Friday, November 30, 2012

Fiber Controls Cholesterol. High Fructose Corn Syrup Feeds Cancer. Cancer Can Be Prevented With Vitamin D. Meteorite in AL. Brady Bill. Achille Lauro.


For “Foodie Friday”:

How Fiber Helps Control Cholesterol

“A diet for high cholesterol calls for more than trimming the fat. Find out how foods high in fiber can help you keep cholesterol in check.

Eating certain foods, such as those high in saturated fats, can increase harmful cholesterol levels, but what you eat can also play a positive role in your cholesterol levels. For one, eating fiber-rich foods can actually help lower cholesterol. 

how fiber helps control cholesterol

What’s clear is that the cholesterol-controlling benefits are due to soluble fiber, one of two types of fiber. Soluble fiber is found in the flesh of fruit such as pears and apples, vegetables like peas, and whole grains, such as oats and barley. The second important type of fiber, insoluble fiber, is indigestible and also a necessary part of a healthy diet, but not for controlling cholesterol — it’s the kind that helps with digestion.

Types of Fiber
Although there are several forms of fiber, they can be classified into two major groups: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. While both are good for the body, only one group has been shown to be beneficial in lowering your cholesterol.

Soluble fiber can be dissolved in water and forms a gel-like consistency in the digestive tract. On the other hand, insoluble fiber cannot be dissolved in water, so it passes through the digestive tract relatively unchanged. When it comes to your heart health, it appears that only soluble fiber is beneficial in lowering your cholesterol. In fact, studies have shown that consuming 10 to 25 grams soluble fiber a day can lower cholesterol by 18%.

High-fiber foods that contain soluble fiber appear to affect short-chain fatty acids in the bloodstream,” Van Horn says. “Soluble fiber has the same sort of potential benefit that something like a cholesterol-lowering (statin) drug would have, where it blocks the uptake of saturated fat or other harmful types of fat.” Soluble fiber may also help reduce insulin resistance, which seems to play a role in unhealthy cholesterol levels. “Fiber appears to have beneficial effects on both lipid and glucose metabolism,” Van Horn says. This can improve your overall lipid or “fat” profile, resulting in healthier cholesterol levels as well as lower triglyceride levels, another type of fat in the blood.

Diet for High Cholesterol: Food High in Fiber

Your daily goal should be 25 to 30 grams of fiber, but most people don’t even get 25 percent of that, Van Horn says. Try adding these high-fiber foods to your diet:

  • Oat bran: 1 cup has 14.5 grams of fiber
  • Rice bran: 1 cup has 24.8 grams of fiber
  • Celery: 1 cup chopped has about 1.6 grams of fiber
  • Carrots: 1 cup chopped has about 3.6 grams of fiber
  • Beans: ½ cup has between 6 and 10 grams of fiber
  • Peas: ½ cup has between 5 and 8 grams of fiber
  • Pears: One medium fruit has about 5.5 grams of fiber
  • Orange: One medium fruit has about 3.1 grams of fiber
  • Barley: ½ cup cooked grain has about 3 grams of fiber
  • Steel cut oats: ¼ cup dry oats has about 4 grams of fiber
  • Almonds: 1 ounce has about 3.5 grams of fiber

Need some ideas for getting fiber into your diet each day? Try these tips:

  • Snack on dried or whole fruits or veggies.
  • Load up on vegetables and beans in casseroles and soups.
  • When baking, use whole-grain flours to replace part or all of the white flour.
  • Make hot cocoa from scratch with milk and cocoa powder, which contains fiber.
  • Pick high-fiber options over high-fat options — for example, add beans to a burrito instead of cheese and sour cream.

Fiber supplements may be helpful for other health concerns, such as better digestion, but to lower cholesterol with fiber, your best bet is a varied diet of whole foods containing fiber.”    From:


Cancer cells slurp up fructose, US study finds

* Study shows fructose used differently from glucose

* Findings challenge common wisdom about sugars

WASHINGTON Aug 2 (Reuters) - “Pancreatic tumor cells use fructose to divide and proliferate, U.S. researchers said on Monday in a study that challenges the common wisdom that all sugars are the same.  Tumor cells fed both glucose and fructose used the two sugars in two different ways, the team at the University of California Los Angeles found.

"These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation," Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote.   "They have major significance for cancer patients given dietary refined fructose consumption, and indicate that efforts to reduce refined fructose intake or inhibit fructose-mediated actions may disrupt cancer growth."

Americans take in large amounts of fructose, mainly in high fructose corn syrup, a mix of fructose and glucose that is used in soft drinks, bread and a range of other foods.  Several states, including New York and California, have weighed a tax on sweetened soft drinks to defray the cost of treating obesity-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The industry has also argued that sugar is sugar.

Heaney said his team found otherwise. They grew pancreatic cancer cells in lab dishes and fed them both glucose and fructose.  Tumor cells thrive on sugar but they used the fructose to proliferate. "Importantly, fructose and glucose metabolism are quite different," Heaney's team wrote.

"I think this paper has a lot of public health implications. Hopefully, at the federal level there will be some effort to step back on the amount of high fructose corn syrup in our diets," Heaney said in a statement.” 

More at:


How cancer feeds on sugar (and other big reasons to avoid refined sweets)

“Not only is sugar the primary source of excess calories in the United States, but the latest research also shows that cancer cells lap up high-fructose corn syrup, adding yet another reason to avoid it.
A couple of years ago, researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles found that pancreatic tumor cells use fructose to divide and reproduce, debunking earlier assumptions that all sugars were the same.
Tumor cells that were fed glucose and fructose used those sugars in two different ways, the research team said.”  Learn more:


Cancer Feeds on Fructose, America's #1 Source of Calories

“High-fructose corn syrup is the primary source of calories in the United States. In addition to containing mercury, a known carcinogen, cancer cells actually feed on high-fructose corn syrup after it is metabolized by the liver.

sugar cancerA recent study, published in the Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets, examined the link between refined sugar and cancer. The results add further evidence to the reports of many health experts and scientific studies that have drawn the connection between excess sugar consumption and the development of cancer.”   More at: :


We Don't Have a Cure for Cancer Yet - or Do We?

The Stunning Effect of This Single Vitamin on CANCER...

‘What if a cure for cancer has been right here all along? What if the very agency charged with protecting your health is the one keeping you from that cure?

A Lawless, Rogue Agency Out of Control

Ten years ago a former New York State assemblyman, Daniel Haley, wrote a scathing exposé on how the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) systematically shuts the door on effective and non-toxic products, many for cancer.

search for cancer cureThe FDA is the chief agency in charge of protecting and promoting Americans' health and safety. But in 10 stunning, true stories in his book, "The Politics of Healing," Haley describes how the FDA has suppressed and banned natural health cures – eight of them for cancer. He later wrote about two additional cancer cures that worked, which the FDA also disallowed.

'Virtually Every' Drug Company Now Targeting Cancer Therapies

Today, the FDA continues to serve its client, Big Pharma, by making sure that toxic chemotherapy, along with surgery and radiation, are the only cancer treatment options legally available to you. This industry is huge, with 139 cancer treatment drugs in the pipeline just for women alone. All told there are over 900 experimental cancer therapies under investigation. No wonder so many pharmaceutical companies are ramping up their cancer drug research!

According to the New York Times:

"Virtually every large pharmaceutical company seems to have discovered cancer, and a substantial portion of the smaller biotechnology companies are focused on it as well. Together, the companies are pouring billions of dollars into developing cancer drugs."

The Truth about Vitamin D

Everyone's talking about vitamin D right now, especially since the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) updated their recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for it. The truth is that most Americans are deficient in vitamin D, and studies show that vitamin D supplementation can both prevent and kill many infections and diseases, including cancer.

Vitamin D isn't actually a vitamin, although scientists refer to it as such. It's actually a steroid hormone that you get from sun exposure, food sources and/or supplementation. The term refers to either vitamin D2 or D3, but according to the National Vitamin D Council, D3 (chemical name 25-hydroxy vitamin D) is real vitamin D, and is the same substance produced naturally through your skin by sun exposure. 

Experts Protest 'Impossible' New RDA Levels

Depending on your age, the new recommendations are 600 to 800 IUs a day for adults and between zero and 600 IUs a day for children. The FNB also said that taking vitamin D in amounts of 10,000 IUs or more could be dangerous – but that's ridiculous, seeing that a 30-minute dose of sunshine can give an adult more than 10,000 IUs!   Since countless studies indicate that much higher levels of vitamin D are required for optimal health, it's no surprise that experts lost no time denouncing the FNB's recommendations, as it is almost impossible to significantly raise your vitamin D levels when supplementing at only 600 IU/day (15 micrograms). 

