Friday, November 24, 2017

What Is It...?

Sometimes the strangest things can be found totally by accident. That's what happened in this next article from Listverse.

When it was found, no one seemed to know what it really was, or where it originated from. It wasn't small either, as is usually the case when unknown objects are found.

The Otradnesnky Fragment

Photo credit: RT

In 2012, a walk in the forest turned strange for locals from Otradnesnky village. They found a metal object bigger than a car. It was cylindrical and U-shaped, with one end tapering into a dome with ridges. The inside was visible, but it was empty. Assuming the 200-kilogram (440 lb) artifact had fallen from space, the villagers dragged it back to Otradnesnky. Local inspectors could not identify it and called the authorities in Moscow.[8] Rumors about the “UFO fragment” thickened when, in the dead of night, unspecified powers removed the object and placed it under armed guard.

Russia’s space agency Roscosmos examined the piece. They declared it was not space technology nor radioactive and was partially made of ultra-strong titanium. NASA’s initial assessment ran along the same lines. Despite agreeing it was probably not part of a spacecraft, NASA made it clear they needed better data and images for a definite identification. Whether Roscosmos provided its American counterpart with more details is hard to say. Media releases beyond the original year and story are rare.

Pretty strange find, I'd say. What's even stranger is the way they showed up in the middle of the night and placed the thing under armed guard. I find that curious, to say the least!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Chilly out on the patio.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Need An After Turkey Nap...?

For years there has been a rumor floating around that turkey makes you sleepy. Sorry, but that's just an urban myth.

Here is a short version of the real reason you might want a nap after the Thanksgiving feast. All ot the other stuff!

Turkey doesn’t have enough tryptophan to make you drowsy. If it did, you’d get tired any time you eat a turkey sandwich. Eggs, cheese, spinach, and bacon all have more tryptophan per serving than turkey, which contains the same amount of tryptophan as chicken does.

Don't believe me? Hey, Snopes even checked out this claim and came to the same conclusion. I kid you not!

Coffee out on the chilly patio this morning. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone !!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Nursing Home Nightmare...!

The idea of being confined to a nursing home or an assisted living facility just doesn't do much for all!

I would much rather have the freedom to wander around my own home, keeping my own counsel, and living by my own rules. I guess that this was brought to mind because yesterday was my birthday and I began to ponder my own mortality a bit. Another reason to avoid places like nursing homes are mentioned in the article from Listverse that I found.


In 2016, a 911 operator in Deltona, Florida, received an unusual call from the Sterling Court Gracious Retirement Living center, with reports of staff and elderly residents being viciously attacked. The assailant in the unprovoked rampage was soon identified as a rambunctious squirrel with a penchant for causing mayhem. After biting a woman outside the nursing home, the furry creature made his way indoors, where the assault continued. “It’s jumping on people and biting them and scratching them,” the 911 caller said. “It’s still in there and people are bleeding.”

After the animal’s thirst for blood was quenched, the suspect fled the premises, leaving two residents and a staff member with “serious squirrel bites.” In the days following the attack, the lives of the traumatized victims began to return to normalcy, only for the squirrel to come back with a vengeance. This time, however, a staffer armed with a BB gun shot and killed the squirrel, bringing an end to the chaos.

Such brutality caused by wildlife pales in comparison to what happened to a resident of Brookdale Senior Living Center in South Carolina, also in 2016. While enjoying the scenery of the local pond, 90-year-old Bonnie Walker was torn apart after being attacked by an alligator. What was left of her remains was removed from the pond after staffers had realized that Walker was missing from the facility. The alligator was removed as well.

Any wildlife around me I would want to be of my choosing. Out of control tree rats, or alligators looking to ambush helpless old folks aren't real high on my list of critters I want around, ya know?

Coffee inside again this morning. I have some cookies I'll share.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Temple Of Reason...!

Imagine an ancient, hollowed out oak tree with a temple built inside. Wild, huh?

That's the story from Listverse about the Chapel Oak in France . Pretty amazing place, judging from the pictures.

Chene Chapelle

Photo credit: Ancient Origins

Elsewhere in France, there is an ancient church which eschews the use of stone at all. Chene chapelle (“Chapel Oak”) is located in Allouville-Bellefosse in northern France. The whole church is built inside an enormous oak tree.

A spiral staircase surrounds the tree and leads to two separate tiny chapels. Although trees have been used for worship in many places, this tree’s holy use came about in a unique way.

The oak tree is at least 800 years old. According to local legend, however, the tree is as old as the kingdom of France itself and William the Conqueror prayed under its branches before he left for England. In the 17th century, the tree began to be used as a chapel after lightning hit it.

The lightning ignited the wood inside the tree, burning it away. This left a hollow but still-living tree. Taking this as a divine sign, the local abbot and priest had the shell of the tree converted into a chapel.

When atheist revolutionaries threatened to burn down the tree, locals rescued it by renaming it a “temple of reason” to fit with the beliefs of the French Revolution.

Pretty unique church building, I'd say. Wouldn't you?

Coffee inside the kitchen this morning.I'm baking me some birthday cookies, so it smells good!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Ever wonder if many of the unsolved mysteries we experience get solved? It would appear so.

According to Listverse, the oldest unsolved mystery in America has been solved. Better late than never, I reckon.

Solving America’s Oldest Unsolved Murder

In 1607, Jamestown, Virginia, became the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. For the last two decades, it has also been at the forefront of Colonial America archaeology since the Jamestown Rediscovery Project led to the reveal of the ruins of the original James Fort. Originally slated to last only ten years, the venture has been prolonged indefinitely due to the continued discovery of new artifacts and knowledge.

Part of the findings in 1996 included the skeleton of a young man given the designation JR102C. He had been shot in the right leg, and the lead bullet was found alongside the remains. His 400-year-old death became an unsolved murder.It took over 17 years since his rediscovery, but in 2013, forensic archaeologists announced that they had identified not only the victim but also his killer.

They believe JR102C was shot in a duel, as he was hit in the side of the knee, suggesting he was positioned sideways. Based on records and other evidence, researchers named George Harrison as JR102C and a merchant named Richard Stephens as his killer.[10] The two took part in a duel in 1624, in which the latter shot the former in the leg, with Harrison subsequently dying of blood loss.

Well, that's one more unsolved mystery out of the way. Now only a million or so left to solve, right?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. A little chilly out on the patio.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Turkey Day 'Toons...!

Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I figured maybe some turkey 'toons would be a good thing.

One more and we are done...

Man! I have to say that these 'toons were some real TURKEYS! Worse 'toons I ever chose, I think. I should apologize to everyone, but what do ya expect for free?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

40 Years With No Sleep...!

Now this next story is hard for me to get my head around...maybe because I like to nap.

I found this article over on Listverse.

