Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Legend Of Stingy Jack...!

Halloween is a time for many legends and folk tales, some coming from far away.

Often these tales become a part of our tradition, or at the very least, a basis for modern activities of today. The story of Stingy Jack is one such tale.


People have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack-o’-lanterns.

I hope everyone has a good and happy Halloween, with more treats than tricks. Got plenty of goodies stashed away, right?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning due to the rain. Hope it does less damage than it did in Central Texas.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Useful "Rats" In Politics...!

Now here is an idea that worked, crazy as it sounds.

This man was an activist with a knack for getting things done. Maybe his approach wasn't politically correct, but hey...whatever works, right?

One Man’s Ambitious Plan To Take On Washington’s Rat Problem
By Debra Kelly on Wednesday, October 28, 2015

In the mid-1960s, Washington, DC, had a rat problem. When only half of the city received funding to fix the problem, Julius Hobson decided that was not acceptable. Catching a dozen “possum-sized” rats, he threatened to release them into the Georgetown area unless lawmakers cleaned up the entire city equally. When the press ran with the story, claiming that he had truckloads of rats he was going to dump on the White House, the rest of the city got its funding.

A lot of big cities have rat problems, even though some of those problems are constantly exaggerated. In the mid-1960s, though, Washington, DC, had a very real rat problem, and it got worse in certain parts of the city. When it came to pest control, the parts of the city where the more affluent citizens went about their daily business were much more likely to get the funding that was needed to take care of the rat problem.

Meanwhile, the northeast and southeast sections of the city languished in the summer heat and an infestation of giant rats.

Sick of the problem, activist Julius Hobson decided to take on the problem in a very direct way. If half the city had to deal with rats, then the other half should, too.

Hobson set up rat traps and caught dozens of what were later described as “possum-sized” rats. He then made it quite clear that unless something was done to fix the problem in the other half of the city, the affluent, mostly white part of DC was going to have a problem. Hobson drove the cages of rats into Georgetown, saying he would let them go and keep doing so until lawmakers got the message.

In an interview in The Washingtonian, he said that “a D.C. problem usually is not a problem until it is a white problem,” so that’s what he intended to create.

And there was nothing that lawmakers or law enforcement could do to stop him from making his threats and carrying them out. Hobson was doing nothing illegal, simply catching rats and cleaning up one part of the neighborhood. There were no requirements as to what he had to do with the rats afterward, and releasing them right into the middle of Georgetown and the homes of countless Congressmen was a perfectly legal thing to do.

It worked, in part because of the tactics themselves, and in part because the press did what the press often does best: It blew the whole thing out of proportion. At one point, it was reported that he had not just a cage of rats, but a whole truck full of them, and they were all destined for the White House. It was also reported that he had a whole fleet of rat-catchers standing at the ready to catch more rats.

In the end, his plan was a resounding success. The other parts of the city got their funding. Later, Hobson came clean about the whole thing. The papers had done him justice, when in reality, it had only been him and about a dozen rats that he admitted were an absolute nightmare to catch. And even those rats he didn’t release in Georgetown; he disposed of them in the Potomac.

Tragically, Hobson died in 1977, only 54 years old. A victim of cancer, he had been an acting city councilman, and one of the figures instrumental in raising awareness to get Washington, DC, elevated to statehood. His obituary lists some incredible accomplishments, including radically overhauling the educational system, working tirelessly to ensure racial equality when it came to hiring practices, and being a driving force behind civil rights reform. An Alabama-born World War II veteran with three bronze stars, he continued to work almost until the day he died.

Like this article from Knowledgenuts shows, sometimes it takes a slightly crazy plan to motivate law makers.

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

World Changing Comic Books...!

Sometimes the most unlikely heroes show up in strange places. From Knowledgenuts here is a good example.
How Comic Books Are Changing The World
By Nolan Moore on Monday, October 26, 2015

Comic books are way more than just colorful stories about superheroes. They actually have the power to change the world. Whether they’re fighting sexual violence, taking a stand against extremism, or helping a kid come to terms with a disability, comics are definitely making the world a better place.

Movies and novels can change the way we see the world, but what about comic books? Can stories about superheroes really impact how people think? Well, the answer is an emphatic “yes.” Artists around the globe use comics to influence society and change cultures . . . or help just one little kid.

In 2012, four-year-old Anthony Smith decided he wasn’t going to wear his hearing aid anymore. This was bad news since Anthony was deaf in his right ear and suffered from hearing loss in his left. His hearing aid (which he’d nicknamed the “blue ear”) was all that connected him to the world of sound.

Anthony was upset none of his favorite superheroes wore hearing aids, so his mom sent Marvel Comics an email, asking for help. Amazingly, the folks at Marvel responded. Not only did they explain Hawkeye (played by Jeremy Renner in The Avengers movies) wore hearing aids in the ‘80s, they created a new hero especially for Anthony.

Marvel sent Anthony two pin-ups of a crime fighter named “Blue Ear,” a masked vigilante who uses hearing aids to listen for people in distress. Inspired, Anthony decided his hearing aid was actually pretty cool after all.

But Marvel took things further when they teamed up with the Children’s Hearing Institute to create an actual comic book where Blue Ear joins Iron Man “to educate the world about the hearing impaired and also share a preventative warning about the dangers of loud audio.”

It’s a sweet story that shows the real-life power of superheroes, but sometimes, comics are called on to tackle subjects even heavier than hearing loss. In 2012, artist and filmmaker Ram Devineni was horrified when a 23-year-old Delhi woman was gang-raped and killed in India. But when he visited the city to witness the subsequent protests, he discovered something incredibly disturbing.

While interviewing an Indian police officer about the attack, the cop claimed “no good girl walks home alone at night.” Devineni was also shocked to find many rape victims were shamed and threatened into keeping quiet by the police and their families. The victims were actually blamed for provoking the attacks, and the rapists often got away scot-free.

Suddenly, Devineni realized sexual violence was just a symptom of a culture where women are often viewed as second-class citizens. Hoping to change how Indian teens think about rape, gender, and equality, Devineni created Priya’s Shakti, a comic about a girl named Priya who dreams of becoming a teacher. Unfortunately, she lives in a misogynistic society where she’s forbidden from going to school and eventually kicked out of her family’s home after she’s raped.

That’s when Priya meets the Hindu goddess Parvati, who gives the young woman a magical ability to change people’s minds. After taming a wild tiger, Priya rides back to her village on the big cat and uses her gift to teach the villagers to respect women, encourage education, and stand up for justice, no matter the gender. Hey, everybody listens when you’re riding a tiger, but this awesome Indian superhero isn’t the only character who’s changing the way kids think about their society.

Over in Jordan, Suleiman Bakhit is using comics to fight against religious extremism. His origin story starts in the US, shortly after 9/11, when he was beaten up for being Arabic. Realizing many people associated “Arabs” with “terrorists,” Bakhit began traveling the US and sharing his story with kids, hoping to give them a different impression.

During one of his talks, a girl asked if there was an Arabic Barbie. Other kids wondered if there was an Arabic Batman or Superman, and that’s when the wheels in Bakhit’s head began turning. He realized there was a shortage of Arabic heroes in pop culture, and according to this Middle Eastern artist, that’s a really big problem.

According to Bakhit, quite a few Jordanian kids admire terrorists like Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Why? Well, the kids hear these guys are freedom fighters, defending their homeland against the evil West. The terrorists present themselves as good guys, and since there aren’t any heroes to counteract their claims, kids idolize these real-life supervillains. “Right now,” he told Vice, “all governments are saying is ‘Don’t be a terrorist.’ The extremists are saying, ‘Be a hero.’ ”

That’s when Bakhit decided to fight back with pen and paper. He founded his own company and created several comic book series like Element Zero, a story that focuses on a Jordanian Special Forces operator who’s billed as the Middle Eastern Jack Bauer. Other comics include an Arabic Popeye-like character, and there’s also a modern-day retelling of One Thousand and One Nights.