Dr. Heaney is widely believed to be one of the most prominent and well respected researchers on vitamin D. He's authored more than 400 vitamin D papers in his lifetime, including the 2007 cancer study that showed a full 77 percent of all cancers could be prevented with a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/ml.   Complete article at:


On This Day:

Meteorite strikes Alabama woman, Nov 30, 1954:

“The first modern instance of a meteorite striking a human being occurs at Sylacauga, Alabama, when a meteorite crashes through the roof of a house and into a living room, bounces off a radio, and strikes a woman on the hip. The victim, Mrs. Elizabeth Hodges, was sleeping on a couch at the time of impact. The space rock was a sulfide meteorite weighing 8.5 pounds and measuring seven inches in length. Mrs. Hodges was not permanently injured but suffered a nasty bruise along her hip and leg.

Ancient Chinese records tell of people being injured or killed by falling meteorites, but the Sylacauga meteorite was the first modern record of this type of human injury. In 1911, a dog in Egypt was killed by the Nakhla meteorite.”


Brady Bill signed into law, Nov 30, 1993:

“During a White House ceremony attended by James S. Brady, President Bill Clinton signs the Brady handgun-control bill into law. The law requires a prospective handgun buyer to wait five business days while the authorities check on his or her background, during which time the sale is approved or prohibited based on an established set of criteria.

In 1981, James Brady, who served as press secretary for President Ronald Reagan, was shot in the head by John Hinckley, Jr., during an attempt on President Reagan's life outside a hotel in Washington, D.C. Reagan himself was shot in his left lung but recovered and returned to the White House within two weeks. Brady, the most seriously injured in the attack, was momentarily pronounced dead at the hospital but survived and began an impressive recovery from his debilitating brain injury.

During the 1980s, Brady became a leading proponent of gun-control legislation and in 1987 succeeded in getting a bill introduced into Congress. The Brady Bill, as it became known, was staunchly opposed by many congressmen, who, in reference to the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, questioned the constitutionality of regulating the ownership of arms. In 1993, with the support of President Bill Clinton, an advocate of gun control, the Brady Bill became law.


Achille Lauro sinks near Somalia, Nov 30, 1994:

“The Achille Lauro cruise ship catches fire and sinks to the bottom of the sea near Somalia on this day in 1994. The large luxury liner had a checkered history that included deaths and terrorism prior to its sinking.

The construction of the Willem Ruys by the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Line took more than 10 years. The completed ship, which weighed in at 24,000 gross tons and was launched in 1947, was used to carry passengers and cargo back and forth from the Netherlands to the East Indies. In the 1960s, it was primarily used to carry immigrants to Australia. In 1965, the StarLauro company bought the ship to add it to its cruise line.

In 1971, the ship, re-named Achille Lauro, rammed an Italian fishing boat in the Mediterranean Sea, killing one person. Ten years later, a fire on board the ship killed two people. The most infamous incident in the history of the Achille Lauro, though, occurred in 1985, when it was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists who shot and killed an American passenger, Leon Klinghoffer.

In 1994, the Achille Lauro was carrying 1,000 passengers near the Horn of Africa when a fire broke out on board. The lifeboats were launched as the fire caused the huge ship to list to the port side. A tug boat was sent to bring it back to shore, but as the tug was trying to connect to the ship, there was a huge explosion. Two people died and the Achille Lauro sank to the bottom of the ocean.

The survivors in the lifeboats were picked up by the USS Gettysburg. The Achille Lauro's two sister ships, the Lakonia and the Angelina Lauro, also fell victim to on-board fires.”



Jay’s sister was coming to visit him and their mother, so finishing the repair on Ray’s floor in my guest house, was postponed once again. 

I was relieved, as I had been up with Misty during the night as she wasn’t feeling well, and wanted to go outside.  (TMI I know, but she will not throw up in the house.)  Then I remembered that she had eaten some of the kitten’s food and some smoked turkey, so either one could have caused it.  This has happened before, when she got into some canned cat food.  I fed her some canned pumpkin, and now she seems better, ….I hope.  The cats are fed where she can’t get at it, but a phone call had distracted me, and she will eat anything that doesn’t eat her first!!  I am glad really though, as I wouldn’t want a persnickety dog like Jay’s.

Well, it seems that HP was as good as their word, they sent me a tracking number, and the replacement printer is on it’s way here to TX. 

But the payment that I paid at the bank in cash when their computers were down, is still not posted.  So more time was spent following up on that.

Our SPCA is going to have a permanent cat habitat at Petco in Conroe, so we rounding up volunteers for that. Each trained volunteer will spend 2 hours a week tending to our cats, and we have to make sure we have all shifts covered.  The cats won’t live there permanently, and will be switched out, but now they won’t be on display just two Saturday afternoons a month.  We might run short of cats!  Though I doubt it, there seem to be more in need of good homes every day.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

RV Transmission. 12v. to 6v. Batteries. Camping Alone. VW Bus. Shelter in RV. RVing Jobs. 1929 Flight over South Pole.


For “tRaVarsing Thursday” or RV Day:

Ignore your RV transmission at your own risk

Name one of of the most neglected RV systems:   The transmission.

Name one of the most costly RV systems to repair when it breaks: The transmission!

Here's an article by a contributing writer,
Mitch Martinkus, of Motorhomes of Texas. Mitch comments on how
temperature has a tell-tale affect on transmission fluid life--and how
ignoring it has consequences.
If you are undecided about whether or not you should service your
transmission or when to service it consider this: Transmission failure
is mostly attributed to fluid failure. Mechanical parts failure is in
the minority when blame is laid. The breakdown and failure of
transmission fluid is precipitated by two elements: Contaminants and
heat, with heat winning the race for worst and biggest contributor.

Transmission temperatures run generally in the same range as engine temperature until put under a strain. Heat in the transmission will
usually climb higher and faster than engine temperature. A normal range is in the 175 to 200 degree range. Hill climbing takes it up from there.
At 175, fluid will last about 120,000 to 140,000 miles (discounting the contamination factor).

Its life expectancy decreases almost exponentially with increased heat. At 200 degrees the breakdown occurs at around 60,000 to 70,000 miles. As you can see, an increase of only 25 degrees can cut the life about half. Increase the temperature and watch the fluid life fall dramatically:
225 degrees = 35,000 miles
250 degrees = 20,000 miles
275 degrees = 10,000 miles
300 degrees = 1,500 miles
325 degrees = 500 miles
Higher temperatures for short periods of time also takes a toll, but
trying to calculate exactly when you should change the fluid should be
done on an individual basis. If you pull a toad and drive in the hills
or mountains, you'll need to service more often.

Most high-end motorhomes have transmission coolers, and many have temperature gauges.
If you don't have these two items it might be beneficial to have
them installed.
Ideally, servicing your transmission should be done as often as every
other oil change but that's just not practical. It would not be
inexpensive, and at some point it ceases to be cost-effective. The point
is: Be aware of the health of your transmission fluid. Monitor its
operating temperature and service accordingly.

Servicing too often won't hurt your wallet near as bad as overhauling the beast.”    (From


An Innovative Idea For RV Transmission Control

Steep grade“An innovative product idea from the Lug_Nut file. Automatic transmissions are quickly replacing the mechanically clutched manual gearbox in the world’s high performance automobiles. While many are equipped with single or dual action hydraulic clutches, all are capable of shifting gears automatically. For the positive control of spirited performance shifting, these newer systems employ steering wheel mounted paddle switches. These spring loaded momentary contact levers are located behind the wheel at about nine and three o’clock. They are easily operated with your fingertips while your hands are comfortably gripping the steering wheel. The left one toggles the downshift while the right the upshift. The main transmission control provides a selection of either fully automatic or paddle control shifting. The automatic or manual modes can also be toggled back and forth on some models using just the paddles.

Generally the paddle shift feature is not available on the average automobile, other than as a sales gimmick, as it would have little operational value. But what about a large vehicle like a truck or motor home? The ability to manually select the gearing, in this type of unit, is often a need when operating in very hilly or mountainous terrains.

Currently, diesel pusher owners control user input shifts by depressing one of two buttons on the Allison keypad. The control keypad is generally located to the driver’s left, often near waist level about equal to the operator’s position. This requires looking down and ninety degrees to the left. This is certainly not an ideal place for the driver to have to look during an event that requires such driving strategy……

Paddle Shift Design

….Now, there is another feature found on the Jaguar ZF paddle shift controlled transmission that would also benefit the RV. During downshifts, the control module sends a message to the ECM that causes the engine RPM to spike briefly and sync the correct RPM of the selected gear. This makes the downshift extremely smooth and helps avoid any deceleration traction loss.  A sample of a paddle shift wiring diagram is shown on the left……   More at: An Innovative Idea For RV Transmission Control


Tips for Camping Alone

Tips for Camping Alone

“Camping alone is a rewarding experience, but you need to be prepared for the special challenges of striking out on your own. Women travelling alone should be particularly careful to avoid advertising their single status. Before you set off on your solo RV trip, follow our safety tips for camping alone.

