Friday Fun Facts- Inaugurations!

January 13, 2017

We all know it’s coming. No matter if you voted, or who you voted for in the U.S. presidential elections, we know it will be a moment to remember. Good or bad.

I’ll bet you didn’t know some of these wild facts about past inaugurations!

(Please. This is not for political commentary on current politics.)

  1. George Washington’s inaugural speech came in as the shortest. The brief, and I mean brief, time at the podium consisted of 135 words. Boom! He’s done.rembrandt-peale-george-washington
  2. John Quincy Adams was fashion forward. He was the first president sworn in wearing long trousers.
  3. Thomas Jefferson was the first to be inaugurated at the Capitol. He’s also been the only president to walk to and from his glory moment! (Jimmy Carter walked to it, but rode home.)
  4. Abraham Lincoln was the first to include African-Americans in his parade-1865.
  5. Women weren’t included in a parade until the 2nd inauguration of Woodrow Wilson- 1917.
  6. Harry Truman’s was the first to be televised-1949.
  7. Lyndon Johnson was the first and only president to be sworn in by a woman, US District Judge Sarah Hughes-1963.gty_air_force_one_lbj_jef_150324
  8. All presidents until 1937 were sworn in in March to avoid potential bad weather. An amendment to the Constitution changed the date to January 20th.
  9. Theodore Roosevelt has been the only president not sworn in with a Bible.
  10. In 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower was lassoed by a cowboy who rode up to him on a horse! Bet that’ll never happen again!891353_525_350_w
  11.  No one throws a party like Old Abe!!!! His inaugural party was so wild, they had to call the police in! Whoa- now that’s a party. ballinhonorofpresidentlincoln-hires

Friday Fun Facts- Thumbs Up!

January 6, 2017

I apologize for not creating our Friday Fun Facts for several weeks. Life took over with the clean up and sale of my parents’ house, trips to New Mexico, Dallas, Nacogdoches, and Fredericksburg, Tx., Christmas, and far too much fun!

thumbs-upLet’s see what’s in store for us today about thumbs:

  1. 6,000,000 years ago hominids developed thumbs.
  2. Ancient Rome spectators decided the fate of gladiators by giving a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. Not a good position to be in!joaquinphoenix_thumbsdown
  3. In The Middle Ages, merchants sealed business transactions with a thumbs-up.
  4. During World War II, American soldiers spread the gesture throughout Europe as a means of communication.
  5. In the Twenty-first century, thumbs turn horizontal for testing purposes.
  6. The man with the largest recorded hand is from China. His thumb measured 10.2 inches in length.
  7. “Under someone’s thumb” means to be in their control. Who knew the thumb was so powerful?!?
  8. Scientist think that one of the reasons we have moved to the top of the animal kingdom is because we have truly opposable thumbs.
  9. Thumbs only have 2 bones.pulp_thumb-christian-d

Friday(Not So) Fun Facts- Berga

December 9, 2016

Jenn’s post on Pearl Harbor earlier this week got me to thinking about World War II. It was a terrible time with terrible atrocities. Did you know Jewish American GIs  and other GIs were sent to a special camp where they were worked to death?

Me either!bberga

  1. 1945- More than 4000 soldiers were at Stalag IX. It was notorious for having the worst conditions out of all the Stalags.
  2. One day they were all ordered out on to the field. The commandant decreed all Jewish soldiers to step forward and identify themselves. Others whispered for them not to do this. He then stated they had until 6am to declare themselves. After that, all Jews found in camp would be shot as would anyone who tried to help.
  3. About 130 stepped forward. They were put in segregated quarters. 50 other non-commissioned officers were also taken. Any others that were deemed trouble makers were also taken. They left camp never to return.
  4. Berga was a special camp for the creation of underground tunnels leading to a munitions dump located deep in a mountain.
  5. They were placed in train cars like so many others going to concentration camps.
  6. After 5 days, they arrived at Berga, a quaint little town on the Elster River. There is almost no mention of these concentration camps in the history books.
  7. Stalag IX seemed like a hotel when they discovered life in Berga.
  8. Each day they walked nearly two miles each way to these shafts cut deep into the earth. Cruel overseers forced them to work until they literally dropped dead.berga-hitlers-gi-death-camp2
  9. The tunnels were made by explosions. They wouldn’t even let the air clear before they sent them back in. Sometimes they couldn’t see more than a few inches in front of their face.
  10. They huddled together to survive the cold at night. Their meager food rations were sometimes mixed with saw dust or ground glass.
  11. On April 4, 1945, the commandant received orders to evacuate the camp because the allies were closing in.
  12. He gathered the survivors and forced them on a death march. If they stumbled, they were shot.
  13. When they were rescued, most men only weighed 85 lbs or so.
  14. The American government has never publicly acknowledged they were mistreated. In fact, one survivor was told he should go to a psychiatrist. Officials at the VA told him he had made up the whole story.
  15. 2 of the men responsible for these atrocities were tried and found guilty of war crimes- even though there was no witnesses there. The case was reviewed later and the verdict was upheld. Even so, a few years later, it was reviewed again and decided there was insufficient evidence and they were released with time served. Many believe it was a trade made for intelligence that they may have had.
  16. Only 63 of the original 350 US GIs returned home after Berga. 23% were Jewish.

