Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Jim Bowie On Western Wednesday...!

One name comes to mind very quickly when we talk about weapons of the old west...Jim Bowie.

What made Bowie famous was his well known knife and Bowie's willingness to put it to use. They both developed quite a reputation, both good and bad!

Jim Bowie stabs a Louisiana banker with his famous knife

After a duel turns into an all-out brawl on this day in 1827, Jim Bowie disembowels a banker in Alexandria, Louisiana, with an early version of his famous Bowie knife. The actual inventor of the Bowie knife, however, was probably not Jim Bowie, but rather his equally belligerent brother, Rezin Bowie, who reportedly came up with the design after nearly being killed in a vicious knife fight.

The Bowie brothers engaged in more fights than the typical frontiersman of the day, but such violent duels were not uncommon events on the untamed margins of American civilization. In the early nineteenth century, most frontiersmen preferred knives to guns for fighting, and the Bowie knife quickly became one of the favorites. Rezin Bowie had invented such a nasty looking weapon that the mere sight of it probably discouraged many would-be robbers and attackers. Designs varied somewhat, but the typical Bowie knife sported a 9- to 15- inch blade sharpened only on one side for much of its length, though the curved tip was sharpened to a point on both sides. The double-edged tip made the knife an effective stabbing weapon, while the dull-edge combined with a brass hand guard allowed the user to slide a hand down over the blade as needed. The perfect knife for close-quarter fighting, the Bowie knife became the weapon of choice for many westerners before the reliable rapid-fire revolver took its place in the post-Civil War period.

Good or bad, the name Jim Bowie will likely be well known for many years to come as a legend in the stories of the Old West.

Coffee on the patio again today. Won't be long before we'll be forced inside because of the 'skeeters.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Strange Mass Disappearances...!

We have talked before about some folks disappearing without a trace, but usually it is just one or two people.

The following video is about mass disappearances that go pretty far beyond strange. Sadly, so far there have been no answers as to what happened to these missing people.

You really can't help but wonder what happened to all these people. At least I can't!

Coffee out on the patio again, if that's OK.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Colonel William Shy On Monday Mystery...!

We sometimes think that forensics can solve just about any medical related mystery out there, but it turns out we are wrong.

In the strange case of William Shy, it took a while to answer the questions raised by his burial. The experts were baffled at the time, even though the answer was closer than they thought.

Colonel William Shy’s Grave

The Facts: On December 15–16, 1864, the city of Nashville became a battleground for the already bloody American Civil War. William M. Shy, a Confederate Colonel of the 20th Tennessee Regiment, was shot in the head at point-blank range on the second day of the Battle of Nashville. This is where the story should have ended, but a 1977 excavation of his grave site proved that Colonel Shy was not yet through with the world.

The Weird: In December 1977, forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass arrived in Nashville to investigate a case of vandalism at William Shy’s grave. The grave had been excavated, and a headless body had been propped upright on top of a 19th-century cast-iron coffin. The body appeared to be in an advanced state of deterioration and decay, but some discernible flesh and joints were still completely intact. Dr. Bass and the other forensic experts on the case made the natural assumption that the body had not belonged to the colonel, because his body should have already decomposed to dust.

After further examination, Dr. Bass declared that the body had been dead less than a year, and therefore definitely could not belong to Col. William Shy. But the inconsistencies kept piling up. Soon after the initial investigation, the body’s head was found—with a gunshot wound through the skull. Further, the clothes and casket did seem to be authentic Civil War-era artifacts. The answer was almost laughably simple, but it kept the forensic experts baffled for weeks. The cast-iron coffin—which was a rare privilege reserved for someone of Col. Shy’s social status—was secure enough to keep out all moisture, insects, and oxygen that would have progressed the decomposition process. With none of those present, the body was essentially trapped in a time capsule.

Now, I have to say that I didn't know this fact about the cast iron caskets. I would have been just as baffled as the experts, even if I had their knowledge.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Some Old 'Toons For Sunday...!

Been a while since we had some really old 'toons on, right? So let's have a few now, OK?

How about one more...?

Well, I did tell ya they were old! Coffee out on the patio today!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saint Simons Tree Spirits...!

Sometime we forget just how creative and artistic some folks can be. Here is just one reminder.

Saint Simons Island Tree Spirits
Carved faces add a touch of magic to this island's impressive oak trees.

Carved faces peer out from the old oak trees scattered around Saint Simons Island, a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. The weathered wooden facades, dubbed the “tree spirits,” are a beloved addition to the island’s towering flora.

Saint Simons is known for its impressive oaks. In the island’s early years, it boasted a prosperous lumber industry. Timbers from Saint Simons were even used to construct the Brooklyn bridge in 1874.

Though they may look like an ancient source of forest magic, the tree carvings were created by local artist Keith Jennings, who says the faces are a reflection of his personal connection with the trees on his island home. The individual oaks influence each unique work of art.

Jennings began bringing the tree spirits to life in the 1980s. Each face is carved by hand and takes anywhere from two to four days to create. According to local legend, the spirits immortalize the sailors who were lost at sea while journeying aboard ships made from Saint Simons oaks.

I found this article over at, if you want to see more pictures.

Coffee out on the patio, where the weather is starting to heat up again.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Santeria On Freaky Friday...!

Every so often, a story comes along that is so strange I wasn't sure if it was even real. Turns out it was true and not just made up.

The strange, dark journey of LeRoy Carter's head

In 1981, law enforcement found the body of a man named LeRoy Carter Jr. in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park… but just his body. Carter's head was missing, and pieces of a chicken had been partially stuffed inside the body.

Enter Sandi Gallant, a special intelligence officer who was involved in the investigation at the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana. According to BlumHouse, Gallant was something of an expert in the realm of crimes committed with an eye toward black magic, the occult, and various types of witchcraft and spiritualism. Clearly, this was right up her alley. The LA Times reported that she guessed the crime scene had something to do with Santeria, and she put together a profile that included practitioners spending the next 21 days using parts of the man's head to cook up a ritual brew, then another 21 days of sleeping near the head. She also predicted that on day 42, the head would be returned to the scene of the crime.

And it was, showing up in the weeds near Alvord Lake exactly 42 days after the murder. No one saw whoever dropped the head back off on the scene, and the case went cold — but Gallant says that it was something of a wake-up call that dark stuff like this was actually possible.

Now, I don't know what part of this story I find the scariest...the actual crime, or the fact that someone in the police department actually knows all about the ritual itself! The whole thing is off-the-wall strange, if you ask me!

Coffee out on the patio again.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Some Strange Anomalies To Think About...!

We have talked many times about the many mysteries of nature, and our inability to explain them. Here are 5 more to consider.

Well, there ya go. Just a little food for thought this morning.

Coffee out on the patio again today. We can talk things over out there.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

From The Wild West To The White House...!

Many of us would like to just take off from time to time and get away from it all.

That's exactly what Teddy Roosevelt did when things became too much to deal with back east. Who would have ever guessed that he would end up being President of the United States?

An adoptive westerner becomes president of the United States

On this day in 1901, the 42-year-old Theodore Roosevelt is suddenly elevated to the White House when President McKinley dies from an assassin’s bullet. But while McKinley’s untimely death brought Roosevelt the presidency, 17 years earlier two other deaths had sent the young Roosevelt fleeing to the far West where his political ambitions were almost forgotten.

In February 1884, Roosevelt’s young wife died after giving birth to their daughter; a mere 12 hours later his much-beloved mother also died. Devastated by this cruel double blow, Roosevelt sought solace in the wide open spaces of the West, establishing himself on two ranches in the Badlands of Dakota Territory and writing to friends that he had given up politics and planned to make ranching “my regular business.” Despite this, three years later he returned to New York City and resumed the political career that would eventually take him to the White House. Even after he had returned to the civilized East, Roosevelt always credited his western interlude with restoring his mental and physical vitality.