Thai Ngoc

Photo credit: Oddy Central

Vietnamese farmer Thai Ngoc suffered a fever in 1973, which seemed like nothing much at first. When the fever cleared up, he had developed a bad case of insomnia. Thinking it would go away in a week, he didn’t give it much thought. Now, over 40 years later, he hasn’t slept since the night of the fever. After over 12,000 nights of no sleep, you would think he’d be dead. However, after examinations, the only thing wrong with him were minor liver problems. The only complaint from Ngoc was that he’s a little grumpy from not experiencing sleep for over three decades. He tried countless home remedies and even tried drowning himself in alcohol. Nothing seems to work. So why is his insomnia persisting for so long?

One of the explanations could be a phenomenon called “microsleep.” Micro naps occur when a part of your brain gets tired and decides to quickly take a few seconds to nap. Most everyone has probably experienced these when tired—our brain temporarily shuts off and then goes back on again. Falling asleep while driving is a good example of microsleep. This could be how Ngoc has been getting by for so long.

Now I'm just the opposite here. I get sleepy when I read, when I watch a movie, even when I watch the occasional T.V. program. Doesn't take much to get me to nod off, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Still waiting on the cold front.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Ed Gein For Freaky Friday...!

If ever a person deserved to be classified as creepy, it was Ed Gein.

I won't go into a detailed account of the many ways he acted out his madness, but this article from the History channel touches a small bit of it.

Ed Gein kills final victim Bernice Worden

Infamous killer Edward Gein murders his last victim, Bernice Worden of Plainfield, Wisconsin. His grave robbing, necrophilia, and cannibalism gained national attention, and may have provided inspiration for the characters of Norman Bates in Psycho and serial killer Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs.

Gein was a quiet farmer who lived in rural Wisconsin with an extremely domineering mother. After she died in 1945, he began studying anatomy, and started stealing women’s corpses from local cemeteries. In 1954, Gein shot and killed saloonkeeper Mary Hogan, piled the body onto a sled, and dragged it home.

On November 16, Gein robbed Worden at the local hardware store she owned and killed her. Her son, a deputy, discovered his mother’s body and became suspicious of Gein, who was believed to be somewhat odd. When authorities searched Gein’s farmhouse, they found an unimaginably grisly scene: organs were in the refrigerator, a heart sat on the stove, and heads had been made into soup bowls. Apparently, Gein had kept various organs from his grave digging and murders as keepsakes and for decoration. He had also used human skin to upholster chairs.

Though it is believed that he killed others during this time, Gein only admitted to the murders of Worden and Hogan. In 1958, Gein was declared insane and sent to the Wisconsin State Hospital in Mendota, where he remained until his death in 1984.

I' read a lt about Gein over the years and I have to admit being completely unnerved at some of the things he did. Crazy doesn't describe the man well enough.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Cold front moving in, but right now it's nice enough.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Something Different Today...!

Instead of havcing another post filled with useless facts or figures, let's look at some videos of strange and unusual animals...OK?

How about one more...?

I hope you enjoyed the videos. Something different for a change never hurts, does it? Thanks to YouTube for making them possible.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Might rain later, but let's take a chance.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Frances Slocum For Westen Wednesday...

What compels someone to stay with people that originally treated you as a slave? Some just didn't want to leave after a while.

Although the lifestyle might have began with rough treatment, soon many of the captives came to look to the Native Americans as their adopted family. That was the case with Francis.

Frances Slocum

Photo credit: Martha Bennett Phelps

In 1835, a trader named George Ewing met an elderly woman of the Miami tribe named Maconaquah. She was in her sixties and a respected woman among the tribe, a widowed grandmother whose husband had been their chief. And so you can imagine his surprise when this old woman told him she had born to white parents.

As a child, he soon found out, Maconaquah’s name had been Frances Slocum, the daughter of a Quaker family who had been stolen away from home by Seneca warriors when she was five years old. A Miami family had bought her for a few pelts, and they’d raised her as their own.

57 years had passed since her capture. She’d grown up among the Miami, gotten married, seen her husband rise to chiefdom, given him four children, and raised them until they had children of their own.

Frances’s brothers hadn’t stopped looking for her since the day she was captured. When word got out that she was still alive, her brother Isaac met with the sister he’d lost decades ago and begged her to come home.

Frances, though, had forgotten how to speak English. Communicating through an interpreter, she told him, “I do not wish to live any better, or anywhere else, and I think the Great Spirit has permitted me to live so long because I have always lived with the Indians.”

True to her word, she stayed with her captors until the day she died—and she was buried next to the man who had been her husband.

Bottom line here is that she just flat out did not want to go anywhere. She had lived with and made her home with the Indians for so long, it was the only life she knew. Can't say I blame her.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

No Post Today...!

Sorry, but I'm taking today off. No post...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Why Do We Yawn...?

Today for Monday Mysteries, we have another medical question. It's about yawning...

This is one of those things that we probably don't think about too much. Not only humans do it, but so does most of the animal kingdom. And another strange thing, it seems to be contagious!

Why Do We Yawn?

Everybody yawns. It’s not even just humans who do it—most animals yawn, too. But not matter how universal yawning might be, we have absolutely no idea why we do it.

People have been trying to figure out why we yawn since the fourth century BC. Hippocrates suggested that it might be to get rid of “bad air” and take in “good air.” Today, most people think it decreases carbon dioxide and increases oxygen levels in the blood, which means the same thing but makes you sound a lot smarter.

The problem with this explanation, though, is that it doesn’t really explain why we yawn when we’re tired. The logical explanation is that it has to do with the brain, but yawning doesn’t really seem to change the oxygen levels in the brain.

So why are we doing it? Why don’t we yawn when we really need that extra oxygen? Why don’t we yawn when we exercise?It doesn’t really make any sense, and we don’t really have a clear answer yet. As it turns out, that’s the case for a lot of things. We have our theories, but the truth is that there are a lot of aspects of the universe we just don’t understand

I don't exactly know why we yawn...but I do know that a yawn is just a silent scream for coffee!

Coffee out on the warm patio again this morning!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Slightly Cool Sunday 'Toons...

Even though it really in't cold, it is a little cooler. So, being as how it is Sunday again, let's do some cartoons to pass the time.

And maybe just one more...

OK...that's enough for this morning. Go back to the funny papers now.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Am I Going In Circles...?

Sometimes the seemingly easiest things are not easy at all.

For instance, why can't we walk in a straight line when blindfolded? We do OK when we can see, but cover our eyes and ...BAM! We go in circles. Worst part is, no one knows why.

Why Can’t We Walk In A Straight Line With Our Eyes Closed?

Try this: Go out to a park, put on a blindfold, and try to walk in a straight line. When you take your blindfold off, you’ll discover something strange, other than that your wallet’s now missing. No matter how careful you were, most people will end up spinning around in circles if they don’t have a clear target to walk toward, and nobody knows why.

Scientists have done multiple experiments on this effect, watching how people walk visually and even mapping out how they move with GPS. They’ve learned a few things: We know that the darker the sky is, the more people spin in circles, but we still don’t know why it happens.

