Tag Archives: winter

At the End of the Wardrobe

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Perhaps you’ve seen The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, or you’ve read the book by C. S. Lewis of the same title. In the story, some young English children find much more than they’ve bargained for inside of a wardrobe: they find a portal to Narnia. The first of the children to stumble through only to find herself in a snowy, frozen land is Lucy Pevensy. The land of Narnia has had a curse placed on it by the wicked queen. She finds herself in a clearing with a lampstand.

Not long after Christmas, we had a snowfall here at our home in Georgia. It wasn’t much of a snowfall if you’re from Maine or places in the northern United States, but we had about three inches of the powdery white stuff and it hung around in some places for 3-4 days because the temperatures stayed below or slightly above freezing.

On the morning after the snow first fell, I took my camera and went out to capture the fairly rare event. As I came around the west end of our home, the image in today’s post presented itself to me and it reminded me of the lampstand in the clearing of Narnia. Now I’m wondering: if I go into the walk-in closed tonight, might I wind up in a strange, exciting place that I didn’t know was there?

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: On this day in 1943, Japanese forces on Guadalcanal Island, defeated by Marines, started to withdraw after the Japanese emperor finally gave them permission.

On July 6, 1942, the Japanese landed on Guadalcanal Island, part of the Solomon Islands chain, and began constructing an airfield. In response, the U.S. launched Operation Watchtower, in which American troops landed on five islands within the Solomon chain, including Guadalcanal. The landings on Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tananbogo met with much initial opposition from the Japanese defenders, despite the fact that the landings took the Japanese by surprise because bad weather had grounded their scouting aircraft. “I have never heard or read of this kind of fighting,” wrote one American major general on the scene. “These people refuse to surrender.”

The Americans who landed on Guadalcanal had an easier time of it, at least initially. More than 11,000 Marines landed, but 24 hours passed before the Japanese manning the garrison knew what had happened. The U.S. forces quickly met their main objective of taking the airfield, and the outnumbered Japanese troops temporarily retreated. Japanese reinforcements were landed, though, and fierce hand-to-hand jungle fighting ensued. The Americans were at a particular disadvantage because they were assaulted from both sea and air, but when the U.S. Navy supplied reinforcement troops, the Americans gained the advantage. By February 1943, the Japanese retreated on secret orders of their emperor. In fact, the Japanese retreat was so stealthy that the Americans did not even know it had taken place until they stumbled upon abandoned positions, empty boats, and discarded supplies.

In total, the Japanese lost more than 25,000 men compared with a loss of 1,600 by the Americans. Each side lost 24 warships.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: During WWII, the Japanese launched 9,000 “wind ship weapons” of paper and rubberized-silk balloons that carried incendiary and anti-personnel bombs to the U.S. More than 1,000 balloons hit their targets and they reached as far east as Michigan. The only deaths resulting from a balloon bomb were six Americans (including five children and a pregnant woman) on a picnic in Oregon.

..it’s cold!!!!

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Well, you know, fall was here for a very short period of time in Georgia.  I’m not sure where it has gone…perhaps into a Starbucks for a pumpkin spiced latte.  Fall seems to have fallen flat and it has been defeated in its mortal battle with Winter.

Last night was cold.  Tonight will be colder.  Now, let me go on the record as being an animal lover – the kind that won’t let a pet sleep outside on a night like this (a low of 18 forecast), but that’s nothing new.  The dog sleeps on the bed no matter what the weather!  Some guys roll over and can stare their lovely wife in the eyes, whisper something romantic into her ear.  Not me.  I roll over and it’s the dog’s face I see.  And no, I don’t whisper anything in her ear!  Somewhere, WAY OVER THERE on the other edge of the bed, my lovely bride sleeps, but I can see her because the fat dog is in the middle.

But, that’s neither here nor there.  The point is that it is cold.  Cold enough to make a goat jump….and maybe that’s how the JumpinGoat Coffee Roasters (Helen, Georgia) got their name – the goat may have been cold and jumped right through the window and crawled in bed with its humans.  Now that’s baaaaaaaaaddddddd!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1966, Sandy Koufax, the ace pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers (and my greatest childhood hero!) retired from baseball. He was just 30 years old, and he was retiring after a great season–he’d led the Dodgers to a National League pennant and won his third Cy Young award. But he had chronic arthritis in his pitching arm, and he was afraid that if he kept playing baseball, eventually he wouldn’t be able to use his left hand at all. “In those days there was no surgery,” he said much later. “The wisdom was if you went in there, it would only make things worse and your career would be over, anyway. Now you go in, fix it, and you’re OK for next spring.”