From an early age, Roosevelt had been convinced of the benefits of living the “strenuous life,” arguing that too many American males had succumbed to the ease and safety of modern industrialized society and become soft and effeminate. Roosevelt thought more men should follow his example and embrace the hard, virile, pioneer life of the West, a place where “the qualities of hardihood, self-reliance, and resolution” were essential for survival. Roosevelt’s own western experience was hardly as harsh and challenging as he liked to claim, yet the eastern tenderfoot did adapt quickly to the rougher ways of ranch life. He earned the respect of Dakotans by tracking down a gang of bandits who had stolen a riverboat and once knocked out a barroom bully who had taunted him. Though he spent the vast majority of his life in the East, Roosevelt thereafter always thought of himself as a westerner at heart, and he did more than any president before him to conserve the wild western lands he loved.

Even though he was born in the East, I think his heart always belonged to the the Wild West. I can certainly understand that.

Coffee out on the patio once again this morning.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

So Long, Hopalong Cassidy...!

So many people I know, including myself, grew up with one of their heroes being Hopalong Cassidy. He just always seemed to show up when he was needed the most.

Of course, the road to success for the so-called "horse operas" on television wasn't an easy one. Thanks to folks like Hopalong, Gene Autry, Cisco Kid, and Zorro for the hard work it took to bring these shows (and so many more) to our living rooms.

Hopalong Cassidy rides off into his last sunset

After nearly 40 years of riding across millions of American TV and movie screens, the cowboy actor William Boyd, best known for his role as Hopalong Cassidy, dies on this day in 1972 at the age of 77.

Boyd’s greatest achievement was to be the first cowboy actor to make the transition from movies to television. Following World War II, Americans began to buy television sets in large numbers for the first time, and soon I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners were standard evening fare for millions of families. But despite their proven popularity in movie theaters, westerns were slow to come to the small screen. Many network TV producers scorned westerns as lowbrow “horse operas” unfit for their middle- and upper-class audiences.

Riding to the small screen’s rescue came the movie cowboy, William Boyd. During the 1930s, Boyd made more than 50 cheap but successful “B-grade” westerns starring as Hopalong Cassidy. Together with his always loyal and outlandishly intelligent horse, Topper, Hopalong righted wrongs, saved school marms in distress, and single-handedly fought off hordes of marauding Indians. After the war, Boyd recognized an opportunity to take Hopalong and Topper into the new world of television, and he began to market his old “B” westerns to TV broadcasters in Los Angeles and New York City. A whole new generation of children thrilled to “Hoppy’s” daring adventures, and they soon began to clamor for more.

Rethinking their initial disdain for the genre, producers at NBC contracted with Boyd in 1948 to produce a new series of half-hour westerns for television. By 1950, American children had made Hopalong Cassidy the seventh most popular TV show in America and were madly snapping up genuine “Hoppy” cowboy hats, chaps, and six-shooters, earning Boyd’s venture more than $250 million. Soon other TV westerns followed Boyd’s lead, becoming popular with both children and adults. In 1959, seven of the top-10 shows on national television were westerns like The Rifleman, Rawhide, and Maverick. The golden era of the TV western would finally come to an end in 1975 when the long-running Gunsmoke left the air, three years after Boyd rode off into his last sunset.

Seems to me that we could use a few more shows like these in today's market. Most of these shows at least had a message or moral to them, and I know that is something we could all use a bit more of today.

Coffee out on the patio again today!

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Different Monday Mysteries...!

We are going to change things up a little today.

Instead of having just one mystery, we are going to have several. Thanks to the folks over at Youtube, I'm going to offer a video of some recent disappearances, none of which have been solved.

That should give everyone something to think about today, right?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, OK?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

How About Some Sunday 'Toons...?

I know it's been a while, but here are some 'toons to start off your day. Hope you like them.

And maybe one more...

OK...that's enough for today. I'm ready to go do something, even if it's wrong!

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Don Williams Has Passed...!

Often called the Gentle Giant passed away on Sept. 8, following a brief illness. He was one of my favorite all-time singers. With his mellow voice and smooth delivery, each and every song became special to me.

And just one more...

What a great voice the man had! Thank goodness we can still hear his music, even though the man himself is gone.

Coffee out on the patio this morning!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Freaky Meat On Freaky Friday...!

I don't know about you, but I am a little put off by the idea of eating anything grown in a test tube.

Seems to me that creating food in a lab somewhere just can't end well, ya know? Regardless, that seems to be the next step and those lab grown meats could be on the grocery shelves as soon as 2018. That is just plain scary to me, for some reason.


Photo credit:

Nicknamed “schmeat,” the first lab-grown burger in the world debuted in London in 2013. It was created in the Netherlands by Dr. Mark Post, a professor of vascular physiology. His goal was to produce meat that didn’t cause “undue animal suffering and environmental harm” as traditional meat sources do. The project took him five years and $325,000 to complete.

After his success, Post went on to found Mosa Meats. Other companies also jumped at the chance to produce lab-grown meat of their own. Memphis Meats, a start-up in San Francisco, created lab-grown meatballs in 2016. They also grew chicken strips—a world first.

However, these aren’t estimated to be available to the public until 2021. Another California company, Hampton Creek, unveiled plans to get lab-grown meat onto store shelves by 2018.

I picked up this article from the folks over at Listverse again. So what do ya think? Would you eat lab grown food? I guess it would all depend on how hungry we got, right?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, where it's still in the 70s.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

I Got Good News And Bad News...!

The good news is that my AC is fixed and running fine (for now ) and the house is starting to get back to a comfortable temp again. Jesse, the AC repairman, got here around  6:40 PM and in no time had it cooling like it is supposed to.

For those that don't know, I write my post ahead of time and set them to publish at 12:00 AM  This is where the bad news starts! I'm sitting here at my computer about 9:30PM or so Wednesday night, when I hear this loud CRASH coming from one of the spare bedrooms. Scared me enough to make me jump, 'cause it was fairly quiet at that time!

Long story short, when I went to check where the crash came from, I found a large portion of the ceiling sheetrock and insulation on the floor! I was pretty certain that wasn't where it was supposed to be, know what I mean?

Oh well...things could be worse. I'm still in much better shape than so many others here in the city and surrounding areas. I must be living right, or something. Just counting my blessings and thanking the Lord for the good stuff, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, where the temps have cooled off thanks to a cool front that came through  early Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Crazy Horse For Western Wednesday...!

Crazy Horse is a name most of us remember as one of the Chiefs that defeated Custer at Little Big Horn.

Here is a little more information about him from the History Channel.

Crazy Horse killed

Oglala Sioux chief Crazy Horse is fatally bayoneted by a U.S. soldier after resisting confinement in a guardhouse at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. A year earlier, Crazy Horse was among the Sioux leaders who defeated George Armstrong Custer’s Seventh Cavalry at the Battle of Little Bighorn in Montana Territory. The battle, in which 265 members of the Seventh Cavalry, including Custer, were killed, was the worst defeat of the U.S. Army in its long history of warfare with the Native Americans.

After the victory at Little Bighorn, U.S. Army forces led by Colonel Nelson Miles pursued Crazy Horse and his followers. His tribe suffered from cold and starvation, and on May 6, 1877, Crazy Horse surrendered to General George Crook at the Red Cloud Indian Agency in Nebraska. He was sent to Fort Robinson, where he was killed in a scuffle with soldiers who were trying to imprison him in a cell.

What a shame for him to have to die this way. Being old school as he was, I reckon being locked in a cell was NOT going to happen.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Bring some 'skeeter spray, though.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

It's Raining What...?

There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that lately we have had some really abnormal weather all across the country.

