestry website and were able to find him at his home and obtain a DNA sample, which they then linked to the crime scenes he’d left behind. This ended a 40-year chase. The real kicker? Joseph James DeAngelo, it turns out, was a police officer at the time of his rapes and murders.

Kinda scary to think that places such as can be used to track down serial killers. I guess the only folks that need to be worried are the serial killers themselves, right?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. The temps are gonna be pleasant enough, I think.

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Curse Of Busby's Chair...!

There are so many stories floating around about curses being put on everything you can imagine, even furniture. Here is the story about the curse of Busby's Chair.

This is a classic tale of a man meeting a woman, and the father being incredibly protective of his daughter. The father was Daniel Awety, who was running an illegal counterfeiting business in the remote town of Kirkby Wiske in England. After setting up shop, Awety believed him and his daughter – Elizabeth – could settle down without any hassle.

That was until Elizabeth fell in love with a local, Thomas Busby. Without Awety’s approval, the pair went ahead and cemented their relationship through marriage. Of course, being Elizabeth’s father, he had little choice but to put up with it and support her. Not long into their marriage, Busby joined Awety in his counterfeiting venture. However, it didn’t really go swimmingly – Busby was a drunkard. To make matters worse – especially for alcoholic Busby – the two moved into a local inn. One night when Thomas was away from home, Daniel went marching over to their lodging to drag Elizabeth away. He’d had enough of Busby’s drunken antics. But, Elizabeth refused to leave without seeing her husband first, so they waited for him to return. When he did return, it was no surprise that he was absolutely intoxicated.

That led to Daniel Awety and Thomas Busby having an enormous row, but for slightly different reasons. You see, Awety was adamant that his daughter wasn’t going to be married to a drunken fool. On the contrary, Busby was furious that Awety was sitting in the chair that he adored so deeply. In the heat of the moment, the father stormed out and went back to his farm where he based his illicit company. Now, Busby wasn’t prepared to let him off that lightly. Subsequently, he walked 3 miles in the middle of the night to the farm. On arrival, he picked up one of the counterfeiter’s hammers and smashed Awety’s skull in. Long story short – the police discovered the body and found Busby guilty of the murder. As punishment, he was sentenced to the death penalty, which meant hanging.

He was hanged from a gibbet attached to the inn where he lived, and soon after the inn was renamed to the Busby Stoop Inn. But, before the hanging took place, Busby cursed anyone who would ever dare to sit in his chair ever again. According to reports, 63 people have since sat in the chair and ended up dead. Where is it now? Hung up safely in the Thirsk Museum!

Crazy, right? Ya know, some murders today are still being committed for completely stupid reasons. Guess we never learn, huh?

Coffee in the kitchen again.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

One More Use For Coffee...!

Most of us here like coffee. In fact, some of us could honestly say we love it! Well, believe it or not, I have found one more way to enjoy this wonderful beverage. from the folks over at Listverse, here's the scoop...

Wash Your Hair

Photo credit:

Instead of drinking coffee, try throwing it on your hair during a shower. There are many advantages to washing your hair with coffee because it has a lower pH than water. The rough grounds exfoliate the scalp and stimulate hair follicles to help growth. Coffee is found in many shampoos now because of the benefits it provides.

The caffeine in the coffee is great for your hair, too. It helps stimulate the hair roots and may deter baldness and hair loss. The caffeine will block the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and enables hair shafts to grow faster.

It also has a way of making your hair shine more. You can use coffee to make a hair rinse to enhance hair color and texture, a hair mask to make it softer and shinier, and a hair oil to stimulate the roots of the hair

Maybe the reason I have such a full beard is because I drink a lot of coffee and my barber says I will never be bald. Who knows?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Are You Competent...?

I think that we all know someone, maybe several someones, that fall into the incompetent category than we want to admit. In fact, one might say that it seems the numbers are increasing every day.

Incompetent people are often so incompetent, they don’t even realize their own incompetence. According to the Dunning-Kruger effect, people who are ignorant or unskilled in any area are too inept to notice, so they end up thinking they’re far more competent than they actually are.

Nice to know that there is actually a name for it.