bergaprisoners

http://www.kilroywashere.org/005-Pages/Berga.html

 

 

 


“Till Death Do Us Part”

November 10, 2016

Melissa Ohnoutka is an author of romantic suspense and a close friend and writing buddy of MuseTracks. In honor of her latest release Sinful Secrets, we’ve asked her to be our guest. Because she scares us. And we love her. Take it away, Melissa!

“Til Death Do Us Part”

What a wonderful vow between two lovebirds on their wedding day. A promise to spend the rest of their lives together, giving and sharing all they have till the end.

That is unless you’re male, and about to marry a Black Widow.

blackwidow21

I had no idea how far back cases of women serial killers went until working on my latest book, Sinful Secrets. For example, Belle Gunness from the early 1900’s was a real piece of work. Mysterious infant deaths. Heart attacks. Meat grinder accident in the kitchen. Weird disappearances. Yeah, she had issues all right. This six-foot, two hundred eight pound woman is suspected of murdering 25 to 49 people on her farm in La Porte, Indiana. The bodies, along with bones and personal items were unearthed on the farm after a fire. A fire? Really? Something sounds fishy here to me. LOL Wonder who collected the insurance on that one.

Women who kill for the sole purpose of financial gain, or even sympathy from others, are scary on so many levels. Think about it. They could be your neighbor, the sweet little lady down the street that makes cookies for all the kids after school. Or how about that new girlfriend someone you know, or love, just started dating. Talk about make you paranoid! And these Black Widows don’t just limit themselves to killing their husbands either. Oh, no. Their victims included children, the elderly, anybody who got in their way. Geesh… No one is safe.

So why do they kill? After scouring the internet for character traits to use with my female villain, I discovered women serial killers rarely kill for power, or the mere sick thrill of the kill. There were a few, but most have a more sensible approach to their madness.

Sympathy—the need to feel loved and accepted.

Money— a huge temptation too great to ignore.

Or revenge—never piss a woman off. LOL

Links in case you’d like to do your own research:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wicked-deeds/201501/why-some-women-kill-again-and-again

http://crime.about.com/od/female_offenders/tp/Black-Widow-Killers.htm

 

Boy, this research has given me such great material for future book villains. But today I’d like to share my newest release with you. A big thank you to the ladies of Musetracks for letting me visit!

ss_500

 

Blurb:

 

Everyone has secrets. Some are deadly.

Event planner Joanna McNamee is scrambling to ensure her father’s company Christmas party goes smoothly, but one disaster after another has her convinced someone is trying to sabotage her career. With the help of a man from her past who she’s still not sure she can trust, she puts the pieces together and realizes her business is the least of her problems—a cold-blooded killer is out to destroy her father and take her as his prized possession.

 

The last thing Deputy Ryker Kane expects is for a simple truck hijacking to throw him back into the middle of the Black Widow case he’d been forced to abandon, not to mention right into the arms of the sweet woman he’d let walk away ten years earlier. When he finds Jo Jo kidnapped and drugged, he has to use all his wits and skills honed from years as a detective to save them both. Despite the secrets between them, Ryker’s bound and determined to give them a second chance at love.

 

 

Buy Link:

http://entangledpublishing.com/sinful-secrets/

 

Find out more about Melissa and her books:

www.melissaohnoutka.com

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Friday Fun Facts- Lady Liberty!

