Sunday, March 26, 2017

Some Real (Fake) News...

With all we've reading about and hearing about lately is a thing called "fake news."

This kind of news story isn't a new thing at all. In fact, it was fairly common in the days of the Great Depression...namely the crash of the stock market! Exaggeration of the news, especially in newspapers, was and is a fairly common practice Here's an example...

Stock Market Crash Suicides

Photo credit: Wikimedia
The Stock Market Crash of 1929 is widely credited with two things: causing the Great Depression of the 1930s and leading to a mass suicide of stock brokers. The former is still taken quite seriously, but the latter has become a bit of a dark joke. Any film set during the crash is guaranteed to include legions of distraught bankers leaping from the windows of office buildings.

But only two men leaped to their deaths on Wall Street that day. A few more killed themselves by hanging and shooting afterward, but overall, suicides were fairly rare. In fact, the suicide rate was significantly lower than the previous summer when, ironically, the market peaked. 

As is usually the case, exaggeration was to blame for this complete non-story. Newspapers billed the few actual suicides as a full-on national tragedy, claiming New York pedestrians had to “pick their way among the bodies” in the streets. And the rest was (completely nonsensical) history.

Like I said, nothing new about "fake news" other than the fact we hear so much more and much faster than ever. Still, fake news is still fake!

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Close Call For Coffee...!

Can you believe that at one time, coffee nearly became against the law in England? True, so help me!

Seems that those of us that enjoyed the fellowship of other coffee drinkers and the establishments  (think coffee houses) that sold the stuff were considered ne'er-do-wells by the King. The law passed, but lucky for us, was abolished before taking effect. Here is the terrifying story for ya.



In 1675, Charles II of England issued a proclamation to end the legality of coffeehouses. According to him, too many people spent the whole day in coffeehouses doing nothing other than gossiping and spreading rumors about the government. The law did not stop there. It also forbade people from selling coffee, chocolate, sherbet, and tea from any shop or house.

Back then, coffeehouses were centers of gossip. The phrase “coffeehouse politician” was even coined to refer to men who spent the whole day in coffeehouses, doing nothing other than discussing politics. The law was passed on December 29, 1675, and was supposed to become active on January 10, 1676, but it was abolished on January 8. The undoing of the ban was backed by several ministers of Charles II, who themselves were lovers of coffee

Like I said, that was a close call for all us coffee drinkers. I'm certainly glad that the law was abolished, because if it had remained in place and had found it's way to the states...that would NOT have been a good thing! Know what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio again today. Let's be thankful that no such law has ever been passed here...yet!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Boy, What A Miser...!

Hard to believe that some folks can be such penny pincers, even when they have enough money to do anything they want anyway. Human nature, I reckon!

Hetty Green
1834 – 1916
300 88747.Jpg

Hetty Green was an eccentric miser who became known as the “Witch of Wall Street”. With her business acumen she accumulated such wealth that she was the richest woman in the world. In order to save money, Hetty would work out of trunks at her local bank so she wouldn’t have to pay rent. When her son fell ill, she disguised herself and took him to a charity hospital; when they realized who she was, she fled claiming she would cure her son herself. Unfortunately he contracted gangrene and had to have his leg amputated. She always wore the same black dress and never changed her underwear unless it wore out. She moved back and forth between New York and New Jersey in order to avoid the taxman.

I can't imagine anyone living like that on purpose. Guess she was not only rich, but probably a bit touched in the head as well.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

How About Some Riddles...?

Everyone loves a good riddle, right? If that's the case, let's have a few! OK?

Q: What has a foot but no legs?
A: A snail

Q: Poor people have it. Rich people need it. If you eat it you die. What is it?
A: Nothing

Q: What comes down but never goes up? 
A: Rain

Q: I’m tall when I’m young and I’m short when I’m old. What am I? 
A: A candle 

Q: Mary’s father has 5 daughters – Nana, Nene, Nini, Nono. What is the fifth daughters name? 
A: If you answered Nunu, you are wrong. It’s Mary! 

Q: How can a pants pocket be empty and still have something in it? 
A: It can have a hole in it. 

Q: In a one-story pink house, there was a pink person, a pink cat, a pink fish, a pink computer, a pink chair, a pink table, a pink telephone, a pink shower– everything was pink! What color were the stairs? 
A: There weren’t any stairs, it was a one story house! 

Q: A dad and his son were riding their bikes and crashed. Two ambulances came and took them to different hospitals. The man’s son was in the operating room and the doctor said, “I can’t operate on you. You’re my son.” How is that possible?
 A: The doctor is his mom! 

Q: What goes up when rain comes down? 
A: An umbrella! 

Q: What is the longest word in the dictionary?
A: Smiles, because there is a mile between each ‘s’ 

Q: If I drink, I die. If i eat, I am fine. What am I? 
A: A fire! 

Q: Throw away the outside and cook the inside, then eat the outside and throw away the inside. What is it? 
A: Corn on the cob, because you throw away the husk, cook and eat the kernels, and throw away the cob. 

Q: What word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it? 
A: Short 

Q: What travels around the world but stays in one spot? 
A: A stamp! 

Q: What occurs once in a minute, twice in a moment and never in one thousand years? 
A: The letter M 

Q: What has 4 eyes but can’t see? 
A: Mississippi 

Q: If I have it, I don’t share it. If I share it, I don’t have it. What is it? 
A: A Secret. 

Q: Take away my first letter, and I still sound the same. Take away my last letter, I still sound the same. Even take away my letter in the middle, I will still sound the same. I am a five letter word. What am I? 