The stories were so popular that they sold over 1.2 million copies. Currently, Bakhit is working on a new project called “Hero Factor.” He describes it as an “Arab Disney” that’ll provide teens with positive role models via movies, TV shows, and even more comics. And according to Bakhit, he’s already starting to see a change in the way Jordanian kids view these extremist groups.

Evidently, the terrorists see it too. In 2008, Bakhit was attacked by a razor-wielding radical who left a long scar across his face. But according to Suleiman, that means his plan is working. “I realized their attack meant I was doing the right thing,” he told NPR. “I kicked the hornet’s nest.”

You know what? No matter where the help comes from, what source is used, if anything can really aid in turning the world into a better place, I'm going to be supportive of it. Seems like a good thing to me!

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Another Pinkerton Story For Western Wednesday...!

I know we've talked about the Pinkertons before, but I don't think we covered this episode.

A group like the Pinkertons was only as good as their reputation and had to act accordingly. This story from shows what I mean.

The Pinkertons warred with Jesse James and his gang.

Jesse and Frank James, c. 1872.

During the era of frontier expansion, express companies and railroads often employed the Pinkertons as Wild West bounty hunters. The agency famously infiltrated the Reno gang—perpetrators of the nation’s first train robbery—and later chased after Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch. The Pinkertons usually got their man, but in the 1870s, they spent months engaged in a fruitless hunt for the bank robbers Jesse and Frank James. One of their agents was murdered while trying to infiltrate the brothers’ Missouri-based gang, and two more died in a shootout.

The hunt came to a bloody end in 1875, when the Pinkertons launched a raid on the James brothers’ mother’s house in Clay County, Missouri. Frank and Jesse were nowhere to be found—they’d been tipped off—but the Pinkertons got into an argument with their mother, Zerelda Samuel. During the standoff, a member of the detectives’ posse tossed an incendiary device through Samuel’s window, blowing part of her arm off and killing the James brothers’ 8-year-old half brother. The botched raid turned public opinion against the Pinkertons. After seeing his detectives denounced as murderers in the papers, Allan Pinkerton reluctantly called off his war against the James gang. Jesse would go on to elude the authorities for another seven years before being killed by an assassin’s bullet in 1882.

I don't imagine that the Pinkerton agency gave up on too many cases, so this one had to hurt their ego a bit.

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Some Pumpkin Facts For You...!

With Halloween just around the corner, I figured this would be a good time to post about the almighty pumpkin.

While the pumpkin isn't really a part of just Halloween, it certainly is used a lot during this celebration. Can't imagine a Halloween without seeing tons of pumpkins carved into jack-o-lanterns! Not to mention all the pumpkin pies around the holidays.


Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini. These plants are native to Central America and Mexico, but now grow on six continents.

The largest pumpkin pie ever baked was in 2005 and weighed 2,020 pounds.

Pumpkins have been grown in North America for five thousand years. They are indigenous to the western hemisphere.

In 1584, after French explorer Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence region of North America, he reported finding “gros melons.” The name was translated into English as “pompions,” which has since evolved into the modern “pumpkin.”

Pumpkins are low in calories, fat, and sodium and high in fiber. They are good sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, potassium, protein, and iron.

The heaviest pumpkin weighed 1,810 lb 8 oz and was presented by Chris Stevens at the Stillwater Harvest Fest in Stillwater, Minnesota, in October 2010.

Pumpkin seeds should be planted between the last week of May and the middle of June. They take between 90 and 120 days to grow and are picked in October when they are bright orange in color. Their seeds can be saved to grow new pumpkins the next year.

Ya know, the first jack-o-lanterns were carved out of turnips and potatoes. Hard to imagine one of those sitting on your porch awaiting the trick or treating, isn't it?

Coffee out on the patio where it's nice and cool this morning!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Another Nuclear Story For Monday Mystery...!

You have to wonder why the PTB in some countries don't seem to show a lot of interest when their scientist turn up dead.

I would think that with these guys being all involved in nuclear research, someone would be pretty concerned. Guess there is more that we are not supposed to know.

Dying Nuclear Scientists In India And Iran

Over the past decade, a string of dead nuclear scientists has concerned many in India. While authorities have ignored the deaths or labeled them as either “unexplained” or “suicides,” many locals are raising questions about the long list of their best and brightest who have died under questionable circumstances.

Two high-ranking engineers on India’s first nuclear-powered sub were found dead on a train line. Although it’s believed they were poisoned, their bodies were left on the tracks to make their deaths look like suicides. However, the police came to a different conclusion. They dismissed the case as two “routine accidents.”

Another man was strangled in his sleep. Some of the investigators tried to pass the death off as a suicide, even though the evidence for murder was overwhelming. Still, no arrests were made. Two other scientists were burned to death in their lab, although they weren’t working with flammable materials when the fire broke out. One official was abducted by an armed group but managed to escape. Again, authorities were quick to brush off the incidents as isolated.

The trend parallels the deaths of Iranian nuclear scientists, but the Iranian deaths are getting far more media attention. The Iranian scientists are being killed with car bombs. Iranian officials and media lay the blame on Israel, which categorically denies any involvement. Fingers are also being pointed at the US, which likewise denies having anything to do with the killings.

Certainly seems to me to be more than meets the eye, if you know what I mean? Sounds more like some nuclear hanky-panky going on to this ol' boy. Thanks to the folks at Listverse for pointing this story out.

Better have our coffee in the kitchen just in case the rain wants to come back.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Silly Symphony Sunday...!

Over the years, Disney has come up with some great cartoons (often just called shorts), so I figured we would look at some today.

Some of these have been around for a long time as you can see.

Not exactly what you would expect from Disney, right?

Sometimes we forget many of the earliest cartoons were all black and white.

One more should fill the bill for today!

Reckon that's all for today. Still raining here right now, but you have a nice day today.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Spy Nathan Hale...!

Often times we remember a quote from some famous person, but don't remember who that person was.

Nathan Hale is probably not very well known, but he often thought of as Americas first spy. Here is his story.

Nathan Hale 

Often dubbed “America’s first spy,” Nathan Hale was a Yale graduate who served in Knowlton’s Rangers, a short-lived Continental reconnaissance unit. When General George Washington’s forces became bottled up on Manhattan Island in September 1776, Hale volunteered for a mission to gather much-needed intelligence behind enemy lines. He was ferried across the Long Island Sound on September 16, slipped into the occupied town of Huntington and began surveying British fortifications and encampments while posing as a schoolmaster.

Hale was undoubtedly courageous, but according to most historians, he wasn’t a very skilled intelligence officer. It only took a few days before his suspicious questions drew attention from loyalist locals, and he later blew his cover after a British agent approached him in a tavern and pretended to be a fellow Patriot spy. Hale was arrested the next day and discovered to have incriminating documents concealed beneath the soles of his shoes. Charged as an illegal combatant, he was executed by hanging on the morning of September 22. According to legend, the 21-year-old patriot faced the gallows with “gentle dignity” before uttering the famous words, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

Now do you remember who Nathan was? Like I said, we remember the quote, but often not the man.

Coffee out on the patio until the rain starts.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The BLOB For Freaky Friday...

Now, I'm not talking about the blob that was the star of a couple of sci-fi movies (one staring Steve McQueen), but an actual Blob out there in space.

Actually, almost anything out in Space could be the focus for Freaky Friday, but we'll stick with the Blob for today. We could never cover all the strange things in space in our short lifetime anyway!

The Newfound Blob

Photo credit: ESO/M. Hayes

In 2006, a mysterious blob was named the largest structure in the universe, although it quickly lost its title to newer discoveries. This blob is a giant mass of gas, dust, and galaxies that is 200 million light-years wide and looks like a cluster of green jellyfish. It was found by Japanese astronomers who had been studying a region of the universe known to have large concentrations of gas. To do this, they placed a special filter on their telescope, which coincidentally allowed them to pick up the presence of the blob.

