September 12, 2017
This week’s link comes from one of my favorite blogs, The Art of Manliness. And it’s a great link for anyone who likes bourbon. I, myself, went through
a spell of consuming copious amounts of Jim Beam in my youth. Good times…good times…
There are distinctions between the varying types of bourbons. This link, How to Read a Bourbon Label, gives the skinny on bourbon terminology and provides a guide for consumers when buying the next bottle of whiskey. Cheers!
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.
January 27, 2017
Happy Friday, everyone! Today is January 27, 2017. Have you ever wondered if this date was special? I thought it’d be fun to check out the 27th and see how it stacks up in history. Let’s see what happened:
- American born sumo wrestler, Akebono Taro, was the first foreigner to be promoted to the highest rank of Yokozuna. 1993
- Germany observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day. 1996
- Western Union discontinues its Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. 2006
- The U.S. Congress approves Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) clearing the way for forced relocation of the Eastern Indians on the “Trail of Tears”. Not our finest moment. 1825
- Lenigrad was liberated from Germany after 880 days. The loss? 600,000 killed. 1944
- The US and North Vietnam come to a “cease fire” thus ending the longest US war and military draft. 1973
- 3 astronauts aboard the Apollo 1 die while still on the launch pad. They were practicing for a two week mission in space. 1967
- 60 countries signed The Outer Space treaty which stated that no country would place nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction into orbit around earth. If any country were to do this, no country would be safe again. 1967
- Michael Jackson’s hair caught on fire while he filmed a Pepsi commercial. 1984
- The Red Army liberates Auschwitz in southern Poland. It was the largest of all the concentration camps and is believed that 1,000,000 people were killed there. 1945
- The US government conducts the first nuclear bomb tests in Nevada. 1951
- Coca Cola starts distribution in the Soviet Union. 12 years after Pepsi, I might add. 1985
- The first sorority is created- Kappa Alpha Theta. 1870
- After accepting the 15th Amendment, Virginia is readmitted to the Union. 1870
- Thomas Edison patents the first electric incandescent lamp. 1880
November 8, 2016
This is a fun site for all your infographic needs, Daily Infographic. They “scour the internet for data visualizations with the best content and design to bring our users facts and figures in the most easily consumed format.” In other words, they just want to make us smarter in an age where people love quick and easy pics. Whatever your heart desires in health, entertainment, food, surviving an apocalypse, just about anything you want or didn’t realize you needed to know. Oh, and they can help create an infographic should you need one.
Check them out. http://www.dailyinfographic.com/
Here’s a nifty infographic on blood stain analysis. Handy for writers and potential criminals.
October 23, 2015
This period of time in America’s history was hard. Hard for everyone concerned. It’s a fascinating time to study and you won’t believe some of the nuggets I found!
- In 2009, a woman visited a museum in Richmond Virginia to show the experts something that had been in her family since the Civil War. They had never seen ANYTHING like it. It was made out of brass, approximately 1″ in length and looked very much like an acorn. There were no marking or inscriptions and the museum was stumped! The woman explained that her family’s history passed down the story of a Confederate soldier using it to smuggle secret notes across enemy lines. It was….smuggled in his bum. She said it was called a “Rectal Acorn”. She did not donate the item.
- In 1862, a Virginian farmer gave Robert E. Lee a flock of chickens. Unfortunately, another general’s men ate them all except for one. She had made her roost up in a tree and they missed her when they were preparing dinner. Robert E. Lee took a real liking to her and left the flap of his tent up so she could come and go as she pleased. Over time, she started leaving him fresh eggs under his bed every morning. On the eve of a large battle, the General invited all of his generals to a dinner. The only problem was there wasn’t enough food. (You see where this is going.) His slave cook, even though he hated to lose her, stuffed her and cooked her as part of the meal. He said it was the only time in 4 years the general scolded him. “The general don’t like seein’ nothin’ get killed- not his soldiers and especially not his chicken.”
- There were many rules for women at this time in history, right down to how they were to mourn for their loved ones. If a woman lost her child, she was in mourning for 1 year, a brother, 6 months, and a husband for 2 1/2 years. That time was broken into heavy, full, and half mourning- mostly shown in how they dressed. Mary Todd Lincoln stayed in heavy mourning after the loss of her son, Willie. She dressed in black veils, black crepe and even black jewelry. A confederate wife stayed in heavy mourning for 59 years after her husband was shot! Men were only expected to mourn for 3 months and could signal that by a simple black arm band or a black strap on their hat.