Koufax entered the majors in 1955, when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn. He didn’t do much for the Bums at the beginning of his career–his arm was powerful but he didn’t have much control over his pitches–but after the team moved to Los Angeles, Koufax began to settle down and throw much more consistently. In a game against the Giants in 1959, he tied the major league strikeout record (18); the next season, though he only won eight games, he struck out 197 batters in 175 innings.

In 1961, Koufax really hit his stride: He went 18-13 and led the majors in strikeouts, something he would do four times between 1961 and 1966. Meanwhile, during those six seasons he led the league three times in wins and shutouts, and twice he threw more complete games than any other pitcher. He set a new major-league season strikeout record–382–in 1965. (Only Nolan Ryan has since struck out more batters in a single season.) Koufax threw one no-hitter every year from 1962 to 1965, and in 1965 he threw a perfect game. His pitches were notoriously difficult to hit; getting the bat on a Koufax fastball, Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell once said, was like “trying to drink coffee with a fork.”

But what Sandy Koufax is perhaps most famous for is his refusal, in 1965, to pitch the first game of the World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. (Don Drysdale pitched instead, and gave up seven runs in the first three innings; “I bet right now you wish I was Jewish, too,” he said when the team’s manager pulled him out of the game.) In 1971, the 36-year-old Koufax became the youngest person ever to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Koufax remains a role model – a person of integrity.  He is notoriously averse to publicity, but has become a mentor of sorts to the “next Sandy Koufax”, Clayton Kershaw, who blushes every time such a comparison is made to the man who was a childhood hero to him, too.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  The English word “girl” was initially used to describe a young person of either sex. It was not until the beginning of the sixteenth century that the term was used specifically to describe a female child.

Meltdown!

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Meltdown. When you hear the term you may recall (if you are old enough) the movie China Syndrome. Or, for those a bit younger, you may recall Three Mile Island or Chernobyl, or for those who are still younger, the Fukushima reactor that went critical after the earthquake/tsunami.  Others may think of an emotional meltdown. No matter which of those images come to mind, it’s not a pleasant image.

Well, there are exceptions. A week ago Tuesday (2/19), we got hit here in Georgia with another snowstorm and as of today, we still have some snow on the ground, but not much and only in shady places. Believe me, people around here are hoping that they’ve seen the last of snow until at least next winter! Alas, such is not the case in much of the north and northeast where there is still a ton of snow and more is falling. However, even on the national news tonight, they were talking about how higher temps will hit the region causing rapid meltdown of the ice and snow…and they were talking about possible flooding!!!!

But, the meltdown has begun and is nearly over. As we were driving out of where we are staying, I noticed a small creek…probably mostly carved by rainwater or melting snow, that I thought looked intriguing. It presented a bit of a challenge because of the contrast between the shadowy areas which were darker and the patches of snow that were in the sunlight and shade, and the darkness of the shadows along the creek bed. As a result, I shot it as an HDR image and today’s photo is the result. 

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1968, American officials in Saigon reported an all-time high (for the Vietnam war) weekly rate of U.S. casualties–543 killed in action and 2,547 wounded in the previous seven days. These losses were a result of the heavy fighting during the communist Tet Offensive. What a terrible loss of promising young lives and potential. Those who have only known the wars in Iraq struggle to understand that kind of carnage.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Jeri Ryan, the actress who played Seven of Nine in Star Trek: Voyager turned down the role four times.

A Study in Contrasts

_MG_8984Ah, the south at its best!  I shot this photo at Twin Lakes (we are staying at Twin Lakes RV Park while we’re in the Atlanta area) a mere 4 days ago. It was a beautiful morning, the weather of the prior week when Atlanta had been shut down by a storm growing faint in the rear-view mirror. We hoped that the severe winter weather was done for this winter.