Each of its three “arms” has galaxies packed four times denser than the universe’s average. The galaxies and the gas bubbles contained within the blob are called Lyman-alpha blobs. These are believed to have formed a mere two billion years after the big bang, just a blink of an eye in the cosmic timeline. Scientists think they formed when massive stars from the universe’s earliest days went supernova and blew out their surrounding gases. Because this structure is so large, the astronomers believe it is one of the very first to have formed. They theorize that in the distant future, even more galaxies will emerge from the gases contained in the blob.

I can't even wrap my head around anything that big. Way too much for my small mind to grasp, I'll tell ya!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, cause the rain never showed up!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hear Of The "Camel Rustling"...?

I live in Texas where cattle rustling was once very active. In fact, some still goes on today.

However, I don't think any of our rustling activities were anywhere as strange as the camel rustling mentioned in this article from Listverese.

Gorgeous Camel Rustling

In 2010, thieves attached ropes to five valuable camels on a Saudi Arabian farm and pulled the bewildered beasts through the gates into a getaway vehicle. These abducted camels were particularly valuable because they had previously won beauty contests. In Saudi Arabia, camels are prized for their beauty, especially if they have pretty eyes, fine cheekbones, and an affectionate nature.

The camels in question were collectively worth a staggering 15 million Saudi riyals, which equates to over $4 million. The daring thieves were caught only a few days later, and the camels were returned.

Some Asian workers staying in Saudi Arabia were also arrested for camel rustling the same year after abducting a camel, beating it to death with iron bars, and feasting on one of its legs. Strangely, two camels were likewise rustled from a farm in Columbia, Missouri, in early March 2015.

Now I know that I am not too familiar with all of the states, but I had know idea that camel rustling was a thing in Missouri! Heck, I didn't even know they had camels in Missouri!

Cpffee in the kitchen this morning, OK? Rain coming our way.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Confederados For Western Wednesday...!

Although not actually a part of our west, this story could be considered western just because of the time frame.

There were some turbulent times after the civil war, and many folks reacted in ways far beyond what you would expect. It's an interesting part of our history we should be aware of.

Who were the Confederados?
SEPTEMBER 9, 2015 By Evan Andrews

confederados, south america, brazil Credit: Buyenlarge/Getty Images

In the years after the Civil War ended, thousands of defiant and disillusioned Confederates fled Reconstruction-era Dixie and headed even farther south to Latin America. Some settled in Mexico and Venezuela, but the lion’s share sailed for Brazil, a former Confederate ally and one of the few countries in the Americas where slavery was still legal. Brazil’s Emperor Dom Pedro II first began luring the colonists in 1866 with newspaper ads and promises of land subsidies. Despite being publically urged not to go by the likes of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, some 10,000 disgruntled Southerners eventually took him up on his offer. Tropical diseases and primitive living conditions saw may of them call it quits and return home, but a few put down roots and began cultivating cotton, sugar and coffee. Settlements sprang up with names like “New Texas,” and their unreconstructed residents became known as “Confederados.”

The Confederados eventually learned Portuguese and intermarried with Brazilian natives, but they also entrenched themselves in rural outposts with Protestant churches, English-language schools and Southern cooking and culture. The most successful settlement was located near Santa Barbara d’Oeste, where a group led by former Alabama Senator William Norris forged a thriving farming community and established a nearby town called Americana. Descendants of the Norris colony and other Confederate exile groups remain in Brazil to this day, and they still celebrate their unusual heritage with an annual “Festa Confederada.” A few even kept their Southern drawl. When future President Jimmy Carter visited the Santa Barbara d’Oeste region in 1972, he was astonished to find that many of its residents spoke English with a South Georgia accent.

There ya go. A touch of western with a slightly different tilt to it! Does that work for Western Wednesday?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Blackmail Story...!

Sometimes the words we hear every day have some interesting origins, if you know what I mean.

This article explains the origin of a word that is almost over used in today's world, especially in politics. In fact, lately it seems like we are bound and determined to make the word "blackmail" a permanent part of the political vocabulary.

Where did the word “blackmail” come from?
OCTOBER 19, 2015 By Elizabeth Nix

The definition of blackmail—the act of demanding that a person pay money or do something in order to avoid having damaging information about him or her exposed—has evolved over time. The word’s origins are linked to the chieftains in the border region between England and Scotland in the 16th century and part of the 17th century. During that period, the chieftains ordered landholders to pay them in order to avoid being pillaged. The “mail” in the word meant “tribute, rent” and was derived from an old Scandinavian word, “mal,” meaning “agreement.” The “black” in blackmail is thought to be a play on “white money,” the term for the silver coins with which tenant farmers traditionally paid their legitimate rent.

One of America’s earliest political sex scandals involved blackmail. In 1791, Alexander Hamilton, then America’s first treasury secretary as well as a married man, became romantically involved with Maria Reynolds, a young woman who claimed she needed money because her husband had abandoned her. When Reynold’s husband, James, reappeared on the scene, he forced Hamilton to pay him in order to keep quiet about the affair. After James Reynolds later got caught in a plot to defraud the federal government, he attempted to implicate Hamilton in the scheme. Confronted by James Monroe and several of his congressional colleagues, Hamilton denied any involvement in the scheme but admitted to his liaison with Maria Reynolds. He gave the congressmen letters from both of the Reynolds that indicated his involvement with James had been about the affair not a financial scheme. Convinced that Hamilton wasn’t involved in government corruption, the congressmen agreed to drop the matter. However, partisan political writer James Callender subsequently got his hands on the letters and in 1797 published the story of Hamilton’s secret affair, while also charging that his payments to James Reynolds were part of a plot to swindle the government. Hamilton, in turn, published a detailed response in which he admitted to marital infidelity but denied the financial corruption charges. The former treasury secretary, who’d left his post in 1795 to return to practicing law, survived the scandal (and even made it onto the face of the $10 bill) but died in 1804 after being mortally wounded by Aaron Burr in America’s most famous duel.

In some ways, not much has changed, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is supposed to start here.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Another Strange Desert Mystery For Monday...!

No matter how you slice it, the deserts of the world contain many, many mysteries. This article from Listverse is another!

Now this one is a little different than the others we've looked at. It involves 4 different states, and that alone is part of the mystery.

Four Corners Gas

Photo credit: Heribert

In 2003, a satellite used to measure methane found a deadly cloud of this greenhouse gas as it passed over the Four Corners in the United States. The Four Corners is the area where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet. Something was releasing a shocking amount of methane equal to 10 percent of annual emissions of methane in all of the United States. This continued for six years. Then it stopped as mysteriously as it had started.

There are nearly 40,000 wells in the area that could have been responsible for the outpouring of greenhouse gas. The purpose of these wells is to extract natural gas, which is mostly methane, from the local coal-rich environment. However, it cannot satisfactorily explain the sheer volume of the greenhouse gas found floating above the Four Corners. According to NASA, the possibility that the six-year methane event was a natural gas leak cannot be discounted. Whether it was man-made or natural, researchers are still trying to discover the origin of the methane, a gas more effective at creating global warming than carbon dioxide.

So many of the stories we look at are thrown at us by Mother Nature. She has many to share, that's for sure!

Coffee out on the patio!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Goofy Cartoons On Sunday...!

Once again it's Sunday and that means...well, you know!

And just one more...

OK...that's enough for today! You all have a good one now, ya hear?

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Tale Of A Doomed Ship For Saturday...

Stories about ships and the sea are always a good read, right? So how about a sea-faring mystery for Saturday?

This story, from KnowledgeNuts, has a little of everything, Murder, arson, lies, deciet, and a really bad man that almost got away with it all.