November 4, 2016

She is a piece of art. She was a gift. She means so much more.hsc-homepageimage

See if you knew these facts-

  1. She is hit by lightning over 600 times per year.statue-of-liberty-being-struck-by-lightning-wallpaper-4
  2. Her torch was refurbished in 1984 with a new copper base and then overlaid in 24 carat gold leaf.
  3. The 7 spikes on her crown represent the 7 continents and 7 oceans of the world. Peace is a global desire that knows no boundaries.
  4. The statue’s full name is Liberty Enlightening The World.
  5. Lady Liberty has a size 879 shoe and a 35 foot waistline.
  6. The face was said to be modeled after the sculptor’s mother, Charlotte.
  7. Her feet are not easy to see but she is, in fact, standing among a broken shackle and chains. Her right foot is raised like she’s walking away from slavery and oppression.
  8. In 1984 she was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.lady-liberty
  9. Two people have committed suicide by jumping of the statue. The first was in 1929 and the other in 1932. (I wonder if it had anything to do with the economic crash.) Many others have jumped and survived!
  10. Andy Warhol painted this great lady as part of his “Pop Art” series in the 1960s. The painting is said to be worth more than 35 million dollars today!!statue-of-liberty2
  11. **I never knew this!** In 1916, the statue sustained damage when Germans saboteurs set off an explosion during World War I. The torch-bearing arm sustained the most damage with $100,000 in repairs! (That was a HUGE amount of money back in 1916) The stairs in the torch were closed for safety and has never been re-opened.
  12. During a storm, once winds reach 50 mph, the statue can sway up to 3 inches while the torch can dance around up to 5 inches.
  13. The most famous movie going shot of the statue was in Planet of the Apes. She’s broken and all we see is her head buried on the beach. Chilling moment.pota-statue-of-liberty-2
  14. In 1944, the lights in her crown signaled dot-dot-dot-dash. That’s Morse code  for V, Victory in Europe!war-pat-canada-1
  15. For many years she also served as a lighthouse with lights that could be seen for 24 miles.
  16. She is 130 yrs. old this year.
  17. If the statue were to be built today, it would cost over 10 million dollars. (Yet, a painting of it costs over 35 million??)
  18. The statue was inspired by the pagan Roman goddess, Libertas.

Friday Fun Facts-Our First President!

October 28, 2016

George Washington was the father of our country. The first President. What do you know about him beyond cutting down his dad’s cherry tree? (Which wasn’t true- it came from a poem written after he had died.) Let’s find out…d90801252c240db0782cf7402b590df4

  1. He was unanimously voted in as our first president with all 69 members of Congress casting their ballots for him. No popular vote existed.
  2. He was one of the largest presidents we’ve had. He stood at 6’2″ and weighed 200 lbs.
  3. His favorite foods were peanut soup, mashed sweet potatoes with coconut, and string beans with mushrooms.
  4. He had no children but had hound dogs that were treated like family.
  5. He only attended school from the age of 6 to 15. He then became a surveyor because his mother couldn’t afford to send him to college.
  6. He had chronic toothaches until at 57, he had all of his teeth pulled. He wore a set of dentures carved from Ivory and set on a silver plate.aca-teeth
  7. President Washington may have owned one of the first goldfish in America! They were a gift from a naval officer.dc-goldfish-gw
  8. He was the richest president. Ever. His assets today would have been valued over $500 million.
  9. He had 2 stepchildren, but the girl died at 16 due to a seizure, and the boy died when he contracted a disease at a military encampment.download
  10. Washington was a military hero by the time he was 22.
  11. He was also a distiller of whiskey and produced 11,000 gallons in one year.
  12. Before fighting against the British, he actually fought for the British.
  13. At 67 he came down with a bad cold and was dead within 48 hours. Researchers now say, he died of medical malpractice. He was subjected to 4 rounds of bloodletting.
  14. It is said that he introduced mules to America. He received donkeys from the King of Spain and bred them to his horses.
  15. He didn’t wear a wig! That hair we see in pictures is all his!!georgewashington

Friday Fun Facts- John F. Kennedy

October 21, 2016

I’m not sure why, but I’ve been thinking a lot about the presidency of the United States. Call me crazy, I just can’t get it off my mind. (Note the heavy sarcasm)

I don’t want to talk about modern politics, but it sent me searching about Lincoln last week and Kennedy this week. Check out what I discovered.images-1

  1. John F. Kennedy was obsessed with his weight and traveled with a bathroom scale everywhere he went. Seriously?
  2. This is a shout-out to the author, Will Graham who is a Bond aficionado and faithful MuseTracks follower! President Kennedy was a Bond fanatic and To Russia With Love was his all-time favorite book! He even tried writing his own Bond like book about a coup d’etat headed by Lyndon Johnson!!
  3. He was the first president to dance with black women at the Inauguration Ball.
  4. His last year in office is when his son, Patrick, died.
  5. A month before his death, he created a “James Bond” movie about his own assassination! The grieving widow was played by Jackie and frazzled Secret Service agents were, indeed, played by his very reluctant Secret Service agents. Now that is creepy.
  6. He spent time in the company of his mistresses, but after Patrick’s death, he never had sex with any of them. He drew much closer to Jackie and was determined to “keep the White House, white”.
  7. On Nov. 11, 1963, he laid a wreath on The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington. He would be buried at that cemetery two weeks later.
  8. The open top limo that he rode in on that fateful day was flown in from Washington. .00010469
  9. Lyndon B. Johnson became president 99 minutes after the shooting.
  10. Jackie removed her wedding ring and put it on his finger to be buried with him.
  11. One of his legs was shorter than the other which caused life-long back pain.
  12. Kennedy desperately wanted to learn to speak French. Jackie was fluent and he often turned to her and their daughter Caroline for help. It was…a struggle never mastered.
  13. President Kennedy bought 1200 Cuban cigars the day before he set a ban on them. Hmmmm…….president-kennedy-smokes-a-cigarrillo-outside-photographer-howell-conants-nyc-studio
  14. Taken from ABC’s article on President Kennedy: “Kennedy had been the target of at least four assassination attempts before Dallas, one barely a month after he was elected president, when a retired postal worker, his car loaded with dynamite, followed the president-elect from Hyannis Port to Georgetown to Palm Beach. “Brother, they could have gotten me in Palm Beach. There is no way to keep anyone from killing me,” Kennedy told a Secret Service agent shortly after the suspect was apprehended, recounted Thurston Clarke in “JFK’s Last Hundred Days.” Two more assassination plots — one in Chicago, one in Tampa, Fla. — were uncovered in the weeks before Nov. 22, 1963.”
  15. President Kennedy gave his entire $100,000 salary to charity every year.why_we_do_we_admire_a_president_who_did_so_little

