Thursday, January 31, 2019

Route 66 Guardians...!

From the folks over at Atlas Obscura here is another little mystery to ponder. This one was new to me, I have to admit.

Guardian Lions of Route 66

A pair of large white marble lions guard this stretch of the Mojave Desert, and it is utterly mysterious how they got there.

Most days you can see clear from the lions to the Amboy Crater, the geological remains of an extinct cinder cone volcano, five miles to the west—making the presence of these beautiful marble creatures that much more otherworldly.

Often called “foo dogs” in the west, Chinese guardian lions are most notably gendered by the tokens they hold. The male (symbolizing yang) holds an embroidered ball, representing a building or other space under his protection. The female (symbolizing yin) shelters a cub, representing nurturance and protection of the souls within a space. In this case, it seems the pair is tasked with keeping watch over the entire Mojave Desert and all who pass through.

It is unknown how the lions got there. Standing about five feet high and elevated on cinder block pedestals, they were first sighted in late 2013, and whoever placed them there has never stepped forward to claim responsibility. Administrators of the lions’ Facebook page emphasize that they are not the benefactors. The mystery serves only to amplify their allure. How and why were two hand-carved solid marble statues weighing thousands of pounds transported here, four miles from the nearest town?

Other mysteries circulate online as to the origin of visitor logbooks at the sites, and pondering the significance of a surveyor’s brass waymarker pounded into the earth before the female lion. Is this a geocache hiding in plain sight? And what is the significance of a real estate sign placed near the roadside north of the male lion?

Whatever the lions’ origin, passersby have attached their own meaning. People leave coins, offerings, memorials, and words. Logbooks collect travelers’ musings; when the logs disappear, fans replace them with new notebooks, reproducing if they can what has been documented from the missing logs. The lions stand watch over an ever-changing landscape of meaningful gestures and tokens. Good luck and memorial offerings flooded the female lion after a May 2016 online report that she was damaged by a high-powered rifle (nearby the shooter had scribbled an apology on a piece of driftwood, claiming he didn’t know the target was precious). Among their ever-growing fanbase, it appears the lions have attracted guardians of their own.

You just have to love it when someone leaves a pair of huge marble statues in the desert without saying why. I'm starting to think that the aliens are messing with us, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen again today!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Why Is This Here...?

Ever so often we run across something that is a mystery as to where it came from and why is it at it's present location. This article from the folks at Atlas Obscura is about just such an object.

This large, megaphone-shaped mystery object is bolted to two rocks on top of a 100-foot hill along a remote strip of desert between the towns of Baker and Ludlow. It’s about 8 feet long, made from thick strips of iron welded together. Many travelers and historians alike have searched for an explanation of how it got there, and for what reason. But while theories abound, the answer remains elusive.

One theory suggests that the megaphone was used to amplify a siren that alerted locals when the U.S. Army was conducting secret chemical or gas testing in the area. Another wildly different theory posits that visitors would hike out there and stretch a skin over the ends of the object to play it like a drum. Whatever the origins, catching a glimpse of this mysterious “megaphone” atop the rocks is a strange and unexpected sight indeed.

There are more pictures available if you care to follow the link. Better yet, just go to the site and look it up.

Coffee in the kitchen again today!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Cotton Candy Grape...!

I like grapes and bananas and apples and...well, you get the picture. Although my favorite is the white grape, I certainly would be willing to try this next one. I found this article on Listverse.

Cotton Candy Grapes

Photo credit: Live Science

People who like healthy snacks and carnivals can now enjoy a strange fruit—grapes that taste like cotton candy. Those who hate genetic engineering or artificial flavors can also breathe easy. This grape variety is the result of natural breeding.

Horticulturalists from California chose two species to work with. The first was a type of Vitis vinifera, one of the most common types in grocery stores. The other was a Concord-like grape. This variety is used in Welch’s jellies, juices, and jams.

Both are seedless varieties and cannot reproduce naturally. This forced scientists through an arduous process of extracting grape embryos, growing them in test tubes, and then planting them in a vineyard. It took about 100,000 test tubes before the Cotton Candy grape hybrid was born.