  • Alert others of your plans - where you are going, how long you will be gone, when you will return.
  • Plan to check-in with someone at home when you arrive at your destination and periodically throughout your stay.
  • Let the ranger or campground officials know you are there.
  • As soon as you get to the campground, program the phone number of the person on-call into your phone. Help will be just a phone call away if you ever need it.
  • Camp near a family or group to avoid giving the appearance that you are by yourself.
  • Look for campsites that are away from walking trails, to lessen the chance of being observed by yourself.
  • Avoid isolated areas.
  • Don't take walks or hikes by yourself. 
  • The old stand-by: leave some man’s boots outside your rig!”


Replacing 12 volt RV batteries with six volt batteries

An RVer recently attempted to change his coach's 12-volt battery bank over to six volt batteries. In the process he drew a large spark and nearly frightened himself to death. What's the right way to make the change-over? Here's how.

“….Now to the "practical" side of installing new batteries.
Before you remove your existing 12-volt batteries, locate the positive battery post that serves the "house" or coach circuits. This means the one marked as "positive" or +. This post will not be connected directly to another battery, but probably will have one very large wire, or perhaps several wires connected to it. Using red electrical tape or red paint, MARK these wires right up close to the battery connector. You could also mark the connector for the negative or - with black tape--just makes it easier to keep things straight…..”


RV Tips:

If you have the type of lights in your RV that have two sections, put a brighter bulb in one side and a smaller watt light bulb in the other. Use one side for general room lighting and the other side for a night light. When you need brighter lights, such as for reading, use them both.

Large binder clips, the kind you get at an office supply store, have all sorts of uses in an RV. Closing chip bags. Hanging up gloves to dry. Keeping receipts together so they don't get lost. Clamping a tablecloth to a picnic table, etc.

Beware of scammers
They are out there and they want your money. Russ and Tina De Maris report their encounter with one such person in a Wal-Mart parking lot. A nice young man, who claimed to be the manager of a local service station, approached with the warning "You must not know it, but you've got a real problem with your spring shackles." As it turned out, there was no problem at all beyond the young man being a crook. Read more.

Bill's Hints

Sway bars
“Gusty winds and semi-trailers at highway speeds will be less bothersome if you have sway bars installed.” From Trailers Made Easy.


Volkswagen will finally end production this December of its Kombi model, better known in the U.S. as the "VW Bus." The last bus will roll off a Brazilian production line, the victim of tougher safety standards. Kombi was the second of VW's creations (the "Bug" was first) and has been in production for 63 years.


Why an RV is awesome during a major storm

Rich Miller, the Wanderman, lives 90 miles northeast of New York. Like millions of others in the Northeast, he lost power at his home during superstorm Sandy. Yet, he writes, "Here I sit, in a comfortable chair, working on this article. The lights are on, the heater humming away and food cooking on the stove.

Meanwhile, outside there are high winds, steady rain and most of the town around me is dark." Read more.


A man's RV is his castle--literally!

This is, without a doubt, a one-of-king RV, a two-story homebuilt motorhome that, well. . . looks just like a castle! You must see this to believe it! No kidding! Take a look and read more.

Traveling through California's Mojave Desert, Steve Willey chanced upon this interesting artifact. Steve describes it as a "Castle Truck" occupied by a mobile blacksmith and a "several nephews." One of the towers has bunk beds with ladder access; part of the rig is devoted to the blacksmithing business. Those flagpoles you see run up three-times the height of the unit but fold down for travel.


Web job search firm makes finding RV jobs easy

“Trying to track down an RV lifestyle-suitable job can sometimes be a bit challenging. First there's a job suitable to your skills, then the right location, and then--wow--if you can snag it, a place to park your rig, too! may be the answer to all your questions. Largely a summer and seasonal job marketplace, CoolWorks web site makes it easy to find what you're looking for. With an emphasis on national parks, resorts, ranches, and camps, many of these employers provide RV spaces for their workers. CoolWorks makes it easy to know that by putting an RV icon on any job with RV spaces included. You can even narrow your searches to "RV only" jobs.
These aren't all, "scrub toilets and sell firewood" jobs either. Folks with work experience in a wide variety of fields are called for. Check out the company website at "  From:


On This Day:

Byrd flies over South Pole, Nov 29, 1929:

“American explorer Richard Byrd and three companions make the first flight over the South Pole, flying from their base on the Ross Ice Shelf to the pole and back in 18 hours and 41 minutes.

Richard Evelyn Byrd learned how to fly in the U.S. Navy and served as a pilot in World War I. An excellent navigator, he was deployed by the navy to Greenland in 1924 to help explore the Arctic region by air. Enamored with the experience of flying over glaciers and sea ice, he decided to attempt the first flight over the North Pole.

On May 9, 1926, the Josephine Ford left Spitsbergen, Norway, with Byrd as navigator and Floyd Bennet as pilot. Fifteen hours and 30 minutes later, the pair returned and announced they had accomplished their mission. For the achievement, both men were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. However, some doubt lingered about whether they had actually flown over the North Pole, and in 1996 a diary Byrd had kept on the flight was found that seemed to suggest that the Josephine Ford had turned back 150 miles short of its goal because of an oil leak. In the late 1920s, however, few suspected Byrd had failed in his mission.

In 1927, Byrd's prestige grew when he made a harrowing nonstop flight across the Atlantic with three companions. Famous as he was, he had little trouble finding financial backers for an expedition to Antarctica. Byrd's first Antarctic expedition was the largest and best-equipped expedition that had ever set out for the southern continent. The explorers set out in the fall of 1928, building a large base camp called "Little America" on the Ross Ice Shelf near the Bay of Whales. From there, they conducted flights across the Antarctic continent and discovered much unknown territory.

At 3:29 p.m. on November 28, 1929, Byrd, the pilot Bernt Balchen, and two others took off from Little America in the Floyd Bennett, headed for the South Pole. Magnetic compasses were useless so near the pole, so the explorers were forced to rely on sun compasses and Byrd's skill as a navigator. At 8:15 p.m., they dropped supplies for a geological party near the Queen Maud Mountains and then continued on. The most challenging phase of the journey came an hour later, when the Floyd Bennett struggled to gain enough altitude to fly safely above the Polar Plateau. They cleared the 11,000-foot pass between Mount Fridtjof Nansen and Mount Fisher by a few hundred yards and then flew on to the South Pole, reaching it at around 1 a.m. on November 29. They flew a few miles beyond the pole and then to the right and the left to compensate for any navigational errors. Byrd dropped a small American flag on the pole, and the explorers headed for home, safely landing at Little America at 10:11 a.m.

In 1933, Byrd, now a rear admiral in the navy, led a second expedition to Antarctica. During the winter of 1934, he spent five months trapped at a weather station 123 miles from Little America. He was finally rescued in a desperately sick condition in August 1934. In 1939, Byrd took command of the U.S. Antarctic Service at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and led a third expedition to the continent. During World War II, he served on the staff of the chief of naval operations. After the war, he led his fourth expedition to Antarctica, the largest ever attempted to this date, and more than 500,000 miles of the continent were mapped by his planes. In 1955, he led his fifth and final expedition to Antarctica. He died in 1957.”



Work on Ray’s floor was postponed, as Ray took his son to the doctor, so I went shopping.    We should be resuming the work today.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rusty-faced Parrot. Pelicans Flown Home. Most Deadly Wind. Prairie Dog Poison. Parrot “Tool Time”. Magellan. Grand Ole Opry. Floor Repair.


For “Winged Wednesday”:

Rusty-faced Parrot

Rusty-faced Parrot by Fundacion ProAves

“This plump green parrot has rich cherry/auburn plumage on its head that fades to tan around its neck, a red shoulder patch, blue wing feathers, and a red tail with a violet tip. It is found in small flocks in moist montane forests, where it feeds mainly in the canopy on fruit, blossoms, and seeds.

The Rusty-faced Parrot is most threatened by habitat destruction and fragmentation. Extensive logging and clearing for agriculture, development, and mining have destroyed much of its historical habitat in the Andes.

ABC has worked extensively with Colombian partner Fundación ProAves to protect the parrot’s habitat in the Threatened Parrot Corridor and Dusky Starfrontlet Reserve.  The Rusty-faced Parrot can be observed at the Dusky Starfrontlet Reserve at one of two rocky outcroppings, known as clay licks, where the birds consume clay and dirt for essential nutrients.  Nest boxes were also installed at the Dusky Starfrontlet Reserve this year, thanks to support from Loro Parque Fundación, and have already produced a first fledgling.”

Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!

Photo: Fundación ProAves; Range Map, NatureServe


Pelicans blown north by Sandy get ride home to Florida

Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island

Two pelicans taken care of by the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island hang out in a camping tent before being flown to Florida.

“Two brown pelicans blown to Rhode Island by the winds of Hurricane Sandy were flying back Saturday to their natural habitat in Florida -- via a private plane.

The first of the large birds, whose wingspans measure 6 to 7 feet, was found on the side of a road at Fishermen's Memorial State Park on Nov. 7, nine days after the storm made landfall in New Jersey, said Jennifer Brooks, clinic director at the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island.  The bird, a juvenile likely from a nest in North Carolina, had been tagged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and records showed it was presumed to have died, she said.