There are certainly theories. Some scientists have speculated that it’s because of brain dominance, and others think it’s due to differences in the lengths of our legs—but the only thing experiments have been able to prove for sure is that every theory we’ve ever come up with is definitely wrong.

I pretty much can't walk a straight line at the best of times, even with my eyes wide open. I tend to lean a lot and bump into things. Maybe I'm just clumsy or something...who knows?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's chilly, but nothing we can't handle.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Surprising Good News About Coffee...!

Want to do more to help Mother Nature do her attracting bees? Furnish more coffee!

Actually, I'm referring to the coffee plant and not the finished product. I found an interesting article over on Listverse that talks about how bees are attracted to the caffeine in the coffee plant flower. I mean, who knew?

Coffee Contains Caffeine To Attract Bees

Every other coffee list on the Internet will tell you that coffee was discovered by goat herders, whose goats got a little jolly after munching on coffee berries. But why does coffee contain caffeine to begin with? Well, it’s toxic to slugs and other pests, but it turns out it also has an effect on pollinators such as bees. In fact, scientists think they get—wait for it—a buzz from the caffeine in the flowers of plants.

Scientists found that consuming caffeine helped bees to improve their long-term memories. The caffeine acts on the brain chemistry of bees in a way that makes the flowers more memorable, so the bees are more likely to return to plants of the same type. Though bees and humans are very different, some experts suggest the capacity to be affected by caffeine could be as old as the common ancestors we share, as it impacts our neurological activity on a very fundamental level.

See? Coffee drinkers and bees have more in common that you thought! How cool is that?

Coffee inside again this morning. Still a bit cool out on the patio.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A June Bug Epidemic...?

Most everyone in the South (and probably other parts as well) know what June bugs are.

Here around my house they can be seen in the Spring, climbing on the screens and generally making a pest of pun intended. I would say that I can't remember them ever causing an epidemic, though. Here's a case where some folks thought otherwise.

The June Bug Epidemic

Photo credit: Patrick Coin

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

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

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

Something sounds a little fishy about this story, if you ask me. I've been around June bugs all my life, playing with them, picking them up and such. Never had one bite me that I know of.

Coffee in the kitchen. Kinda cool on the patio and it's misting rain.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Herman Lehmann For Western Wednesday...!

Herman was one of those children that was kidnapped by the Indians, but didn't want to leave and go back home.

He had become so much a part of his adopted tribe, he was made a warrior and minor chief. Wanting to stay with their captors was not all that uncommon. Many refused to leave, or ran away when returned to their true families. Here is Herman's story from Listverse.

Herman Lehmann

Photo credit: Alchetron

Herman Lehmann didn’t see himself as a white boy living among the Apaches. To him, he was an Apache warrior through and through. He was kidnapped at age ten, and it changed him so much that when he was found eight years later, he couldn’t even remember his own name.

By then, Lehman was a respected warrior in his tribe who called himself “En Da.” He’d been made a petty chief for his ability to fight, and he’d joined the Apaches in raids and battles, even leading a charge right into a fort full of Texas Rangers.

All that changed, though, when a medicine man killed his adoptive father, an Apache warrior named Carnoviste. Lehman took his revenge and killed the medicine man. He then had to flee into the wilderness. For a year, he lived alone, hiding from the Apaches and the white men alike, until he finally settled down in a Native American reservation.

When his mother heard there was a white-skinned, blue-eyed boy on the reservation, she came out, praying it was her son. At first, she didn’t recognize him, and Herman was less than friendly. “I was an Indian,” he explained, “and I did not like them because they were palefaces.” But Herman’s sister spotted an old scar only he could have and, overcome with joy, cried out, “It’s Herman!”

The sound of the name puzzled him. Somehow, Herman thought he’d heard it before. It took a long moment, Herman would later recall, before he realized that he was hearing his own name.

No one knows for sure what made the captors stay when given the choice...but it was their choice and should have been allowed.Just my opinion, of course.

Coffee out on the patio this morning, but you better bring a sweater!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Very Tiny Church Chapel...!

Sometimes, out of nowhere, a simple landmark pops up that totally surprises you. That's the case with this little chapel.

The Wayside Chapel is one of those places that just grabs your attention as you drive by. Here is an article about it.


Wayside Chapel
The tiny church offers succor to travelers driving by, but only eight at a time.

While driving by on the Stevens Pass Highway, about six miles east of Monroe, Washington, you’ll see a tiny chapel that invites any travelers on the highway to stop and take a little break—but only eight at a time.

“Pause, Rest, Worship” reads the sign outside the miniature structure, and weary travelers from any faith can enter at any time, to look around the one-room, unstaffed church or pray for a few moments before continuing on their way.

Inside, there is a pulpit, four two-person pews, and some flower vases. And that’s about it.

The charming chapel was dedicated in October 1962, when Seattle was hosting the World’s Fair. It has seen some surface changes, but remains much the same as it did then.

It is a favorite with locals, some of whom have even gotten married or renewed their vows in the tiny wayside chapel.

Cute little rest stop, don't you think? Might be just the place to stop and give yourself a bit of time to get the mind calmed down.

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

Monday, November 6, 2017

Somerset Slime For Monday Mystery...!

I've posted about this stuff before, but that was way back when it was called "star jelly!"

The last time the information was old and outdated. Even this information is newer, it isn't much more helpful than what we had before.

Somerset Slime

Photo credit: AOL

Scientists were stumped by the strange jelly-like slime that appeared in a nature reserve in Somerset, England, in 2012. The bizarre substance was found in several locations. Experts were unable to explain its origin, although a few guesses were hazarded. The reserve’s spokesman, Tony Whitehead, suggested the slime might be Nostoc, a form of cyanobacteria.

Other guesses held it might be the regurgitated viscera of amphibians and their spawn. Whitehead said, in past centuries, the substance was “known variously as star jelly, astral jelly or astromyxin,” and folklore associated it with meteors. Other speculations suggested it lacked DNA, although it appeared to be alive. Experts didn’t know what to make of the slime. Visitors to the reserve were warned not to touch the substance, whatever it was.

You don't have to tell me twice to not touch the stuff...I intend to leave it alone! I don't know what it is, where it came from, and what it might do! I flashback to the movie with Steve McQueen called "The Blob", ya know?

Coffee out on the patio again today!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sunday Means Cartoons...!

Guess maybe I should change things around a bit and not be such a creature of habit. Not today, though.

Today it will be the 'toons like usual. Don't want to disappoint anyone, ya know?

And maybe just one more...

That's all I have today. Hope you enjoyed them.

Coffee out on the patio again. I hope you set your clocks back!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Sad And Creepy Story Of Ruby...!

Dolls have been favorite playthings for many children for a long time and many have become sought after by doll collectors over the years.

However, many dolls have become the center for stories of hauntings and possession and just downright creepiness! Here is one such story about a doll named Ruby.


