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


 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 things...like 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 trace...is 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 president...you 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!