March 19, 2019
Words of wisdom have trickled through the centuries. From societal influencers to our own family members, we are given guidance on how to become better people. Axioms and advice ranging from success, failure, money, adversity, opportunity, morality, expectations, happiness, and so much more offer valuable life lessons. All we need to do is listen and heed the principles.
This week’s link is to another pearl of an article by The Art of Manliness presenting some of the best epigrams throughout the ages.
October 27, 2017
I’ve always heard about freak shows but have never been to one. I actually don’t think I’d want to go because they seem a little sad to me. I could be way off base. IDK
Not only were these people called freaks when they were alive, but freaky things happened to them in death. Read and see-
- Edouard Beaupre was a giant at 8’3″. He died at 23 of a pulmonary hemorrhage. His cause of death wasn’t unusual given his size. The circus, where he performed, had his body taken to a mortuary to be embalmed, but balked at the high price of shipping his body home. He convinced the family to let him be buried in St. Louis where they were for The Louisiana Purchase Exposition. (The family didn’t go to the funeral.) Instead of paying the mortuary, the guy skipped town and left Edouard to fate. They put his body in a storefront window for a while, but it caused too much traffic. His body was sold 2 more times! It went to a museum and then a circus where he was stored in a barn after the circus went bankrupt. A doctor then bought him, mummified him, and put him on display for 85 years. Finally, a nephew in 1975 petitioned the university to get his uncle back. It wasn’t until July 7, 1990 that he was cremated and buried with dignity.
- Chang and Eng were “Siamese” twins born in Thailand (Siam). A Scottish merchant saw them while there and was amazed at how fast they could swim and move being conjoined. He paid a large amount of money to the family for adoption. He immediately put them in on the sideshow circuit. They did very well! Eventually, they settled in North Carolina, made a lot of money in business, married sisters, and fathered 21 children. The Civil War stripped them of a lot of their wealth and Chang drank heavily. They did not share a circulatory system so Eng did not have the same drinking issues. But on Jan. 17, 1874, Eng woke up to find his brother dead from a cerebral blood clot. Terrified, he called doctors to do an emergency separation, but it was too late. He died 3 hours later. Some think it was mainly due to the shock of losing his brother.
- Grady Stiles was an evil, mean man and got more so the more he drank. He also had fingers that looked more like lobster claws and his feet and legs were also deformed. Even so, he had a good career at the shows, married and had a daughter. On the eve of his daughter’s wedding, he and the groom to be were at a party. Grady was drinking and he murdered the fellow in cold blood. He was found guilty but Grady played on the courts using his disability. Instead of life or an execution, he got 15 years on parole. He never showed remorse and bragged about how he got away with murder. The abuse of those around him got so bad, his wife paid $1500 to another performer to assassinate him! He took 3 bullets to the head while watching TV.
- Betty Lou Williams was born in Georgia 1932. She was the youngest of 12 children, but the only one born with 4 legs and an extra arm. The parasitic twin’s head was lodged inside her torso. Her parents put her on the circuit by the time she was 2. she made a lot of money and managed to put all of her siblings through college and bought her parents a house. She, obviously, was very generous! Betty Lou was also a beauty and never had problems dating despite her deformity. She fell madly, passionately in love with a man and they were engaged to be married. Unfortunately, she found out that he did not really love her, he liked her for her ability to bring in a ton of money. The revelation triggered a massive asthma attack which she died from, but her family insists she died from a broken heart. TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK…………
September 22, 2017
I love tea. I drink it hot and cold. My day is bookended by a hot, steaming mug of Tetley’s British Blend tea. Mmmmmm I’m sipping one right now.
But…did you know:
- Iced tea was invented at The 1904’s World’s Fair in St. Louis. It was so bloody hot, mugs of tea weren’t selling. Richard Blechynden decided to pour it over ice and BOOM, it was an instant success!
- Tea bags were invented by accident as well! In 1908, a salesman created small silk bags to give out samples of tea to customers. Some of them thought they were supposed to put the whole thing in the pot instead of emptying it out, like a metal diffuser. It worked so well, it became a thing.
- There are 4 major types of tea black, white, green, and oolong, but they all come from the same plant. It’s how the leaves are treated that make the difference.
- The art of reading tea leaves is called tasseography.
- There is a legend that tea was discovered, by accident again, by a chinese emperor. A leaf supposedly blew into his bowl of hot water and the rest is history. Hmm, urban legend?
- Another accident! Many people , like me, drink hot tea with milk. That practice was started because they used to pour milk into the delicate china cups to protect it from the boiling water. It’s no longer necessary, and they discovered it was yummy!
- For centuries, tea was only used as medicine. It took over 3000 years for it to become an everyday drink.
- Black teas are made from fermented leaves that have been allowed to dry.
- Tea bags are good for about 6 months before they lose their flavor and quality.
- In Tibet, Butter Tea is served. It is made from black tea, yak butter, and salt.
- Tea is believed to have arrived in Europe, thanks to a Jesuit priest.He visited China in 1590 and was allowed to bring some of the plants home with him.
- The most expensive tea in the world is grown in the mountains of Ya’An in the Sichuan province of China. Workers fertilize the tea bushes using the waste from local pandas whose bodies take in only a small amount of nutrients from the food they eat. The tea costs the equivalent of around $200 for a small cup.