Photo credit: Week in Weird

The story of Ruby is a bit more sad than creepy. It is said that Ruby was the favorite possession of a little girl a long time ago. The little girl got very sick and eventually died with Ruby in her arms.[8] Ruby was then passed on through generations of the little girl’s family, more often than not ending up in a box in a basement because of her less-than-cute appearance. Also, the family members claimed that Ruby walked around, made weird noises, and, much the same as Peggy, caused nausea and headaches.

Ruby eventually ended up in the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult, where even stranger things started happening. Almost half of all visitors to the museum started taking Ruby in their arms and rocking her and comforting her as you would do with a crying baby. When being made aware of what they were doing, the visitors would be shocked, not having realized their actions. One visitor also found a picture of Ruby on her phone after visiting the museum, and she swears she didn’t take any photos of the doll. It is believed that the little girl who died is still connected to Ruby somehow and is making her presence felt with the help of her favorite doll.

My mother was a doll maker, as you may know, and she left many dolls here when she passed. My sisters, nieces, grandkids and everyone else I could think of was allowed to take any or all of the dolls with them. Very few did, however. I still have about twenty or so dolls here, nearly all with handmade clothes. I reckon that no one plays with dolls, even with porcelain handmade ones.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Almost hot outside today!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Sweet Truth About Candy Corn...!

Since we are gearing up to enter into what I like to call the "food holidays", I figured I would post a little fact I discovered about Candy Corn.

This sweet treat has always been one of my favorites, taking second place only to chocolate. Chocolate will always be my first choice, but Candy Corn is close.

The Real Deal With Candy Corn

Photo credit: Evan-Amos/Wikimedia

Candy corn has been around since the 1880s, and it has always been one of those things that most people claim to hate. Those who do love it probably already know about National Candy Corn Day, which is October 30.

The recipe for candy corn has not changed, and it is still made with fondant, corn syrup, marshmallow creme, vanilla, and sugar. In the early days, when each kernel was handmade, the original name was “Chicken Feed,” and it was first designed to tap into rural America’s most familiar images for a treat that was available year around. Its association with autumn is no coincidence, as it was part of a group of candies (that also included candy turnips, chestnuts, and clovers) that symbolized the fall harvest.

According to the National Confectioners Association, candy corn is the favorite Halloween treat of a whopping 12 percent of the population.

That's all I have for today. Gotta go celebrate with the rest of the town, because of Houston winning something called the "World Series!" for the first time ever...!

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Nixon Broke The Gavel...!

Who would believe that some of the original tools used in the Senate are 200 years old? I'm talking about the gavels, not the politicians!

The U.S. Senate Has Been Using the Same Ivory Gavels for Over 200 Years
They only got a second one after Nixon broke the first.

BY ERIC GRUNDHAUSER                                       OCTOBER 26, 2017

WHEN THINGS GET UNRULY IN a courtroom, the judge can grab his gavel and start hammering on the podium to get everyone’s attention and restore order. It’s not so terribly different in the United States Senate, where they’ve been using the same ivory gavels in their attempts to bring order for over 200 years.

The U.S. Senate has a number of hidden traditions (we see you, candy desk) and historic artifacts that have been in use for generations, but perhaps none symbolizes the body’s adherence to its own past more than the senate gavels. While the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives generally uses a traditional mallet-style gavel, often comically over-sized and prone to breaking, the leaders of the Senate floor have only ever used one of two hourglass-shaped mauls since the assembly began in the 1700s.

No one is quite sure of the exact origins of the first Senate gavel. “Many of the tools that the Senate uses have long been considered just that. Tools of the legislative process,” says Melinda Smith, current Curator of the United States Senate. “At the time that they were acquired, nobody ever thought that they would be such prized possessions or that there would be such intrigue to them. We haven’t yet found that golden nugget of information. We have a lot of leads, but none of them are on a record.” Smith adds that traditionally it’s believed that the original ivory gavel, or one just like it, has been used since the Senate’s first meeting in 1789.

The original gavel, which measures two-and-a-half inches tall, was used through the 19th century and well into the 20th century. According to the Senate website, the old ivory nub had begun to fall apart by the 1940s, after over a century of use. Then in 1952, the original gavel was reinforced with silver plates affixed to both ends. But even with the extra support, the gavel was in trouble.

Just two years after the silver pieces were added, it finally broke for good. It was during a late-night debate on whether or not to allow the commercial use of nuclear power. Then-Vice President Richard Nixon took hold of the gavel to call the room to order. Slamming it down, a large chunk of the ivory hammer chipped off, although the breakage likely had more to do with wear and age than any over-exuberance on Nixon’s part. “He just happened to be the person who was holding it,” says Smith. “It could have been anybody.”

In an attempt to salvage the historic gavel, the broken chunk was screwed back on, but the gavel was no longer fit for government work, and the hunt for a replacement began. According to a New York Times article from 1982, it was Nixon himself who went searching for a suitable piece of ivory that could replace the one that had broken in his hand. After a few (no doubt unruly) gavel-less months, the Vice President of India, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, presented the assembly with a replacement ivory gavel that looked nearly identical to the original save for a decorative floral collar etched around the pinched middle. He said that he hoped it would lead to debate “with freedom from passion and prejudice.”

Let's hope that the future gavels are only used in common sense debates, and last at least as long as the originals.

Coffee out on the patio where it seems that Spring has come back with temps in the mid 80s.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

"Uncle Billy" Bites The Dust...!

Some of the most memorable folks from the era of the old west were the good guys, not always the bad.

Often thought to be one of the most honest and effective lawmen around at the time, he met his end while still upholding the law.

Legendary western lawman is murdered

On this day, William Tilghman is murdered by a corrupt prohibition agent who resented Tilghman’s refusal to ignore local bootlegging operations. Tilghman, one of the famous marshals who brought law and order to the Wild West, was 71 years old.

Known to both friends and enemies as “Uncle Billy,” Tilghman was one of the most honest and effective lawmen of his day. Born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, in 1854, Tilghman moved west when he was only 16 years old. Once there, he flirted with a life of crime after falling in with a crowd of disreputable young men who stole horses from Indians. After several narrow escapes with angry Indians, Tilghman decided that rustling was too dangerous and settled in Dodge City, Kansas, where he briefly served as a deputy marshal before opening a saloon. He was arrested twice for alleged train robbery and rustling, but the charges did not stick.

Despite this shaky start, Tilghman gradually built a reputation as an honest and respectable young man in Dodge City. He became the deputy sheriff of Ford County, Kansas, and later, the marshal of Dodge City. Tilghman was one of the first men into the territory when Oklahoma opened to settlement in 1889, and he became a deputy U.S. marshal for the region in 1891. In the late 19th century, lawlessness still plagued Oklahoma, and Tilghman helped restore order by capturing some of the most notorious bandits of the day.

Over the years, Tilghman earned a well-deserved reputation for treating even the worst criminals fairly and protecting the rights of the unjustly accused. Any man in Tilghman’s custody knew he was safe from angry vigilante mobs, because Tilghman had little tolerance for those who took the law into their own hands. In 1898, a wild mob lynched two young Indians who were falsely accused of raping and murdering a white woman. Tilghman arrested and secured prison terms for eight of the mob leaders and captured the real rapist-murderer.