However, this is a case where strange weather takes a huge leap forward. To say this is scary is like saying the ocean is a little wet. I only know that if or when this happens, I don't want to be anywhere around, ya hear me?

Raining Cats And Dogs . . . And Spiders?

Photo credit:

One of the many laws of the universe is that everyone is either a dog person or a cat person. These two options encompass all of humanity. While virtually everyone loves animals, it would not be healthy to love them so much that one would want them to literally fall from the sky. If you love animals that much, maybe you should seek professional help. But before you do, we have good news for you.

While not a common occurrence, flightless animals falling from the sky is an actual weather phenomenon. While typically not dogs or cats per se, many animals have been recorded falling from the sky along with rainwater. Some examples include frogs, tadpoles, spiders, fish, eels, snakes, and worms (not a pleasant picture in any scenario).

The current leading theory is that these animals were lifted into the sky by waterspouts or tornadoes occurring in their natural habitat. Sadly, this has never been witnessed or recorded by scientists.

If this theory happens to be true, it does not explain a similar circumstance where raw meat fell from the clear Kentucky sky in 1876. Yeah, figure that one out.

Now, if this type of rain isn't strange, I don't know what is. I got this article from Listverse, so thank them for the nightmares.

Coffee out on the patio once again.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Missing Plane For Monday Mystery...!

Time to get back on some sort of schedule here at the Hermit's house.

Slowly things are getting back to (semi) normal here. I figured I'm better off trying to stay busy instead of sitting around fretting over things I can't control. So anyway, here is a little case of another missing plane for Monday mystery, OK?


Photo credit: Mike Gabriel

On May 25, 2003, a Boeing 727, registered as N844AA, was stolen from Quatro de Fevereiro Airport in Angola. Shortly before sunset, two men boarded the aircraft: American pilot Ben Padilla and mechanic John Mutantu. Neither were certified to fly the 727, which normally flies with a flight crew of three. It is believed that Padilla was the one at the controls. The aircraft made its way onto the runway without clearance and without communicating with the control tower. With its lights switched off and a few erratic maneuvers, the plane thundered down the runway and took off, heading southwest over the ocean.

Since then, neither the two men nor the aircraft have been seen. The disappearance of N844AA prompted a worldwide search by the FBI and the CIA. Despite this, no trace of the aircraft has ever been found.

Ya know, I can't help but wonder why these guys stole this plane. Did they have a buyer for it, were they planning to use it to run drugs, maybe as a get away vehicle in some bizarre robbery. It does make you wonder.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Cooler out there than inside, since the AC is still out.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

No Post Today...!

It's been a hell of a week here in Houston and all across southern Texas. Record shattering storm, high water, flooding and so much destruction I can't even begin to talk about.

Because of that, I am taking Saturday and probably Sunday off. I just didn't want anyone to worry about me, OK? I'm tired and pretty much done in by everything from this week and need the time off.

Thanks to everybody for all the well wishes and prayers. They are greatly appreciated by all of us !

Help yourself to the coffee this morning. You know where it's at!

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Trumpapillar...!

Mother Nature can throw us a surprise from time to time, as we've talked about before. Here is one more example for ya!

You may notice a slight resemblance of a famous person, but let me assure you this is just the way nature made these guys. I had nothing to do with it!


This fuzzy little fella is called the flannel moth caterpillar, but researchers who encountered the critter in the Peruvian Amazon nicknamed it the “Trumpapillar” due to its similarity in color and style to Donald Trump’s hair. These caterpillars actually come in a range of colors, including white, pink, red, and yellow.

The hairs that adorn the caterpillar’s body closely resemble tarantula hairs, and they are covered in little venomous spines which cause an excruciating rash upon contact.[12] This defense method is so successful that, in an example of Batesian mimicry, the chicks of an Amazonian bird called the cinereous mourner look almost exactly like the fuzzy yellow caterpillar. When in danger, the baby bird will even mimic the caterpillar’s movements precisely so as to deter predators such as snakes and monkeys who wish to avoid contact with the venomous Trumpapillar at all costs.

I found this creepy crawler over on Listverse, so I didn't have manipulate any pictures or anything like that. Besides, if I saw one of these around, I sure wouldn't want to touch it!

Coffee out on the patio again this morning. AC is still broke and it's HOT inside!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

You Would Get A Bang Out Of This Bread...!

Never doubt that mankind can get very sneaky when it comes to making new ways to kill.

Given the right incentive, something as simple as freshly baked bread could be turned into a weapon. Don't believe me...? Take a gander at this article from my friends over at Listverse.

Aunt Jemima Flour Bomb

During World War II, George Bogdan Kistiakowsky, a soldier and scientist working for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner to the CIA, developed an edible baking flour that doubled as a bomb. The flour was called Aunt Jemima, after a popular brand of flour sold in the United States, and was a mixture of normal baking flour and a deadly explosive called HMX.

Aunt Jemima could be baked into bread or muffins like normal flour and eaten, even though resistance fighters were severely warned against doing so, since it could cause serious stomach upset. It was supplied to Chinese resistance fighters during the war and was intended for use against the occupying Japanese forces.

When the flour wasn’t baked into bread or muffins, it was made into an improvised bomb. And when it was baked into bread or muffins, the “baker” only needed to add a detonator to turn it into a bomb.

The worse thing you can get from my baking is a tummy ache, but it won't least, I hope it won't!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. With my AC still down, it's cooler out there than inside!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ishi Discovered In California...!

Can you imagine being alone and just wandering around, knowing you are the last of your people?

That was the case when they discovered Ishi, the last Stone Age Indian known to exist. What a startling culture shock that must have been for Ishi. Here is his story.

Ishi discovered in California

Ishi, described as the last surviving Stone Age Indian in the contiguous United States, is discovered in California.

By the first decade of the 20th century, Euro-Americans had so overwhelmed the North American continent that scarcely any Native Americans remained who had not been assimilated into Anglo society to some degree. Ishi appears to have been something of an exception. Found lost and starving near an Oroville, California, slaughterhouse, he was largely unfamiliar with white ways and spoke no English.

Authorities took the mysterious Indian into custody for his own protection. News of the so-called “Stone Age Indian” attracted the attention of a young Berkeley anthropologist named Thomas Waterman. Gathering what partial vocabularies existed of northern California Indian dialects, the speakers of which had mostly vanished, Waterman went to Oroville to meet the Indian. After unsuccessfully hazarding words from several dialects, Waterman tried a few words from the language of the Yana Indians. Some were intelligible to Ishi, and the two men were able to engage in a crude dialogue. The following month, Waterman took Ishi to live at the Berkeley University museum, where their ability to communicate gradually improved.

Waterman eventually learned that Ishi was a Yahi Indian, an isolated branch of the northern California Yana tribe. He was approximately 50 years old and was apparently the last of his people. Ishi said he had wandered the mountains of northern California for some time with a small remnant of the Yahi people. Gradually, accident or disease had killed his companions. A white man murdered his final male companion, and Ishi wandered alone until he reached Oroville.

For five years, Ishi lived at the Berkeley Museum. He and Waterman became close friends, and he spent his days describing his tribal customs and demonstrating his wilderness skills in archery, woodcraft, and other traditional techniques. He learned to understand and survive in the white world, and enjoyed wandering the Bay area communities and riding on the trolley cars. Eventually, though, Ishi contracted tuberculosis. He died on March 25, 1916, at an estimated age of 56. His body was cremated according to the customs of his people.

What a feeling of loneliness Ishi must have felt, given the circumstance. Tragic to say the least. At least he had a friend to assist him.

Coffee out on the soggy patio this morning. I'm hoping to see a little sunshine today, since the rain seems to have stopped!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

9 Trillion Gallons And Counting...!

There is no way I can explain how totally devastating the storm called Harvey continues to be. I found the best article in the Washington Post that puts it in much better perspective than I can. Here is an excerpt from them, with a link to the whole article.