The Creepy Story Of George White Rogers & The SS Morro Castle
By Nolan Moore on Thursday, October 15, 2015

In 1934, over 100 people died when the luxury liner SS Morro Castle caught on fire. No one ever discovered who or what started the blaze, but chances are good it had something to do with George White Rogers. The ship’s chief radio engineer, Rogers was an incredibly creepy character linked to several mysterious fires—and two gory murders.

Note: The above photo of the Morro Castle was taken as it burned at sea.

Every week, the SS Morro Castle set sail from New York and made its way across the Atlantic before finally docking in Havana, Cuba. This 155-meter-long (508 ft.), turboelectric vessel was nicknamed the “millionaire’s yacht,” and with its wood-paneled interior, its beautiful ballroom, and old-timey air conditioning, the ship was a wonder to behold. It was also supposed to be one of the safest ships on the seven seas. But we all know things never end well when you shake your fist at fate.

On Friday 7, 1934, the Morro Castle was hit by hurricane-strength winds which tossed the ship back and forth like a bath toy. Making matters even worse, the captain was dead. Not long before the storm hit, Captain Robert Wilmott was found dead in his bathtub. The ship’s doctor thought Wilmott had died of a heart attack, but everyone remembered the captain’s words shortly before his demise. According to Wilmott, there was a radical onboard, a dirty communist planning on murdering the captain.

Of course, if there was any truth to Wilmott’s claims, Chief Officer William Warms didn’t have time to investigate. With Wilmott out of the picture, Warms was now acting captain, and while he wasn’t really prepared to lead, he had to guide the Morro Castle through the gale, all while dealing with a monstrous fire engulfing the ship.

Somehow, the blaze had begun in a locker full of ink, paper, and cleaning supplies. At first, it seemed like the crew would have no problem putting out the flames, but thanks to an incredibly high turnover rate on the Morro Castle, nobody had learned how to properly operate the firefighting equipment. Worse still, no one had emphasized the importance of fire drills, so nobody knew where to go or what to do when the flames spread. If someone had immediately sent an SOS, perhaps more lives could have been saved. But something strange was happening in the radio room. George White Rogers, the chief radio engineer, refused to send a distress signal without the captain’s permission. Even as his fingers blistered and the radio batteries exploded from the heat, Rogers insisted on following protocol and waiting for a direct order. Multiple times, George Alanga (Rogers’s assistant) tried asking Acting Captain Warms for permission to call for help, but things were so hectic on the bridge that it took nearly 30 minutes for Warms to recognize Alanga and realize sending a distress signal was probably a good idea. With the captain’s approval, Rogers finally dashed off an SOS, and then the two Georges made their way to the front of the ship to wait for the Coast Guard’s arrival. By the time the ship was evacuated, 86 passengers and 49 crewmen were dead.

When the world learned about the SS Morro Castle, Chief Radio Engineer Rogers became a celebrity. After all, he’d remained so calm in the face of danger, and when the radio’s generator malfunctioned, he was the man who fixed it on the fly. Every newspaper wanted to tell his story. Everyone wanted to read interviews with the courageous radio operator. In fact, Rogers made a killing on Broadway, regaling crowds with his story of high-sea heroics.

George Alanga, on the other hand, was the immediate suspect. Investigators were sure the man had set the Morro Castle on fire. After all, he’d encouraged his crewmates to strike for better working conditions, and hadn’t Captain Wilmott mentioned a radical onboard with murderous intentions? George Rogers even confirmed that Alanga was the man Wilmott was so worried about, and that he’d discovered his assistant was hiding bomb-making chemicals—chemicals which Rogers tossed overboard. While no one ever proved Alanga was the culprit—and no one ever discovered who or what started the fire—the scandal ruined his name and nearly drove him to suicide.

Of course, if the newspapers had known Rogers’ backstory, perhaps they wouldn’t have been so eager to proclaim the man a hero. Unbeknownst to the press or the Ward Line, Rogers was a rapist and a thief who had poisoned his wife’s dog out of spite.

He might also have been an arsonist. Before getting a job aboard the Morro Castle, Rogers had worked at a New York electric company that mysteriously burned to the ground. And after ending his Broadway tour, Rogers opened his own radio shop in New Jersey, but the struggling business that was shortly reduced to ashes.

Perhaps it was all a crazy coincidence, but Lieutenant Vincent Doyle didn’t think so. After his shop was devoured by flames, Rogers found employment as a radio assistant at the Bayonne, New Jersey Police Department, working underneath Lt. Doyle. According to the police officer, Rogers once spun a rather elaborate story about how someone might have set the Morro Castle on fire. The story involved a specially made pen with two compartments, one for acid and one for explosives. Someone with ill intentions might separate these compartments with a copper plate, with the excitement beginning once the acid ate through the plate.

Suddenly, Doyle suspected his coworker might be a murderer masquerading as a hero, and maybe that’s why a mysterious package arrived at the station one day. When Doyle opened the parcel, he found a broken aquarium heater. This was pretty normal around the Bayonne Police Department. People were always leaving little gizmos for Doyle and Rogers to repair as they were both electrically minded fellows. Doyle decided to plug the heater in and give it a look.

That’s when the gadget exploded; it was packed with TNT. Luckily, the lieutenant survived the blast, but when investigators started searching for a suspect, all the evidence pointed at George White Rogers.

While Rogers was sentenced to 12–20 years, he was released during World War II to fight for his country. Of course, Rogers was so creepy that no one wanted his help. Suddenly a free man with nowhere to go, Rogers started his own business, helping the citizens of Bayonne with electric problems. But his new life as a handyman quickly came to an end. On July 1, 1953, Rogers’s neighbors (George Hummel and his daughter) were found beaten to death with a sledgehammer. As the police investigated the case, they learned Rogers was the last one seen with Mr. Hummel, that he owed his neighbor several thousand dollars, and that his pants were stained with blood.

It didn’t take much to convince the jury that Rogers was guilty, and he was sentenced to life behind bars. The man died in prison in 1954, though sources are unclear on the cause of his death. Perhaps it was a heart attack, perhaps it was a brain hemorrhage. Either way, Rogers left quite a few unanswered questions behind when he shuffled off this mortal coil. Was it just a coincidence that Rogers was onboard the Morro Castle when it caught on fire? Was it just bad luck Captain Wilmott’s body was burned up before a coroner could examine the corpse? We’ll never know for sure.

There w2ill always be some truly sick minds on the loose in the world, I'm afraid. All we can do is to hope to survive them until they are caught or killed.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Surprised, huh!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Space Junk On Freaky Friday...!

Seems to me that we are always creating more problems for ourselves than necessary. Take space junk for instance.

Surely some of the brains involved in building and orbiting them knew that when the toys they built and sent into space quit working, it was going to create a problem. Guess the research didn't get that far, though.

Why Trash In Orbit Could Hurt Our Space Programs,
By Gregory Myers on Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Humanity has managed to launch thousands of satellites into orbit since the space race started, and now we have a bit of a crisis due to lack of proper planning. Many of these satellites are no longer functioning and pose a danger to anyone we send up into space. They can even pose danger to people or objects down on Earth when their orbit eventually decays.

Since we started exploring space we have changed the area around our world very shortly in just a few decades. Where before there was nothing, there are now thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth. Unfortunately, this has led to a problem that is starting to become very serious.

Years back, a man named Kessler was working for NASA and became concerned with the danger of satellites crashing into each other and creating debris in space. What he found was alarming. According to his equations, it would become increasingly inevitable that collisions would happen as we continued to fill up the sky. When this happened, we would end up with many smaller pieces of debris that could then cause more collisions. This could cause a chain reaction that would make it hard for us to use outer space for any purpose safely, whether to send up astronauts or use satellites for communication reliably.