Packed with 12 percent more sugar than other grapes, the fruit was a hit when it became available to the public in 2011. The high sugar content prevents an old produce malady—fruit that is often tasteless by the time of purchase.

Wouldn't you know it? Now I'm hungry for grapes...go figure. They do go OK with coffee, though.

Speaking of coffee, we better have ours in the kitchen this morning. The cold is back.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Killer Caught By Telegraph...!

We all know the name Scotland Yard, I'm sure. Like any other law enforcement agency, they had to learn to take advantage of the very latest technology to solve crimes...and that included the early telegraph.

The ‘Kwaker’ Poisoner

Photo credit: The Illustrated London News

On January 1, 1845, Sarah Hart was found writhing on the floor of her home in Slough. A doctor was summoned, but it was too late. She died soon after of poisoning with prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide). Her neighbor saw a man dressed as a Quaker leaving Sarah’s house in a hurry shortly before she was found.

After some inquiries, Slough police uncovered a man matching the description, who had purchased a train ticket to Paddington station in London. Luckily for them, Slough had installed a fancy new telegraph to London. The only problem was that the two-needle telegraph couldn’t use the letter Q, but they were still able to alert London police to be on the lookout for a suspected murderer dressed as a “kwaker.”

At Paddington, Scotland Yard picked up the trail of the Quaker and later arrested him. He was identified as John Tawell. He had an illegitimate child with Sarah Hart and was paying for her accommodations plus a weekly allowance. Eventually, Tawell decided that killing her was cheaper. He made a full confession, although he claimed that he killed Sarah Hart to prevent his wife from finding out about the affair, not for the money. He was convicted and hanged in March.

John Tawell became known as “the man killed by the electric telegraph,” as he was the first arrest made using this new technology. His trial did wonders for the reputation of the telegraph, and the instruments used to catch him are still preserved at London’s Science Museum.

That's a terrible thing to be remembered for, being the first murderer to be caught by telegraph, don't you think?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. I baked gingerbread and it sure smells good!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

How About Some Really Fake News...!

Fake news is an expression we have grown used to, thanks to the POTUS talking about it...a lot! Here, from Listverse, is a fine example of early "fake news" that show just how gullible some folks can be.

Petrified Man

The Hoax: Mark Twain and his Petrified Man

Mark Twain is often praised as the man who wrote the great American novel. But long before he was penning the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he was a small time scribe for a local newspaper. Presumably bored with the day to day monotony of his life he decided to play a little prank on his unsuspecting readers. Writing under a pseudonym—of which Twain had many over the years—he published a piece in the Territorial Enterprise on October 4, 1862 entitled The Petrified Man.

The short blurb of news described the discovery of a one hundred year old stony mummy with a wooden leg, pensive attitude, and a cause of death by protracted exposure. You may notice that the description is close to gobbledegook, which was Twain’s very intention. What he didn’t intend was the coverage the piece garnered. Originally meant as a slight jibe at the newspapers of the time’s obsession with petrifaction, Twain expected his practical joke to get found out. But before he knew it, people were reading about The Petrified Man as far away as London.

One thing you have to admit about Twain...he sure knew how to capture the attention of the public. Guess that's why he is famous as a writer and story teller.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Dangerous Food For Freaky Friday...!

If you thought the food we have today is pretty bad, consider what the folks back in the Victorian days had to deal with.

Eating A Sandwich

Photo credit: BBC News

A lot of foodstuffs in Victorian England were made with contaminated ingredients. One report in 1877 showed that ten percent of butter, eight percent of bread, and 50 percent of gin had copper added to it, while red lead was added to cheese to give it a “healthy” color. Other adulterants included strychnine in beer, copper in pickles and jams, lead in mustard, iron in tea, and mercury in chocolate.

Bread, however, was a particular problem. Very few poor people at that time had the facilities to bake their own bread and therefore bought their daily loaves from street vendors. Bread was cheap, so it was a staple food for many, and almost the only food for some. However, the majority of this bread was adulterated with alum. Though it was not poisonous in itself, alum acted to prevent the absorption of nutrients in food.

The alum bulked out the bread, making loaves appear larger for their weight and thus more attractive to poor families with many mouths to feed. Those who survived the sandwich fillings would have developed rickets or other diseases because of their inability to absorb nutrients efficiently.