Putting this much rainfall into perspective is challenging; after all, the sheer volume of water is incredibly tough to visualize. Fortunately, we crunched the numbers — here’s how they stack up.
So far, just the rain that has already fallen across the greater Houston area and Southeast Texas tallies to 9 trillion gallons. That’s only what has already come down, and keep in mind that 5 trillion to 10 trillion additional gallons could fall before things wrap up midweek.

The 9 trillion gallons of water dispensed so far is enough to fill the entire Great Salt Lake in Salt Lake City — twice! It would take nine days straight for the Mississippi River to drain into Houston and equal the amount of water already there. If we averaged this amount of water spread equally over the lower 48 states, that’s the equivalent of about 0.17 inches of rain — roughly the height of three pennies stacked atop each other — occupying every square inch of the contiguous United States. Imagine one downpour large enough to cover the entire country!

This amount of water could fill 2.3 percent of the volume of the mountain range containing Mount Everest in Nepal and is enough to occupy 33,906 Empire State Buildings, from basement to penthouse.

But here’s the kicker: Just how unprecedented is this? Well, remember the flooding that New Orleans experienced with Hurricane Katrina? Most places saw about 10 to 20 feet of water thanks to levee failure, inundating about 80 percent of the city. Now, if we took the amount of rainfall that Texas has seen and spread it over the city limits of New Orleans, it would tower to 128 feet in height — roughly reaching as high as a 12-story office building.

So there ya have it. A LOT of water has fallen, with more on the way. Pretty damn scary, for sure!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. You may have to swim to get here, though.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday Morning Update...

Sorry that it has taken so long for me to get an update together for everyone, but I just got my internet and all back on.

Not just the Net was down here, but my Television was off the air as well What that means is that for two days (Saturday and Sunday) I couldn't get a weather report or comment on the questions asked on the blog. This morning, though, everything seems to have made it back on...except for the A.C. !

That's right, folks. My AC is kaput for now. However, my house is dry on the inside and I have no leaks in the roof, so I'm in good shape compared to many in this area. From what the weather guys say, we have had around 30 inches of the rain so far, and the end isn't in sight until about Wednesday or so.

So many folks around town are saying that they have never seen the flooding as bad as it is right now, even during past hurricanes. We definitely need a break from the rain. I just heard a report that over the last 24 hours, there have been over 100 tornadoes spotted here in the Texas area. I know of at least 6 or more here in our area. Very nasty things and lots of destructive power in their wake.

Anyway, compared to some, I'm lucky. My home is dry, I have plenty to eat (thanks to my preps), enough coffee to last for a while, and more than enough books to last me.

I would say coffee inside this morning...but the governor is requesting we all stay indoors and avoid traveling. Sounds like good advice to me !

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Stormy Sunday Cartoons...!

Before I get back to reading, thought I'd take the time to share some 'toons for a stormy Sunday.

If the weather folks are right, the rains are going to stick around for another couple of days. Got plenty of coffee laid in, so I'm OK.

Maybe just one more...

Well, the rain has started back up, so guess I better get back to my book.

Coffee in the kitchen again.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Glow In The Dark...?

Here is a bit of information I borrowed from the Grunge. I think you'll find it interesting, to say the least!

Sabin Arnold von Sochocky

The awesomely named Sabin Arnold von Sochocky invented glow-in-the-dark paint, which he cleverly called Undark. He imagined entire houses bathed in Undark's glow and had a successful factory producing thousands of glowing watch dials daily. That is, until his workers started dropping dead, because his product was freaking radioactive and, like, super deadly.

Despite a lawsuit being settled in the surviving workers' favor in 1928, these watch dials and many more insane radioactive products continued to be produced right up through the end of World War II. At that point, the dangers of radioactivity began to be a bit more properly understood. Decontamination studies at the site of Sochocky's plant started in 1983, and the site wasn't fully decontaminated until 2016. Sochocky himself succumbed to radiation poisoning in 1928. His time of death was probably noted on one of his stupid killer watches.

Well, here is a little update on what's going on with the hurricane. It's now a category 4, which ain't too good. I'm posting this Friday night to publish on Saturday at 12 a.m. The storm is supposed to move in overnight to make landfall, and that's when the real fun begins. Just a heads-up here...I may lose power and the Internet Saturday or Sunday, so if I don't check in, that's the reason.

Needless to say, coffee in the kitchen this morning. Kinda wet outside, ya know?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Why Are Most Barns Red...?

I've kinda wondered about that myself over the years. Finally, thanks to the folks over at the Farmer's Almanac I have a reasonable answer!

Why Are Barns Painted Red?

Ever wonder why old barns are usually red in color? Red is (or, perhaps, was) a popular color for barns due not to its color shade but for its usefulness.

Many years ago, choices for paints, sealers and other building materials did not exist. Farmers had to be resourceful in finding or making a paint that would protect and seal the wood on their barns. Hundreds of years ago, many farmers would seal their barns with linseed oil, which is an orange-colored oil derived from the seeds of the flax plant. To this oil, they would add a variety of things, most often milk and lime, but also ferrous oxide, or rust. Rust was plentiful on farms and because it killed fungi and mosses that might grow on barns, and it was very effective as a sealant. It turned the mixture red in color.

When paint became more available, many people chose red paint for their barns in honor of tradition.

Well, I am certainly glad we got that out of the way. No more having to lay in bed at night wondering about it, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Maybe you've heard...we have a storm coming in.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Watch Out For The Nutmeg...!

Here's a little bit of information I picked up while doing some research. It just may surprise you.

This is a spice that many of us use in our cooking, especially around the holidays. Adds just a touch of the exotic to whatever we add it to. I don't remember when I last used it, but I'm sure I have.

Scary Spice

Weird Fact: Nutmeg is poisonous

Nutmeg is a hallucinigenic drug which is regularly used to flavor such lovely things as custard tarts and fruit cakes. It is also a poison which will kill you while you suffer a variety of extremely revolting (and one or two not-so-revolting) side-effects on the way. Ingesting 2 grams of nutmeg will give you similar feelings to having taken amphetamines (the not-so-revolting side-effect) but will also cause nausea, fever, and headaches. Ingesting 7.5 grams will cause convulsions, and eating 10 grams will cause hallucinations. Eating a whole nutmeg can lead to “nutmeg psychosis” which includes feelings of impending doom, confusion, and agitation. There have been two recorded cases of death by nutmeg (one in 1908 and one in 2001)

Now I do hope none of my readers are going to rush right out and buy some nutmeg to try out the effects they say it can produce. Probably best just to leave this one spice alone, just in case.

Coffee inside this morning. They say we have a really bad storm headed our way.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Texas Rangers Hire A Killer...!

Truth be told, things like this probably happened more often than we would have thought.

I'm sure the line between good guy and bad was pretty thin, even in the best of times. There were a few that managed to cross that thin line with near impunity, however. That was the case with Jim Miller, an assassin living in Texas.

Hired killer Jim Miller joins Texas Rangers

The hired assassin Jim Miller briefly joins the Texas Rangers, demonstrating how thin the line between outlaw and lawmen often was in the West.

Many lawmen in the Old West had never been on the wrong side of the law themselves, but more than a few moved easily between the worlds of lawbreaker and law enforcer. James Brown Miller was one of the latter. During his 47 years, Miller worked as a deputy sheriff, a city marshal, and Texas Ranger. He was also a gambler, a swindler, and one of the deadliest professional killers in Texas.

As a young man, Miller was accused of committing several murders-including the double killing of his own grandparents-but the charges never stuck. By age 27, he was living in Alpine, Texas, where he reportedly offered to kill a local judge for $200. That offer was apparently rejected, but thereafter he became a professional killer, charging between $50 to $2,000, depending on the victim and the client’s ability to pay. By his own account, he committed more than 50 murders.