The second pelican landed on a fishing boat about 120 miles south of Block Island the following day, she said. The crew of the boat, which provides fish to SeaWorld theme parks, fed the bird for several days before docking.

"They were a little bit thin, they were a little beat up from the storm," Brooks said of the birds. They had lost tail feathers and suffered scratches to their throat pouches, which are prone to frostbite in northern climates, Brooks said.”  More at:


Conservation Groups Call for Changes at Nation's Most Deadly Wind Power Development

Wind turbines by Mike Parr

(Washington, D.C.)  “A coalition of eight conservation organizations has called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to make changes at a wind energy facility in Western Maryland to reduce bird and bat mortality. According to recent data, the 28-turbine Criterion Wind Project, located near Oakland, Maryland, about 175 miles northwest of Washington, D.C., now ranks as the deadliest to birds in the United States on a per-turbine basis.

“I cannot imagine that the state of Maryland is proud of the fact that the first commercial wind power project in the state – a short drive from our nation’s capital – is the most deadly for birds in the entire country.  This is a terrible precedent for the state; something their wildlife leaders probably find to be very embarrassing and in need of corrective action by the Federal Government,” said George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy.

“This project is a realization of a worst-case scenario. This is why Save Western Maryland sued over the project in 2010, because of fears that bat mortality could be very high. As things have turned out, bat and other wildlife mortality, especially for birds, is far worse than expected,” said Eric Robison, Co-Founder of Save Western Maryland.”  More at:


Protected Species May be Killed by Proposed Prairie Dog Control, Environmental Groups Charge

Burrowing Owl by Alan Wilson

Burrowing Owl by Alan Wilson

(Washington, D.C.)  “Defenders of Wildlife, American Bird Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Audubon of Kansas have urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reject an application by Scimetrics to use the rodenticide Kaput-D for the control of black-tailed prairie dogs in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.

The groups say that because Kaput-D, which contains the anticoagulant diphacinone that causes poisoned animals to bleed to death, is not selective in the animals it impacts, it has a high probability of killing non-target wildlife, including species protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Black-tailed prairie dogs are regularly exterminated from ranchland as pests, primarily because they are thought to compete with cattle for forage. Their populations have been reduced by as much as 95 percent of their historical numbers and continue to decline.”  More at:


Parrot in captivity manufactures tools, something not seen in the wild

The mental ability needed for tool use may be more widespread than we think.

Figaro in action, showing just how awkward it is to manipulate tools with a hooked beak.    Oxford University

“Tool use was once thought to be one of the defining features of humans, but examples of it were eventually observed in primates and other mammals. But the biggest surprise came when birds were observed using tools in the wild. After all, birds are the only surviving dinosaurs, and mammals and dinosaurs hadn't shared a common ancestor for hundreds of millions of years. In the wild, tool use has been limited to the corvids (crows and jays), which show a variety of other complex behaviors—they'll remember your face and recognize the passing of their dead.

Parrots, in contrast, have mostly been noted for their linguistic skills, and there has only been very limited evidence that they use anything resembling a tool in the wild (primarily, they seem to use external objects to position nuts while feeding). But a captive cockatoo has now been observed using multiple steps to process a tool, behavior that appears to be completely spontaneous. And it has never been seen in this species in the wild.”  More at:


Evaluation of Kittlitz's Murrelet at national refuge in its fifth year.

Kittlitz's Murrelet

KODIAK, AK -- Data collected during a summer study by the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge may help put the Kittlitz's Murrelet, a rare black-and-white Alaskan seabird, on the endangered species list.

Over the summer the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge sent a team of four people to the southwest part of Kodiak Island to study the nests of the birds for two months. This is the fifth year the Refuge has studied the species. The project started in 2006 when people working on a botany study on the south end of Kodiak Island heard the bird calling in the area. The first nest was found that year, and the study began shortly after. The bird is found in other parts of Alaska, largely near glacial areas, but not many studies have been completed because the murrelet is so elusive. "It's one of the least-studied sea birds in North America, so there are a lot of gaps in knowledge," refuge biology technician Heather Mackey said.”  More at:



BirdNote Weekly Preview: Crows, Turnstones, and Snow Geese


On This Day:

Magellan reaches the Pacific, Nov 28, 1520:

“After sailing through the dangerous straits below South America that now bear his name, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan enters the Pacific Ocean with three ships, becoming the first European explorer to reach the Pacific from the Atlantic.

On September 20, 1519, Magellan set sail from Spain in an effort to find a western sea route to the rich Spice Islands of Indonesia. In command of five ships and 270 men, Magellan sailed to West Africa and then to Brazil, where he searched the South American coast for a strait that would take him to the Pacific. He searched the Rio de la Plata, a large estuary south of Brazil, for a way through; failing, he continued south along the coast of Patagonia. At the end of March 1520, the expedition set up winter quarters at Port St. Julian. On Easter day at midnight, the Spanish captains mutinied against their Portuguese captain, but Magellan crushed the revolt, executing one of the captains and leaving another ashore when his ship left St. Julian in August.

On October 21, he finally discovered the strait he had been seeking. The Strait of Magellan, as it became known, is located near the tip of South America, separating Tierra del Fuego and the continental mainland. Only three ships entered the passage; one had been wrecked and another deserted. It took 38 days to navigate the treacherous strait, and when ocean was sighted at the other end Magellan wept with joy. His fleet accomplished the westward crossing of the ocean in 99 days, crossing waters so strangely calm that the ocean was named "Pacific," from the Latin word pacificus, meaning "tranquil." By the end, the men were out of food and chewed the leather parts of their gear to keep themselves alive. On March 6, 1521, the expedition landed at the island of Guam.

Ten days later, they dropped anchor at the Philippine island of Cebu—they were only about 400 miles from the Spice Islands. Magellan met with the chief of Cebu, who after converting to Christianity persuaded the Europeans to assist him in conquering a rival tribe on the neighboring island of Mactan. In fighting on April 27, Magellan was hit by a poisoned arrow and left to die by his retreating comrades.

After Magellan's death, the survivors, in two ships, sailed on to the Moluccas and loaded the hulls with spice. One ship attempted, unsuccessfully, to return across the Pacific. The other ship, the Vittoria, continued west under the command of Basque navigator Juan Sebastian de Elcano. The vessel sailed across the Indian Ocean, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived at the Spanish port of Sanlucar de Barrameda on September 6, 1522, becoming the first ship to circumnavigate the globe.”


The Grand Ole Opry begins broadcasting, Nov 28, 1925:

“The Grand Ole Opry, one of the longest-lived and most popular showcases for western music, begins broadcasting live from Nashville, Tennessee. The showcase was originally named the Barn Dance, after a Chicago radio program called the National Barn Dance that had begun broadcasting the previous year.

Impressed by the popularity of the Chicago-based National Barn Dance, producers at WSM radio in Nashville decided to create their own version of the show to cater to southern audiences who could not receive the Chicago signal. Both the Grand Ole Opry and the National Barn Dance aired on Saturday nights and featured folk music, fiddling, and the relatively new genre of country-western music. Both shows created a growing audience for a uniquely American style of music and were launching grounds for many of America's most-loved musicians--the singing cowboy Gene Autry got his first big break on the National Barn Dance. The WSM producers recognized that Americans were growing nostalgic for the rural past, so all live performers at the Grand Ole Opry were required to dress in hillbilly costumes and adopt old-time names.

The four-and-a-half-hour Grand Ole Opry program became one of the most popular broadcasts in the South, and like its Chicago cousin, helped make country-western an enduring part of the popular American musical landscape.”



Another one of those days when I should have worn my pedometer! 

Ray and I were supposed to have started on this last week, but with Thanksgiving, it was delayed till this week.  But Sunday Ray was up all night with his sick (grown-up) son, so it was delayed again.  Yesterday we started the project to find out why some of the floor in my guest house, where Ray lives, had become weak. 

This was in the little hallway from the kitchen to the bathroom.  We carefully scraped the linoleum away from the floor and rolled it back around a long piece of PVC pipe, so it wouldn’t get creased.  We could see where the floor was discolored but couldn’t find out what was causing it.  Jay called and wanted to work, so I went to get him as he is great at this kind of project.  Ray isn’t too good with carpentry, and I am getting too old to do it by myself.

We had to move everything in Ray’s dining area, including a big hutch full of Shay’s fragile knick-knacks.  It had became obvious that the leak started somewhere in the dining/kitchen area, and the big window air conditioner seemed to be the culprit.  It had been dripping down inside the wall.  I never go in Ray’s little house, so I hadn’t seen the damaged wall.  Ray cleans all the AC’s around here, as he used to work on them for a living, but he had neglected to clean that big one for a couple of years.  Maybe because it is only recently that he had that nerve snipped in his back, so he is no longer in pain.