I know, I know...some of them are childish. But you have to admit there are some pretty good ones scattered in there as well, right? Besides, they are kinda fun for a change!

Coffee outside again today! Predicted high of 84 again!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Remembering Broncho Billy...!

We often forget about how the cowboy movies really got started. We can all thank Broncho Billy for that.

His real name was Gilbert Anderson, and he became well known as the famous Broncho Billy seen in the first westerns to hit the silver screens.

“Broncho Billy” Anderson born

Gilbert M. Anderson, the first western movie star, is born in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Better known as “Broncho Billy,” the name of the western hero he played in over 300 short films, Anderson was the first western movie star. Furthermore, he played several small parts in one of the first movies ever made, The Great Train Robbery. In 1903, Anderson won a role as a bandit in the film after telling the director he could ride like a Texas Ranger. When it became clear that Anderson could hardly get onto a horse, he was made an “extra” and played several minor parts. Later that year, the 10-minute movie received an enthusiastic reception from the public, and Anderson decided to make a career in the promising new business of telling stories in moving pictures.

Anderson moved to Chicago, which was becoming a minor moviemaking center. After a few years directing and occasionally starring in movies produced by others, Anderson decided to create his own production company. Forming a partnership with old friend George K. Spoor, in 1907 Anderson created the Essanay Company, which would later be credited as one of the best of the early movie studios.

At first, Anderson made comedies, but remembering the brilliant success of The Great Train Robbery, he eventually turned to Westerns. Anderson was one of the first movie producers to realize that the public needed a central character in the movies, a “star” on which they could focus their attention. In 1909, though, there were no movie stars and stage actors were reluctant to risk films. Anderson decided to make himself the star, creating the character “Broncho Billy” out of ideas about the West culled from popular dime novels.

In 1909, Anderson released his first western, Broncho Billy and the Baby. It was an enormous success and convinced Anderson that he should stick with Westerns starring the Broncho Billy character. Over the next five years, Anderson made over 300 short one- or two-reel movies featuring Broncho Billy. Physically, Anderson was not especially handsome or dashing, but audiences liked Broncho Billy for his courageous virtue and bravery.

In 1915, Anderson released his last film in the series, Broncho Billy’s Sentence, and thereafter turned to writing. A few years later he attempted a comeback, but by then the western field was dominated by more dashing actors like Tom Mix and William S. Hart. He made comedies for several years before retiring. Later recognized and honored for his pivotal role in the development of the Western, in 1965 he made a cameo appearance in a modern Hollywood Western called The Bounty Killer, his first talking picture.

Anderson died in his sleep on January 20, 1971, at the age of 88.

I think that Broncho had a great idea in giving the public a hero to focus on. Not to mention being responsible for making the whole "cowboy movie" trend popular. Thanks Mr. Anderson!

Coffee out on the patio, where it feels more like Summer than Spring!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Can You Name This Fruit...?

What I am about to show you is from a list of strange and uncommon (at least here) fruits. I wanted to share this with you as I had never seen it before and thought it was pretty nice!

Myrciaria cauliflora

Jabuticaba, or the Brazilian grape tree, is a very strange plant native to the South Eastern parts of Brazil. What makes this plant so strange is that it fruits from its trunk. No, I did not make that up, and no the picture has not been photo shopped. Initially, yellowish white flowers will appear all over the trunk and main branches, these flowers will then turn into fruit, about 3 – 4cm in diameter. Inside the thick purple skin is the soft gelatinous flesh of the fruit, along with 1 – 4 black seeds. The fruit is sweet and can be eaten as is or made into a wine or liqueur. Unfortunately, the fruit does not keep long when off the tree and will start to ferment after about 3 or 4 days. I believe this would be a fascinating tree to have in the yard, but I'll bet I couldn't get it to grow. Isn't that always how it goes?

If you want to see some more strange and marvelous fruit plants, you can find the at Listverse, with pictures of the fruit.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. High of 84 or so is predicted.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Jean Spangler For Monday Mysteries...!

Once in a while, even movie stars can become a part of an unsolved mystery.

While Jean Spangler wasn't as well known as many were, she certainly had the potential to become better known in the movies. Instead she became the focus for a missing person case that seemed to have no answer.

Jean Spangler

One of the biggest mysteries in Hollywood history occurred on the evening of October 7, 1949 when 26-year old Jean Spangler disappeared. Spangler was a model and aspiring actress who had done bit parts in a handful of films. She left her daughter with her sister-in-law and claimed she was going to meet her ex-husband to talk about child support before going to work on a film shoot. However, there were no film shoots scheduled that night, and Spangler’s ex-husband claimed he never saw her. Spangler’s purse was found in Griffith Park two days later.

Things took a bizarre turn when a note was found in the purse which read: “Kirk, Can’t wait any longer. Going to see Dr. Scott. It will work best this way while mother is away”. Spangler had recently worked as an extra on a Kirk Douglas film and some eyebrows were raised when Douglas contacted police to confirm he wasn’t the “Kirk” in the note before they even considered questioning him. Police also heard rumors of a local man named “Scotty” who was known for performing illegal abortions, leading to speculation that Spangler was pregnant and that he was the aforementioned “Dr. Scott”. Spangler was also rumored to be involved with an organized crime figure named David Ogul, and there was even a sighting of them together in Texas three months after she disappeared. In spite of all these theories, the Jean Spangler saga is still a mystery.

Seems to me that folks can disappear as easily in Hollywood as anywhere else, maybe easier. So many times there doesn't seem to be any trace of them anywhere. At least with a body, you know what the result of their disappearance was, if not the cause. Sad, really!

Coffee outside again today. temps are back up to the high 70s and low 80s.