Although Miller was arrested on several occasions, he proved hard to convict. The wealthier clients who hired him often provided expert legal counsel, and he was a careful killer who took pains to cover his tracks. Law enforcement agencies also found men like Miller useful, and they often were willing to overlook his checkered past if they needed help in capturing or killing a dangerous outlaw. The famous Texas Rangers even hired Miller, temporarily appointing him a Special Ranger on this day in 1898.

Miller’s luck eventually ran out. In 1909, two Ada, Oklahoma, ranchers paid Miller $2,000 to kill August Bobbitt, with the promise of an additional $3,000 to pay for his defense in the event Miller was arrested. Miller killed Bobbitt with a shotgun, his favored weapon for assassinations. This time, however, Miller’s victim was a well-liked man who left a widow with four children. Local citizens were outraged by the cold-blooded murder and demanded action. Miller and his two clients were quickly arrested and jailed, but none of them had a chance to mount a legal defense. A mob of Ada vigilantes stormed the jail, extracted the men, and lynched them in a nearby barn. Miller was 47 years old.

Now, the Texas Rangers were a bunch of rough and ready guys, so if they felt the need to hire someone with Millers reputation, they must have been after some mean hombres for sure! Guess that's why they called it the Wild West.

Coffee inside again, where it's cool and dry.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Simple Cobbler For Simple Cook...

I think I've said before that cooking for one isn't easy or simple, especially if you want something like Mom used to make.

That's why I searched for a very simple cobbler recipe for peach cobbler that even I couldn't screw up. I found one over on YouTube that works just fine for me, so I thought I'd share it with you today. It makes a pretty good cobbler, if I do say so myself. I enjoyed it!

Begin by heating the oven to 350 degrees. That seems to be the best setting for me, but my oven is an old you be the judge.

Start with one stick of butter. I melted mine in the microwave 'cause that was the easiest way for me.

Next, I opened one large can (28 0unce) of peaches and poured them in a 9 by 11 dish, juice aned all. No additional sugar was needed for me, but you may want to add some extra.

Next was one yellow cake mix spread out on top of the peaches. Don't worry if the cake mix doesn't want to mix in with the juice right now. Once that's done, pour the melted butter all over the cake mix, making sure you get it as even as you can, but this isn't a beauty contest, so looks aren't important. I sprinkled some cinnamon on top of the melted butter just because I like the way it taste!

Shove this mess in the oven and leave it for about 45 minutes or so, or until the cobbler is bubbly and slightly brown on top. Remove from the oven, let it cool off just a tad, then help yourself. If you want to top it with some ice cream, that will finish it off just right!

This is called a Dump Cake and you can find all kinds of recipes on the web and over at YouTube. Simple enough so even I can do it!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Sorry, no cobbler left, so how about a cookie?

Monday, August 21, 2017

UFO For Monday Mystery...!

I figure with all the hub-bub being raised about the eclipse and all, maybe we should have a little story about a UFO and a church.

Now normally you would think that anything a priest or pastor would say could only be the truth, right? So here's what one priest had to say about his encounter with a UFO. You decide if it's real or not.

The Papua New Guinea UFO Sightings

In April 1959, a respected Anglican priest named Father William Gill was working as a missionary in the village of Boianai in Papua New Guinea when he saw a strange light traveling across a distant mountain. This same light reappeared on the evening of June 26, but this time, Father Gill was standing outside his mission alongside many other witnesses. As the light moved closer to them, it became apparent that it was a large disc-shaped object, which appeared to have four large legs beneath it. The witnesses also discerned what appeared to be four alien figures moving around on the object’s upper deck.

The strange craft remained in the vicinity for 45 minutes before it disappeared, but when it returned an hour later, it was accompanied by more bright flying objects. After hovering over the area for four hours, the objects disappeared again, but the strange craft and two smaller flying objects returned to the village yet again on the following evening. This time, Father Gill and one of his companions decided to wave at the alien figures on the craft’s deck. Amazingly, the figures waved back.

The next night, a total of eight UFOs showed up to the village, but these were the last that would be seen. Before the objects disappeared, a large metallic banging sound was heard on the mission’s roof, but no sign of any damage could be found. This story was recounted by over three dozen witnesses, including Father Gill, and remains one of the most credible UFO sightings in history.

So...what do ya think? Is the story real or made up? Sooner ot later, someone is going to offer up a bit of tangible proof concerning one of these sightings or visits. At least, I would hope that's the case.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Kinda cloudy outside, so it may rain a bit.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

More Sunday Funnies...!

Time for the Sunday Funnies, in the form of 'toons, of course.

Maybe just one more...

That's enough for today. Don't want to overdo it, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Had a little shower come through and cooled things off a tad!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Can You Find The Mine...?

No telling just how many folks went looking for this gold mine, not knowing if it was real or not.

Still, if you are an avid treasure hunter, not even the facts are gonna convince you that the mine doesn't exist. I would think that being shot at might discourage many opf us, though.

The Lost Sublett Mine

The Guadalupe Mountains, located in West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico, are said to be home to some of the richest gold mines in the world, a fact alleged by the famous Apache Geronimo. Ben Sublett, an old miner who lived during the 19th century, was supposed to have found a vein of gold, one so valuable he could mine $10,000 worth of gold in a week.[6] Unfortunately, the only evidence of his mine is a single hole in the ground, which is not much bigger than a man.

Long seen as a drunk and a liar, Sublett came into his local tavern one night, throwing down a handful of nuggets and proclaiming drinks were on him. A number of unsuccessful efforts were made to pry the secret from him, and attempts were made to follow him to his secret mine, but they were met with the business end of his rifle. Even when Sublett’s young son asked where the gold was located, Sublett told him to find it himself, like his father did. To this day, no one knows where the mine is located, and scientists don’t believe large gold veins are even located in the Guadalupe Mountains.

Maybe the mine is there and maybe it's not. Makes for a great campfire story though, either way.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Getting hot early today!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Flying Double For Freaky Friday...!

Here is something a little different for ya today. One pilot flies two planes and lands them both!

It takes some real fancy flying to do what this guy did, let me tell ya. Pretty gutsy move on his part, I'd say!

Brocklesby Midair Collision

Photo credit:

On September 29, 1940, two Royal Australian Air Force Avro Anson airplanes on a training exercise collided in midair above Brocklesby, New South Wales, Australia. The pilot and reconnaissance officer in the lower airplane immediately bailed out, along with the reconnaissance officer of the upper airplane.

This left only Leading Aircraftman Leonard Fuller, the pilot of the upper plane, aboard. Both airplanes did not enter a steep dive and crash as expected. Instead, they remained airborne and locked together, with one above the other.

The engines of the upper airplane controlled by Fuller had stopped working, but the airplane was kept airborne by the engines of the lower airplane. Fuller soon discovered that he could control the lower engines by simply controlling his airplane.

So he flew both airplanes 8 kilometers (5 mi) before landing in Brocklesby. The lower airplane was written off after the landing, but the upper airplane was repaired and returned to service.

Sounds to me like this pilot doesn't need any more training to fly his plane, except maybe a little to learn not to collide with another aircraft. I found this article over at thanks to them!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Maybe we'll get some shade this early.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Some Mark Twain Trivia...!

Being a cat lover myself, I was delighted to find out that I was in good company.

There has been a lot of famous people that were cat lovers. Folks like Hemmingway, Abe Lincoln, and my favorite...Mark Twain. Here's some trivia on just how important Twain considered his cats to be.


 Mark Twain (1835-1910) may well out-crazy even the craziest of cat people. He had up to 19 cats at one time, all of whom he loved and respected far beyond whatever he may have felt about people. "If man could be crossed with the cat," he said, "it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat." When he was away from home, he would rent cats, paying their owners a large enough sum to see to their needs for a lifetime.