In 1924, after serving a term as an Oklahoma state legislator, making a movie about his frontier days, and serving as the police chief of Oklahoma City, Tilghman might well have been expected to quietly retire. However, the old lawman was unable to hang up his gun, and he accepted a job as city marshal in Cromwell, Oklahoma. Tilghman was shot and killed while trying to arrest a drunken Prohibition agent.

Uncle Billy was around much longer than most in his profession. Sad ending to a good lawman.

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Sad Truth Of The Nobel Prize..!

Sometimes it's easy to make a mistake with the cause of what makes a person famous. Often times it's the back story that tells the whole truth. Here is a case in point...

Alfred Nobel And Ludvig Nobel

Photo credit:

Alfred Bernhard Nobel is remembered as the founder of the Nobel Prize, which includes the famous Nobel Peace Prize. Ironically, he is also the inventor of dynamite, a deadly explosive used for variety of purposes, including warfare.

To be fair, Alfred Nobel invented dynamite for use in mining, demolition, and construction and not as a weapon. Nevertheless, the military found other purposes for the deadly explosive and Alfred never openly supported nor condemned its use in warfare.

Alfred Nobel rethought his invention when Ludvig, his brother, died in 1888. Newspapers erroneously published Alfred’s obituary and accused him of becoming wealthy by killing people. One newspaper even announced his death with the headline “The Merchant of Death is Dead.” This devastated Nobel.

Wanting to repair his name, he willed a huge chunk of his wealth to create the Nobel Prizes.

Like I said, we shouldn't judge until we know the whole story.

Coffee out on the patio again.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Airplane Mysteries For Monday...!

Instead of writing out a post about some of the mysterious airplane vanishings over the years, I thought we would share a video about them instead...OK?

We could go on and on listing the other flights that have disappeared over the years, but it seems rather pointless until the mysteries just listed have been solved. Just my opinion.

Coffee out on the patio one more time. Maybe the sun will shine a bit.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

'Toons For A Cool Sunday Morning...!

Since we have another cool front in today, I figured it must be time for some fun 'toons. Nothing like a little laughter to warm things up, right?

And just one more...

I guess that the moral of the story don't always get what you want, but instead get what you need.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Animals Had It First...!

Just when we are patting ourselves on the back for some major discovery, we realize that the animals have been doing the same thing, but for much longer.


After the controversy over Dolly the sheep, you might have assumed that cloning was a new and strange phenomenon. If you want an alternative opinion, though, ask a starfish (aka sea star).

Starfish have been asexually reproducing with no difficulty well before cloning was even a word. Not only that, but starfish that clone themselves live longer and healthier lives than starfish that reproduce sexually.

So cloning obviously suits these creatures rather well. Additionally, if a starfish breaks a limb or even breaks its body in half, the creature will simply regrow and regenerate itself as needed. Some species even have the ability to produce a new body from part of a severed limb.

Starfish are evidently the experts when it comes to cloning, so perhaps we ought to leave it to them?

Sounds like a good idea to me. Leave it to the real experts!

Coffee out on the patio again this chilly morning.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Death By Vegetable On Freaky Friday...

Over and over again, mankind has shown that the ability to kill each other comes almost naturally.

It seems to me that the imagination never shuts down when it comes to creative killing. However, this next story is certainly off the beaten path and is beyond creative, I think.

Canned Vegetables

Photo credit:

In summer 2015, Linda Clarene Jackson of Lake Los Angeles, California, was arrested for murder and faced allegations that she used canned foods as a deadly weapon. Jackson was accused of fatally beating her boyfriend, David Ruiz, with cans of peas, carrots, and chicken broth.

Police had been called on reports of a man who was injured and bleeding. They found Ruiz unresponsive, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities said Jackson’s motive was unclear.

If convicted, she faced life in prison for her canned food killing. But her sentence has already been completed. On June 8, 2017, she died of natural causes behind bars while awaiting trial

I guess you could say she went to the "can" for her crime. Gotta be a moral in there somewhere.

Coffee out on the patio again today.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Mysterious Black Mist...!

Here is another one of Nature's mysteries that we can't explain...yet.

Imagine a strange mist that suddenly appears out of nowhere, then vanishes as quickly as it came. No explanations from anyone, no evidence as to the origin, nothing!

  The Black Mist Of Casa Grande Mountain

Photo credit: Kathy Christenson

According to locals, the roads and pathways around the base of Casa Grande Mountain in Arizona are subject to a strange black mist after dark. Legends state that if this black mist is allowed to engulf you, it will “plague you with uneasy feelings” or even transport you away to another dimension or time altogether.

Many of these legends are said to have their routes in the culture of the Hohokam Native American tribes, who once called the area home—until they disappeared themselves without any explanation around AD 1100. Many of their ruins still exist in the area, some of which remain a mystery as to their purpose even today. According to the legends, the black mist of Casa Grande Mountain contains the ancient, living essence of the desert and has a mind of its own and should be respected at all times.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be anywhere around that black mist.

Coffee out on the patio, where the air is dry and the weather is cool.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Railroad Survey Crew Killed...!

Doing railroad surveys, especially across Indian lands, was a dangerous undertaking. Attacks were not uncommon, and the surveyors were seen as intruders most of the time.

Regardless of the precautions that were taken, many on the survey teams lost their lives while trying to accomplish their task. In the end, the survey was finished, the mapping done, and the Transcontinental Railroad was built.

Indians attack transcontinental railroad survey crew in Utah

On this day in 1853, Paiute Indians attack U.S. Army Captain John W. Gunnison and his party of 37 soldiers and railroad surveyors near Sevier Lake, Utah. Gunnison and seven other men were killed, but the survey party continued with its work and eventually reported its findings to the United States Congress.

Gunnison was a West Point graduate who had led several previous topographical surveys before being assigned to conduct this survey of potential railroad routes across central Colorado and Utah. Gunnison’s mission was only one of four surveys dispatched by the U.S. Congress in an attempt to break a sectional deadlock over which route the proposed transcontinental railroad should follow. The whole idea of a transcontinental railroad was jeopardized by a bitter dispute between northern and southern politicians, with both factions stubbornly insisting that the line should have its terminus in their respective regions. Congress hoped that by turning the question over to the impartial and scientific surveyors of the topographical corps, a clearly superior route would emerge and break the deadlock.

Following Gunnison’s death at the hands of the Paiute, his lieutenant, E.G. Beckwith, assumed command. Beckwith eventually found a potential railroad route through Weber Canyon in the Unita Mountains and discovered two feasible passes over the northern Sierra Nevada. The survey also provided valuable information on the geology, flora, and fauna of the West and set a high standard for subsequent explorers to follow. However, the results of neither the Gunnison/Beckwith survey nor any of the others succeeded in breaking the deadlock in Congress. Since no clearly superior route emerged from the volumes of maps and data gathered, the decision remained a political rather than scientific one. The issue would only be settled after the southern states seceded from the Union, leaving the matter in the hands of northern politicians.