 

 

 


Friday Fun Facts- Hurricanes Again

October 7, 2016

I know we had facts on these mammoth storms once before, but in light of Michael, I thought it’d be good to learn some more tidbits for interest and special knowledge for your next book.

  1. A Category 5 hurricane has sustained winds of higher than 155 mph. There is talk among scientist that we will soon need a Category 6 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
  2. Category 3 is where they describe “devastating damage”.saffir-simpson_hurricane_wind_scale_2014
  3. Category 5 is catastrophic and power would be out for weeks, maybe months. And they think we need a 6?
  4. They can unleash 2.4 trillion gallons of water per day!
  5. In 1900 a Category 4 hurricane slammed into Galveston. Over 8000 people lost their lives…it’s a Category 4 that just devastated Haiti and is now pounding Florida.hurricanes-17-728
  6. Remember: Run from water, hide from wind. (Can you hide from 155 mph winds??)
  7. 40% of all hurricanes that hit the United States go to Florida.
  8. Hurricane Katrina cost us $108 Billion.
  9. The Hurricane Hunters fly directly into cyclonic storms to gather data and study these huge weather beasts.hurricane_hunters
  10. They are from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron of the US Air Force Reserves.
  11. They are based out of MacDill AFB in Tampa, Florida.

    hurricane_katrina_eye_viewed_from_hurricane_hunter_cropped

    Inside the eye of a hurricane. Can you imagine being in the clouds with this storm swirling around you?

  12. Great story: During WWII, a group of British pilots were training in the US. There was a surprise Hurricane, dubbed so because there was limited information distributed due to the war and it was a surprise to most, and the Brits were shocked that the planes were evacuating their planes. Some smack talk later and the leader of the US squadron took the trainer plane and flew it directly into the hurricane. He survived and came home, only to switch places with his navigator and fly right back out into the storm again. This showed that hurricane reconnaissance was possible and a few more flights occurred until someone gave them the name Hurricane Hunters.

Friday Fun Facts- Wet Your Whistle With Water

September 23, 2016

Have you ever thought about water? No?

Most of us take it for granted. Some of us don’t have access to clean water. And some have very little to survive. Wherever you fall on this spectrum, it is absolutely necessary to exist. Check out what I’ve found out about this liquid.dsc_0208

  1. Water is the second most common molecule in the universe. The first is hydrogen.
  2. There are 1.5 billion cubic metres of water on Earth. WOW! That is equal to 800 TRILLION Olympic swimming pools.
  3. If it was poured out evenly over the surface of Earth, it would be 12139 feet deep. Whoa.
  4. Only 1% of that is fresh water available to us. The rest is either salt water or ice bergs.iceberg
  5. The Antarctic has been covered in ice for 30 million years.
  6. This is for all of our science geeks! Water should be a gas at room temperature. It’s because the molecules are so sticky, it keeps it together as a liquid!
  7. Most people drink around 264 gallons of water every year.
  8. This is sobering. A 5 minute shower uses approximately 53 gallons of water!dripofknowledge_zps18306ad8
  9. Hot water freezes faster than cold water. It is called the Mpemba Effect and no one knows why it’s true.
  10. It takes almost 53 gallons of water to produce enough coffee beans for one cup of coffee.
  11. Water can dissolve more substances than any other liquid including sulfuric acid.
  12. 70% of your brain is water.
  13. 80% of all illness in the developing world is water related.images-1

Link Of The Week-An Easy Book Trailer

September 20, 2016

They claim they are the world’s simplest video maker! I poked around a bit and took a look at some author’s who have used them for their book trailers. Looks pretty good! Check it out and let me know what you think.film

 

https://biteable.com/