In keeping with the tradition established by Richelieu, Southey, and Gautier, Twain gave his cats most excellent names, among them Apollinaris, Beelzebub, Blatherskite, Buffalo Bill, Satan, Sin, Sour Mash, Tammany, Zoroaster, Soapy Sal, Pestilence, and Bambino. To be fair, the credit for the last of these goes to Twain's daughter Clara, who took in Bambino during a sanatorium stay. She gave the kitten to her father after one of the other patients ratted her out.

When Bambino escaped one day, Twain was frantic. He put ads in New York newspapers describing the cat as "large and intensely black" and offering a $5 reward for his return. As Calvin Coolidge would find out 20 years later, a famous person asking for aid in the return of a lost cat was subject to an enormous quantity of doppelgangers and would-be changelings from people who just wanted to make contact with the celebrity. Even after Bambino turned up on his own a few days later and Twain sent notice to all the papers, people still turned up at his Fifth Avenue home with cats for him.

Now, I figure that if someone like Mark Twain was crazy enough to keep 19 cats at one time, and rent cats when he was on the road, then my having 4 cats at my house isn't too bad, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen again today. Still have some cobbler left, if you want some.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Yukon Gold For Western Wednesday...!

How about a story about the great Yukon gold strike, still considered to be one of the very first really big gold strikes in the U.S.

This one is different in the sense that the man who founded it actually made a lot of money from the find.

George Carmack discovers Klondike gold

Sometime prospector George Carmack stumbles across gold while salmon fishing along the Klondike River in the Yukon.

George Carmack’s discovery of gold in that region sparked the last great western gold rush, but it was pure chance that he found it. In contrast to the discoverers of many of the other major American gold fields, Carmack was not a particularly serious prospector. He had traveled to Alaska in 1881 drawn by the reports of major gold strikes in the Juneau area, but failing to make a significant strike, he headed north into the isolated Yukon Territory. There he spent his days wandering the wilderness with the friendly Tagish Indians and fishing for salmon.

On this day in 1896, Carmack and two Tagish friends were salmon fishing on Rabbit Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River. As he habitually did, Carmack occasionally stopped to swirl a bit of the river sand in his prospector’s pan. He had seen a little gold, but nothing of particular note. At day’s end, the men made camp along the creek, and Carmack said he spotted a thumb-sized nugget of gold jutting out from the creek bank.

The two Tagish Indians later said that Carmack had been napping that evening and one of them found the nugget while washing a dishpan. Regardless, further investigation revealed gold deposits “lying thick between the flaky slabs of rock like cheese in a sandwich.”

Subsequent expeditions in the spring and summer of the following year turned up other sizeable gold deposits. In part, because the summer of 1897 was a slow one for news, the major mass-circulation newspapers played up the story of the gold strikes, sparking a nationwide sensation. In the years to come, as many as 50,000 eager gold seekers arrived in the Klondike-Yukon region. Few found any wealth, though their hardships and adventures inspired the highly romanticized Yukon tales of Jack London and the poems of Robert Service.

Carmack did get rich, reportedly taking a million dollars worth of gold out of his Klondike claims and retiring to Vancouver, B.C. He died in 1922 at the age of 61, a wealthy and honored benefactor of the city.

Nice to know there are a couple of happy stories of folks that managed to make a little money out of one of these gold rushes. So often all we hear are the stories of bad times and hardships.

Coffee inside again. How about some fresh peach cobbler?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Don't Try This At Home...!

Ever wonder just what makes some folks do crazy jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge? Nuts, if you ask me.

The first person to actually do it was Robert Emmet Odlum. Here is part of his story, crazy as it is.

Robert Odlum, the first man to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, to prove that people did not die simply from falling through the air.

The first person ever to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge was Robert Emmet Odlum. Robert had no intention of committing suicide; he simply wanted to show that a person does not die from falling through the air.

He did this to encourage other people to jump into nets when trapped in a burning building. Besides this, he desired fame and money, which served as additional motivations for his deed. Unfortunately, he did not survive the jump.

Robert was eager to perform a jump from the newly built Brooklyn Bridge, so in 1882, he sneaked to an unfinished part of the bridge. Before he could perform the stunt, the police caught him and sent him back to Washington. Three years later, he finally succeeded in his plan.

On 19 May 1885, Robert went back to New York well prepared. The NYPD was well aware of his plans, as the story of Robert’s intentions had spread throughout the city in the weeks leading up to the event. They tightened the security on the bridge, but Odlum managed to create a distraction. He sent his friend James Haggart to the bridge in a cab while he was hiding in another car. James served as a decoy for the police, pretending that he was the jumper. While the policemen were busy with the fake jumper, Robert stepped out of the car he was hiding in. Already in his swimsuit, he jumped off the bridge at 5:35 pm, before the eyes of a witnessing crowd watching from a boat.

Robert fell in the freezing water at a speed of approximately 60 miles per hour. He hit the river surface at an angle, hitting it with his feet and hip. The disastrous outcome of the jump was caused by the strong wind blowing at the time. The lifeguard, who had been hired by Odlum himself, failed to act, so Paul Boyton jumped into the water and took Robert’s body out. After he was taken to the boat, Robert regained consciousness for a short time, asked if the jump was good, and became unconscious again. Blood started flowing from his mouth, and he died at 6:18 pm from internal hemorrhaging. The ambulance summoned by his friend did not arrive in time to save his life. The coroner stated that Robert’s liver, kidneys, and spleen were ruptured and 3 of his ribs were broken. It was concluded that concussion was the official cause of death. Robert was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Like I said, I think it was a crazy idea and the man had to be a little unbalanced to even try it. Still, folks are still trying insane stunts in this day and age. No accounting for some folks action. If yo want to read more of this guys story, you can find it at this link.

Coffee inside again this morning. Temps are still too uncomfortable to be outside.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Severed Finger Mystery For Monday...!

Here is another mystery from our friends over the pond at Scotland Yard.

This mystery isn't as much fun as the missing gold case, but it remains a mystery yet unsolved just the same. As of yet, the mystery remains unsolved.

The Case Of The Severed Finger

Unable to identify a man who lost a finger in 2010, Scotland Yard appealed to the public for information.

A dog discovered the digit in an abandoned shop in Woburn Walk on December 4. No other remains were found in the vicinity. Initially, police thought the finger might have been blown from the victim’s body as a result of the July 7, 2005, terrorist bombings at Aldgate. Fifty-two people were killed in the London attacks that day.

The shop in which the missing finger was found is near the location where suicide bomber Hasib Hussain detonated his bomb on a double-decker bus. Analysis of the DNA of Hussain’s victims and survivors proved that the finger did not belong to any of them or to any missing persons.

When asking for the public’s help, Scotland Yard’s Detective Constable Tom Boon admitted the case was “quite the mystery.”

Of course, the picture that I have on the post is of a woman's finger...unless the man was wearing fingernail polish. This article is from the folks over at Listverse, so who knows?

Coffee inside the kitchen this morning. Too hot to be going outside right now.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Means Cartoons...!

Instead of the Sunday funny papers we used to have, We are going to make do with some Sunday 'toons.

Nothing new here, we have been doing this for a long time. I know some folks don't like them, but that's OK...we'll have them anyway.

How about one more...?

Ya know, when my sisters and I were kids...we would get up early on Saturday to watch cartoons and the serials that came on. Shows like Sky King, Zorro, Lone Ranger...all the good ol' shows. Sunday for us was reserved for going to church and the like. Afterwards we would have a big Sunday dinner. Sitting down together at the table, eating together, talking and catching up as a family. I don't reckon people do that much anymore.

Coffee out on the patio. Going to have to hurry before it gets too hot.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Missing Gold Mystery...!

Let's start the weekend off with a little mystery involving a lot of gold that seems to have gone missing.