Fixing-floor-2012-11-27 The little guest house has become slightly unlevel over the years, so the moisture had traveled underneath the linoleum towards the bathroom. Ray and I helped Jay rip out the old floor, and I carried the pieces outside.  Then Jay screwed in new braces and supports for the new plywood.  But my main job was to walk constantly around to the workshop, which it is all the way the other side of my house.  It seemed like we needed a different tool, board or size screws every few minutes.  I must have got in my 10,000 steps yesterday.

Fortunately the weather was lovely, no heat or AC needed, so we didn’t have to keep on opening and closing Ray’s front door, we just left it open.  Ray had his unsociable ‘killer cat’ locked up in the bedroom.  She has never been outside as he had two beloved cats run over. She is very loving towards Ray as he raised her from a little tiny kitten when she was found abandoned in a box at the dumpsters, but she will suddenly lash out at anyone else, even Shay, when she is there. 

This had already taken up more time than we had allotted, so we screwed down enough new plywood so that we could roll the lino back down in the dining area and get the two-piece the hutch back in place.  The little hallway’s new plywood was just placed, but not screwed down for now.  That will take a bit more work another day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Greenville, TX. Music. Heritage Garden. Old MTK Katy Depot. Peace Garden. Nature Preserve. Puddin Hill. Grin and Bear It! First Crusade. Printer Problem Solved, I hope.


For “Travel Tuesday”, let’s go to Greenville, TX:

 Region Map“Greenville is in the Prairies and Lakes Region which is located in the north central part of Texas. It is home to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the forth largest metropolitan area in the United States. This region also has a beautiful countryside with ranches, "bed and breakfasts", and many recreational lakes. Whether you're looking for the excitement of a big town (shopping, dining, nightlife), or for a more leisurely time in the rural areas, you'll find it here in the Prairies and Lakes Region.”

Greenville, TX

Downtown Greenville is an easy

“Established in 1846, this town was once named "Cotton Capital of the World." Now the seat of Hunt County, it is the center of rich agricultural region featuring cotton, home to more than 50 modern industries and a gateway to Lake Tawakoni. Audie Murphy, nation's most decorated soldier of World War II, was born in a rural area a few miles north of Greenville.

Historic Downtown revitalization efforts in downtown Greenville have yielded new antique shops and clothing boutiques, gift shops, restaurants, live music venues and a winery. The Greenville Railroad Museum is in the 1895 Katy Depot.

Visitors can find historical sites such as Majors Field, a WWII training base for many U.S. airmen and Mexican 201st Air Squadron, the only Mexican unit that saw active service.”

“Greenville is 'living on the edge' where the exciting Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex meets scenic East Texas. Whether you're interested in exploring an historic Texas downtown, listening to live music or enjoying some great Texas wines, a visit to Greenville will be a delight. Add nearby nature preserves, museums and even a 1940's movie theater (currently under restoration) and your trip will be a classic!

Historic Downtown GreenvilleDowntown walking tour marker

Stroll along the route of Greenville's Historic Downtown Walking Tour for a glimpse at the everyday lives of the people who left their marks on the city throughout our history.

Pick up a walking tour brochure and map from any of the friendly downtown merchants who offer out of the ordinary clothing, gifts, and antiques. Enjoy a specialty coffee or tea with dessert or sit down to an appetizing meal before saying good-bye to downtown Greenville's old-fashioned small town charm.

History on Every Corner. Take our Historical Downtown Walking Tour or just stroll on your own to see the new wineries, boutiques, specialty stores and antique emporiums that make up our revitalized Texas Main Street City.

Hear the Music.

Municipal Auditorium

From light jazz at a local winery to hard-rockin' Texas Country to Symphony performances at our 1939 Art Deco Municipal Auditorium, we're playing your tune in Greenville.

Music has filled the air since John Phillip Sousa brought his military band here more than 100 years ago to Elvis' appearance in 1955 up through today. We're saving a seat for you...


The Heritage Garden of Hunt County

The Heritage Garden of Hunt







Less than 45 minutes east of Dallas on Interstate-30, Greenville offers

Stroll in the Gardens - The Heritage Garden of Hunt County showcases Texas native plants and others which adapt well in northeast Texas. "The SPOT" is Texas' first Smart Growth Park which highlights the principles of Smart Growth. Where else but Greenville should you learn how to go "green?" And the Kavanaugh Methodist Church bible garden displays plants and flowers mentioned in the bible.

Hunt County Master Gardeners created the Heritage Garden as a demonstration garden to showcase plant varieties recommended for this area by the Texas A&M University Extension Service. Plantings include Earth Kind roses and the Texas Superstar flowers and vegetables that perform well in north central Texas.

Heritage GardenThe garden also serves as a model for garden design and bed preparation and maintenance. The cottage-style permanent borders include perennial and annual flowers and decorative grasses. Trial beds test new varieties for adaptability to local growing conditions.

The Heritage Garden takes its inspiration from Victorian garden designs. The entrance steps are a legacy from the Victorian-era home that once stood on the garden site. Brick walkways were built from bricks salvaged from a downtown building.   Visitors are welcome to stroll through the Heritage Garden any time.

Take a wagon ride. In December, ride a horse-drawn wagon down historic Park Street to see the beautiful holiday lighting displays.”



City in 1886

Cotton scene, public square, Greenville, Texas (postcard, circa 1908)


“The city was named after Thomas J. Green, a significant contributor to the establishment of Texas as a Republic.

As the Civil War loomed, Greenville was divided over the issue of secession, as were several area towns and counties. Greenville attorney and State Senator Martin D. Hart was a prominent Unionist. He formed a company of men who fought for the Union in Arkansas, even as other Greenville residents fought for the Confederacy. The divided nature of Greenville, Hunt County and the State of Texas is noted by an historical marker in "The SPOT" Park at 2800 Lee Street in downtown Greenville. In the post-Civil War era, Greenville's economy became partly dependent on cotton, an industry which many local Jews helped develop within the city as the local economy entered a period of transition.

“Welcome to Greenville:

The town was also famous (or infamous) for a sign that hung over Lee Street, the main street in the downtown district, between the train station and the bus station in the 1920s to 1960s. The banner read "Welcome to Greenville, The Blackest Land, The Whitest People". The same sentiment was also printed on the city water tower. An image of the sign was available as a postcard. The slogan's original intent was to describe the richness of the area's soil along with the kindness of its citizens. However, the imputed racial overtones caused the later phrase to be modified to "the Greatest People" in the early 1970s.”

In 1957 Greenville annexed Peniel, Texas, which had been founded in 1899 as a religious community.

“Greenville, the county seat of Hunt County, is around 60 miles northeast of Dallas.  Residents decided on the town's location which was land donated by an early settler, McQuinney Wright. By 1853 the town had a post office, merchant store, three taverns and grocery stores, a law office, two hotels, a drug store and a school which was also used as a church.

The county voted in support of joining the Confederacy and during the war, Greenville raised and supported a company of soldiers who fought in Arkansas and eastern Tennessee. At the end of the war, two companies of federal cavalry were stationed in Greenville to maintain the peace which was threatened by a violet feud between ex Confederates and Unionists of Grayson County. The county's slave population also boomed to over 1200 with slaves from the deep south being sent to Texas in order that they might be kept for safekeeping.

Greenville, Texas 1900s

With the introduction of the Missouri Kansas and Texas Railway and subsequent lines, Greenville became a rail town which encouraged cotton production in Hunt County and by the mid 1880's Greenville was a leading cotton marketing location. The community went on to ship over $1 million worth of cotton annually and supported 200 businesses.”


The Old MTK Katy Depot

Railroad Interlocking Tower 64, Greenville, Texas 1930

"The original Tower 64 around 1930. The track straight ahead is looking toward Commerce, Texas on the St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt). Track to the left is the Missouri, Kansas and Texas toward Denison. Structure that can be seen in the distance is the MKT Hunt Yard office in Greenville, Texas."
- Photo courtesy Katy Railroad Historical Society

The first train, which was a Missouri, Kansas & Texas train, arrived from Denison on October 1, 1880. It was Hunt County's first railroad. A $5,000 cash bonus and right away across Hunt County were guaranteed by Greenville residents. The railroad began a boom in Greenville and Hunt County.

______Farmer Market on Lee Street

Farmers Market

The Greenville Farmers Market in downtown Greenville offers an out-of-the-ordinary shopping experience. Choose from baskets of lush seasonal fruits and vegetables or browse the handmade items fashioned by local crafters. The Farmers Market is growing! Plans for special events keep the market hopping in spring and summer.

The Farmers Market is held at Market Square, between Washington and Lee Streets at Bois d'Arc Street.


Peace Garden

Peace Garden Sculpture WallThe Peace Garden in Forest Park Cemetery features the acclaimed larger than life bas relief sculpture "Peace in the World", featuring angels representing the world's varied ethnic groups. Five freestanding sculptured birds comprise "Peace in the Soul". The sculptures, created by Santa Fe artist Kirk Tatom, surround a garden space for peaceful contemplation.