Alas, it was not to be. It started raining during the night last night and then I noticed at some point that the rain had stopped. Little did I know that the reason the sound of the rain had gone away was because the rain had turned to snow. When I got up this morning, snow was on the ground. It snowed into the afternoon before it quit., with flakes as large as 1.5-2″ drifting steadily downward in the still air. And now, if you’ve watched the national news tonight, the weather folk are forecasting a potential “catastrophic” storm. There is supposed to be snow, but it will mingle with some cold ground temperatures and an ice storm is now forecast…in Georgia!!!! What?!?!?!?!

Here’s a photo I shot this morning of my bride and our dog while the snow was still falling at the same lake in the photo above. My, how things change!!!!

SM_MG_9031I think maybe next year I’ll winter in Greenland!!!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on this day in 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln left home in Springfield, Illinois, and embarked on his journey to Washington, D.C.

On a cold, rainy morning, Lincoln boarded a two-car private train loaded with his family’s belongings, which he himself had packed and bound. His wife, Mary Lincoln, was in St. Louis on a shopping trip, and joined him later in Indiana. It was a somber occasion. Lincoln was leaving his home and heading into the maw of national crisis. Since he had been elected, seven Southern states had seceded from the Union. Lincoln knew that his actions upon entering office would likely lead to civil war. He spoke to a crowd before departing: “Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young man to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being… I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail… To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”

A bystander reported that the president-elect’s “breast heaved with emotion and he could scarcely command his feelings.” Indeed, Lincoln’s words were prophetic—a funeral train carried him back to Springfield just over four years later.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  the Second Congo War, which began in 1998 and involved eight African nations, is the largest war in African history. An estimated 5.4 million people died as a result of the war and its aftermath, making it the deadliest worldwide conflict since World War II. The war officially ended in 2006, but hostilities still continue today.

On a Cold Winter’s Night

_MG_1903What do you like to do on a cold winter’s night?  Do you like to have a fire blazing in the hearth, or to make a cup of hot cocoa or cider? Do you like to go outside all bundled up and take a walk?

I remember that the winter right after we got married, we traveled from Florida (where we were going to college) to Iowa to visit my grandparents for Christmas. My wife is a native Californian, and she had never spent much time in the snow.

On Christmas eve, we’d walked from my grandparents house to the town square of Jefferson, Iowa to do some shopping. I noticed the clouds were starting to flatten out and the sky was getting dull and gray and the temperature was falling. Well, as luck would have it, later that evening it started to snow! We donned our coats and went out walking in it. If my memory serves me correctly, it was the first time my wife had ever had a white Christmas.

When we were at the Global Winter Wonderland (I’ve blogged about it several times this past week), it was cold outside and a breeze was blowing. There was a large food tent set up and we went in search of something to eat. It was warmer inside, and today’s photo was taken there of a hot dog vendor who had steaming hot dogs for sale. It looked very welcoming on such a cold night and I thought the billowing steam might make for an interesting shot. A portion of the face of the vendor, with his gray mustache, is also visible in the top right of the picture, just below the hanging heat lamp.

We didn’t have a white Christmas this year, but this coming Monday, they are forecasting snow showers!  That would be fine with me!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 45 BC,In 45 B.C., New Year’s Day was first celebrated on January 1as the Julian calendar took effect.

Soon after becoming dictator, Julius Caesar decided that the traditional calendar was in need of reform. Introduced around the seventh century B.C., the Roman calendar attempted to follow the lunar cycle but frequently fell out of phase with the seasons and had to be corrected. In addition, the Roman group charged with overseeing the calendar, often abused its authority by adding days to extend political terms or interfere with elections. (I guess politicians never change, eh? – Galen)

In designing his new calendar, Caesar enlisted Sosigenes, an Alexandrian astronomer, who advised him to do away with the lunar cycle entirely and follow the solar year, as did the Egyptians. The year was calculated to be 365 and 1/4 days, and Caesar added 67 days to 45 B.C., making 46 B.C. begin on January 1, rather than in March. He also decreed that every four years a day be added to February, thus theoretically keeping his calendar from falling out of step. Shortly before his assassination in 44 B.C., he changed the name of the month Quintilis to Julius (July) after himself. Later, the month of Sextilis was renamed Augustus (August) after his successor.

