I love animals. Big ones, small ones, brightly colors or even those that are more or less colorless and transparent. I love the variety of animals that exist, and wish that the species that have gone extinct were still with us (well, maybe not T-Rex!!!).
But, I must admit, I have my limits and fears. I don’t like to swim in the ocean because there are just too many things in there that that are much larger and stronger than me, and many of them have very sharp teeth!
I am leery of just about any animal that is bigger than I am or that acts in a threatening manner. Heck, even a small chihuahua that bares its teeth and threatens to bite my ankles is enough to make be back off. I would like to keep all 10 of my fingers and 10 toes, thank you very much!
So, imagine my terror when I turned a corner in Helen, GA in the beer garden that exists in the center of town and saw the fearsome creature in today’s photo. I broke into a cold sweat. The scent of brimstone emanated from his nostrils he was so fierce! But, in the pursuit of a photograph, I pretended to be undaunted and managed to sneak in a picture before I passed out.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in was dawn on this day in 1908 when the most destructive earthquake in recorded European history struck the Straits of Messina in southern Italy, leveling the cities of Messina in Sicily and Reggio di Calabria on the Italian mainland. The earthquake and tsunami it caused killed an estimated 100,000 people.
Sicily and Calabria are known as la terra ballerina–“the dancing land”–for the periodic seismic activity that strikes the region. In 1693, 60,000 people were killed in southern Sicily by an earthquake, and in 1783 most of the Tyrrenian coast of Calabria was razed by a massive earthquake that killed 50,000. The quake of 1908 was particularly costly in terms of human life because it struck at 5:20 a.m. without warning, catching most people at home in bed rather than in the relative safety of the streets or fields.
The main shock, registering an estimated 7.5 magnitude on the Richter scale, caused a devastating tsunami with 40-foot waves that washed over coastal towns and cities. The two major cities on either side of the Messina Straits–Messina and Reggio di Calabria–had some 90 percent of their buildings destroyed. Telegraph lines were cut and railway lines were damaged, hampering relief efforts. To make matters worse, the major quake on the 28th was followed by hundreds of smaller tremors over subsequent days, bringing down many of the remaining buildings and injuring or killing rescuers. On December 30, King Victor Emmanuel III arrived aboard the battleship Napoli to inspect the devastation.
Meanwhile, a steady rain fell on the ruined cities, forcing the dazed and injured survivors, clad only in their nightclothes, to take shelter in caves, grottoes, and impromptu shacks built out of materials salvaged from the collapsed buildings. Veteran sailors could barely recognize the shoreline because long stretches of the coast had sunk several feet into the Messina Strait.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: One of the first chest-revealing suits for men appeared in 1932 and was called the “Topper.” The suit had a detachable top that could be zipped away from the trunk bottoms. Unfortunately, men who chose to appear topless at the time were often arrested for indecent exposure.