September 19, 2017
I’ve watched a show called The 100 for the last two weeks on Netflix. It’s a good show, but the characters are forced to survive in the wild. Some of the characters in my book do too! This is a good link for basic survival skills. Make sure you read through the questions and answers at the end- there’s a lot of good information there.
That’s your basic set of skills. Do you want to be more like Macgyver? Well, here you go- these are sooooo cool!
September 5, 2017
As writers, we often need to know things about the weather for our books. My first published one talked about an “Ice Tsunami”. I had never heard of that phenomena, but I knew I wanted to put it in.
This past week and a half has had weather on all of our minds with Hurricane Harvey. Jenn and I are both proud native Texans and are horrified at the loss our great state has incurred. Now, we have Hurricane Irma barreling down on islands in the Caribbean and will slam into Florida soon. After that? The models have conflicting reports.
Here’s a place for great research and current weather happenings! Stay safe.
June 2, 2017
The weather has heated up. Schools are letting out. Life is a beach.
But, do you really know summer? Check out these tid-bits-
- The phrase ‘the dog days of summer’ has to do with the stars and not about sweltering heat. The dog star Sirius begins its rise just before the sun towards the end of July. The Romans believed the extra light gave off more heat heat to the sun and was responsible for the super hot days.
- More thunderstorms occur during summer than at any other time. It’s all that extra heat and moisture! Believe it or not, the most occur in the south of England. Hmmmm
- New York has a cool thing going on! Owing to the city’s design on a grid rotated 29 ° clockwise from true east-west, twice a year the sun sets directly at the end of the many New York’s major streets to create a spectacular sunset. The sun is slightly above the horizon and nestled between the rows of buildings.
- The first modern Olympic games were held in the summer of 1896 in Athens.
- The last day of summer is September 20th.
- The iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris grows every summer. With the heat, the metal expands and it grows up to 6 inches!
- The Roman general, Marc Anthony, named the month July after Julius Caesar.
- August was named after Julius Caesar’s nephew. He had received the title of “Augustus” which means “reverend”.
- Ice pops were invented by an 11 year old boy in 1905! THANK YOU!
- The first women’s bathing suit was created in the 1800’s. It had a pair of bloomers with it! ACK!!!
- Swimming nude used to be the norm. In ancient days, clothes were definitely pitched to the side. However, in the 17th century, laws were put into place about decent swimming attire…and nude wasn’t it!
- Watermelons are a vegetable! Who knew?!? It is a member of the squash, cucumber, and pumpkin family. Americans eat around 15 lbs. per year.
- In the United States, over 650 million long distance summer trips are made. Let’s hit the road!!
- Scientist argue that babies born in the summer will suffer from more mood swings than babies born at other times. Really?
- Jenn and I hope you have a terrific summer filled with lots of laughter and fun…and that’s a fact!
April 28, 2017
Most people know writers tend to live in their own little worlds. I can hear many of you laughing already because you know me! Yes, we are different…but some are even more interesting than you think!
- Stieg Larsson, who created The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, stated the heroine was based on what Pippi Longstocking would be like when she was grown. Hmmmm, not what I would have thought about Pippi.
- Alexander Dumas, The Three Musketeers, fought his first duel at the age of 23. He has the unusual distinction of having his trousers fall down during the event! I think it was better he wrote about fighting instead of participating!
- Before finding fame as a novelist, The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown was a pop singer. One of his solo albums was called Angels and Demons.
- Bram Stoker, Dracula, was a crazy conspiracy theorist! One of his best theories is that the Queen Elizabeth that we all studied about was really a man in drag! Supposedly, the real Elizabeth got sick and died when she was 10.
- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, was kinda weird. For instance, he always positioned his bed northward- he said it sparked his creativity. He had a thing for the dead. One of his favorite past times was hanging out in the morgue- he even spent a few Christmas and New Years Days at the Paris morgue……
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, thought Houdini was magical. After his son died, he spent a great deal of time studying mysticism and trying to talk to the dead. Somehow along the way, he decided his friend, Houdini, had magical powers even though Houdini was constantly trying to prove to him otherwise.
- Norman Mailer, The Executioner’s Song, was a raging alcoholic who stabbed his wife and beat up actor Rip Torn. Many considered him to be a world renowned jerk! He also ran for mayor of New York City claiming he would outlaw private cars, have trial by jousting and turn the city into the 51st state. The stories only get better from there- I just don’t have space to write about so many!
- John Steinbeck used 300 pencils to write East of Eden and was known to use up to 60 pencils in a day.
- When Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham, was stuck writing his books, he would go to a secret closet filled with hundreds of hats and wear them till the words came. Something else to make you go hmmmmmm.
- Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea, once took home the urinal from his favorite bar, arguing he’d ‘pissed away’ so much of his money into it that he owned it.
- Sting wrote the song ‘Every Breath You Take’ at the same desk which Ian Fleming used to write his James Bond novels. It was at the ‘Fleming Villa’ at GoldenEye on the island of Jamaica.
- D. H. Lawrence, Women In Love, liked to climb trees buck naked because he wanted to stimulate his creativity.