Celebration of New Year’s Day in January fell out of practice during the Middle Ages, and even those who strictly adhered to the Julian calendar did not observe the New Year exactly on January 1. The reason for the latter was that Caesar and Sosigenes failed to calculate the correct value for the solar year as 365.242199 days, not 365.25 days. Thus, an 11-minute-a-year error added seven days by the year 1000, and 10 days by the mid-15th century.

The Roman church became aware of this problem, and in the 1570s Pope Gregory XIII commissioned Jesuit astronomer Christopher Clavius to come up with a new calendar. In 1582, the Gregorian calendar was implemented, omitting 10 days for that year and establishing the new rule that only one of every four centennial years should be a leap year. Since then, people around the world have gathered en masse (most in Times Square, I think) on January 1 to celebrate the precise arrival of the New Year.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The piggy bank made its debut in Western Europe between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, and replaced the clay jars that once housed spare change.  People named the pig-shaped bank after the orange clay, “pygg,” from which it was crafted.

F.f.f.r.r.r.e.e.e.z.z.z.i.i.i.n.n.n.g.g.g….

Short one today.  We drove from Kingman, AZ to Albuquerque, NM today.  The high temp that registered on the truck’s external temperature gauge was 28.  Most of the time, it stayed around 20 or below.  Saw snow on the ground, none in the air.

My fingers were far too cold today to take any kind of pictures (besides, it’s frowned on when one is doing the driving!), so I’m going to share with you a picture I took when we lived in Maine back in the winter of 2003.  I had gone outside at night with the dogs and turned around to look back at the house.  I thought it looked pretty, so after taking the dogs back in I went back out and took this snap of the front porch of the house.  Ah, it was so warm inside….and as you may be able to tell, cold outside…

Now I’m gonna go warm up my hands.

HouseAtNight1ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: British Prime Minister John Major announced the separation of Charles, and his wife, Princess Diana. Major explained that the royal couple were separating “amicably.” The report came after several years of speculation by the tabloid press that the marriage was in peril, citing evidence that Diana and Charles spent vacations apart and official visits in separate rooms.

In 1981, nearly one billion viewers tuned in to witness the marriage of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer, a young English schoolteacher. Married at St. Paul’s Cathedral in front of 2,650 guests, the couple’s romance was the envy of the world. Their first child, Prince William, was born in 1982, and their second, Prince Henry, in 1984.

Before long, the fairy tale couple grew apart, an experience that was particularly painful under the watchful eyes of the world’s tabloid media. Diana and Charles separated in 1992, though they continued to carry out their royal duties. In August 1996, two months after Queen Elizabeth II urged the couple to divorce, the prince and princess reached a final agreement. In exchange for a generous settlement, and the right to retain her apartments at Kensington Palace and her title of “Princess of Wales,” Diana agreed to relinquish the title of “Her Royal Highness” and any future claims to the British throne.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  The planet Pluto takes 248 Earth years to orbit the Sun. For 20 of those years, it is closer to the Sun than the planet Neptune. The nature of its orbit, however, always prevents it from colliding with Neptune.

 

It’s Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas

OK…so it’s only December 8, but it sure does feel like Christmas (and old man winter!) is just around the corner!!!!

Most of you know that we are on our way driving across country with our fifth wheel (in which we live full time) to spend a few months working on the east coast and visiting with family on days off.  We left the Modesto area on Saturday morning long about 8:15 with the goal of reaching Barstow, CA, a distance of only about 360 miles.  We figured that should be a fairly easy reach, but since this is the farthest we’ve towed our fifth wheel since we got it, we wanted to be conservative in our target destination for each day.

Well, we got a ways down Highway 99 and saw a sign that said Tehachapi pass from Bakersfield to Barstow was closed due to snow.  We kept going, thinking that the storm had passed the night before and that the roads would be open soon.  Well, not only was Tehachapi still closed when we got to Bakersfield, but the Grapevine pass going south into LA was closed, too.  So, we checked into an RV park for the night.

No sooner did we do that than they announced that Tehachapi pass was opened!  And the Grapevine, too….but that high wind warnings were in place in both places and that campers, trailers, etc., were not recommended.  So, we stayed put in Bakersfield overnight, thinking surely Tehachapi pass would be open by morning.