Coffee inside again this morning!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

You Want Pink Or Blue...?

It's sad to say that most everything in today's world is pretty much gender specific. It hasn't always been that way, but now it seems that nearly everything is, especially toys! From Listverse again, here is the article I found about that.

Gender-Specific Toys

Pink is for girls and blue is for boys, right? 

Wrong! In fact, gender-specific toys largely only date back to the 1980s. Throughout most of human history, children played with the same general toys and no one gave it much thought.

Then in the mid-1980s, toy catalogs started separating children’s playthings into categories and the divide began. This created the blue and pink toy aisles we know today (or knew until Toys “R” Us closed).

Actually, not everything is as divided by gender today as it once was. Back in the mid-1990s, a lot more products were split into gender-specific advertising campaigns than today. Even the first home computers came out as toys for men. Luckily, things are not that extreme anymore, but we have now created a society where everything from dolls to LEGO bricks to colors has a gender.

Way back in my early years, my sisters and I pretty much played with the same stuff and payed no attention. I mean, it's hard to make mud pies, sticks, and empty cardboard boxes gender specific...know what I mean?

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning!

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Disappearing Wife Mystery...!

Here is something that some of us may wish would happen. I wouldn't know because I'm single, ya understand. I can remember that there were times though...

Time Tunnel

In 1975, a man named Jackson Wright was driving with his wife from New Jersey to New York City. This required them to travel through the Lincoln Tunnel. According to Wright, who was driving, once through the tunnel he pulled the car over to wipe the windshield of condensation. His wife Martha volunteered to clean off the back window so they could more readily resume their trip. When Wright turned around, his wife was gone. He neither heard nor saw anything unusual take place, and a subsequent investigation could find no evidence of foul play. Martha Wright had just disappeared.

Now I'm certainly not insinuating that the husband did anything wrong, but this story just sounds a bit strange to me. Guess I'm just the suspicious type. BTW, this story came from Listverse.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. A tad chilly outside.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Another Sunday Off...!

I know this is going to come as a shock, but I am taking another day off today. In fact, I think that I will start taking Sundays off for a while. No particular reason, just wanted to try and cut back a little bit, ya know?

If nothing else this will give you some extra time to spend reading the funny papers, or the Sunday news. I'll be back on Monday, but starting today I'm going to be off on Sunday...OK? OK!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Murder By Monkey...!

While a lot of folks think that monkeys are cute and funny, be aware that some of them can be very harmful to your health.

The Monkey Who Kidnapped And Murdered A Child

Photo credit: The Independent

This might easily be the most serious case on the list. It involves a monkey kidnapping and later murdering a child in India. Reportedly, it has been fairly common for local monkeys to steal food and cause problems, but this was the first time that they took someone.

According to the child’s mother, the newborn was sleeping when the monkey grabbed and carried the boy away. Sadly, the monkey was too fast for the mother to catch. Later, the child was found dead behind the home where the monkey must have dropped him

Sort of takes the cute out of the equation, doesn't it? Monkeys are too much like evil little humans for my liking.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. I'll share my bacon with ya'll!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Human Skin Book Binding...!

For today's topic of Freaky Friday, I have just the thing for ya...Anthropodermic bibliopegy. That actually means using human skin to bind books. Yes, it was a real thing and it's true that it seems a bit gruesome, at least to me.

The most famous example of Anthropodermic bibliopegy comes in the form of three books. These books belonged to Dr. John Stockton Hugh, who collected the skin from the thigh of a single female patient. Mary Lynch died under horrible parasitic conditions in 1869, a full 20 years before her skin made it on the binding of these three books. The books are about female health and reproductive systems. Although the books clearly state that the binding is made from human skin, historians are unsure why the doctor, at 23 years of age, decided to keep her skin and tan it. A popular theory is that doctors bound their books in the skin of their patients to immortalize them. The 19th-century doctors were surrounded by a mess of pain, confusion, and gore. In the book “The Birth of the Clinic”, the concept of a clinical gaze was first developed. A well-known phenomenon today, doctors became disassociated with the humanity of their patients. It is theorized that this led to a skew in ethics that resulted in the human skin being a revered binding instead of a perverse indulgence.