I got this info from the History website, where you can find out more about this major undertaking, if you wish.

Coffee out on the patio this morning, but you better bring a sweater or jacket.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tricking The Devil...!

We've all hard the many stories of folks making a bargain with the Devil , in trade for some favor or fortune. Most turn out badly.

Only a few individuals have managed to come out on the winning side of one of these bargains, if you believe the folk tales. Here is the story about one man who seemed to always be on top of his bargain.

Jack O’Kent

Photo credit:

Fiction is always quick to point out that a deal with the Devil is usually a terrible idea. Not all folktales bear this out, however. Jack O’Kent is one man who always seemed to come out on top in his dealings with Beelzebub.

Apparently, traveling magician Jack O’Kent made several diabolical deals. In one adventure, he offered the Devil a share of a herd of pigs. To decide who got which pigs, they split the animals according to their tails. Jack got the pigs with curly tails, and the Devil took those with straight tails.

Happy with the division, the Devil waited for his delivery, only to find that Jack had marched the pigs through a stream whose cold water twisted all the pigs’ tails. In another story, the Devil wanted half of Jack’s crop of wheat. Jack paid his debt with the bottom half, leaving the grain for himself. Enraged, the Devil demanded the top half of next year’s crop. Jack promptly planted turnips.

After years of being beaten, the Devil had had enough. He swore to take Jack to hell “whether he was buried inside or outside the church.” Jack had the last laugh by being bricked up in the wall of the church so as to be neither inside nor outside of it.

Even though Jack came out on the good side of his bargains, I'm not sure I would want to take a chance at making a bargain with the Devil. My track record at winning those kinds of bargains isn't the best.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Cold front moving in, or so they say!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Magnets For Monday Mysteries...!

With all the knowledge that we have today, there are still some simple questions we don't have the answer to. Makes for an interesting topic, I think.

For instance, when I found this article on Listverse, it made me start thinking. Seems to me that as smart as some of the brainier types are in our world, surely someone can answer (or guess) one or two of these little mysteries.

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.

After we get the questions involving magnets solved, we'll start in on the mystery of gravity...OK?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, if the rain has stopped.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Optical Illusions For Sunday...

Again this Sunday, we are going to do something a little different. Instead of tickling the funny bone, let's tease the brain a bit.

And one more...

OK...that's enough for today. Let's not overdo it.

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

This Bacon Wasn't Cured...!

It seems that even in the Victorian times, severe mental problems were not that uncommon. The trouble is that many patients, once treated and pronounced "cured", were back on the streets again.

As you can imagine, this early release often had tragic and sad endings. Just like today, mental problems can often be misdiagnosed and remain hidden until some unknown trigger sets them free again.

Bacon The Butcher

Martha Bacon was from Lambeth, London. She had already done a stint in a mental hospital due to her erratic and sometimes violent behavior, but once she was deemed to be “treated,” she was released back into society and the arms of her family. Sadly, her psychotic behavior was far from cured and, on December 29, 1856, she took a butcher’s knife and brutally murdered her two young children, slashing at their throats almost to the point of decapitation.

After being questioned by police, she vehemently claimed that the murders were committed by a crazed intruder. The evidence did not back up her claims, and she was found guilty of murder by reason of insanity. She spent the rest of her life in a high-security mental hospital, using her spare time (of which she had plenty), to knit children’s clothes and practice needlework.

Even today, with all of our improved methods of treatment, some former mental patients are not fully prepared to face modern society without some form of supervision. It's sad, but sometimes it can't be helped.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning because it's trying to rain.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Siberian Stiff For Freaky Friday...!

Today I found a really strange story on Listverse that fits the bill for freaky Friday, I think.

Siberian Stiff

Photo credit:

On July 1, 2016, Russian authorities discovered the mummified remains of a man 15 meters (50 ft) up in a Siberian pine. Investigators revealed that he had been dead for eight months.

He died in a sitting position with his hands wrapped around the trunk. The man was found wearing a navy vest, sweatshirt, pants, and felt boots. He was discovered in Tomsk in a wooded area between Chekistsky Road and Mostovaya Street. Investigators are working to establish the deceased’s identity.

The man was found on a road leading to Seversk. Forbidden to foreigners, this “closed city” was omitted from Soviet-era maps. It is an epicenter of Russian enriched uranium and plutonium production.

In 2015, a container housing depleted uranium lost pressure and exploded at the Siberian Chemical Industrial Complex. In 1993, the Tomsk-7 Reprocessing Complex became site to one of the world’s greatest nuclear disasters after it released a cloud of radioactive gas.

I would say that this story qualifies as a good Freaky Friday entry, wouldn't you?

Coffee out on the patio if it isn't raining already.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

This Is A Very Tiny Boat...!

I have always been fascinated by miniatures. Anything done in miniature !

Over on Listverse, I found some very good examples of different miniatures and I wanted to share one with you.

That’s the pits

What to do with those pesky pits that we find in our everyday foods. For centuries those pits from peaches, plums, cherries and olives have been thrown away with the garbage. But for quite of few folks with the ache to create, and with an extremely steady hand, those very pits are the “core” of their calling. The inspiration for this list, Mott’s Miniature’s had quite a “large” collection of pit carvings that can be viewed at their website. The American artist Bob Shamey has been featured by Ripley’s Believe It or Not not just once, but twice, for his carvings. At the National Palace Museum in Taiwan there is an olive pit carving of a tiny boat, with working shutters and facial expressions on all eight passengers.

I don't think I have either the talent or the patience to attempt something like this. I wouldn't mind owning something like it to place on my bookshelf though.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Cochise For Western Wednesday...!

I am often taken aback by how many of us don't know the names of the greater Native American chiefs.

You don't have to be a fan of their ways, but all of us should realize these chiefs helped to form many of our country's boundaries and taught us so much about the land we unfairly took from them time and time again. One name many of us can remember is the warrior chief Cochise.


Photo credit: Karen Gonzales/US National Park Service

Almost nothing is known about the childhood of one of the greatest Apache chiefs in history. In fact, no one is even sure when he was born. Relatively tall for his day, he was said to have stood at least 183 centimeters (6′), cutting a very imposing figure. A leader of the Chiricahua tribe, Cochise led his people on a number of raids, sometimes against Mexicans and sometimes against Americans. However, it was his attacks on the US which led to his demise.

In 1861, a raiding party of a different Apache tribe kidnapped a child, and Cochise’s tribe was accused of the act by a relatively inexperienced US Army officer.[8] Though they were innocent, an attempt at arresting the Native Americans, who had come to talk, ended in violence, with one shot to death and Cochise escaping the meeting tent by cutting a hole in the side and fleeing. Various acts of torture and execution by both sides followed, and it seemed to have no end. But the US Civil War had begun, and Arizona was left to the Apache.