Since Kessler’s discovery, scientists from around the world have been tracking debris in space in order to prevent collisions, especially with manned spacecraft. But despite their best efforts, collisions still happen and the amount of space debris continues to increase. To make matters worse, while we have not yet found any good solution to the problem, we continue to send more satellites into space and the amount of debris continues to increase.

Right now, NASA estimates there are at least 500,000 pieces of debris larger than a marble and roughly 20,000 pieces larger than a softball. Unfortunately, small debris can be extremely dangerous if it makes a direct hit on anything, and the smaller pieces are always going to be harder to track down.

In fact, the problem Kessler talked about has started in the worst possible way. While we have had some collisions for a while, some experts from NASA believe we are now truly living in the Kessler syndrome. The chain reactions are happening faster and faster, and we are struggling to slow them down. Some estimates say the amount of junk in space could double every year as the chain reaction collisions get worse, and NASA is seriously beginning to face the reality that space will become mostly unusable unless we get a strong handle on the problem very soon.

Some early attempts were made to limit debris, which included joint regulations between different countries regarding how to deal with abandoned or retired satellites. Countries were supposed to move the orbits of non-functioning satellites and let orbits degrade over time, harmlessly falling back to Earth where they would no longer be in the way of all the other debris and satellites. However, this was not a perfect plan. At one point, China decided to blow one of their no longer functioning satellites into thousands of pieces, which only exacerbated the problem.

It’s now reached the point where we need to find some way to start removing the space junk. Otherwise, we’d eventually have to stop our space exploration until we could clear the area around our home world of all the garbage.

Thanks to the folks at Knowledgenuts for this article. Looks like we are doing to space just what we are doing to our oceans. I don't guess we will ever learn to clean up after ourselves, and that is pretty darn sad, if you ask me!

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

We Need One Of These...!

Many things that folks used to believe in seem to be strange now, but were accepted as factual back in there day!

You have to wonder how many lives and man hours were spend in labs back in the olden days trying to come up with some of this stuff.

What was the philosopher’s stone?
OCTOBER 13, 2015 By Sarah Pruitt

An alchemist's workshop by David Teniers. (Credit: Imagno/Getty Images) 

From the Middle Ages to the late 17th-century, the so-called “philosopher’s stone” was the most sought-after goal in the world of alchemy, the medieval ancestor of chemistry. According to legend, the philosopher’s stone was a substance that could turn ordinary metals such as iron, tin, lead, zinc, nickel or copper into precious metals like gold and silver. It also acted as an elixir of life, with the power to cure illness, renew the properties of youth and even grant immortality to those who possessed it. The philosopher’s stone may not have been a stone at all, but a powder or other type of substance; it was variously known as “the tincture,” “the powder” or “materia prima.” In their quest to find it, alchemists examined countless substances in their laboratories, building a base of knowledge that would spawn the fields of chemistry, pharmacology and metallurgy.

Many of the Western world’s most brilliant minds searched for the philosopher’s stone over the centuries, including Roger Boyle, the father of modern chemistry, and even Sir Isaac Newton, whose secretive dabblings in alchemy are well known by now. Long before Newton, however, there was Nicolas Flamel, a French bookseller and notary who lived in Paris during the 14th and early 15th centuries. In 1382, Flamel claimed to have transformed lead into gold after decoding an ancient book of alchemy with the help of a Spanish scholar familiar with the mystic Hebrew texts known as the Kabbala. Whether this was true or not, the historical record shows that Flamel did come into considerable wealth around this time, and donated his riches to charity. Harry Potter fans might recognize the name, as J.K. Rowling incorporated Nicolas Flamel into the first book in her world-famous series. Originally titled “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” in the United Kingdom, it was renamed “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” for U.S. publication.

Might come in handy when I feel the need for a little boost in my get-along, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Edwin Booth On Western Wednesday...!

When you talk about coincidences, this is one you should not forget.
Fate smiles on some folks at the strangest of times as this story shows. There is a lot of irony in this tale and in the history following it. Who would have ever guessed?

Less than a year before John Wilkes Booth killed Abraham Lincoln, Booth’s brother Edwin saved the life of Lincoln’s eldest son, Robert.

Edwin Booth

Unlike his now-notorious brother, Edwin Booth was a devoted supporter of the Union during the Civil War—but he also had a more personal connection to the martyred President Abraham Lincoln. In late 1864, Lincoln’s son Robert Todd was traveling via train from New York to Washington, D.C. During a stop in Jersey City, New Jersey, he stepped back on the crowded platform to let others pass by, pressing his back against a stopped train. When the train began to move, Lincoln fell onto the tracks and would have been gravely injured—or worse—if a stranger hadn’t caught him by the collar and hauled him back onto the platform. As he later wrote, Lincoln immediately recognized his savior as the famous stage actor Edwin Booth and thanked him. For his part, Booth only later learned the identity of the man he had rescued. His friend Adam Badeau, a colonel in the Union Army, wrote the actor to congratulate him for saving the president’s son, who by then was serving as Badeau’s fellow officer on General Ulysses S. Grant’s staff.

In nearly every story of history, there is a back story often as interesting. The parts of history we hear and read about today often only tell a small part of the whole. That's what makes history so interesting, if you ask me.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Nice and cool for a change!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Haunted Hotel For Tuesday...!

With Halloween close, it's time for another haunting story to share.

Believe it or not, this hotel was the inspiration for the movie "The Shining" by none other than Stephen King. He actually stayed here at one time.

Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, Colorado)

Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Famous as the inspirational setting for Stephen King’s 1977 horror novel “The Shining,” the hotel opened to guests in 1909 and is named for its original owner, F.O. Stanley, co-founder of a company that made steam-engine cars known as Stanley Steamers. A Maine native, Stanley and his twin brother produced their first vehicles in the late 1890s. In 1903, F.O., who was suffering from tuberculosis, arrived in Estes Park, hoping the mountain air would provide a cure. He later purchased land from an Anglo-Irish nobleman, on which he began building the hotel in 1907. In late October 1974, Stephen King and his wife stayed at the Stanley and were the only guests there; the experience served as fodder for his best-selling book about an off-season caretaker at an old hotel in the Colorado Rockies. Today, the ghosts of F.O. Stanley and his wife, Flora, are said to roam the hotel. Additionally, legend holds that in 1911 a maid carrying a lit candle during a storm entered what is now room 217, which had an undetected gas leak. The resulting explosion sent the maid crashing into the room below; she broke both her ankles but went on to work at the hotel until her death decades later. Since then, her ghost reportedly has haunted the room, sometimes even performing housekeeping tasks. Over the years, there also have been reports of lights turning on and off on their own, objects moving and the unexplained sounds of children running in the halls.

Beautiful place, but I don't want to stay there in the off season...know what I mean?

Coffee out om the patio this morning, if that's OK with you.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Strange Crater For Monday Mysteries...!

This is a mystery that's been around for a very long time....and is still unsolved.

Once in a while, Mother Nature throws something at us that we just can't explain. She is pretty good at hiding the secrets she wants to keep to herself.

The Patomskiy Crater

In 1949, geologist Vadim Kolpakov set off on an expedition to Siberia, not realizing that he was about to discover one of the strangest unsolved mysteries in the world: the Patomskiy crater. As Kolpakov traveled deep into almost uncharted territory, the local Yakut people warned him not to go on, explaining that there was an evil place deep in the woods that even the animals avoided. They called it the “Fire Eagle Nest” and claimed that people would start to feel unwell near it—and some would simply disappear without a trace.

A man of science, Kolpakov was not put off by these stories. But even he was at a loss to explain what he found deep in the Siberian forests. A giant crater, the size of “a 25-story building,” reared up out of the trees. Up close it resembled a volcano mouth, but Kolpakov knew that there had been no volcanoes in the area for at least a few million years. This crater looked relatively newly formed—Kolpakov estimated it as around 250 years old, a figure supported by later studies of nearby tree growth. Interestingly, the trees also seemed to have undergone a period of accelerated growth similar to that seen in the forests around Chernobyl.