Forest Park Cemetery: on Hwy 69 S. just south of the Fletcher Warren Civic Center


Mathews Prairie Nature Preserve

Mathews Prairie is a 100-acre native prairie meadow that has never been plowed. Part of the once vast (12 million acre) Texas Blackland Prairie, it's a little piece of wild America. Through an agreement with the Texas Nature Conservancy, it will remain that way.

The grasses and wildflowers that greeted early settlers still wave in the summer breezes. Native birds still feed on the seed-bearing grasses whose roots are anchored as much as 100 feet deep in the fertile blackland soil.

Birders and wildflower enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the meadow. In fact, the sea of big bluestem and Indian grass waving in the wind is a treat for everyone.

To visit Mathews Prairie go 4.5 miles west from the intersection of US 69 and US 380 at SH 224 (west Lee St.). Turn north on FM 903, go 2.1 miles then turn west on CR 1116. Continue for 1.8 miles. A sign at the NE corner of CR 1119 and CR 1116 identifies the preserve. Parking is along the county roads.


The Puddin Hill Store

Mary of Puddin Hill, Greenville, TX. They are best known for their original

This is really quite a unique place. This quaint little store front greets you into a world of a distraction for dieters. The store is right next to the bakery and candy kitchen of 'Mary of Puddin Hill'. This site is part of the original Puddin Hill farm which was owned by James and Mary Horton in 1839.

Puddin Hill has been using the same recipes for over 150 years for its cakes. This is no ordinary chockie store.. this is truly a gourmet experience that even the lesser of the sweet tooth folks won't be able to resist. Don't think that the prices are run of the mill either, you truly need to have someone special to buy for or be really geared to give yourself a very special treat. They have a catalogue and you can shop online with free shipping.


Historical Markers

More than 30 official Texas Historical Markers trace the history of Greenville buildings, VIPs, and events. Spend a day tracing the fascinating stories behind historic sites in the city. The Hunt County Historical Commission website includes subjects, locations, and complete marker inscriptions. 


Grin and Bear It, Bears in Greenville, Texas  by Milton Babb

"There's nothing worse than a drunken bear in a department store."
”That would-have-been-famous phrase almost had its origins in Greenville approximately 103 years ago.
At the turn of the 19th century, W.C. English had a slaughterhouse business with three retail locations In Greenville. One was on the south side of the square and two were on Stonewall Street. Animals were rendered and meat offered for sale in butcher's showrooms that looked more like modern-day jewelry stores.
Early photos show one of English's front counters with a fancy cash register, gingerbread woodwork overhead and restaurant type bar stools in front. Beef and pork can be seen hanging on meathooks on a long rack on the right side of the picture.
One day in 1903, a customer arrived at Mr. English's establishment with another type of stock he wanted butchered - three large bears.

The bears are believed to have been retired circus performers.
English took possession of the bears, but soon became attached to the tame animals. He offered to buy them; the customer agreed, and "Katie," "Bob," and "Bill" became Mr. English's pets.
English kept the three bears in the backyard of his home at the corner of Washington and Bois D'Arc streets in Greenville.
This was adjacent or just east of today's market square, then known as the OK Wagon Yard.
Vendors who came to sell their vegetables and other goods, often from many miles away, soon became familiar with the bears.

Greenville Texas circus bears

W.C. English with his bears Katie, Bob and Bill in the backyard of his home in Greenville. Note on the horizon on the right the faint image of the Hunt County Courthouse tower. Photo courtesy Milton Babb

In those days, many of the farmers and vendors slept in tents or on bedrolls overnight right there on the wagon yard grounds. Some brought food and spirits to supply them during their stay.

It wasn't long before it was discovered that Katie, Bob and Bill would share a Friday night indulgence with visitors if a partially-filled beer bottle was thrown over the fence.
One Saturday morning after a particularly merry night, one of the bears got loose and decided to take a stroll west on Lee Street.
The bear ambled up the sidewalk on the north side of the street past the Hunt County courthouse.
Upon reaching an appealing store window believed to have been Perkins Department Store, the bear started inside to have a better look around.
By now, onlookers were startled to see the full-grown bear in the middle of downtown. Someone whistled or shouted to get the bear's attention to keep him out of the department store.
Shoppers scattered, fearful for their lives that they would be attacked.
Luckily, a relative of Mr. English, Mrs. W.F. English, operated a millinery and dress making shop at the corner of Stonewall and Washington. This was on the corner just west of the Sam Swartz store.
Mrs. English hurried to the poor bear's rescue and to the dismay of the many residents looking on, she walked directly up to the bear she knew so well to be tame.
Laying a hand on the beast's shoulder, she walked it home the few blocks east so that it could complete a recovery from Friday night's excesses.
The bear's adventure over and smelling salts returned to their ladies' purses, Saturday morning shopping began to return to normal.
"There's just nothing worse than a drunken bear in a department store."”

This story was related to the author by Eugenia Howse, granddaughter of W.C. English and daughter of early Greenville photographer F.E. Howse.

Where to stay:

East Texas RV Park

Located within the city limits of Greenville, East Texas RV Park offers 35 sites. All of these sites have full hook-ups, including telephone and free cable TV connections. Five sites are pull-throughs, and 30 are back-ins. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the RV park, and there is also a shower house with bathrooms on the premises.

Read more at RV Parks in Greenville, Texas |

Dallas Northeast Texas Campground

Located about five miles outside Greenville, the Dallas Northeast Texas Campground is part of the KOA network. Set on 65 wooded acres, the campground offers a mix of tent and RV sites, as well as rental cabins. The RV sites are pull-throughs that can accommodate 90-foot rigs. Sites have full hook-ups with up to 50-amp electricity available. Some sites have adjoining concrete patios, and many (but not all) have shade trees. The campground sells LP gas and firewood, and its facilities include a recreation hall, game room, playground, basketball court and outdoor swimming pool. There is also a small fishing lake, and since the lake is on private property, a Texas fishing license is not required to fish there. Like most KOAs, the Dallas Northeast is pet-friendly, but you are encouraged to call ahead before showing up with your pet.

Read more at RV Parks in Greenville, Texas |

429 RV Park and Marina

429 RV Park and Marina is situated on Lake Tawakoni, about 15 miles south of Greenville. Set on a 30-acre property, it offers a mixture of tent and RV sites, the latter coming with full hook-ups. The 429 RV Park's facilities include a shower house, camp store, coin laundry and fishing pier, as well as a boat launch and marina.

Read more at RV Parks in Greenville, Texas |


Next “Travel Tuesday”, we will explore the days when cotton was king at the Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum in Greenville, TX.   Learn about WW II's most decorated soldier, Audie Murphy, and find out why Jimmy Stewart portrayed local ball player Monty Stratton on the silver screen,


On This Day:

Pope Urban II orders first Crusade, Nov 27, 1095:

“On November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II makes perhaps the most influential speech of the Middle Ages, giving rise to the Crusades by calling all Christians in Europe to war against Muslims in order to reclaim the Holy Land, with a cry of "Deus vult!" or "God wills it!"

Born Odo of Lagery in 1042, Urban was a protege of the great reformer Pope Gregory VII. Like Gregory, he made internal reform his main focus, railing against simony (the selling of church offices) and other clerical abuses prevalent during the Middle Ages. Urban showed himself to be an adept and powerful cleric, and when he was elected pope in 1088, he applied his statecraft to weakening support for his rivals, notably Clement III.

By the end of the 11th century, the Holy Land—the area now commonly referred to as the Middle East—had become a point of conflict for European Christians. Since the 6th century, Christians frequently made pilgrimages to the birthplace of their religion, but when the Seljuk Turks took control of Jerusalem, Christians were barred from the Holy City. When the Turks then threatened to invade the Byzantine Empire and take Constantinople, Byzantine Emperor Alexius I made a special appeal to Urban for help. This was not the first appeal of its kind, but it came at an important time for Urban. Wanting to reinforce the power of the papacy, Urban seized the opportunity to unite Christian Europe under him as he fought to take back the Holy Land from the Turks.

At the Council of Clermont, in France, at which several hundred clerics and noblemen gathered, Urban delivered a rousing speech summoning rich and poor alike to stop their in-fighting and embark on a righteous war to help their fellow Christians in the East and take back Jerusalem. Urban denigrated the Muslims, exaggerating stories of their anti-Christian acts, and promised absolution and remission of sins for all who died in the service of Christ.

Urban's war cry caught fire, mobilizing clerics to drum up support throughout Europe for the crusade against the Muslims. All told, between 60,000 and 100,000 people responded to Urban's call to march on Jerusalem. Not all who responded did so out of piety: European nobles were tempted by the prospect of increased land holdings and riches to be gained from the conquest. These nobles were responsible for the death of a great many innocents both on the way to and in the Holy Land, absorbing the riches and estates of those they conveniently deemed opponents to their cause. Adding to the death toll was the inexperience and lack of discipline of the Christian peasants against the trained, professional armies of the Muslims. As a result, the Christians were initially beaten back, and only through sheer force of numbers were they eventually able to triumph.