On the other side of the spectrum, the practice was seen as a punishment for criminals. During 1828 in Edinburgh, Scotland, William Burke killed over 16 people to sell to doctors as cadavers. Burke was sentenced to death, hanged and dissected publically. His skin was used to bind the dissecting doctor’s pocketbook which is now stored in the Surgeons Hall Museum in Edinburgh. There are some books that historians can’t explain. ‘The Dance of Death’ was bound in human leather at the turn of the 19th century and contains stories and meditations on the subject of death. A book of French Erotica is bound with the skin of a woman’s breast and indeed, has a nipple on the cover.

Testing for these books for validity has only been possible in recent years. Out of 46 rumored books, a mere 18 have proven to be valid. DNA testing is impossible, but scientists can deduce if the books are made from homo sapiens by testing (among other things) collagen levels. The law on these books is simple. As long as they are not displayed as points of human interest, keeping them for private museum collections and study is acceptable. These books come from all over the world, but seem to be predominantly European.

I'm not sure I would want to have a book bound with the skin of a human. I think I'll stick with my Kindle books for now.

Coffee out on the patio, but if it starts to rain, we will move to the kitchen...OK?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Unlikely Spies...!

Ever since mankind has felt the need to separate into separate tribes or countries, there has been the almost compelling need to spy on one another. Why...who knows. I think you will agree, though, that these spies are questionable, at best.

In A Nutshell 

Mossad is one of the most feared intelligence agencies on Earth, a sophisticated Israeli spy network that’s light-years ahead of its Middle Eastern counterparts—counterparts, incidentally, who believe Mossad is capable of controlling animals. Over the last decade, countries from Iran to Saudi Arabia have taken to arresting squirrels, pigeons, and even kestrels they believe are Mossad spies.

The Whole Bushel

In 2007, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards launched an intense sting operation on the streets of Tehran that netted 14 enemy spies. It was the moment the belligerent Islamic republic had been waiting for: a brilliant PR coup against their enemy neighbors. Unfortunately, the international community’s newly acquired respect only lasted until they saw the captive “spies.” It turned out Iran had done nothing more than round up a group of squirrels.

With such a daft story, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a one-off—something to while away a slow news day. But animals being detained, imprisoned, and even tortured as spies is a bizarrely common occurrence in the modern Middle East. A year after the squirrel debacle, Iran managed to top itself by detaining and presumably executing two pigeons it accused of working for Israel. Perhaps sensibly, Israel declined to comment.

And it’s not just Ahmadinejad-era Iran that gets amusingly jumpy around animals. Over the years, both Sudan and Saudi Arabia have arrested vultures on espionage charges, while Egypt has previously insisted a killer shark found off its coast was a Mossad plant. Even normally sensible Turkey recently arrested a kestrel, although in this case the bird was later released back into the wild.

In short, Mossad’s enemies apparently fear them so much that they think they can control animals. However, before us Westerners start to feel too pleased with ourselves, it’s perhaps worth mentioning that our security services have been monitoring China’s scientific advances in controlling birds for a couple of years now. You know, just in case.

I picked up this article from a site called Knowledgenuts. The one thing I'm not surprised at is the fact that the U.S. has actually fallen into this mindtrap way of thinking, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, until the rain starts.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Sam Kelly On Western Wednesday...!

Not only were things rough and rowdy in the American wild West, but our neighbors to the north had their hands full with bad guys as well. From Listverse, here is a story about one gang called the Nelson-Jones Gang.

Sam Kelly And The Nelson-Jones Gang

Photo credit: The Great Canadian Bucket List

When Sam Kelly and his gang terrorized a town, you had to catch them quick. As soon they’d appeared, the boys would disappear into the Big Muddy Badlands of Saskatchewan: a place full of caves, cliffs, and gullies. In a second, Kelly and his men would disappear into a winding network of tunnels and vanish.

Kelly started his criminal career with a trek down to Montana, where some old friends were being held in prison. With a copy of the jailhouse key given to him by the town’s corrupt deputy sheriff, Kelly was able to walk right into the prison and leave with the prisoners. He even tipped his hat to the sheriff’s wife as he walked out with two convicted felons.