Now, it seems to me that for someone to walk away with this much gold and not leave a pretty much impossible. I mean, 6,800 bars of gold is not something you can just throw in a backpack, ya know?

The Case Of The Stolen Gold

Following a massive theft of gold bullion and diamonds in November 1983, Scotland Yard admitted that it was baffled. Police hadn’t been able to identify “a single solid clue,” one officer said.

Authorities feared that the 6,800 bars of gold, worth $40 million at the time, might have been melted to destroy their identifying marks and then taken out of the country. The sale of the stolen diamonds, worth $175,000, posed no problem for the thieves because the gems lacked such marks.

The gold was being stored in the Brink’s-Mat Ltd. warehouse in Hounslow, adjacent to Heathrow, when six robbers stole it despite an array of alarms, searchlights, closed-circuit television cameras, and heavy automatic doors. Police suspected that the thieves used information supplied by someone planted in the Brink’s staff or by a Brink’s employee.

Six security guards on duty during the robbery saw three of the robbers. But they were unable to provide detailed descriptions of the suspects, who wore hoods, and nothing was known of the vehicles used by the gang.

Although insurance companies offered $3 million for information concerning the stolen items, no one came forth with any tips. The investigation was impeded by the nation’s newspaper strike, which prevented authorities from appealing to the public for assistance.

My guess is that it was definitely an inside job. Pretty slick to make off with that much gold at one time, wouldn't you say?

Coffee out on the patio, where it's already hot this morning.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Little Known Facts About Grant...!

Most of the history books we grew up with only told us about the good things our presidents did. They had some dark sides as well, however.

Take President Grant, for instance. He was pretty much a racist through and through. Of course, back in his day many folks had leanings in that direction. Grant just took it a bit farther than most would have, but he was the President and figured he had the right to do as he wished. Sound a little familiar?

Ulysses S. Grant

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

You’re going to find a common thread on this list, and it’s racism. For Ulysses S. Grant, that hatred came in the form of an attempt to deport all of the 4 million freed black slaves. He had a plan, y’all – because even though he was instrumental in freeing said slaves, he wasn’t quite so sure he wanted them integrated into American society. So he convinced Senate leader Charles Sumner that his idea to buy the Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo) and send the freed slaves away there was worth pursuing.

It didn’t end up working out (obviously) because Sumner pulled his support and the treaty that would have allowed the purchase (annex) to go through failed at the last minute. Obviously.

Oh, and there’s also the fact that he’s the only president to pass anti-Semitic legislation. He felt (for some unexplainable reason) that the Jews were behind a cotton smuggling ring and banned them from living in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

Not exactly a nice way for a President to act, is it? I'm sure that there were others in politics that had some ghost in the closet just as bad, but when you are the should try and set a good example, know what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. They say the rain is gone for now!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Texas City Disaster Of 1947...

As you may know, the disaster in Texas City led to the largest harbor explosion in American history.

The main reason i even post this today is to remind us how important it is to set up and follow all safety rules when it comes to dangerous chemicals and their handling. The story of the disaster and it's aftermath is heartbreaking, to say the least.

Texas City Disaster

Photo via Wikimedia

On April 16, 1947, the worst harbor explosion in US history occurred. A French cargo vessel named the Grandcamp was carrying a load of ammonium nitrate, which is commonly used in fertilizer and in explosives for atomic weapons.

A lit cigarette left by one of the dock workers had sparked a fire on the loading dock. It spread quickly into one of the Grandcamp’s cargo holds and ignited the ammonium nitrate.

The ship’s captain had ordered her hatches closed to contain the fire, but the rise in temperature only created better conditions for the volatile chemical to explode. The High Flyer, a nearby vessel which was carrying sulfur, was also damaged and exploded a day later due to fires from the Grandcamp‘s initial explosion.

Poisonous gas quickly filled the air over the city. Unfortunately, there was also a phone operator strike at the time, making emergency teams unable to respond to local residents affected by the toxins in the air. Over 500 people were killed in this incident, including a fire chief and 27 of the 28 firefighters who responded to the dock fire.

As a result, new safety measures were put in place to ensure that ammonium nitrate is transported safely. Docks now have a central response system to react quickly to dockside emergencies, and shipping companies are now required to use specially sealed containers and store the chemicals away from other hazardous materials.

I have been to Texas City many times over the years, and I can attest to the fact that many of the scars left from that explosion still exist. Sad thing to see, for sure!

Coffee in the kitchen once again today.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Battle Of Big Hole For Western Wednesday...!

One thing you have to agree about...the Native Americans were not ones to give up easily.

The warriors of the Nez Perce took the fight to the American troops in four separate battles, but ended up being defeated at nearly every turn.

 Nez Perce fight Battle of Big Hole

Having refused government demands that they move to a reservation, a small band of Nez Perce Indians clash with the U.S. Army near the Big Hole River in Montana.

The conflict between the U.S. government and the Nez Perce was one of the most tragic of the many Indian wars of the 19th century. Beginning with the tribe’s first contact with the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the peaceful Nez Perce had befriended and cooperated with the Americans. Even when hordes of white settlers began to flood into their homelands along the Snake River (around the present-day intersection of the Oregon, Washington, and Idaho state borders), most of the Nez Perce peacefully moved to a reservation.

However, about a quarter of the Nez Perce, most of them stockmen and buffalo hunters, refused to accept internment on a reservation. Government pressure to force these last resisters to comply finally led to the outbreak of the Nez Perce War of 1877. A small band of warriors—never more than 145 men, though burdened with about 500 noncombatants—fought U.S. soldiers at four major battles.

The third battle of the Nez Perce War occurred on this day in 1877. Fleeing eastward with hopes of escaping to Canada, the Nez Perce made camp in the Big Hole Basin in present-day western Montana. At 3:30 a.m., Colonel John Gibbon attacked the sleeping Indians with a force of 183 men. Raking the Indian lodges with withering rifle fire, the soldiers initially seemed to be victorious. The Nez Perce, however, soon counterattacked from concealed positions in the surrounding hills. After four days of sporadic fighting, the Nez Perce withdrew.

Both sides suffered serious casualties. The soldiers lost 29 men with 40 wounded. The army body count found 89 Nez Perce dead, mostly women and children. The battle dealt the Nez Perce a grave, though not fatal, blow. The remaining Indians were able to escape, and they headed northeast towards Canada. Two months later, on October 5, Colonel Nelson Miles decisively defeated the Nez Perce at the Battle of the Bear Paw Mountains. Those who were not killed surrendered and reluctantly agreed to return to the reservation. The Nez Perce were only 40 miles short of the Canadian border.

Seems like we were always moving the Indians to another place, disregarding their rights and desires altogether. No doubt in my mind that we, as a people, would fight back at such a move if it happened today. Just my opinion!

Coffee in the kitchen once again. The rain just keeps on showing up.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Pilgrim Executed For Murder...!

I knew that man had been killing his neighbors for a long time, but what I didn't know is that the first execution for murder was performed on a pilgrim.

You might find this story interesting, considering the fact that we are not that far away from sending colonist to far off planets. I wonder if this will happen out there as well?

John Billington: The Mayflower Pilgrim Who Was Executed for Murder

In 1620, pilgrim John Billington crossed the Atlantic Ocean to become the first convicted murderer of the Plymouth colony.

When the Mayflower left England in 1620, it carried men, women, and children who sought peace and freedom from religious persecution. They hoped that the New World would offer a new beginning. Little did the intrepid travelers know that they shared their ship with a dangerous man.

John Billington lived in debt and on the brink of poverty in England. In order to board the Mayflower, he made a deal with prominent businessmen in London. Upon arrival, he and his family were to “work on behalf of the colony until 1627”—effectively locking them into servitude.