Urban died in 1099, two weeks after the fall of Jerusalem but before news of the Christian victory made it back to Europe. His was the first of seven major military campaigns fought over the next two centuries known as the Crusades, the bloody repercussions of which are still felt today. Urban was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church in 1881.”



Along with the usual things to do, some problem solving was done.  I finally battled it out on the phone with HP over the printer that doesn’t work. 

For months, I have been going back and forth with emails to their customer support.  Each time a different representative would just send me a different form letter, often repeating the text. They had suggested that I take it to one of their authorized repair centers, and I had taken it to one on their list, only to find out that they just sold HP products there, and did no repairs.  There is no repair center within 50 miles of here.

Finally, after the usual long waits with elevator music interrupted by “ We will be with you shortly”, and after losing connection and having to start all over again, a man with a very thick Pakistani accent replied.  Of course, he had to transfer me to someone else, and I had to repeat my story of woe all over again.  That rep had me take the heavy printer out of the box, plug it in, and go through some steps to see if it actually does keep on flashing “Scanner Failure”.  That meant being transferred to a supervisor, and after a lot more thick accent, which was difficult to understand, finally, he said they are going to replace it.  I asked for one which uses the same ink cartridges, as one suggestion a few months ago was that the ink might be old, so I had bought more, so now I have four.  Since then, I have also found a better and cheaper ink cartridge supplier, the one Rick Doyle recommended, 123inkca on eBay.  I don’t know their addy for not going through eBay, but I am sure you can.

I have always had HP printers, but when this new one didn’t work, I had bought the cheapest wireless printer at Walmart, an Epson, and I like it better.  It is easier to use, a lot lighter, doesn’t take up much room, and I can put it just about anywhere in my motorhome.

The next time consuming endeavor was to get it straightened out about a credit card payment that I had made at the bank on the 16th. Nov.  Their local branch’s computers were down, so I had to pay in cash, which fortunately I had with me, and I just have a handwritten receipt, which hasn’t been posted on my account.  That isn’t resolved yet.  If I had known there was going to be all this confusion, I would have phoned in the payment.

The weather was warm and the cats could be out on the screen porch for most of the day.

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Death Treats". Older Pets. Stop The Dog Fights. Separation Anxiety. Moving? More Rabid Cats Than Dogs. “Patrick”. “Bailey”. Diamond Hoax. "Cloverleaf". Thanksgiving Day.


For “Mammal Monday”:

Elected Officials Turn Up Heat on FDA's Handling of "Death Treats"

Pet Food

“One of the only ways a pet owner might learn about potentially deadly dog or cat treats is to visit the FDA website and look for pet food-related advisories. That's one of the reasons why, after five years and over 2,000 reported incidents of illness and death, unwitting consumers are still offering potentially deadly treats to their pets.

Recently, political leaders have become increasingly vocal in demanding the FDA do more to protect the health and lives of pets.

Unfortunately, with potentially deadly jerky pet treats still readily available on store shelves, word of mouth is one of the few options available to spread the news. Pet owners should avoid all treats containing ingredients from China - and any treat they aren't sure is entirely safe to feed their dog or cat.”    Complete article at:

Chicken JerkyMore at: Chicken Jerky Treat Casualties: 360 Dogs, 1 Cat


Anti-Aging Exercises to Keep Your Senior Pet Active

“Pets, just like their humans, need to stay active as they get up in years.

Your pet’s aging body will lose muscle tone, balance and fluid movement without regular exercise and healing therapies like massage.

Three groups of exercises that help senior pets stay active and pain-free include passive range-of-motion exercises, balance and movement exercises, and exercises that maintain large muscle groups like the hamstrings and glutes.

Massage can also be very beneficial to maintain flexibility and movement, as well as to ease sore muscles and joints.

There are lots of other things pet owners can do to help their older dog or cat age comfortably and in good health.”    Complete article at:



“Urgent: Tell Congress to Stop the Cruelty

One of the top priorities for the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) this year was to expose Rep. Steve King’s dreadful animal protection record—most notably his defense of the barbaric “sport” of animal fighting. Thanks to you, animal issues became a key part of the debate in his congressional race and around the country.

Now, we have an opportunity to strengthen penalties for animal fighting spectators nationwide and to give law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on animal fighting. But, we must tell Congress to act on this important legislation NOW, before they adjourn for the year.

The Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act (S. 1947/HR. 2492) fixes a major gap in federal law and would prohibit knowing attendance at organized dogfighting and cockfighting events and impose additional penalties for bringing a child to an animal fight.

Over the past decade, Congress has strengthened the penalties for and closed major loopholes in the federal animal fighting law, but has left the issue of spectators unaddressed. Without penalties for spectators who attend and help finance these fights, we’ll never be able to end this barbaric practice for good.” From:        More at:


Separation Anxiety

“Separation problems are very common with dogs. Dogs are highly social
animals and some have a difficult time being left alone.
Separation problems can result in housetraining issues, chewing and
destructive behaviors, barking, digging and anxiety.
If your dog is having a separation problem--the following are some steps
you can take to help him overcome it:

Step #1:     Understand your dog's behavior. 
Your dog is not destroying your house to spite or get back at you.
Step #2:     Your dog is highly stressed and cannot handle being by herself.  You need to help your dog feel secure when left alone.
Step #3:     Help develop your dog's tolerance for being left alone. Your dog becomes stressed when you leave.
Step #4:     To increase your dog's stress tolerance, you need to gradually leave your dog alone for longer and longer periods.
Step #5:     This is accomplished by putting on your jacket, grabbing your keys like you're leaving and walking out the door.
Step #6:     Once you're outside, wait about 5 minutes and walk back in.
Step #7:     If your dog can handle the 5 minutes, increase the time to 10 minutes. Once your dog can handle the 10 minutes, keep gradually
increasing the amount of time you're outside. This does require some time and patience.
Step #8:     Crate training your dog can also be very helpful when you have to leave for longer periods of time.
Step #9:     Exercise your dog. A dog that has separation problems and a lot of pent-up energy will result in disaster.
Step #10:   Bringing your dog to a dog daycare may be an option if your dog does not like the crate and if your dog is very active.
Step #11:   The exercise and mental stimulation at the daycare should help your dog overcome separation anxiety.
Step# 12:   In extreme cases you may need the help of your veterinarian. A vet can provide medication for dogs that are extremely stressed when left alone.  Get more help with separation anxiety at the
Dog Training Inner Circle where I can answer your questions personally.    All the best, Eric”     From:


Moving? How to Minimize Dog and Cat Stress

Woman with dogs in room with moving boxes


“Moving is tough on families, and it's particularly stressful on dogs and cats. Animals always know when something's amiss, even if they can't understand exactly what's changing or why.

The key to moving pets is to keep them secure before and during the move and to settle them safely and quickly into a routine afterward.

The family dog is a bit easier to deal with. Put his leash on and drive him to his new address. Show him his new, warm home and the securely fenced backyard. Unless the dog is a high-jumper of Olympic caliber, he'll stay put while he adjusts.

Cats are a particular worry at moving time. They not only form a bond with the people in a home, but they are also attached to the home itself. Because of their mobility, cats can be difficult to keep around the new home long enough for them to realize that this is where the people they love now live.

Once they're moved, free-roaming cats often try to flee to their familiar dwelling. The cases of cats returning to their previous homes are common for people who move short distances, and the instances of cats disappearing forever are just as common for families moving great distances.

Confinement is essential when moving cats. It keeps them safe while they become used to their new territory and make it their own. If your cat isn't already an indoor cat, bring him inside before the movers arrive. Set him up in a "safe room" — a spare bathroom or bedroom is ideal — and leave him alone. Provide him with food and water, his bed, a scratching post, a litterbox and a couple of favorite toys while the packing and moving is under way.

The cat's ride to the new home is best undertaken in a carrier, especially for the cat who rarely sees the inside of a car.

At the new home, work the "leaving home" procedure in reverse. Put the cat into a "safe room" for a few days — until the movers are gone, the furniture arranged and most of the dust settled — and then allow him to explore inside the house on his own terms after things calm down a bit.

Quickly re-establish a routine. Pick a time and a place for feeding, and stick to it for all pets.

If you've been thinking about converting your free-roaming cat into a house dweller for his health and safety, moving to a new home is the perfect time to accomplish it. In your old home, you'd be constantly listening to your cat demanding to be let out into the rest of his territory. In a new home, he hasn't established any territory of his own yet, and you can make the new home his only turf by keeping him inside from day one.”   More at:


Study Finds Free-Roaming Cats Pose Threat from "Serious Public Health Diseases"

Among the key findings of the paper are:

  • Free roaming cats are an important source of animal-transmitted, serious diseases such as rabies, toxoplasmosis, and plague.
  • Free roaming cats account for the most cases of human rabies exposure among domestic animals, and are the source for one-third of rabies post-exposure treatments in the United States. Because of inconsistent incident reporting, that number is likely an underestimate of the actual cases of rabies exposure.
  • Trap, neuter, and release (TNR) programs may lead to increased, un-inoculated populations of cats that can serve as a source of transmittable serious diseases.

