I am going to take a break from posting for a while. The reason...I sold my house and am in the process of moving. I don't have a lot, but getting all settled in at a new place may take some time. I'm sure you all know how it goes...right?
I have no idea when I'll be back or if I will even continue to blog daily. Started out to be fun, but it may be time to hang it up. We'll just have to see how it goes, ya know? If possible I may be set up enough to begin posting again from the new place.
Sorry, but after today there won't be any more coffee served on the patio. That kinda makes me sad!
Many untold mysteries over time have gone completely unanswered, and remain so to this day. Here from Listverse is yet another.
In 1836 a group of boys set off for Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland to hunt rabbits. Intrigued by a concealed cave, the boys decided to peek inside. After pulling away the stones covering the entrance, they stumbled upon 17 miniature coffins, each with a wooden doll inside. The dolls had big eyes and were dressed in cotton clothing. When the discovery was reported in the Scotsman newspaper, the article mentioned that the coffins were decorated with funeral trappings and it seemed that they had been placed inside the cave recently. As is always the case with unexplained discoveries, multiple theories were presented to try and explain the coffins. Some people thought it might be children playing a trick, while others mused that witches might have used the coffins for rituals. Yet another theory said that the coffins may have been part of an ancient custom to give sailors who died at sea a Christian burial. A dark theory suggested that the coffins may have been set up in tribute of killers William Burke and William Hare who murdered 17 people. The true purpose of the coffins and who placed them in the cave remains a mystery.
You would think after all this time, someone would have discovered the reason for the miniature coffins. One more unanswered tale of mystery, I reckon.
Coffee out on the patio this morning.Temps are supposed to be in the 70s.
Sometimes folks have to go to great lengths to get an invention noticed. Such was the case in this next story from Listverse.
Incubated Babies Fairs
Photo credit: Wikimedia
Before the 20th century, premature babies had very little chance of survival. That was set to change when Dr. Martin Corney invented his incubator, but not many people trusted the machine. Hospitals rejected it, and investors were not forthcoming. To prevent the death of his invention and convince skeptics, Couney came up with a very strange and crazy solution. He built an exhibit in which premature babies will be put on display at fairs and parks. The first exhibit, or “child hatchery,” opened in Berlin in 1896. He soon moved to the US, where he opened an exhibit on Coney Island. Couney’s exhibit looked like a normal hospital. He placed babies in wards and employed doctors and nurses to look after them. The only difference was that one side of the ward was glass, and people watched through it. The exhibit was very successful. Parents brought their premature babies to Couney and did not have to pay for medical care. The customers were charged up to 25 cents for the show, and the money collected paid for all expenses. Most of the premature children on display survived. By the time incubated babies fairs ended four decades later, Couney had managed to convince everyone that his incubators were safe.
Not a traditional approach, but it seemed to have done the job. That's what counts, I reckon.
Coffee inside again, even though it is supposed to warm up some out on the patio.
You just never know when some bad Karma is gonna get you. Here is a story from Listverse that shows what I mean.
An Office Chair
Photo credit: Anorak
Office chairs have a small tank of compressed air underneath their seats that allow them to go up and down. Unfortunately, a line of chairs manufactured in China had a defect in the canisters. In 2009, a 14-year-old-boy named Xiaogang went to adjust his chair when it exploded while he was still sitting in it. Shards of broken plastic and metal shot through the cushion and directly into his anus. He was brought to the hospital, but he was bleeding so much that he died. Since the original report of this incident was in Chinese, a group of English-speaking Internet sleuths on Skeptics Stack Exchange wanted to figure out how true this story actually was by translating Chinese news sites. It turns out that not only was this true, but several people had similar injuries. The chair was quickly taken off the market, and we can only hope that none ever made it overseas.
Most of what we think we know about gunfights in the old west is incorrect. Here is a story about a real gunfight to show what it was really like.
As far as one-sided shoot-outs go, there is probably none greater than the gunfight that took place on December 1, 1884 in Reserve, New Mexico. On one side, we had just one lawman by the name of Elfego Baca. On the other we had a group of angry cowboys numbering anywhere between 40 and 80 people. It all started when Baca arrested a drunk by the name of Charlie McCarty for shooting his guns randomly. However, McCarty had a lot of dangerous friends who soon came demanding his release. Baca managed to fend off this initial attack when the leader was killed by his own horse toppling onto him. By this time, word started spreading that there was some kind of Mexican uprising, so an angry mob formed to deal with it. When the mob arrived in town, Baca was holed up inside a small house belonging to a local. When William Hearne, the leader of the mob, tried to break down the door, Baca killed him with two shots, officially starting a shoot-out that would last a staggering 36 hours. Supposedly, up to 80 people took part in the gunfight and shot up to 4,000 rounds into the house. None of them hit Baca. The reason: The house had a dirt floor, and he’d dug a hole into it, lending himself cover. Eventually, the posse ran out of bullets. When proper authorities arrived, they surrendered, leaving Baca victorious.
Guess this just proves that even the good guys can win once in a while.
Coffee inside this morning. Way too cold out on the patio.
Nature sure can come up with some things we just can't understand. This case of the Fireflies is certainly one of them. Here is the story from Listverse.