Makes a few of our latest food recalls seem tame by comparison, but they are still there for a reason. Please follow food safety guidelines.

Coffee out on the patio today. Let's enjoy a bit of sunshine...OK?

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Scariest Zombie Drug...!

This isn't some made up tale, or preview of a horror story, but rather a brief history of one of the worse "Zombie Drugs" around. Sadly, this drug has been used for many things over the years, some good but mostly bad.

Devil’s Breath

Scopolamine may be the scariest drug in the world. Derived from the Colombian borrachero tree, “Devil’s breath” turns people into “zombies” and renders them incapable of forming memories. This odorless powder can be blown into targets’ faces, obliterating their free will. Tasteless, it is often slipped into alcoholic drinks. Criminals are quick to exploit its potential to turn victims into puppets who can easily be convinced to hand over their keys or empty their bank accounts.

Devil’s breath blocks certain neurotransmitters, turning off the ability to recall and making people open to suggestion. The drug was traditionally used to lure the wives of deceased leaders to graves, where they would be buried alive. Joseph Mengele, the Nazi “Angel of Death,” frequently used scopolamine on his experimental subjects. The CIA employed it as a truth serum during Cold War interrogations. Scopolamine is still used to treat Parkinson’s tremors and relieve motion sickness.

Sometimes around here it seems as though many of the drivers on the road are using this stuff. That, my friends, is scary!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Exploding Flashlights...!

Here is an article about something you may not have heard about...exploding flashlights and the damage they can cause. Some food for thought here from the folks at Listverse again.


Photo credit: Meagan Fitzgerald/KUSA

In January 2015, Coloradoan Christopher Reid Carrington was searching for tools in the back of his truck. To free his hands, he held his flashlight in his mouth. A few seconds later, it exploded, causing third-degree burns to his lip, tongue, and throat. Blood gushed from his mouth, and he was unable to speak, but his seven-year-old son called 911. Carrington spent four days in the hospital, a tube down his throat helping him to breathe, before he was released. Doctors said he may never be able to taste anything again.

In a similar incident on November 7, 2017, in Bradley, Indiana, Caleb Joyner, 36, was injured when a flashlight exploded in his mouth. After experiencing car trouble, he’d stopped in a parking lot to look under the hood of his car. The flashlight exploded when, while bending over for a better look, Joyner came too close to the vehicle’s battery. He died the next day in a local hospital.

While these examples are very unfortunate accidents, there is an important lesson to be learned here. Use all tools in the correct manner, and avoid putting anything in your mouth that could cause damage in the worse case scenario!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Yesterday was sunny and dry with temps close to 70...but today they are calling for rain and possibly snow flurries! How do you go from 70s one day to snow flurries the next?

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Froggy Gets A Mate...!

Every so often we need to hear some good news from somewhere...about something! So much of the news we see daily is sad, disheartening, and downright that I figured it was about time for a bit of good news. From the folks at Listverse, here it is!

Romeo Finds His Juliet

Photo credit: BBC

A lonely male frog once thought to be the last of his kind finally has a partner after a decade of solitude.

Romeo is a Sehuencas water frog. Ten years ago, conservationists realized that the species was in trouble so they collected him from the wild to place him into a breeding program. However, they couldn’t find a female suitable for him. Romeo was left in isolation in a Bolivian aquarium.

Now he is no longer alone. A recent expedition into the wilderness of Bolivia turned up five new Sehuencas water frogs—three males and two females. One of them, named Juliet, will be placed with Romeo in the hopes that they will breed together. At the moment, all the new amphibians are still in quarantine.

Herpetologists are hoping that opposites will attract when the two finally meet. Their personalities seem to be antithetical to each other. While Romeo is calm, slow, and doesn’t move around a lot, Juliet is very active, swims constantly, and eats everything in sight.

Well, I'm glad that they finally found a potential mate for Romeo. I do have to wonder what would happen if Romeo didn't want a mate, but chose to be a hermit. Did they ever even consider that possibility?

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning!

Monday, January 21, 2019

A Golden Crown Mystery...!