The study found that since 1988, rabies has been detected more frequently in cats than in dogs; in 2008, the number of cats detected with rabies was four times higher than dogs.  In 2010, rabies cases declined for all domestic animals except cats, which comprised 62 percent of all rabies cases for domestic animals.

“This is a significant study that documents serious wildlife and public health issues associated with 125 million outdoor cats in the United States.  Decision-making officials need to start looking at the unintended impacts these animals have on both the environment and human health when they consider arguments to sanction Trap, Neuter, and Return (TNR) cat colonies. These colonies are highly detrimental to cats, wildlife, and people, and only serve to exacerbate the cat overpopulation problem,” said Darin Schroeder, Vice President for Conservation Advocacy at American Bird Conservancy.”  More at:


Patrick The Miracle Dog Survives Abuse In Newark, NJ.

Patrick the Miracle Dog













“A dog that was found near death in New Jersey has been nursed back to life. The dog had barely any skin over its bones when someone tossed it down a trash chute in Newark. The lucky dog they are calling “Patrick the miracle dog” is recovering.

“According to the Los Angeles Times, Kisha Curtis, the dog's 27-year-old owner, had tied him to a railing and left him there for a week. It's unclear if she threw him down the chute or if someone else did.

Patrick was then taken in and cared for by the Associated Humane Societies in New Jersey, reported Volunteers took him to Garden State Veterinary Services where a giant hairball was removed from his stomach so that he could begin to eat again.  The Vets think it could be something he eat out of desperation while nearly starving to death.  "The veterinary staff immediately put him on intravenous fluid. His temperature was so low that it did not even register on the thermometer," says Patrick's Facebook page. He soon became an Internet celebrity, with donations pouring in from around the world.

Patrick weighed 19 pounds when he arrived at the hospital. He now weighs 50 pounds. Associated Humane Societies is seeking custody of Patrick, whose newfound fame is being used to advocate for stricter animal abuse laws. AHS wants to find a new forever-home for Patrick.  Garden State Veterinary Specialists of Tinton Falls, however, is also vying for a part in Patrick's plight. He has been staying with Patricia Smillie-Scavelli, the hospital’s administrator, who also wants to keep the brave dog. 

“He really gives love,” Scavelli told Irish Central. “He climbs into your lap, he would prefer to sit in your lap than lay on the floor. He also sleeps in our bed at night, along with the cat.”
However, a few physical scars remain from Patrick's ordeal. NBC reports that he is still fearful of strangers, but when fed a few dog treats, he quickly warms up.
Curtis is scheduled to appear in court on charges of animal cruelty. She is not accused with tossing Patrick down the chute, only with neglect and abandonment.” Patrick, The Miracle Dog, Recovers After Being Starved, Tossed Down Garbage Chute (PHOTOS)


See Patrick Play:


Dog Welcomes Home Sailor after 7 months in Afghanistan!!!

“Bailey Welcomes home Sean after 7 months. I was surprised she still remembered me, we got her at the pound as a stray only 3 months before I left!”


Help Shelters and Rescued Animals On The East Coast Recover!

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to fund food, FREE.


On This Day:

The Great Diamond Hoax is exposed, Nov 26, 1872:

“The Great Diamond Hoax, one of the most notorious mining swindles of the time, is exposed with an article in the San Francisco Evening Bulletin.

Fraudulent gold and silver mines were common in the years following the California Gold Rush of 1849. Swindlers fooled many eager greenhorns by "salting" worthless mines with particles of gold dust to make them appear mineral-rich. However, few con men were as daring as Kentucky cousins Philip Arnold and John Slack, who convinced San Francisco capitalists to invest in a worthless mine in the northwestern corner of Colorado.

Arnold and Slack played their con perfectly. They arrived in San Francisco in 1872 and tried to deposit a bag of uncut diamonds at a bank. When questioned, the two men quickly disappeared, acting as if they were reluctant to talk about their discovery. Intrigued, a bank director named William Ralston tracked down the men. Assuming he was dealing with unsophisticated country bumpkins, he set out to take control of the diamond mine. The two cousins agreed to take a blindfolded mining expert to the site; the expert returned to report that the mine was indeed rich with diamonds and rubies.

Joining forces with a number of other prominent San Francisco financiers, Ralston formed the New York Mining and Commercial Company, capitalized at $10 million, and began selling stock to eager investors. As a show of good faith, Arnold and Slack received about $600,000-small change in comparison to the supposed value of the diamond mine. Convinced that the American West must have many other major deposits of diamonds, at least 25 other diamond exploration companies formed in the subsequent months.

Clarence King, the then-little-known young leader of a geographical survey of the 40th parallel, finally exposed the cousins' diamond mine as a hoax. A brilliant geologist and mining engineer, King was suspicious of the mine from the start. He correctly deduced the location of the supposed mine, raced off to investigate, and soon realized that the swindlers had salted the mine--some of the gems he found even showed jewelers-cut marks.

Back in San Francisco, King exposed the fraud in the newspapers and the Great Diamond Hoax collapsed. Ralston returned $80,000 to each of his investors, but he was never able to recover the $600,000 given to the two cousins. Arnold lived out the few remaining years of his life in luxury in Kentucky before dying of pneumonia in 1878. Slack apparently squandered his share of the money, for he was last reported working as a coffin maker in New Mexico. King's role in exposing the fraud brought him national recognition--he became the first director of the United States Geological Survey.”


First U.S. "cloverleaf" appears on the cover of the Engineering News-Record, Nov 26, 1931:

imagesCA95MWII“The first cloverleaf interchange to be built in the United States, at the junction of NJ Rt. 25 (now U.S. Rt. 1) and NJ Rt. 4 (now NJ Rt. 35) in Woodbridge, New Jersey, is featured on the cover of this week's issue of the Engineering News-Record. (By contrast, a piece on the under-construction Hoover Dam was relegated to the journal's back pages.)

These circular ramps move cars from one road to the other fairly efficiently, as long as the roads aren't too busy—but once traffic speed and volume increases, cloverleaves can be just as dangerous as the intersections they replaced. The Woodbridge interchange, for instance, had no merge lanes, so it forced motorists to stop without warning or to plunge directly into highway traffic. Many thousands of fender-benders were the result. It was "the Model T of cloverleafs," said a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). "It worked well at one time, but it's beginning to reach the end of its usefulness." As a result, it's getting a facelift: the NJDOT plans to replace the sprawling cloverleaf with a more compact, diamond-style interchange that will eliminate both the dangerous merges and the associated gridlock.”


FDR establishes modern Thanksgiving holiday, Nov 26, 1941:

“President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill officially establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

The tradition of celebrating the holiday on Thursday dates back to the early history of the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies, when post-harvest holidays were celebrated on the weekday regularly set aside as "Lecture Day," a midweek church meeting where topical sermons were presented. A famous Thanksgiving observance occurred in the autumn of 1621, when Plymouth governor William Bradford invited local Indians to join the Pilgrims in a three-day festival held in gratitude for the bounty of the season.

Thanksgiving became an annual custom throughout New England in the 17th century, and in 1777 the Continental Congress declared the first national American Thanksgiving following the Patriot victory at Saratoga. In 1789, President George Washington became the first president to proclaim a Thanksgiving holiday, when, at the request of Congress, he proclaimed November 26, a Tuesday, as a day of national thanksgiving for the U.S. Constitution. However, it was not until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to fall on the last Thursday of November, that the modern holiday was celebrated nationally.

With a few deviations, Lincoln's precedent was followed annually by every subsequent president--until 1939. In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt departed from tradition by declaring November 23, the next to last Thursday that year, as Thanksgiving Day. Considerable controversy surrounded this deviation, and some Americans refused to honor Roosevelt's declaration. For the next two years, Roosevelt repeated the unpopular proclamation, but on November 26, 1941, he admitted his mistake and signed a bill into law officially making the fourth Thursday in November the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.”



Prissy-chasing-2012-11-251The animals had a quiet day, while I cleaned more glass, tended to stuff on the computer.

Except for Miss Priss that is!

She just tore around until she fell asleep on the porch!

Prissy on porch


She would rather chase around than eat! 




It started out cold, and Misty had to wear her other coat, not her raincoat this time, to keep warm. 


Then I made some turkey in gravy from the dark meat from the carcass.  The broth is already strained out, but there was still a lot of meat left.  The white meat and broth have already been frozen.  That is a fiddly job, making sure all the tiny bones are discarded, and I still don’t have all the dark meat sorted through.  I don’t know if it is worth it.   I wonder how they do it in the Chinese restaurants.  Maybe they have a ‘bone magnet’!

They must do it when it is still raw, so much easier:

I should have been outside raking up the Red Maple’s leaves, as it warmed up to a lovely day.