If you walk along the bank of Thailand’s Mae Klong river at night, you might witness one of the most incredible visual displays in nature—tens of thousands of fireflies blinking in perfect unison. Nobody knows why they do it, just that it’s part of their mating ritual. But the real mystery is how they’re able to synchronize their pulsing lights. It’s a localized communication that spreads through the swarm like ripples in a pond—if you were to watch the light show from the beginning, you’d see it start with just a handful of fireflies, who found the right rhythm. From that small pocket, the rhythm sweeps through the rest of the population, until they’re all perfectly synchronized. What was chaos becomes machine-like precision. It’s not just Thai fireflies that do it, either. The same phenomenon has been seen everywhere from Japan to Texas. All we know is that it’s a male-exclusive behavior.
It's almost like these guys are just showing off, ya know? Sure must be something to see, though.
Sometimes a great mystery is found completely by accident. Sadly, when this happens, it opens up a myriad of questions. Here is the story from Listverse.
In 1964, a farmer discovered the remains of three men in a pit grave on the flood pain of Sacramento River. They had died about 1,500 years ago, and all showed signs of extreme physical trauma. One victim had seven arrows embedded in his ribs. Obsidian blades were still lodged in the spines of the other two. This was not a proper burial. Their bodies were splayed out chaotically. There were no grave goods. Experts believe that 560 years ago, central California was a war zone marked by violent territorial battles. Fractured skulls, broken bones, and trophies made of human remains fill the archaeological record from this period. Isotope analysis of their teeth revealed that the prodigal sons were born and raised locally, but had spent most of their adult life elsewhere—north of the Sacramento River, suggesting that hunter-gatherers had been even more mobile than previously thought. Why had the prodigal sons returned home? And who was waiting for them?
See what I mean? Just one more historical mystery that we will never know the answers to. We have a lot of those, don't we?
Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning.
For some unknown reason, folks seem to have always been fascinated with crime scenes, especially those involving murder. This was a very common practice in the early 1900s. Here is the info from Listverse.
Murder in Miniature
The Raree Show
If one couldn’t make it to the murder scene in person, the next best thing was viewing a model at a fair or from a street entertainer. The customer paid the fee, put his eye to a hole in the side of a wooden box, and was able to view a recreation of the crime scene in miniature. The luridly painted backdrops (complete with the victim weltering in his/her gore) could be changed while the operator recited the story of the crime, which might also include the murderer’s hanging. At night, the scenes were dramatically lit with candles. For some reason, nineteenth century newspapers sometimes called these exhibitions, “camera obscura.” These exhibitions remained popular until the invention of the mechanical peep show.
I reckon this was the same thing as slowing down to gander at a traffic accident, such as we do today. Gruesome habit, I think.
Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's cold outside.
Here are a few crazy historical facts you might be unaware of from Listverse. Some I knew, but others I didn't.
1. Before the Boston Tea Party, the British actually lowered tea taxes, not raised them. 2. England’s King George I was actually German. 3. Abel Tasman “discovered” Tasmania, New Zealand and Fiji, on his first voyage, but managed to completely miss mainland Australia! 4. Ethnic Irishman Bernardo O’Higgins was the first president of the Republic of Chile. 5. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on the same day – the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. 6. When the American Civil War started, Confederate Robert E. Lee owned no slaves. Union general U.S. Grant did. 7. Kaiser Wilhelm II, Tsar Nicholas II and George V were all grandchildren of Queen Victoria. 8. Karl Marx was once a correspondent for the New York Daily Tribune. 9. Josef Stalin once studied to be a priest. 10. Henry Kissinger and Yassir Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize. Gandhi never did. 11. The Constitution of the Confederate States of America banned the slave trade. 12. The Finnish capital of Helsinki was founded by a Swedish king in 1550. 13. The “D” in D-Day stands for “Day” – “Day-Day” 14. There was a New Australia in Paraguay in the 1890s. 15. A New Orleans man hired a pirate to rescue Napoleon from his prison on St. Helena. 16. Like Dracula (Vlad Tepes), there really was a King Macbeth. He ruled Scotland from 1040 to 1057. 17. In 1839, the U.S. and Canada fought the bloodless “War of Pork and Beans”. 18. Despite the reputation, Mussolini never made the trains run on time. 19. The world powers officially outlawed war under the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact. 20. Ancient Egypt produced at least six types of beer.
I figured you might enjoy these little tidbits of history. I know I did.
So many times we forget just what a strong presence the women had in the Old West. From Listverse here is the story of one such woman.