Less than a year later, however, the Army was back, armed with howitzers, and they began to destroy the tribes still fighting. For nearly ten years, Cochise and a small band of fighters hid among the mountains, raiding when necessary and evading capture. In the end, Cochise was offered a huge part of Arizona as a reservation. His reply: “The white man and the Indian are to drink of the same water, eat of the same bread, and be at peace.” Unfortunately for Cochise, he didn’t get to experience the fruits of his labor for long, as he became seriously ill and died in 1874.

I think we might have been better off had we paid more attention to the words and warnings of the native Americans. But if history has shown us anything at all, it has pointed out that our leaders have never been much for listening to anyone holding counter views on policy.

Coffee out on the nice cool patio this morning.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Scarface Goes To Prison...!

No matter how rich you are, how many lawyers you have, or how you try and avoid the legal system...sooner or later it all catches up to you.

It wasn't the murders or bootlegging that brought Al Capone down, in the end he was nailed for tax evasion.

Capone goes to prison

On this day in 1931, gangster Al Capone is sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion and fined $80,000, signaling the downfall of one of the most notorious criminals of the 1920s and 1930s.

Alphonse Gabriel Capone was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1899 to Italian immigrants. He was expelled from school at 14, joined a gang and earned his nickname “Scarface” after being sliced across the cheek during a fight. By 1920, Capone had moved to Chicago, where he was soon helping to run crime boss Johnny Torrio’s illegal enterprises, which included alcohol-smuggling, gambling and prostitution. Torrio retired in 1925 after an attempt on his life and Capone, known for his cunning and brutality, was put in charge of the organization.

Prohibition, which outlawed the brewing and distribution of alcohol and lasted from 1920 to 1933, proved extremely lucrative for bootleggers and gangsters like Capone, who raked in millions from his underworld activities. Capone was at the top of the F.B.I.’s “Most Wanted” list by 1930, but he avoided long stints in jail until 1931 by bribing city officials, intimidating witnesses and maintaining various hideouts. He became Chicago’s crime kingpin by wiping out his competitors through a series of gangland battles and slayings, including the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929, when Capone’s men gunned down seven rivals. This event helped raise Capone’s notoriety to a national level.

Among Capone’s enemies was federal agent Elliot Ness, who led a team of officers known as “The Untouchables” because they couldn’t be corrupted. Ness and his men routinely broke up Capone’s bootlegging businesses, but it was tax-evasion charges that finally stuck and landed Capone in prison in 1931. Capone began serving his time at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, but amid accusations that he was manipulating the system and receiving cushy treatment, he was transferred to the maximum-security lockup at Alcatraz Island, in California’s San Francisco Bay. He got out early in 1939 for good behavior, after spending his final year in prison in a hospital, suffering from syphilis.

Plagued by health problems for the rest of his life, Capone died in 1947 at age 48 at his home in Palm Island, Florida.

The tax man can be relentless when he comes after you, that's for sure!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Temps are around the low 50s...

Monday, October 16, 2017

Monday Mysteries...!

Another group of mysteries from the folks over at Youtube. I hope you can see them OK.

Good or bad, this is an easy way to present more than one mystery to you at the same time. I do hope it is acceptable.

Coffee out on the patio again. Slightly cooler temps are on the way.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Riddles For Sunday...!

Instead of cartoons today, let's do a few riddles. OK?

Just one more for ya...

Well, that was a little different, wasn't it? Kinda fun for a change, I think.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Freshly baked peanut butter cookies to share!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Seeing Faces...!

As we get older, we tend to hear or see things others sometimes can't. Imagination...? Maybe not.

Here is a story about a slightly older woman (younger than me) that had this happen to her, and was more than happy to discover the cause.

The Faces

University of Kentucky physicians were similarly perplexed by a 67-year-old patient who was experiencing disquieting symptoms. Although she had no history of dementia or mental problems, she had been seeing things hovering around her all the time. Specifically, faces . . . terrifying, disembodied, elongated faces with huge eyes and teeth.

Understandably afraid that she might be losing her mind, the woman was almost relieved to receive a diagnosis of Charles Bonnet syndrome, which occurs in patients with rapidly deteriorating vision. Accustomed to constant input, the brains of patients with this condition simply make up their own input to replace whatever is missing.

The resulting hallucinations are usually more benign, such as flashes of color or small animals. In this woman’s case, the bloodcurdling visions became less frequent once she was diagnosed.

I'm happy for this woman and glad there was a minor explanation for her visions. Getting older certainly isn't for sissies!

Coffee is gonna be outside again

Friday, October 13, 2017

House Of Horns For Freaky Friday...!

People collect all sorts of things...some strange, some ordinary. However, some are just plain Freaky. Take this collection of horns, for instance.

Jim's Horn House

A collection of 16,000 antlers crammed beautifully into a small shed.

For the last six decades, Jim Phillips’ favorite pastime has been to hike out into the Montana backcountry, braving the elements, for the sole purpose of picking up thousands of pairs of stray antlers. Since starting his collection as a 10-year-old boy, the “Antler Man” has amassed a grand total of 16,000 antlers, all of which are on display in one well-lit shed in Three Forks, Montana.

Most antlers in the collection are brilliantly white and in pristine condition, lining the 16-foot walls from top to bottom at such a high density that it’s nearly impossible to see the wood that lies beneath the horns.

Although Phillips could have easily acquired these antlers through purchase, he has been firmly committed to building his collection organically, and thus has never purchased a single set of horns. To collect the antlers, he drives out into the backcountry and takes long hikes, scavenging for antlers littered on the ground after being shed from moose, deer, and elk.

Some days, the turnout is low; Phillips once hiked for 26 miles and only to return empty-handed. But most of the time, Phillips’ efforts culminate in a truckload of bucks, with a record of 87 in one day (their horns only, of course; Phillips never kills for his collection). This painstaking process, which Phillips has been undertaking since 1958, makes for an incredible collection for the mere cost of gas money. If shed antlers are scarce out in the woods, he has a backup plan: Many hunters discard unused parts of their kill in waste bins, so dumpster diving serves as a great alternative way to expand the collection.

Although Phillips chose to sell 2,100 of the sheds to put his daughters through college, the collection in the Horn House is unfathomably large. And Phillips is still at it; he always has another “bone to pick.” According to Phillips, “now I’m over sixteen thousand and I know seventeen or eighteen thousand will not be enough. ”

See what I mean? Although I suppose that his collection isn't freaky, but it certainly falls into the strange category, don't you think?

Coffee out on the patio again today.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sad Death Of Tom Mix...!

One of the best known names of the "Old West" was actor Tom Mix.

Seemingly bigger than life at times, his death was sad to many of his fans, but his name lives on to this day as one of the first cowboy heroes of silent films.