Most of us have had to go through a relative's belongings after they pass on, I'm sure. Here is a case of an item left behind that surprised the one that inherited it.

Golden Crown Of The Love Goddess

Photo credit: Dukes/BNPS via Ancient Origins

An elderly British man  made a shocking discovery under his bed. In a cardboard box inherited from his grandfather, he found a 2,300-year-old Greek crown made of pure gold. Experts determined it to be an authentic myrtle wreath crown and dated it to 300 BC. The crown is 20 centimeters (8 in) across and weighs roughly 100 grams (3.5 oz). Stylistic elements suggest a master goldsmith in Northern Greece forged the piece. Dirt embedded deeply in the crown suggests it was once buried.

Ancient Greeks used wreath crowns for religious festivals and athletic competitions. Myrtle wreaths were specifically associated with Aphrodite. Myrtle was sacred to the goddess, and crowns composed of it were tangible reminders of love’s power. No one knows where the discoverer’s grandfather picked up the crown. He traveled extensively in the 1940s and 1950s and was particularly interested in Alexander the Great’s Macedonian homeland.

I would imagine that the man that inherited it thanked his grandfather's memory for the gift. This article came from Listverse, of course.

Coffee in the kitchen, where I have fresh cookies ready.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Was This Study Necessary...?

We all know that sometimes the eggheads of the world sorta overdo the quest for knowledge, right? Here is a case where one was absolutely obsessed with it.

What’s Up With Navel Fluff?

The belly button serves no discernible purpose other than being part of the overall look of the body that we’d all look pretty creepy without. The only times we give it any attention are the few days we decide it needs to be cleaned out. Other than that, it’s sort of just there in the background.

If we asked you the exact nature of the fluff that accumulates there, most of us would reply with “probably dirt, who cares?” Though that’s not enough for this scientist from Vienna University of Technology, who spent over four years studying the precise contents of navel lint.

From 2005 to 2009, Georg Steinhauser collected 503 pieces of his own navel fluff and carefully studied it for clues as to what it could be. You can say that it turned into an obsession at some point as he also started asking other people about their navel fluff.

Hopefully, he added to his readings—or maybe he just weirded some people out for no reason. He concluded that the lint was actually directed by the type of hair found in the belly button and mostly came from the shirt or T-shirt he was wearing that day.

Back in my day, we called it "belly button lint." In fact, there was a joke we had about wanting a car with a rolled and pleated belly button lint interior.

Coffee inside the kitchen this morning. Cold front blew in last night.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Another Foodie Fact...!

What would Freaky Friday be without one more Listverse article spilling secrets on some food items...this time the product is bottled water!

Bottled Water Is Just Tap Water

Photo credit:

Half of the bottled water sold in the United States is regular tap water. It’s just filtered. Fluoride is removed during filtration, leaving consumers of bottled water at risk of tooth decay. The removal of fluoride from bottled water is one of the reasons that some say tap water is better than bottled water.

Tap water is more regulated than bottled water. For instance, the US Environmental Protection Agency requires that fluoride be added to tap water. However, no agency demands that it be added to bottled water.

Bottled water manufacturers are also fond of promoting their products with meaningless words like “mountain water” and ‘”glacier water.”

I do admit to having some bottled water set aside for those times when we have no city water, or when a "boil water" alert is issued. Mine is re-bottled tap water, though. Just covering my bases.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Temps will be in the 70s just before the freeze hit tomorrow.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The First Flying Car...!

Sounds like a fairy tale, doesn't it? Folks have been waiting for a reliable flying car for a very long time. However, most of us don't realize that the first was actually built way back in 1932!

The First Flying Car Was Made In 1932

Photo credit: SDASM Archives

We have yet to perfect the flying car even though the first one was made in 1932 by Waldo Waterman. He called it the Waterman Arrowbile and made five prototypes before ceasing production.

Waterman created the first prototype of his flying car in 1932. It was a winged three-wheeler that he called Whatsit. He created an improved prototype in May 1935 for a flying car competition organized by the US Department of Commerce.