Since the discovery of the crater, there have been many theories as to what (or who) could have created it. Some people, including Kolpakov, have speculated that it might have been formed by a meteorite, although the crater does not resemble any other known meteorite site. Others are convinced that it was indeed a volcano. Many even think that there is a UFO hidden underneath the crater. In 2005, an expedition was launched in the hopes of finding some answers—but then tragedy struck. The leader of the expedition died of a heart attack just a few kilometers away from the site. The locals were convinced it was the “evil” crater that led to his death.

I found this article over at Listverse, where I have found many more mysteries! Credit given where it's due, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio again where it's hot and muggy!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Road Runner Sunday...!

Nearly everyone in all age groups seems to like the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons, so that's what we are showing today!

Turns out the Road Runner series was and still is one of the more popular 'toon collections going. That's pretty cool!

One more for good measure!

Well, there ya go...I hope you liked today's selection You have a great day, OK?

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Death By Chocolate...!

We all know how terrible war is and how many devious plans were made to destroy opposing sides. Some were almost brilliant.

Most know the story about the hot air balloons loaded with fire starters sent by the Japanese to start fires in the northern forest of the United States, and of the many, many bats loaded with fire starters released over Japan, especially in areas where most people lived in very flammable wooden structures. The Nazis, however, came up with some of the most ingenious and deadly ideas of all.

Sketches Reveal Nazi Chocolate Bombs
OCTOBER 5, 2015 By Christopher Klein

Newly rediscovered sketches commissioned by Great Britain’s MI5 spy agency give “death by chocolate” a new meaning. The drawings depict secret booby trap bombs developed by the Nazis during World War II, including an exploding candy bar meant for Winston Churchill.

While Nazi Germany rained conventional bombs upon Great Britain in World War II, Adolf Hitler’s forces were also busy at work devising fiendishly clever booby traps to strike the enemy on its own soil. As the war progressed, British intelligence agency MI5 learned of a secret Nazi sabotage campaign to hide explosives in everyday items such as cans of plums, canisters of motor oil, shaving brushes and lumps of coal. The spy agency even discovered Nazi plans to develop bangers and mash that delivered a true bang.

In the spring of 1943, MI5 operative Victor Rothschild learned of an even more ingenious bomb being conjured up by the Nazis—an exploding chocolate bar. The killer candy was cloaked in a black foil wrapper with gold lettering bearing the brand name “Peter’s Chocolate.” Underneath the real chocolate exterior was steel and canvas, and when a piece of chocolate at the end of the bar was broken off and the canvas pulled, it activated a bomb that would explode after a seven-second delay. MI5 believed Nazi secret agents were plotting to smuggle the explosive chocolate into the War Cabinet and into the hands of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was known to have a sweet tooth.

Rothschild, a trained biologist and a member of a prominent banking family, had been recruited to lead MI5’s three-person explosives and counter-sabotage unit. However, he was not an artist and needed sketches of the Nazi devices that could be used by intelligence officers to defuse the bombs. Luckily, Donald Fish, one of Rothschild’s two colleagues, knew just the right person for the job—his son.

Laurence Fish, a young self-taught artist, was employed by MI5 to produce detailed, free-hand drawings of the menagerie of booby trap bombs. When Rothschild learned of the stealth candy bomb, he again turned to Fish. “I wonder if you could do a drawing for me of an explosive slab of chocolate,” Rothschild wrote to Fish on May 4, 1943, from a secret bunker deep under the streets of London. The MI5 counter-sabotage agent included a rough sketch of the bomb, which he wanted Fish to improve upon. “Would it be possible for you to do a drawing of this, one possibly with the paper half taken off revealing one end and another with the piece broken off showing the canvas.”

The letter, stamped “secret,” had been found by Fish’s widow, Jean Bray, as she combed through her husband’s possessions following his 2009 death at the age of 89. The artist’s original drawing, though, had been missing for decades and presumed lost along with dozens of others. The BBC reports, however, that a sheaf of more than two dozen of Fish’s drawings were rediscovered this summer by Rothschild’s family as they cleaned out a chest of drawers in the family house in Suffolk, England, a quarter-century after the intelligence officer’s death. Rothschild’s daughter, Victoria Rothschild Gray, gave the sketches to Bray.

“I didn’t know that the drawings existed,” said Fish’s widow, according to an article in the Gloucestershire Echo. “He always kept the letters, but nobody knew what had happened to the drawings. We presumed that they had been destroyed or lost.”

Some of the explosive devices depicted in Fish’s newly rediscovered drawings appear to have been ripped from the pages of one of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. There are bombs concealed inside matchboxes, pocket watches and even Thermos flasks. One sketch even shows the Nazis had developed plans for a simple culinary timing mechanism in which dried peas in a test tube would expand as they absorbed water, forcing a floating cork to rise until two brass screws touched to complete a circuit.

Made in an era before computer-aided design, the finely drawn sketches were not only utilitarian in assisting MI5 personnel to locate and defuse booby trap devices, but artistic as well. Rothschild even mounted some of the drawings on the walls of his study. “Nowadays people would say these drawings are nothing and you could do it with a computer in seconds,” Bray said. “But there was no machinery or anything like that at the time. They were all hand drawn.”

Following the war, Fish found success working as a poster artist, graphic designer and commercial artist for major corporations, tourist boards and charity organizations. Bray hopes that a museum or archive will want the drawings for their collections.

If only people were this creative with ways to help one another, just think of how much more pleasant the world would be!

Coffee out on the patio once again this morning!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Scary Nuclear Warning For Freaky Friday...!

This story would be bad enough if it was made up, but unfortunately it's for real!

It is the month of Halloween, so finding an article like this one (posted at Knowledgenuts ) seems to fit right in. If it isn't enough to almost make you stay awake at night, you are much braver than I. I really don't think I'll be around to worry much about it, but it's a scary thing anyway.

The 10,000-Year Radiation Warning
By Anthony Sfarra on Monday, October 5, 2015

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is a deep geological repository used by the US government to store nuclear waste. Once the site is sealed, warnings will be needed that can effectively communicate danger up to 10,000 years into the future. Proposed ideas included threatening architecture, color-changing cats, and even an artificial moon. The final system will involve warnings in several languages on granite pillars, a large wall around the site, and other artifacts.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is a deep geological repository located near Carlsbad, New Mexico. “Deep geological repository” means that radioactive waste is stored deep underground. At WIPP, the waste is stored 655 meters (2,150 ft) below the surface in rooms carved from a salt bed. WIPP began to receive nuclear waste in 1999 and is slated to do so until 2070, at which point it will be sealed.

The waste inside WIPP will be dangerous for 10,000 years, so warnings will be needed to deter future populations from attempting to enter the facility. That may not be as easy as it sounds. Even if the English language still exists in the year 12,000, no one may be able to read our current form of it. (It’s already hard to read texts that are only hundreds of years old.)

While WIPP was under construction, a panel of scientists, anthropologists, linguists, and science fiction writers was assembled to come up with ideas for how to effectively scare away future generations. Many ideas were tossed around. One involved adorning the area with stone spikes to make it appear threatening. Another involved simply covering the repository in jagged blocks of black stone. It would still be possible for people to walk between them, but the narrow spaces in between would be useless and very hot.

Various carved warnings were another aspect of the plan. Universally frightening and threatening images were considered, such as those of people being wounded. Another idea involved an image that looked very much like Edward Munch’s The Scream. Language barriers aside, a textual warning was also proposed:

This place is a message . . . and part of a system of messages . . . pay attention to it!

Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.

This place is not a place of honor . . . no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here . . . nothing valued is here.

What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.

The danger is in a particular location . . . it increases toward a center . . . the center of danger is here . . . of a particular size and shape, and below us.

The danger is still present, in your time, as it was in ours.

The danger is to the body, and it can kill.