Silent-film star Tom Mix dies in Arizona car wreck; brained by “Suitcase of Death”

On this day in 1940, cowboy-movie star Tom Mix is killed when he loses control of his speeding Cord Phaeton convertible and rolls into a dry wash (now called the Tom Mix Wash) near Florence, Arizona. He was 60 years old. Today, visitors to the site of the accident can see a 2-foot–tall iron statue of a riderless horse and a somewhat awkwardly written plaque that reads: “In memory of Tom Mix whose spirit left his body on this spot and whose characterization and portrayals in life served to better fix memories of the Old West in the minds of living men.”

According to Mix’s press agent, the star was a genuine cowboy and swaggering hero of the Wild West: He was born in Texas; fought in the Spanish-American War, the Boxer Rebellion and the Boer War; and served as a sheriff in Kansas, a U.S. marshal in Oklahoma and a Texas Ranger. In fact, Mix was born in Driftwood, Pennsylvania; deserted the Army in 1902; and was a drum major in the Oklahoma Territorial Cavalry band when he went off to Hollywood in 1909.

None of these inconvenient facts prevented Mix from becoming one of the greatest silent-film stars in history, however. Along with his famous horse Tony, Mix made 370 full-length Westerns. At the peak of his fame, he was the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, earning as much as $17,500 a week (about $218,000 today). Unfortunately, Mix and Tony had a hard time making the transition to talking pictures. Some people say that the actor’s voice was so high-pitched that it undermined his macho cowboy image, but others argue that sound films simply had too much talking for Mix’s taste: He preferred wild action sequences to heartfelt conversation.

On the day he died, Mix was driving north from Tucson in his beloved bright-yellow Cord Phaeton sports car. He was driving so fast that he didn’t notice–or failed to heed–signs warning that one of the bridges was out on the road ahead. The Phaeton swung into a gully and Mix was smacked in the back of the head by one of the heavy aluminum suitcases he was carrying in the convertible’s backseat. The impact broke the actor’s neck and he died almost instantly. Today, the dented “Suitcase of Death” is the featured attraction at the Tom Mix Museum in Dewey, Oklahoma.

At least Tom went out in a blaze of glory. Some of his films are still around for viewing, if you are interested.

Coffee out on the patio one more time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Strange Death Of Meriwether Lewis...!

Few deaths of prominent individuals have been as strange as the one for Lewis.

To this day, folks can't seem to decide whether it was murder or suicide. Coupled with the fact that no one came to his aide should have raised more than a few eyebrows, I would think.

Meriwether Lewis dies along the Natchez Trace, Tennessee

On this day in 1809, the famous explorer Meriwether Lewis dies under mysterious circumstances in the early hours of the morning after stopping for the night at Grinder’s Tavern along the Natchez Trace in Tennessee.

Three years earlier, Lewis and his co-commander, William Clark, had completed their brilliant exploration of the newly acquired Louisiana Territory and the Pacific Northwest. Justly famous and celebrated throughout the nation as a result, Lewis nonetheless found his return to civilized eastern life difficult. President Thomas Jefferson appointed him as governor of Louisiana Territory, but Lewis soon discovered that the complex politics and power struggles of the territory were earning him more enemies than friends. At the same time, bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., were questioning the legitimacy of some of the purchases Lewis had made for the expedition in 1803, raising the threat of bankruptcy if he were forced to cover these costs personally. Finally, some three years after the end of his journey, Lewis still had failed to complete the work necessary to publish the critically important scientific and geographical information he and Clark had gathered in their journals-much to the disappointment of his close friend and mentor, Thomas Jefferson.

For all these reasons, most recent historians have concluded that Lewis’ death was a suicide brought on by deep depression and the heavy weight of worries he bore. According to the account given by Mrs. Grinder, the mistress of the tavern along the Natchez Trace where Lewis died, during his final hours Lewis began to pace in his room and talk aloud to himself “like a lawyer.” She then heard a pistol shot and Lewis exclaiming, “O Lord!” After a second pistol shot, Lewis staggered from his room and called for help, reportedly saying, “O Madam! Give me some water, and heal my wounds.” Strangely, Mrs. Grinder did nothing to help him; she later said that she was too afraid. The next morning servants went to his room where they reportedly found him “busily engaged in cutting himself from head to foot” with a razor. Fatally wounded in the abdomen, Lewis died shortly after sunrise.

Based largely on Mrs. Grinder’s story, most historians have argued that Lewis tried to kill himself with two pistol shots, and when death did not come quickly enough, tried to finish the job with his razor. However, in a 1962 book, Suicide or Murder? The Strange Death of Governor Meriwether Lewis, the author Vardes Fisher raised questions about the reliability of Mrs. Grinder’s story and suggested that Lewis might have actually been murdered, either by Mrs. Grinder’s husband or bandits. Since then a minority of historians has continued to raise challenges to the suicide thesis. But ultimately, nearly two centuries after the event, we may never be able to discover exactly what happened that night along the Natchez Trace when one of the nation’s greatest heroes died at the tragically young age of 35.

I'm certainly no expert on this stuff, but in my opinion, the facts seem to point more to murder than suicide. Guess we'll never know for sure, though.

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Lost Story Of Jekyll And Hyde...!

Most writers know that some of their first drafts need to be edited, some more than others.

Here is an article about Jekyll and Hyde that can help to prove my point. It's also a cautionary tale for anyone considering having a piece edited while under the influence.

Jekyll & Hyde
 First Draft

 The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde is one of the most famous horror stories ever written. The story examines the nature of the inner battle waged by humans between good and evil as well as their conscious and subconscious desires.

In fact, the book has made such an indelible mark on Western literature and culture that “Jekyll and Hyde” is now a commonly used phrase. But if Fanny Stevenson had not been such a harsh critic, you might never have heard of her husband, Robert Louis Stevenson.

Letters discovered in 2000 between Fanny and family friend W.E. Henley revealed that Fanny believed the book was simply bad, describing it as “utter nonsense.” She felt that the draft was a messy story about a scientist who turned into a monster, but it had no real purpose or message behind it. She suggested that the transformation should be used to symbolize the conflict of human nature, the theme for which the book is now most famous.

The original idea for the story came to Stevenson while he was in the midst of a cocaine-induced nightmare. Indignant that Fanny woke him up from his distressed sleep, Robert set to work writing the 30,000-word draft over the course of just three days.

This is the draft to which Fanny referred in her letter. She signed off by stating, “He said it was his greatest work. I shall burn it after I show it to you.”

And burn it she did, much to the chagrin of her husband. He immediately set to work on it again, this time with the helpful criticism of his wife in mind. The reworked version was completed and became a roaring success, saving the family from their financial woes.

But while you can pick up a copy of the revised book in almost any bookstore, the original, terrible draft is gone forever.

Even though the first draft was considered bad, I would have liked to have read it, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Ancient Things For Monday Mystery...!

Some inventions from long ago still have no explanation as to what they are.

I would think that by now most, if not all, could have been well documented as to their use and purpose. I wonder what the problem is ?

That's all I had today. Just wanted to share that with you.

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Cartoon Sunday Again...!

It's Sunday again already. Time for some 'toons, I reckon.

And one more...

Coffee out on the patio this morning.