Wednesday, 08 February 2012 13:27
A lightning bolt travels up to 60,000 miles per second and can reach temperatures as high as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Florida has the highest instance of lightning fatalities.
The best (or worst) chance to be fatally struck by lightning is before you see the storm as lightning can travel horizontally over six miles.
Contrary to popular belief, lightning does strike twice in the same place. Tall buildings such as the Sears Tower in Chicago are struck repeatedly.
The odds of being struck by lightning are about one in three million.
Lightning sets about 10,000 forest fires every year in the United States.
Rubber shoes do nothing to protect against lightning.
The leading cause of injuries inside the home is talking on the phone from lightning strikes.
If your hair stands on end during a storm, find shelter inside quick.
Talk about bad family genes. A woman gets struck by lightning in 1995. Three weeks prior her nephew was struck and suffered temporary blindness. Years before in 1970 her cousin was zapped when lightning hit her umbrella, but that wasn’t the first time, she was also struck once before in 1965. The lady who got struck in 1995, also, had a grandfather killed by lightning in 1921 and the grandfather’s brother was struck and killed in the 1920’s.
A word of advice; never be the tallest object during a thunderstorm.
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:42
WATCH NIGHT SERVICE
Perhaps this past New Years, you went to church for this ceremony to put away the old and enjoy singing, prayers and testimonials giving hope for a new year. But like myself I did not know the origin or history. Watch night services date back to the year 1740 first held by Methodist Christians. The following was shared with me from my friend and family Ethel Pennington Martin. It appears that no matter what reason we celebrate the New Year there is one common bond and that is God the All Mighty.
Many of you who live or grew up in Black communities in the United States have probably heard of "Watch Night Services," the gathering of the faithful in churches on New Year's Eve. But are you aware of its history? The service usually begins anywhere from 7 p.m. To 10 p.m. and ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year.
Some folks come to church first, before going out to celebrate. For others, church is the only New Year's Eve event. Like many others, I always assumed that Watch Night Service was a fairly standard Christian religious service -- made a bit more Afro-Centric because that's what happens when elements of Christianity become linked with the Black Church. Still, it was obvious that predominately White Christian churches did not include Watch Night Service on their calendars, but focused instead on Christmas Eve programs... In fact, there were instances where clergy in mainline denominations wondered aloud about the propriety of African Americans linking a religious service to a secular holiday like New Year's Eve.
However, there is a reason for the importance of New Year's Eve services in African American congregations. The Watch Night Services in Black communities that we celebrate today can be traced back to gatherings across the South on December 31, 1862, known at that time as, "Freedom's Eve." On that night, Blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation, anxiously awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation had actually become law.
Then, at the stroke of midnight, it became January 1, 1863, and all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free. When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy throughout the South as people fell to their knees and thanked God.
Ever since, Black folks have traditionally gathered in churches annually on New Year's Eve, praising God for bringing us safely through another year, but many do not realize the historic value.
It's been 150 years since that first Freedom's Eve and many of us were never taught the African American history of the Watch Night Service, but tradition still brings us together at this time every year to celebrate "how we got over."
Wednesday, 04 January 2012 13:38
OLD ‘TIMEY’ CANDY
I got a craving for Butter Rum Lifesavers and went to one big store and they did not have Lifesavers and that got me to thinking about the candies I ate as a child. My mind filled with goodies that are no longer to be found except in special markets and on-line shopping. A phrase my mom used to describe her colorful childhood was ‘old timey’ and to me that seemed a long time ago. Now, I am referring to that same phrase and someday this young generation will make memories that will become ‘old timey’.
My first thought goes to gum, I remember that there were two sticks of gum in a pack and the sticks were vivid pink, yellow or blue and covered with white powder. I don’t recall the name. I do remember Cloves Gum, Teaberry, Pepsin Gum and Beemans Gum had a spicy taste. Black Jack gum was licorice in flavor. Bazooka Bubble gum offered not only a sweet treat but also, a comic to read white chewing and blowing huge bubbles. Later we got Chiclets and Bubble Yum.
BB Bats were long taffy pops first introduced in the 1920’s. The four flavors were banana, strawberry, chocolate and peanut butter. Similar to those were Black Cows, Slo Poke Suckers and Sugar Daddy. Another fun sweet were Candy Cigarettes, probably would be banned in this modern time. It was harmless to pretend to smoke and then eat the small white sticks with red on the end for fire. Buying them did not make me wish to smoke, just pretend.
Charleston Chews, Chick-o-Sticks, Clark Bars, Circus Peanuts, Coconut Slices, Chocolate Babies, French Burnt Peanuts and Tootsie Rolls were sweet delights. In the wax line we had Wax Bottles (Nik-L-Nips) filled with sweet liquid nectar, the problem with them is they were so tiny and so little nectar. After drinking the liquid we would chew the wax. We also had Wax Lips, Wax Mustaches and Wax Teeth, treats for Halloween. After playing with them we would chew them until the sweetness was all gone.