It wasn’t.  Closed, with high wind warnings, too.  But the Grapevine was still open, but they also were claiming high wind warnings for 25 miles south of Bakersfield up over the summit.  So, I pulled out my PC and checked the weather for numerous small towns along the Grapevine and saw that the highest forecast wind was only 10 miles per hour!!!  It was a long way out of the way to take 5 south into the LA area, then turn east on 210 to I15 north to Barstow and I40, but we felt it might be worth it.  About the time we got to the LA area, they announced Tehachapi pass was opened, but CHP were escorting folks through the pass.  We think we made the right choice, but the detour added about 130 miles to our drive today.

So, tonight we are in Kingman, AZ, where it is, well, not freezing, but below freezing.  Temps are supposed to be down into the teens tonight.  We were told not to hook up our water tonight as the hose would just freeze.  Fortunately, we had already had some water pumped into the tank so we can operate without hooking up to the water supply.  But, the cold outside is pretty doggone numbing for us Californians!

My work, Medical Ambassadors International, had an open house on 12/5 to celebrate the enlarged space we’ve been blessed with this past year.  It was all decorated for Christmas, of course, Christmas music was playing and everyone had a great time.  It’s where I got today’s photo of a decoration that was trying to play “hide and seek” with me, but I caught it peeking out at me.

It just all went together to make it feel a lot like Christmas!  Are you ready?

_MG_8016ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln offered his conciliatory plan for reunification of the United States with his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction (even though the war would rage on for another year plus).

By this point in the Civil War, it was clear that Lincoln needed to make some preliminary plans for postwar reconstruction. The Union armies had captured large sections of the South, and some states were ready to have their governments rebuilt. The proclamation addressed three main areas of concern. First, it allowed for a full pardon for and restoration of property to all engaged in the rebellion with the exception of the highest Confederate officials and military leaders. Second, it allowed for a new state government to be formed when 10 percent of the eligible voters had taken an oath of allegiance to the United States. Third, the Southern states admitted in this fashion were encouraged to enact plans to deal with the freed slaves so long as their freedom was not compromised.

In short, the terms of the plan were easy for most Southerners to accept. Though the emancipation of slaves was an impossible pill for some Confederates to swallow, Lincoln’s plan was charitable, considering the costliness of the war. With the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, Lincoln was seizing the initiative for reconstruction from Congress. Some Radical Republicans thought the plan was far too easy on the South, but others accepted it because of the president’s prestige and leadership. Following Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865, the disagreements over the postwar reconstruction policy led to a heated battle between the next president, Andrew Johnson, and Congress.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  It takes an average of 345 squirts to yield a gallon of milk from a cow’s udder.

 

Soon…very soon…

Well, at long last, it feels like winter is coming to the central valley of California.  The cold swept in towards the afternoon yesterday, and while it isn’t all that cold, it is a definite change, and it is somewhat welcome.  We can’t complain, though….we’ve had such a glorious fall this year and the temps have been in the upper 60’s to low 70’s.  Tonight it is supposed to dip to 26, and on Saturday, the high will only be 44 and a low of 24.  That’s cold for around here.

One of the reasons I like it when it gets cold is that it is a sure-fire sign that the holiday season is upon us.  We’ll be in Atlanta this year with our youngest son and his family and our two youngest grand kids.  I can’t wait to see them on Christmas morning!!!!

One more thing that I seem to appreciate more as I age than when I was young is the decorations.  I love the lights and color.  It is delightful.

Today’s photo was shot in the meeting room at work with the overhead lights shut off.  It has a warm, fireside-like glow to it that goes perfectly with hot apple cider on a cold winter day!

What are you doing for Christmas this year?

_MG_7916ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1991, Islamic militants in Lebanon release kidnapped American journalist Terry Anderson after 2,454 days in captivity.

As chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press, Anderson covered the long-running civil war in Lebanon (1975-1990). On March 16, 1985, he was kidnapped on a west Beirut street while leaving a tennis court. His captors took him to the southern suburbs of the city, where he was held prisoner in an underground dungeon for the next six-and-a-half years.

Anderson was one of 92 foreigners (including 17 Americans) abducted during Lebanon’s bitter civil war. The kidnappings were linked to Hezbollah, or the Party of God, a militant Shiite Muslim organization formed in 1982 in reaction to Israel’s military presence in Lebanon. They seized several Americans, including Anderson, soon after Kuwaiti courts jailed 17 Shiites found guilty of bombing the American and French embassies there in 1983. Hezbollah in Lebanon received financial and spiritual support from Iran, where prominent leaders praised the bombers and kidnappers for performing their duty to Islam.