From then on, Kelly was a career criminal. He would steal horses and cattle from Saskatchewan farms or sometimes move south of the border and hijack a train full of gold. He caused so much havoc that the Mounted Police set up a fort in the Big Muddy Badlands to try to stop him, but he disappeared every time.

After years of crime, Kelly had a change of heart. He walked into the police station and turned himself in. Kelly, though, had been so careful that they didn’t have enough evidence to convict him in of a single crime. Even though he’d brought himself in, they had to set him free.

I'm surprised that they didn't hang him just on general principals. After all, they did have his confession, right?

Coffee out on the patio this morning while we still have the chance.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Deadly But Beautiful Flower...!

You might not know it to look at it, but this little beauty can be extremely harmful to humans. It can also cause death in animals that may eat it. It is very pretty to look at, though.


Buttercup is by far the most innocent looking plant on this list. It is also one of the most ubiquitous, and among the more deadly garden plants. Buttercup commonly grows in grassy patches with poor drainage, and may frequently be found by children who use it in games that involve touching it to the skin. The goal is to experience a momentary red mark on the skin, as the brilliant yellow flowers release a toxin induces temporary rash symptoms. Buttercup is far more dangerous, however. The plant is capable of poisoning grazing animals that eat it, causing serious gastrointestinal toxicity. Ingestion by humans may result in a painful death resulting from organ and nervous system intoxication. Beauty is clearly in the eye of the beholder, not the handler of this killer flower.

Nature can be very beautiful to look at, but often it's better to apply the old adage "look but don't touch!"

Coffee out on the patio this morning, before the cold front gets here tomorrow.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Wine Cellar Of Death...

Most often in this life, we attribute the most gruesome and numerous murders to men. Make no mistake, though, women are just as capable of killing as men and are often more brutal about it. From Listverse, here is a case in point.

Vera Renczi

Vera Renczi was born to a wealthy family in 1903. Renczi was beautiful, and she was known to be involved with older men from the age of 15. Early childhood friends described Renczi as possessive and jealous. Her first marriage was with a wealthy businessman, who fathered her son Lorenzo. Renczi suspected him of cheating, so she poisoned his wine with arsenic, claiming he abandoned her to anyone who asked.

Her second husband disappeared the same way a few months later. Renczi decided she had enough of marriage—but not of men. Her boyfriends kept vanishing until she was reported to the police by an angry wife (she dated married men too). Searching her house, the police found a scene right out of an Edgar Allan Poe tale in her wine cellar: 32 male bodies in various stages of decomposition, each in his own coffin. She also murdered her son Lorenzo when he discovered her secret. Renczi confessed to all the murders and was sentenced to life in prison, where she died of brain hemorrhage.

See what I mean? Men and women are equally as capable of horrible crimes, often times working together. Sometimes humans can be evil beyond belief, ya know?

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

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Missing Island...!

This following article is something that you don't hear everyday. A complete island off the coast of Japan has gone missing, completely disappeared.

Japanese Island Disappears

Photo credit: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

Japanese officials have recently noticed that one of their islands off the northeast coast has vanished.

The tiny island was called Esanbe Hanakita Kojima. It was completely uninhabited and was likely eroded by wind and drift ice coming in from the Sea of Okhotsk. Normally, such a disappearance would be unimportant, but the islet had some value due to its positioning. It was an outlying island used by Japan to delineate its exclusive economic zone. Specifically, it was located west of a disputed region between Japan and Russia known as the Northern Territories.

The missing islet was brought to the attention of authorities by author Hiroshi Shimizu, who went to the nearby village of Sarufutsu to work on a book about Japan’s “hidden” islands.[9] Curiously, the locals hadn’t noticed its disappearance, even though the tiny strip of land was located 500 meters (1,640 ft) away. Fishermen avoided the area because it was marked as an undersea reef on navigation charts, and the Japanese coast guard last surveyed the island back in 1987.

While this may not seem to be an uncommon thing there, I am curious about exactly what happened to it? I'm just curious that way. I got this article from Listverse, of course.