- There were 2 General Jefferson Davis! What?!? Yes. One for each side of the war. This didn’t really cause too many problems except for this one time…During the battle of Chickamauga, night approached and darkness fell. A group of soldiers from Ohio saw another group approaching but they couldn’t tell if they were friend or foe. (That’s a problem!) They called out, “What troops are you?” They all answered as a group. “Jeff Davis’s troops.” The guys from Ohio relaxed, believing it was their Jeff Davis. Wrong! The group belonged to the Confederate Jeff Davis.
I couldn’t find a picture of the Union general.
- Did you know they had glow-in-the-dark wounds? I kid you not. After the bloody battle at Shiloh, over 16,000 men were wounded. It was overwhelming to both sides. Soldiers layed in the mud for 2 rainy days or more and noticed that many of them had glowing wounds. In fact, it seemed that the ones that glowed fared better! It wasn’t until two teenagers, working on their science fair project in 2001, solved the mystery. The wounded became hypothermic, and their lowered body temperatures made ideal conditions for a bio-luminescent bacterium called Photorhabdus luminescens, which inhibits pathogens.
- After President Abraham Lincoln was killed. His wallet was found to contain a $5 Confederate bill with the Confederate President Jefferson Davis printed on it. Hmmmmmm
October 2, 2015
For me, this season conjures up the idea of mystical beings, times forgotten, and magical realms. Call me fanciful, but as the weather cools and dead leaves swirl close to the ground, I truly feel there’s something…more.
Could the ancient priests called Druids have some of the answers? These men carried out religious rituals in The Iron Age in Britain and France, but left no written account of their beliefs and practices. We know of their existence left in accounts by conquering Romans and Greeks. There were a few stories told by actors and artists scattered throughout the land. Our main body of knowledge of this group can be found in Irish medieval writers’ works.
- Druids may be female or male.
- Some Druids recite or sing prayers in Gaelic or other Celtic languages.
- By 1933, there were 1.5 million adherents. This number has dwindled.
- Druids may practice alone or in a Grove, the term used for a congregation.
- The ideal ritual space will have a tree, water of some sort, and a fire. Sometimes a ring of rocks is used, but a ring of trees is very sacred! Occasionally, one very old large tree will be used as an especially sacred area.
- They will, most likely, wear a ritual robe, Celtic garb or a kilt when worshiping.
- Greek and Roman writers wrote about the Druids practicing human sacrifices. It seemed they were mostly criminals, but innocents were also used. Mass graves have been found in a ritual context at different archaeological sites.
- The first known text that describes the druids is Julius Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico, book VI, written in the 50s or 40s BCE.
- Most Druids have a profound respect for and a great love of the law, telling the truth, artistic endeavors, history and justice for all.
- they have no dietary restrictions unless they are under a geas, a magical prohibition.
September 25, 2015
I love this time of year. Leaves begin to change, there’s a bit less humidity here in the South, pumpkins are everywhere and the smell of yummy baking permeates my house! There just might be a few things you didn’t know about this time of year. Care to find out?
- Autumn has been called the “hectic beauty of death”.
- The term “equinox” if from Latin meaning “equal night”. This is because on day it officially becomes fall, there are 12 hours of sun and 12 hours of night.
- Scientific research has shown that during cooler months men are more likely to snuggle with their loves to watch romantic comedies than any other time of the year. Apparently, feeling chilly triggers the desire to be warm with others.
- Levels of testosterone in men and women are higher in the fall. This could be a throwback to ancient mating rituals?
- Autumn babies- those born between September and November- are more likely to live to be 100 than those born any other time of the year. Yay me!
- Males are sexually primed by food which made harvest time and ideal time to find a mate and reproduce. A mix of pumpkin pie and donuts increase penile flow by 20%. Pumpkin pie and lavender increase it by 40%. What I want to know is how in the world do they study this?!?!?!
- People who live on or near the equator never experience fall.
- Americans typically use the term “fall” while the British use “autumn”. Both terms showed up in the 16th century, but before that, it was called “harvest”.
- Facebook also notes changes during this time. It seems more people change their status to “in a relationship” or “engaged” during this time. Summer shows a big spike in the “single” status because breakups are way more common then.