The May 1935 prototype could not be driven like a car. But it made Waterman more determined, and he even formed his company, the Waterman Arrowplane Co. He developed another prototype that could be driven like a car as well as fly. The wing and propeller were removed when the flying car was to be used as a car on land.

Although Waterman made more prototypes that drove and flew, most people were not interested in a flying car at the time. In 1938, he shut down his company.

The very thought sorta scares me when I think of all the traffic problems we have in the city of Houston. I can visualize even a small portion of our crazy drivers flying around the sky like the way they drive on the road...and that is a very scary thought!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

No Good Deeds Goes Unpunished...!

That's a saying I've heard all of my adult life, but I have mostly considered it untrue. However, here is a story from Listverse that could prove me wrong.

James Brady

Photo credit: Viorel Florescu/North Jersey Media

In 2013, a man named James Brady was living in a homeless shelter in Hackensack, New Jersey. One day, he was taking a walk. As if by some miracle, an envelope filled with $850 of cash was just lying on the street. James could have secretly pocketed the money, but he chose to do the right thing and take it to his local police station, just in case whoever lost it was looking for the envelope. They told him that if no one claimed the money in six months, it was his. During that time, he tried his best to find part-time work and eventually got out of the homeless shelter by splitting rent on an apartment with multiple roommates.

Sure enough, six months later, James got to keep the money that he turned in. However, since he had gotten the police involved, the state learned of his new $850 “income,” and they revoked his free Medicaid health care, because he “made too much money.

Karma can be a friend, but then again Karma can come back and bite you in the backside whenever she wants. After all...the name is Karma!

Coffee in the kitchen once again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Does Red Really Mean Fresh...?

I know that all of us have a tendency to choose the red meat as the freshest, but is it really? Here is another article from Listverse that may help to answer that question.

Supermarkets Add Carbon Monoxide To Make Meat Redder

Do you consider the redness of meat an indication of its freshness?

Well! Redness does not always equate to freshness. Supermarkets usually blast their meat with carbon monoxide—the same deadly gas released in car exhaust—to make it red. And that meat will remain red even when it is spoiled.

Meat naturally turns brown or gray a few days after it is cut. To prevent this, the meat industry invented modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). They expose the meat to carbon monoxide before putting it in the MAP packages. This allows the meat to remain fresh for up to a year. Seventy percent of meat sold in stores in the US is treated with MAP.

Consumer groups have attempted to stop the meat industry from using the deadly carbon monoxide in their products. However, the meat industry says it will continue to use carbon monoxide because consumers will not buy any meat that is not fresh.

I guess if we wanted to look at it realistically, we are all at the mercy of the food industry in one way or another. Almost enough to drive us to drink, isn't it?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning...or would you rather have tea?

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Baby Carrot Mystery...!

While this really isn't a mystery, it does contain some information you might find interesting. This article was one I took from Listverse.

Baby Carrots Are Man-made

Baby carrots are the Disney characters of the carrot world. These veggies are small, rounded, and peeled. They also have that stunning orange color. Unlike larger carrots, baby carrots are considered ready to eat. Most baby carrot lovers do not know that baby carrots are just regular carrots trimmed into small sizes.

The first baby carrot was made in the 1980s when Mike Yurosek trimmed some of his broken carrots into smaller sizes. At the time, carrot farmers disposed of 70 percent of their carrots because they were broken or had unappealing shapes. Not willing to lose more revenue, Yurosek used a potato peeler to trim the deformed carrots for sale. They were a success.

Nowadays, farmers deliberately plant carrots for baby carrots. They harvest the vegetables before they are fully matured and trim them into smaller sizes. They will usually wash the carrots with chlorine before rinsing them in water and packaging them for sale. Farms say the chlorine is necessary to kill bacteria like E. coli. However, people have protested against the use of chlorine in food.

All I can say about this article is that I love the size and taste of these carrots. Just right for using in stews and soups, even though they are misleading about the source.

Coffee in the kitchen again. I made cookies last night, though.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The " Eat Anything" Professor...!

We all have one or two little quirks that we don't like to mention...I know I do. However, some folks go overboard with these quirks from time to time. Here is an example from Listverse.