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Taking Saturday Off...

I hope you all don't mind, but I'm taking the day off today. I'm getting old and need my rest.

Coffee ut on the patio though.

Friday, November 2, 2018

A Pee Powered Robot...?

That's correct, you read it right. In the future, many robots could be powered by an artificial heart pumping urine as fuel. Pretty damn bizzare, if you ask me (which no one did, btw)!

Robot Blood

Who knew our future overlords will be powered by our very own bladders? The guys at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory have created an artificial heart that can power the robots of the future.

As of 2010, there are an estimated 8.6 million robots in the world, employed in different industries and serving different functions. Depending on their purpose, robots are traditionally charged with solar energy, battery power, or electricity. Peter Walters and his colleagues from the University of Bristol have taken a slightly more unconventional route, creating a robot that can charge itself with a urinal.

The scientists built an artificial heart that pumps a regulated supply of human urine into microbial power stations, which then break down urine and convert it into electricity. This artificial heart was able to run a robot called “EcoBot” using nothing but human urine. These robots have been able to function before on other biodegradable materials, but this is the first time that an EcoBot was sustained with power using an artificial heart that pumps urine. The researchers are inspired to make improvements on this pee-pumping heart and hope to see these urine-powered EcoBots being used in the future, especially in green projects such as monitoring pollution.

I don't know why, but I find this concept both frightening and cool at the same time! I think it's the idea of a robot with a beating heart that does it, ya know? BTW, I got this article from the folks over at Listverse, where you can find many other ways to use urine, if you are interested.

Coffee out on the patio, but be sure and wear a jacket...OK?

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Shame On You, Canada...!

So many times we discover that our own government has conducted some type of experiment on our own citizens, but what we fail to realize is that some of our neighboring countries have done so as well. Here is a case in point.

When we think of the countries of the Americas doing some pretty horrible things to their indigenous peoples, the United States and their treatment of Native Americans is usually the first thing that springs to mind.

But the US’s northerly neighbor has its fair share of atrocities buried in its history, too, including some bizarre experiments done in the 1940s and 1950s with the hope of finding out what malnutrition does to a person.

In 1942, representatives from Canada’s government visited some of the remotest of communities in the northern reaches of Manitoba. The people there had long relied on the fur trade for their livelihood, and as the fur trade was collapsing, so was their way of life.

Many were starving, and with much of their government assistance being redirected elsewhere, their world was full of major difficulties.

Researchers used some not-so-nice words to refer to the people they found in these remote communities and went on to suggest that all their apparent problems weren’t part of their genetic makeup after all. Instead, they surmised, the natives were shiftless and suspicious because of malnutrition.

The 1940s also saw a rise in something else: the popularity of vitamins and supplements. In order to find out what benefits these new drugs could give, the Canadian government set up a long-term study that used around 1,300 people as complete guinea pigs. Most of the subjects were children, and only some of them were given the government support they all truly needed.

In 1942, 300 members of the Norway House Cree Nation became part of the first section of the study. Only 125 were given vitamins, while the others weren’t given aid at all. By 1947, the experiment had extended to include around 1,000 school-age children in six different schools.

Each school did something different. In one, officials took away the kids’ daily amount of milk for two years in order to get what they called a “baseline reading.” In others, half the kids were given things like vitamins and supplements, while extra nutritional ingredients were withheld from the other half. Some students were fed a special “enriched flour” that was so enriched that it wasn’t even legal to sell it anywhere in the country.

A huge number of the children ended up developing anemia, and for the duration of the experiments, dentistry services were also taken away in order to make sure outside interference didn’t damage the final results.

Parents were never informed, and consent was never given for any of the studies. It’s not clear how much damage this medical testing ended up doing, but it’s thought it did contribute to a number of deaths in the community.

University of Guelph historian Ian Mosby, who uncovered the original story behind the terrible studies, says that in addition to the more than 900 documents he found relating to the study, he found absolutely nothing good that came of them. There were never any official studies published, there were never any findings, and there was never any real reason to do it in the first place.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that when you deprive folks of food, they tend to die! DUH...!

Coffee inside this morning, as it's raining outside again.