U.S. relations with Iran–and with Syria, the other major foreign influence in Lebanon–showed signs of improving by 1990, when the civil war drew to a close, aided by Syria’s intervention on behalf of the Lebanese army. Eager to win favor from the U.S. in order to promote its own economic goals, Iran used its influence in Lebanon to engineer the release of nearly all the hostages over the course of 1991.

Anderson returned to the U.S. and was reunited with his family, including his daughter Suleme, born three months after his capture. In 1999, he sued the Iranian government for $100 million, accusing it of sponsoring his kidnappers; he received a multi-million dollar settlement.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  A wolf’s odor detecting ability is 100 times greater than mans. Wow…if I had a nose that sensitive, it would give an entirely new meaning to “You stink!”

 

Now Ain’t That Cool!!!

OK.  It’s been hot.  It is customary to complain about the air temperature here in the summer.  In fact, if you don’t complain about it, most of us would have nothing to talk about.  People would think you’re “tetched” in the head or something.

So, I’m hot.  Just this afternoon, an old high school friend who lives in Alaska posted a picture on Facebook that was taken in the Brooks Range up in her state.  It looked for all the world like old man Winter had arrived!  It looked so luciously cool!

So, today, I’m posting a picture that I took from our house in Maine when we lived there, looking westward toward that part of our woods and property.  Just looking at it makes me feel a bit cooler.  Hope it helps you, too!

Here’s to snow…and Old Man Winter!!!

SnowWesternViewON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1883, the trial of Frank James began in Gallatin, Missouri.  It was held in the city opera house in order to accommodate the crowds of spectators.

After having robbed dozens of banks and trains over nearly two decades, Frank James finally turned himself in October 1882. Discouraged by the murder of his brother Jesse the previous spring, Frank feared it was only a matter of time before someone also shot him in the back for reward money. He decided to try his chances with the courts, hoping that his considerably public popularity would win him a short sentence.

Frank’s trial went even better than he had hoped. Although Frank and Jesse James and their gang of desperados had killed many people, the majority of Missourians saw them as heroes who took money from ruthless bank and railroad companies and redistributed it to the poor. The state prosecutor had a difficult time finding jurors who were not prejudiced in Frank’s favor. Looking at the panel of potential jurors, he concluded, “The verdict of the jury that is being selected is already written.”

After the trial began, several prominent witnesses testified to Frank’s character. General Joseph O. Shelby, who had known him during his days as a Civil War guerilla, encouraged the jurors to see Frank James as a defender of the South against corrupt big businesses from the North. When asked to identify Frank in the courtroom, the distinguished general exclaimed: “Where is my old friend and comrade in arms? Ah, there I see him! Allow me, I wish to shake hands with my fellow soldier who fought by my side for Southern rights!”

Rural Missourians were unwilling to convict the legendary Frank James. The jury found him not guilty. The states of Alabama and Missouri tried to convict him twice more, on charges of armed robbery, with no success. In late 1883, Frank James became a free man. He lived quietly for 32 more years. The only shots he ever fired again were from starter pistols at county racetracks, one of the handful of odd jobs he took to earn a living. He died at his family home in Missouri in 1915 at the age of 72.

(By the way, my wife’s great-grandmother sat on Frank James’ lap once when she was a girl.  Yep, Laurel rocks….again!)

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Americans consume about 138 billion cups of coffee a year.  Yuck.

Sparkling Dagger

Sparkling dagger in the night,You’re a frightening, scary sight!Hanging up above my headIf you fell, I might be dead!While I’m snuggled inside my sheetsYou look down coldly on vacant streetsPicking a victim with infinite careYou fall with a crash and give a great scare!But the sun will rise and soon you will meltWhen the heat of its rays upon you is feltAnd I’ll walk out into the light of dayAnd go merrily on my wayAnd you’ll be a puddle down by my feetAs I walk sprightly down my street!_MG_0471ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1861, Florida became the third state to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy. TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  The world’s largest and finest natural green diamond is the 41-carat Dresden Green. The Dresden, owned since the 1700s by the Electors of Saxony, is surrounded by white diamonds in gold and silver settings.