William Buckland

Photo credit: Museum of the History of Science, Oxford

William Buckland was the first trained geology professor at Oxford and avid fan of eating anything. While teaching at Oxford, he dropped a large hyena skull onto the lap of a student and asked, “What rules the world?” When the student didn’t answer, Buckland cried, “The stomach, sir! [It’s the stomach that] rules the world. The great ones eat the less, the less the lesser still . . . “

Guests at Buckland’s house would be treated to this philosophy to the fullest extent. Typical dinners at the table included strange delicacies: Crisp mice in golden batter. Panther chops. Rhino pie. Trunk of elephant. Crocodile for breakfast. Sliced porpoise head. Horse’s tongue. Kangaroo ham. And all of this while a live hyena and monkey roamed freely about the house. There is even a likely apocryphal story of Buckland eating King Louis XIV’s heart, in which Buckland says, “I have eaten many strange things, but have never eaten the heart of a king before,” and promptly shoves the heart in his mouth. Delightful.

Professor or not, it sounds to me that this guy wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen again today. Sorry about that.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Seal, Go Blow Your Nose...!

Now here is something that you don't see every day. Another one of nature's critters (a seal) with an eel up it's nose! Here is the story from Listverse.

The Mysterious Seal-Eel Connection

Photo credit: Brittany Dolan/NOAA Fisheries

There’s a new fad out there which has baffled scientists and poses a serious health risk: sticking eels up your nose. There’s just one catch, though. It’s not teenagers who are doing it but rather juvenile Hawaiian monk seals.

The story got picked up after the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) posted a picture of a seal with a dead spotted eel stuck up its nose on its Facebook page. The image puzzled animal experts, who’d never seen the bizarre phenomenon before. According to NOAA, the organization has been monitoring the endangered species for almost 40 years and had only noticed the odd incident on a few occasions, and they all happened in the last three years.

Charles Littnan, head of NOAA’s Hawaiian monk seal research program, said the first instance occurred in 2016.[2] He received an e-mail from a field researcher which, basically, said, “Found seal with eel stuck in nose. What do we do?” There was no protocol set in place back then, but now, standard procedure is to capture the animal and pull the eel through the nostril. So far, all the eels have died, but none of the Hawaiian monk seals seemed affected by the incident.

There’s still the question of why is this happening, and so far, there is no satisfying answer. NOAA has ruled out the work of a deranged person with a vendetta against seals. Littnan said it could be that the seal is regurgitating the eel, or the fish purposely swam inside the nose while the seal was hunting it, but doesn’t consider either hypothesis plausible.

I seem to remember that when we were kids, one of my sisters (I don't remember which one) got something stuck up her nose and had to go to the doctor's office to have it removed. If memory serves, it was a bean, and had started to sprout!

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

A Viking Invention...?

Who would have ever guessed that the Vikings were almost obsessed with their appearance. Here is an invention of the Vikings that seems nearly out of character for them.


Photo credit:

Most Viking inventions and innovations were related to the hit-and-run military campaigns conducted during their raids and involved shipbuilding, camping, combat, and other related practical enterprises. Despite their penchant for waging guerrilla warfare, it seems that the Vikings were vain about their appearance. When they sailed off in search of plunder, they took with them the combs they created from deer antlers.

“You might expect these to be throwaway objects, but in some cases, they were superbly decorated, and all were massively over engineered,” archaeologist Steve Ashby said. He added that the combs were made of the same material as specialized tools like polishers, saws, and rasps.

For Vikings, appearance was an important aspect of their identity. “They took a great deal of care with their grooming and often carried combs with their swords and knives on their belts. They frequently even took combs to the grave,” Ashby explained.

After the Norman Conquest in the 11th century, comb-making died out in England. This may have been the result of the Forest Law, or perhaps antlers became prohibitively expensive. But, in Sweden, combs imported from Norway continued to be purchased and used.

I guess when you are running all around the known world raping and pillaging, you might be wanting to look your best. Gotta try and look your best, I reckon.

Guess we better have coffee in the kitchen this morning. The weather seems suspect.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Feeling Nostalgic...?

Here is a little fact about the feeling of nostalgia that you may find interesting. It probably applies more to those of us a bit older in years that it does to the young folks out there.