The form of the danger is an emanation of energy.

The danger is unleashed only if you substantially disturb this place physically. This place is best shunned and left uninhabited.

Conversely, some panelists felt that nothing would be sufficient to keep future humans from trying to get inside, if our own history is any indication.

Some rather unique ideas were also proposed. One idea involved forming a small society called an “atomic priesthood.” These people would live above the WIPP site and defend the site over generations. Their vague warnings about danger and curses would give the area a creepy reputation with locals. Another proposition involved creating a special breed of “ray cats” that would change color upon exposure to radiation. Stories of such cats would then be introduced into culture and passed down, making the cats a sign to avoid WIPP, even if no one knows what radiation is 10,000 years from now. It was even proposed that an artificial moon bearing a warning be constructed and placed in orbit. Since this moon was meant to be visible from the ground, it would surely have been a massive undertaking.

The final chosen warning scheme will feature a large wall of piled earth around the site. It will be 30 meters (100 ft) wide at its base and 10 meters (33 ft) tall and will be designed for maximum resilience to erosion. There will be two perimeters of granite monuments around WIPP, one at the edge of the government-controlled land and one inside the wall, each standing 8 meters (25 ft) tall and weighing 20 tons.

Warnings about the radioactive waste will be carved on these stones in seven languages. Just above the repository, a roofless building measuring 12 meters (40 ft) long, 10 meters (32 ft) wide, and 5 meters (15 ft) high will be constructed. Its walls will be covered in text warnings and pictographs. Just in case future humans absolutely have to dig something up, there will also be two buried rooms featuring the same information as the granite blocks, and 23-centimeter (9 in) discs will be buried all around the site, also carrying warning messages.

A final measure to ensure that WIPP is avoided will be to make certain that many sources of information about it will exist. Informational archives will be created and stored around the world, with a warning that they should be preserved for 10,000 years. Also, WIPP’s location will be shown on maps and atlases, and information about it will be readily available in encyclopedias, educational texts, and dictionaries.

I have to wonder what we need to generate this much waste for? What possible trade off is important enough to warrant a warning for 10,000 years regarding the waste? Seems to me that Mankind is constantly shooting itself in the foot, know what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Now This Is A True WIN-WIN...!

As most of you know, I do love my coffee. I also have a real attraction for peanut butter! This product may be the greatest find ever for me!

I haven't found out just how much this stuff cost yet, but you can bet I am going to find out!

This caffeinated peanut butter could replace your morning coffee
Updated by Lauren Katz on October 7, 2015, 7:30 a.m. ET @Laur_Katz

You can now eat a caffeinated peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of drinking a cup of coffee. The food product company STEEM now offers caffeinated peanut butter with as much caffeine as two cups of coffee in one serving, according to the company's website. If you're expecting a coffee flavor, though, you'll be disappointed: The caffeine has been extracted from coffee beans sourced from a Virginia company that specializes in any type of vitamin or supplement that might call for caffeine in a tasteless form.

To find out how much of an energy boost you can get from STEEM peanut butter versus other products, we compared the amount of caffeine in various products, both caffeinated and decaffeinated.

Caffeine levels vary by product
Approximate milligrams of caffeine per serving

5-Hour Energy shot-2 oz. 200 mg
STEEM peanut butter-2 tbsp. 170 mg
Brewed coffee-8 oz. 163 mg
Latte-16 oz. 154 mg
Chocolate chips, semisweet-1 cup 104 mg
Red Bull, regular or sugar-free-8.4 oz. 80 mg
Espresso-1.5 oz. 77 mg
Diet Coke-12 oz. 45 mg
Brewed black tea-8 oz. 42 mg
Coca-Cola1-2 oz. 34 mg
Brewed coffee, decaffeinated-8 oz. 6 mg

SOURCE: Caffeine Informer, Mayo Clinic. CREDIT: Soo Oh/Vox

STEEM peanut butter is right at the top of caffeinated options, second only to a 5-Hour Energy shot, though one thing to keep in mind is that caffeine levels do vary in individual products (the Mayo Clinic has a roundup of the potential variations).

Owners Keith Barnofski, Chris Pettazzoni, and Andrew Brach don't expect everyone to replace their morning coffee, though. Barnofski says he still drinks coffee because he likes the taste of it. But when he compares the benefits of caffeine in coffee versus STEEM peanut butter, he says it's not quite equal, citing jitters, heart palpitations, and stained teeth as potential downsides of drinking coffee for some people.

"You almost get a concentration of the caffeine, and it wears off quicker," he says about drinking coffee. "The peanut butter lasts for a longer time so it tends to be a little bit more mellow of a caffeine experience."

If you're not willing to give up your early mornings sucking down the evil bean, Barnofski recommends eating the peanut butter plain as a snack. "You basically you have your snack and your pick-me-up all at the same time."

I know many folks don't like caffeine, but I kinda love the stuff! Gotta have my coffee in the morning, that's for sure!

Coffee out on the patio this morning, even though summer seems to still be here!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Reno Gang On Western Wednesday...!

Here is a real historical first for ya. The first robbery of a moving train.

I reckon that everything has to begin somewhere, and it looks like the Reno gang really started a trend with this robbery. In fact, they made off with quite a haul! Not bad for beginners, huh?

First U.S. train robbery

On this day in 1866, the Reno gang carries out the first robbery of a moving train in the U.S., making off with over $10,000 from an Ohio & Mississippi train in Jackson County, Indiana. Prior to this innovation in crime, holdups had taken place only on trains sitting at stations or freight yards.

This new method of sticking up moving trains in remote locations low on law enforcement soon became popular in the American West, where the recently constructed transcontinental and regional railroads made attractive targets. With the western economy booming, trains often carried large stashes of cash and precious minerals. The sparsely populated landscape provided bandits with numerous isolated areas perfect for stopping trains, as well as plenty of places to hide from the law. Some gangs, like Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch, found robbing trains so easy and lucrative that, for a time, they made it their criminal specialty. Railroad owners eventually got wise and fought back, protecting their trains’ valuables with large safes, armed guards and even specially fortified boxcars. Consequently, by the late 1800s, robbing trains had turned into an increasingly tough and dangerous job.

As for the Reno gang, which consisted of the four Reno brothers and their associates, their reign came to an end in 1868 when they all were finally captured after committing a series of train robberies and other criminal offenses. In December of that year, a mob stormed the Indiana jail where the bandits were being held and meted out vigilante justice, hanging brothers Frank, Simeon and William Reno (their brother John had been caught earlier and was already serving time in a different prison) and fellow gang member Charlie Anderson.

Seems to me that a lot of these bad guys got caught simply because they didn't know when to quit. Greed can be the downfall of many bad guys, I believe.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Senior Memory Test...!

Here is another little treat from my Baby Sis. I don't know where she get's some of this stuff, but often it's fun to read.




I was picky who I sent this to. It had to be those who might actually remember. So have some fun my sharp-witted friends. This is a test for us 'older kids'! The answers are printed below, (after the questions) but don't cheat! answer them first.....


01. After the Lone Ranger saved the day and rode off into the sunset, the grateful citizens would ask, Who was that masked man? Invariably, someone would answer, I don't know, but he left this behind. What did he leave behind?________________.

02. When the Beatles first came to the U.S. In early 1964, we all watched them on The ____ ___________ Show.

03. 'Get your kicks, __ _________ _______.

04. 'The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to _____ _ _____.'

05. 'In the jungle, the mighty jungle, ____ ____ ____ ____.'

06. After the Twist, The Mashed Potato, and the Watusi, we 'danced' under a stick that was lowered as low as we could go in a dance called the '_____.'

07. Nestle's makes the very best... _________.'

08. Satchmo was America 's 'Ambassador of Goodwill.' Our parents shared this great jazz trumpet player with us. His name was ______ ___________.