Billington, who was loyal to the Church of England, soon realized that he was vastly different from his fellow voyagers. Many aboard the ship were religious dissenters who had been living in self-exile in Holland before setting sail to the Americas. For their part, the Pilgrims referred to Billington and other servants and adventurers as the “Strangers.”

Billington made multiple enemies on the harsh trip across the Atlantic, earning a reputation as a “foul mouthed miscreant.” After many weeks at sea, the crew finally sighted land and dropped anchor off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts—where an unexpected blaze nearly sunk the ship. The cause? Billington’s son, Francis, who shot off his father’s gun near a barrel of gunpowder, almost killing the passengers before they set foot on shore.

Billington, his wife Elinor, and his two sons, were quickly marked as troublemakers.

Nevertheless, John Billington was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact, which was ratified on November 11, 1620. It was the first governing document of the Plymouth Colony. Upon establishing camp, the pilgrims went on to face the harsh realities of a New England winter. Nearly half of them died during this time. The following year, those who survived held their first Thanksgiving after a plentiful harvest—and Billington surely had a seat at the table.

The Billington family continued to stir up trouble. Their sons would get lost in the woods for days, only to be returned to the colony by Native Americans. Elinor was found guilty of slander and sentenced to a whipping. In 1624, Billington was accused of supporting rogues who were trying to undermine the colony.

When the colonists received full ownership of the plantation in 1626, they divided the land among them. Billington received the short end of the stick—a modest house, 63 acres of land and future land rights. His lack of social status, loyalty to the English Church, and repeated run-ins with authorities made him a permanent outsider.

By 1630, things took a turn for the worse. Billington was caught in an argument with his neighbor John Newcomen. Records are unclear as to just what triggered the quarrel. When, days later, Billington came across Newcomen in an open field, he shot him dead with a blunderbuss.

The tight-knit colony was shocked by Newcomen’s death, but not necessarily surprised by the perpetrator’s identity. Governor William Bradford concluded that Billington should be sentenced to death. After a trial by jury, Billington was found guilty of the slaying. He was hanged not far from Plymouth Rock and buried in an unknown location—becoming the first recorded murderer in what would become the United States.

Seems like no matter how far we wander, there is always someone like Billington willing to cross the line. Some people just don't know when to act civilized.

Coffee in the kitchen due to the rain. I have macaroons to share.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Now This Is Really Hot...!

I know we talk a lot about it being hot here in Texas, but I don't think it has got this bad yet!

Intense Sun in India Mysteriously Mummifies a Chameleon

Paul Seaburn
June 28, 2017

Can you believe this weather? It’s so hot in India, a chameleon crawled onto a pipe to get a drink and was mummified before it could get any water!

That wouldn’t get a laugh in a late night talk show monologue and definitely wouldn’t get any in India either where the oppressive heat in what is still early summer appeared to have quickly killed and mummified a chameleon on a water pipe. Or did it?

Chameleon Mummified Alive by the Tropical Sun

That was the headline on a tweet last week by writer and wildlife filmmaker Janaki Lenin. Below it was a photograph of said and dead lizard – an Indian chameleon (Chamaeleo zeylanicus) with its cold dead hands wrapped around the pipe where it went to the happy herpy hunting grounds.

“The tragic story of a chameleon. He must have remembered drinking water from this pipe a couple of years ago. But we had disconnected it.”
In an interview with Live Science, Alan Resetar, manager of the Amphibian and Reptile Collections at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, says this may be an example of natural mummification at work. After the animal died, the intense sunlight, dry heat and dry wind of India would have dried the outside of the chameleon quickly. Lenin says she noticed two small holes in the lizard’s skin. Resetar believes those indicate ants quickly bored into the innards of the lizard and ate its internal organs, hastening the drying out of its insides as well. The end result was a chameleon completely mummified before it could decay while still holding its death grip on the pipe.

Or was it?

Christopher Raxworthy, the curator-in-charge of the Department of Herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, declared it a hoax.

“I suspect someone put the dry chameleon on the pump as a joke, or to stage this.”
Raxworthy says dying chameleons are too weak to hold on to pipes or branches and fall to the ground. While that may be true in some cases, Lenin says her family farm is in a remote area and locals won’t touch Indian chameleons – dead or alive – because they believe they’re venomous (they’re not). She’s sticking with the sticky story. Whatever the case, the bigger issue is the oppressive heat wave that killed the lizard and many Indians as well. The dead lizard may be the chameleon in the coal mine warning about … you guessed it … climate change. Because reptiles in the tropics are already living in temperatures that are at the upper limit of their survivability, even a small increase puts them in fatal heat stress.

While we continue to argue about climate change, we can at least agree that Mummified Chameleons would be a great name for a band.

I got this article from a site called Thanks for the info, guys.

Coffee out on the patio again today, before it gets too hot!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sunday Comics...!

As usual, here is a selection of 'toons for your approval this Sunday. Not exactly the funny papers, but it will have to do...OK?

How about one more...?

OK...that's enough for now. Back to the coffee pot for a refill. We'll be having our coffee out on the patio today!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Fun Music Saturday...!

I don't know if any of you can remember these little ditties or not, but I have some fond memories of them. So let's see if you have some fun thoughts pop up with these...OK?

And just one more...

Now I have to admit, that last one was mainly for me! I have always loved that song.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Gotta beat the rain, ya know?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Fence Climbing Gators For Freaky Friday...!

Now I don't mind that 'gators are needed in certain areas to help control some other critters, and to eat dead fish and such, but when they start climbing fences to get some place...then I have to draw the line.

And on top of that, some of these more industrial reptile types can climb trees? WTF??

Beware of Cow-Eating Gators and Fence-Climbing Crocodiles
Paul Seaburn
April 8, 2016

Are large reptiles evolving into mutant creatures worthy of starring in monster movies as they wipe out all cows and humans (hopefully in that order)? Two stories this week indicated that alligators and crocodiles are developing new traits that may not be good for humanity or bovinity.

A Florida commercial alligator hunter didn’t have to travel far to respond to a call that a 15-foot gator was eating cows … it was his own farm. Lee Lightsey organizes guided hunts and has been professionally hunting alligators since 1988, so he’s had plenty of experience with the big creatures. But he claims he’s never seen one as big as the 15-footer he spotted picking off cows from the cattle ponds on his farm. The largest American alligator ever recorded measured 19.2 feet long. Lightsey’s cattle feaster was an estimated 800 pounds and had to be lifted with a tractor.

At least you can keep these beasts out of your yard with a sturdy fence, right? That may be true in Florida, but not in northern India where residents of Boondi in Rajasthan watched a 250-pound pregnant croc climb a 4-foot fence and splash around in a lake before looking for a place to lay her eggs. If the crocodile climbed the fence to get out, it probably climbed said fence to get in. As a certain American presidential candidate might say, what these people need is a bigger fence.

Unfortunately, if you live in croc-infested areas, you’re going to need a MUCH bigger fence. A study published in Herpetology Notes found verifiable reports of adult crocodiles climbing fences as high as six feet and juvenile scaled critters scaling fences as high as 30 feet! So if you’re really worried about fence-climbing crocs, you should build a 31-foot fence, right?

Wrong! According to that same study in Herpetology Notes, crocodiles can climb trees too. If your fence is next to a taller tree, you’re croc-out-of-luck in keeping them out of your yard.

Can alligators climb fences or trees too? There don’t seem to be any verifiable eyewitness accounts of that. So your best bet for large alligator avoidance if you live in Florida, Louisiana or Texas is to keep your cows locked up indoors at all times. If you live in the crocodile lands of Australia, Africa, Asia and the Americas, build a 31-foot fence, cut down all of your trees or move to Antarctica.

Now, I realize all these critters have to eat and that they need exercise, but I would just as soon not have them anywhere close to my neighborhood, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen again today. Rain is back.