There are two different types of nostalgia. Restorative nostalgia is when you feel like things used to be better and you long to relive the past, and reflective nostalgia is when you feel wistful about how different things used to be, but you maintain a sense of amused acceptance.

Now I guess we need to ask ourselves which type we fall under...and if even really matters.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Beautiful And Strange "Light Pillars"...!

So often the night sky offers us a free and totally spectacular show, just because Mother Nature feels that we need it. These Light Pillars are just one example of what I mean.

Light Pillars

Photo credit: Christoph Geisler

Light pillars are an extremely elegant phenomenon where vertical bands of light appear from a light source. This effect is caused by the interaction of light with ice crystals that are in the atmosphere or are suspended in the clouds. The prominence of the light pillars has a direct relationship with how large the crystals in the atmosphere are. In other words, the larger the crystal, the more pronounced the light beams become. Common sources of light are the Sun, the Moon, and streetlights. These dazzling spectacles have been known to appear during sunrises, sunsets, and at night in places like Northern Ontario, Alaska, and even Arizona.

Pillars caused by artificial sources like street lights are often taller than light pillars caused by natural sources like the Sun, which creates a phenomenon known as sun pillars or solar pillars, and the Moon. The pillars you see aren’t actually over the lights as they appear to be but are optical illusions like halos.

I found this article over at Listverse, in case you are interested. You ought to check them out.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. The temps are supposed to be around 77...that's great!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Angel Hair On Monday Mystery...!

I am always amazed at the sheer number of mysteries that we have absolutely no answer for, especially those involving nature. Here is an example from Listverse.

Angel Hair

Angel Hair is a rare phenomenon that has so far defied explanation. It is made up of silken threads that rain down on to the earth, but reach out to touch it and it will almost certainly vanish before your eyes. It is a world wide phenomenon with the most regular occurrences from North America, New Zealand, Australia, and western Europe. There is no known proof for what causes this substance, or even what it is made up of. Speculations are that it has come from Spiders or another type of silk-spinning insect, and even UFO’s as it has often been associated with UFO sightings. Because of its sensitive nature, it has been difficult to collect, and to analyse as it is subject to contamination from car exhaust fumes, and even human contact, which could skew the chemical results.

I would like to see some of this stuff up close, ya know...just because I'm the curious type. You believe that, right?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Some History About Tabasco...!

While wandering around the Web looking for an interesting article for today's post, I found a little history of my favorite hot sauce...Tabasco! Where else would I find it but Listverse, of course!

The Civil War Made Tabasco Sauce, And Reconstruction Made It Popular

Photo credit:

In the 1850s, Edmund McIlhenny was a successful banker. In the 1860s, he was bankrupt. The Civil War had ruined his business. With no more money, he moved back into the home of his parents-in-law on Avery Island, Louisiana.

But his luck was about to turn around. Little did he know, the family’s estate was built on a giant salt rock. He mined the salt and made a fortune selling it to the Confederacy. When the Union found out about this strategic reserve of salt, they attacked his salt mine and burned down his farm twice.

Afraid for their lives, the family was forced to flee to Texas. When McIlhenny returned to Louisiana after the war, he planted a vegetable garden. To pile on the bad news, everything he planted died in the salty, burned ground.

In New Orleans, he met a war veteran who told him about some pepper seeds he had from Mexico. McIlhenny made the first bottle of Tabasco sauce from these seeds.

Later, his sons would mass-produce the sauce. It became a hit because it added some necessary flavor to the bland food available during the Reconstruction. It is the same spice that we put on our bland food today.

I'll be the first to agree that Tabasco certainly has a flavor all it's own, although it is a tad spicy. I love the stuff!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's cool, but the sun is shining for a change!

Friday, January 4, 2019

A Real "Fishy" Story...!

By now we have heard many, many stories about the crazy things Mother Nature does. Here is just one more example of Her mysterious pranks, or miracles...depending on your outlook.

Yoro, Honduras

Photo credit:

There is at least one place in the world where a fish rain is a roughly scheduled event that the residents look forward to. The Lluvia de Peces (“Rain of Fish”) has occurred at least once a year since the 1800s.