Photo credit: South Dakota Historical Society
In the 1800s, most people thought of poker as a man’s game, until they met Alice Tubbs. Born in Sudbury, England as Alice Ivers, the woman moved to America with her family in 1865 and was sent to a boarding school for young ladies. She moved west and started cleaning out every cowboy dumb enough to deal a deck of cards. Some claim her dad taught her how to hold ’em, while others say she learned by watching her gambler husband, Frank Dunning. Either way, she quickly became the queen of the card table, picking up the nickname “Poker Alice” for her incredible skills and winning an estimated $250,000 over her lifetime. After her first husband died, she traveled the country, playing in the biggest towns in the west. She even ran a table in a saloon owned by Bob Ford—the man who killed Jesse James—and was there when someone gunned him down. Throughout her career, Alice was known for wearing the best dresses money could buy, probably to keep her male competitors distracted. She was an expert at counting cards, regularly smoked cigars, and was known for her catchphrase, “Praise the Lord and place your bets, and I’ll take your money with no regrets!” Still, she was regarded as a proper lady who often quoted Scripture and never played cards on Sunday. Alice married Warren Tubbs and retired to a life of childbearing and chicken farming. But after Warren died in 1910, Alice went back to the card tables. Despite her age, she hadn’t lost any of her poker prowess. In fact, after pawning her wedding ring to pay for Warren’s funeral, she soon won enough cash to get the ring back. After marrying for a third time, Alice opened a casino near Fort Meade, South Dakota. And before her death in 1930, she was arrested for running a brothel, murdered a man for bad behavior, openly defied Prohibition laws, and earned a gubernatorial pardon at the age of 75.
If nothing else, this ol' gal was certainly colorful. What an interesting person she must have been.
Nature is always surprising us with something we can't quite figure out. Such is the case of these little jewels I found on Listverse.
Photo credit: blog.mycology.cornell.edu
Many fungi are bioluminescent and produce light, but no one is entirely certain just why they do it. The dominant idea is that the light is used to lure insects in much the same way that stinkhorns use their odor. Like bugs around a porch light, these insects hit the mushrooms and help to spread spores. The phenomenon of glowing fungi has been noted for millennia. The eerie green glow of rotting wood (actually produced by the fungi consuming it) has been called fox fire and faerie fire. The light is caused by an enzyme called luciferase. Now that we know how the fungi produce light, there have been suggestions that genetic engineering could be used to make trees that glow in the dark to light paths.
I really don't mind a few surprises from Mother Nature, especially nice ones such as this.
Coffee out on the patio this morning. Temps are back to the high 70s.
Any murder case is sad enough, but when the victim is an infant it is even more sad. In this case from Listverse, the family might just be responsible for the whole thing.
Nicole Lee Hattamer
On the night of December 26, 1989, 10-month-old Nicole Lee Hattamer disappeared from her crib in her grandparents’ home in Holcombe, Wisconsin. The baby’s teenage mother, her grandparents, and the mother’s younger brother and sister were all at home at the time. No one could find the baby. The family called 911, and first responders searched the area. Shortly after midnight, the baby’s frozen body was found lying face-down, 22 meters (72 ft) from the house in the backyard. Nicole obviously didn’t make it out there by herself. An autopsy was performed, showing that the infant died from a either a chest injury or exposure. The police believe that the chest injury was caused when Nicole was thrown several feet and landed on her chest, which caused internal bleeding. The police also believe that the infant died outside because she was holding a single blade of grass. The unsolved murder haunted the community, which only had a population of 920 people. The FBI investigated the crime in 1992 but didn’t turn up any leads. There were also two John Doe hearings, one in April 1990 and another in December 1998. John Doe hearings are special hearings to gather information for an active investigation, and the only people in the court are the judge, the prosecutor, the court reporter, the witness, and the witness’s attorney. Also, the witness’s attorney is not allowed to aid the witness. At the trial in 1990, Nicole’s grandparents, Lou Ann and Lee Hattamer, pleaded the fifth on some questions. Also, the retired sheriff who worked on the case said that he found it puzzling that no one from the Hattamer family had ever called the sheriff’s department to check on the progress of the case. The police believe that the only way the crime will be solved is if someone confesses or comes forward with new information.
You really have to wonder what was going on with this small victim's family. Sounds pretty shady to me, that's for sure!
A little strange having Freaky Friday the day after halloween, isn't it? From Listverse, here is the story about Spooner Well.
The Spooner Well
On July 2, 1778, Bathsheba Spooner gained the distinction of being the first woman to be executed in the United States after the country gained its independence. Her husband also received a unique distinction—two headstones. One was placed over his grave in a nearby cemetery, and the other one marks the location of his death. It reads, “Spooner Well—Joshua Spooner murdered and thrown down this well March 1, 1778, by three Revolutionary soldiers at the urging of his wife Bathsheba.” In 1777, 32-year-old Bathsheba began an affair with a 17-year-old soldier named Ezra Ross. When Ross got her pregnant, Bathsheba plotted to murder her husband before he could find out. She met two British deserters, and used a combination of rum and promises of sexual favors to rope them into helping her. That night, when Joshua Spooner walked into the house, one of the soldiers ambushed him and beat him to death. Bathsheba helped the soldier and her lover throw the body down the well, which was later named the Spooner Well to mark the dastardly deed. Everyone involved was arrested within 24 hours, and it didn’t take much longer for them to be convicted. Bathsheba pleaded for a stay of her execution to give her a chance to deliver her baby. It wasn’t granted, and she was hanged while five months pregnant.
Seems like a good tale to be told the day after Halloween, don't you think? Just shows how evil some folks can be, I reckon.
Coffee inside this morning. A little too chilly out on the patio.