At Christmas we had Chocolate Drops, Ribbon Candy, Hard Candy filled with flavored centers and Cracker Jacks. Easter found those Marshmallow Peeps in pink and yellow shaped like chicks and bunnies in our Easter baskets. I have to remember Mary Janes, Peanut Butter Logs, Bit-o-Honey and Sugar Babies. These are only a few of the goodies enjoyed on our trip to Harrison Potters little store on Town Branch Road, Rice Asher Store and Clara Burchell’s downtown. I remember those flat-bottomed glass jars tilted on their side with the silver colored lids on the counter that held all sorts of penny candy. You got a lot for a penny and nothing was over a nickel. The candy bars were bigger than now that we pay nearly a dollar and seem like they taste better back then. Ah, sweet ‘old timey’ memories.
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 14:11
Thanksgiving Eve, November 24, 1971, the notorious skyjacker, D. B. Cooper likely knew what he was doing when he chose to jump out of a Boeing 727 wearing a backpack with $200,000 strapped to his body. It is highly likely that he did survive the 10,000-foot drop into a dark patch of southern Washington forty years ago.
At this time there is evidence being examined in Virginia that may shed some light on the case and perhaps solve the mystery. On that eventful night a man purchases a one-way $20 ticket Portland-to-Seattle that day. During the flight he passed a note an airline attendant that stated he had a bomb and demanded money along with four parachutes. Once the plane landed and demands were met he let the passengers go and kept the plane’s crew.
It has been concluded that from his language and choice of parachute he selected to strap on that he was not a stranger to aviation. The witnesses agreed on how he was dressed and later thought that he had modeled himself after a cartoon character from a Belgian cartoon of the 1950’s through 1970’s featuring dashing pilot and parachutist Dan Cooper. He called himself Dan Cooper, not D.B. Cooper, the initials stuck after an Oregon man with a minor police record was investigated in the crime. The cartoon character and Dan both dress in black suits, drank bourbon and smuggled a fake bomb onto a plane inside an attaché case. A catch to this resemblance was the cartoon was sold in Canada and wrote in French perhaps suggesting Dan Cooper came from Canada and could speak French.
Cooper left behind clues, fingerprints (never useful), black clip-on tie and mother of pearl tie clip. Some physical evidence has been recovered. In the autumn of 1978, a placard containing instructions for lowering the aft stairs of a 727 was verified as belonging on the hijacked plane, found by a deer hunter along the basic path of Flight 305. Cooper let down the stairs and that is how he exited the plane. In February 1980, an eight-year old boy uncovered three packets of the ransom cash, rotten but still bundled in rubber bands as he raked the sandy riverbank to build a campfire on the Columbia River downstream from Vancouver, Washington. Theory has it the money was washed downstream and deposited on site by itself, not buried as some believed.
Some pollen found on the tie is being examined along with particles of pure titanium. Titanium was much rare in the 1970’s that it is today. A lady came forward and said it could have been her uncle. Fingerprints are being compared to confirm or exclude him as a suspect. Needless to day, this is the perfect crime or someday it will be solved.
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 13:42
On June 15, 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived at Bedloe’s Island inside 214 wooden packing crates. The architect for Liberty’s pedestal, Richard Morris Hunt, was a highly respected and popular designer of expensive homes. He designed the 89-foot high pedestal that would sit upon a concrete foundation. His fee was one thousand dollars that he donated back to the fund to reassemble the statue.
Liberty’s foundation required 24,000 tons of concrete. It measured 52 feet, 10 inches in height. At the bottom, it is 91 feet and the top is 65 feet. The pedestal would rest on this foundation rising out an eleven-point star. The Statue of Liberty began to rise over her new home in America in May of 1886 and would take six months to mount the statue to her base.
The unveiling of “the lady” was October 28, 1886 and was declared a public holiday. The rainy, foggy day could not dampen the spirits of the more than one million people who line the streets of New York. The streets were dressed for the occasion in red, white and blue. A parade passed thru the streets and as they passed offices along the way, office boys began to unreel the spools of tape that record the messages of the “ticker” and the air was white with curling streamers. And so the famous New York ticker-tape parade was born.
Bartholdi and his wife were among the many and Bartholdi simply said, “The dream of my life is accomplished.” Out on the water, the fog rolled in and out. The harbor teemed with ships of all sizes. Bartholdi stood alone in the head of the statue and he was to pull the cord that would drop the French tricolor veil from the face of the statue. Bartholdi got the sign to pull the cord and that he did. Bartholdi pulled the cord to reveal the statue’s gleaming copper face to the world. Whistles blasted, guns roared, bands played and President Cleveland turned and said, “We will not forget that Liberty has made here her home, nor shall her chosen altar be neglected.”
Lady Liberty remains the visual and spiritual center on New York harbor. In 1903, one of the most memorable changes to the statue occurred without fanfare or publicity. A bronze tablet was fastened to an interior wall of the pedestal. A poem written in 1883 has become the credo for thousands of immigrants coming to America. The poem, “The New Colossus”, was written by Emma Lazarus in order to bring in donations.
Perhaps the lines we all have heard throughout our lives and now the younger generation will come to hear the lines that remind us who America is and will always be. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe FREE.”
Page 1 of 5