Each May or June, locals rely on storms to bring the fish to the streets of Yoro, where the creatures are collected to provide much anticipated food for the town’s residents.

The culprits, or benefactors in this case, are most likely waterspouts. They suck up fish that are carried by winds and dropped later, although the local people in Yoro believe that the source of the fish is divine.

Father Jose Manuel Subirana, a Catholic priest of some local standing, was believed to have prayed for food for the people of the area and was answered with a rain of fish. Since 1998, there has been a festival and parade honoring Father Subirana and his prayer for intercession.

The fish themselves may be different species each year, brought from a different part of the ocean. An alternate theory is that the animals are blind, underground lake fish that are forced up to the streets by regular flooding of their underground home.

Either way, it’s a good feast for the locals.

No matter where the fish come from or whether or not they are divine intervention, the important thing is that the people are putting the fish to good use. That's a win in my book! Of course I found this story on Listverse.

Coffee in the kitchen once more, but the sun is supposed to show up today!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Can You Say Crazy...?

Sometimes certain folks get to a point in their lives that they go just a bit crazy...maybe even more than a bit. I can't imagine what else would cause this man do do what he did, can you?

The Saw

Get ready to squeam again. We won’t say we’re sorry—you’re the one who keeps reading. In June 2011, emergency services dispatched an ambulance to the home of 65-year-old Barrie Hepburn. Barrie was a retired sports car enthusiast and a paraplegic. He’d been left wheelchair-bound in 2000 after being shot by a neighbor in an argument. Barrie had told the emergency operator that he was bleeding heavily, and they feared the worst, as he had fallen silent during the call. They certainly weren’t expecting what they found, which was the shock of their lives, and the grisly stuff urban legends are made from.

Barrie, who had lost all feeling in his legs, had made an enthusiastic attempt to remove one of them with a hacksaw. He had recently become despondent because he was having so much trouble getting into and out of his beloved sports cars, and his overtures to his doctors about amputation had thus far been rebuffed. Barrie had apparently decided that if he began the surgery himself, doctors wouldn’t have any choice but to continue. When the paramedics arrived his right leg was almost totally detached, the plastic sack he’d used for a tourniquet covered in massive amounts of blood, and his bag was sitting beside him, neatly packed for the hospital.

I think the man needed some mental treatment more than anything else. I found this disturbing story on Listverse.

Coffee in the kitchen again, as it is still cold and rainy outside.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Mysterious , Lonely Grave...!

I think that finding some old artifacts while being on a archeology dig would be a very rewarding experience. However, sometimes there is a hint of mystery attached to one or more of the finds. Here is an example from Listverse.

Bizarre Bird Skull Burial

Photo credit: Malgorzata Kot/University of Warsaw

In 2018, a project re-examined long-stored artifacts found in Tunel Wielki Cave in Poland. When researchers opened one box, they discovered a child’s skeleton—minus the head. The youngster suffered from malnutrition and died, aged ten, during the late 18th or early 19th century. Beyond that, the story turned hazy. Oddly, the shallow grave was alone, not just in its own cave but all over the region, where not a single other cave burial existed.

When researchers sought answers in an old photograph and the case notes, things got downright bizarre. The skeleton was discovered in the late 1960s, and right afterward, the skull vanished when it was sent off for analysis—but not before archaeologists recorded a strange burial practice. For unknown reasons, somebody placed the tiny skull of a bird (a chaffinch) in the child’s mouth. Pressed against the youngster’s cheek was another chaffinch head. The lonely grave was already mysterious, but the inclusion of two tiny bird skulls stumped the experts.

I think the act of trying to piece together the puzzle of how or what some old, aged find was used for would be exciting...not to mention satisfying if you could figure it out!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Help yourself to the coffee as I have a blood test at the V.A. and I need to go study for it!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


I just have one thing to say today...and I think you all know what it is.


I want to thank each and everyone for hanging with me over the past year. You will probably never know just how much I appreciate it ! Believe me, you mean the world to me...REALLY !

A special thanks to Momlady for the care package and to Jo, who is always there to give me a hug when I need it! Hugs for everyone this morning ! OK?

A heaping platter of cookies and coffee are waiting in the kitchen today !!!