09. What takes a licking and keeps on ticking? _______.

10. Red Skeleton's hobo character was named ______ ___ ________ and Red always ended his television show by saying, 'Good Night, and '________ ________ '

11. Some Americans who protested the Vietnam War did so by burning their ______ _______.

12. The cute little car with the engine in the back and the trunk in the front was called the VW. What other names did it go by? ___ & _______.

13. In 1971, singer Don MacLean sang a song about, 'the day the music died.' This was a tribute to _______ ____________.

14. We can remember the first satellite placed into orbit. The Russians did it. It was called __________.

15. One of the big fads of the late 50's and 60's was a large plastic ring that we twirled around our waist. It was called the ______ _____ .

16. Remember LS/MFT _____ _____/_____ _____ _____?

17. Hey Kids! What time is it? It's _____ ______ _____!

18. Who knows what secrets lie in the hearts of men? Only The _____ Knows!

19. There was a song that came out in the 60's that was "a grave yard smash". It's name was the ______ ______!

20. Alka Seltzer used a "boy with a tablet on his head" as it's Logo/Representative. What was the boy's name? ________


01.The Lone Ranger left behind a silver bullet.

02. The Ed Sullivan Show

03. On Route 66

04.To protect the innocent.

05.The Lion Sleeps Tonight

06. The limbo

07. Chocolate

08. Louis Armstrong

09. The Timex watch

10. Freddy, The Freeloader and 'Good Night and God Bless.'

11. Draft cards (Bras were also burned. Not flags, as some have guessed)

12. Beetle or Bug

13. Buddy Holly

14. Sputnik

15. Hoola-hoop

16. Lucky Strike/Means Fine Tobacco

17. Howdy Doody Time

18. Shadow

19.Monster Mash

20. Speedy

Guess I must be getting older, cause I can remember them all. Now if I could remember where I put my glasses...

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Amnesia For Monday Mystery...!

How about another case containing both an unknown feature and an answer? That's what we have today!

We did a story about this man before, but since then there have been a few answers come to light. Ready for this?

The Identity Of ‘Benjaman Kyle’

One of the most mysterious amnesia cases of all time involved an individual known as “Benjaman Kyle.” On August 31, 2004, an unconscious nude man who appeared to be in his fifties was found in a dumpster behind a Burger King in Richmond, Georgia. It appeared that he had been struck on the head with a blunt object, and he had no memory of anything that happened and did not even remember his own name. Doctors determined that he was suffering from retrograde amnesia. Since he was found near a Burger King, the man decided to use the “B.K.” initials to select a new name for himself—Benjaman Kyle.

Over the course of the next decade, all attempts to uncover Benjaman Kyle’s true identity went nowhere. DNA testing and fingerprint checks turned up empty, and even though Benjaman’s story received a lot of media coverage, no one seemed to recognize him. Since he had no identity, Benjaman could not obtain a Social Security number, so he was forced to work under the table and rely on the kindness of others to survive.

Finally, in September 2015, Benjaman publicly announced that CeCe Moore (the same genetic genealogist who helped the former Paul Fronczak) had used his DNA samples to match him with his biological family. He was originally from Indiana and had apparently broken off all contact with his family, who had not seen him since 1976. The former Benjaman Kyle has since tracked down his original birth certificate and Social Security records and used them to obtain a new identification card under his real name. He has plans to reunite with his family, but for the moment, he is keeping his true identity a secret from the public.

See? We have a solved mystery that's both sad and happy. What a way to start the day, right?

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Real Sunday Funnies...!

And today, we have something a little different!

Told ya it was different! Have a great day!

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Question About Magnetism...!

While I like to think that I know and understand many things, this is something I don't truly understand at all. Seems I'm not alone, though.

At first glance, the answer seems easy. However, just try and explain it to someone in a fashion they can understand and suddenly it makes almost no sense at all!

How Exactly Do Magnets Work?

Magnetism is a widely observed phenomenon in our universe, but a lot of things about it remain unexplained. For example, why do particles charged with electricity create a magnetic field strong enough to physically move things from far away? And when they do, why exactly do they align themselves to two poles, north and south?

Explanations range from “it’s just one of those things” to particle movement at the quantum level, and MIT even has a whole laboratory dedicated to research on nothing but magnetism. We know that it’s happening, and we have a good idea of what exactly is happening, too—the particles align themselves in a way that adds up their charge in one direction, but it’s not very clear as to why the particles emit a magnetic field to start with. The fact that the Earth’s magnetic field is not well understood either further restricts our ability to understand magnetism.

Don't you find it strange that things like magnetism and gravity are still such a mystery to all the scientist out there? Everybody knows about them and yet no one seems to really understand them! Curiouser and curiouser, isn't it?

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Lone Woman Of San Nicholas...!

Normally when we think of castaways and ship wreak survivors, we think of men. However, there was at least one woman that became almost a legend as a castaway. This is part of her story.

Juana Maria

Juana Maria was the name given to the famous “Lone Woman of San Nicholas,” a Native American who spent nearly two decades stranded on an island off the coast of California. Juana Maria had grown up on San Nicholas, but most of her tribe was slaughtered in the early 1800s by hostile hunters. Missionaries evacuated the few remaining survivors in 1835, but Juana Maria was left behind when she ran back to the island to locate her missing infant. She never found the child, but when attempts to rescue her stalled, she was forgotten and left to survive on San Nicholas in complete isolation.

Juana Maria spent the next 18 years taking shelter in a cave and fishing with hooks made from seashells. She captured sea birds and seals and fashioned their feathers and skins into dresses, and passed the time weaving baskets and bowls from grasses. Her solitude finally came to an end in 1853, when Captain George Nidever discovered her on San Nicholas. Nidever took Juana Maria to Santa Barbara a few weeks later, and though no one could speak her language, she used hand gestures to relate the astonishing story of her survival. Sadly, she was unable to adjust to the diet of the mainland, and died of dysentery only two months after leaving her island. Her story was later fictionalized in the popular children’s novel “Island of the Blue Dolphins.”

18 years is a long time to be in total isolation. It's a wonder the woman was still sane after all that time. Pretty sad that she died the way she did, though.

Coffee out on the patio this morning, OK?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Some More Secret Government Projects...!

Sometimes you have to wonder just who comes up with all these secret test and why they are (or were ) used on average citizens.

If these are just some of the test we hear about, I wonder what others we never hear about? Truth is...we may not really want to know!

Project 112 And Project SHAD

In 2002, the US military started reaching out to veterans who may have been involved in Project 112 or Project SHAD. Both operations involved exposing personnel to substances chosen to act as stand-ins for biological weapons, allowing researchers to see how they spread. Project 112 was done at the Deseret Test Center in Utah in a series of tests from 1962–73, and Project SHAD (Shipboard Hazard and Defense) was done aboard warships in waters around the world.

The details of the project might have remained under wraps for much longer than they did if it wasn’t for the Department of Veteran Affairs requesting an investigation into the operations, as well as information on whether or not service members’ health may have been compromised. Nearly 6,000 people, both military personnel and Department of Defense civilian staff, were exposed to the tests, with and without knowledge. When information about the tests was released, it was thought that the agents released were harmless. However, it was also stressed that veterans with concerns should come forward and that it was acceptable to reveal information about dates, places, and possible side effects with health care providers.

There’s a long list of biological agents that the test subjects were exposed to, including Coxiella burnetii (Q fever) and staphylococcal enterotoxin B (which causes food poisoning). They also used some pretty horrific nerve toxins, including sarin (now classified as a weapon of mass destruction) and soman (a clear, colorless liquid that can cause death in minutes). Both can be fatal if only the tiniest amount gets on the skin.

I have to thank the folks over at Listverse for making these articles available for us to read and learn from. I honestly never would have guessed this sort of thing actually went on, except in bad movies and in some books. Guess I'm more than just a little naive about some things.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Buttermilk pie anyone?