Friday, November 30, 2018


You know that Sasquatch is definitely/maybe/probably not out there.  But really, that just barely scratches the surface of mythical, magical, and just plain marvelous animals alleged to live in the United States. American cryptids run the gamut from goat-headed demons to birds big enough to block the sun. If you don't want to embark on yet another Bigfoot hunt, why not check your part of the country on the list below and see what else is lurking in your neck of the woods?
The Jersey Devil

Pine Barrens, New Jersey: One of the best-known cryptids in the country after ol' Squatchy, the Jersey Devil has been terrorizing southern Jersey since 1735, if the stories are to be believed. That was the year that a woman known as Mother Leeds uttered a fateful curse upon becoming pregnant for the 13th time: “Let this one be a devil!!”  After being born, the child transformed into a massive, two-legged creature with huge bat wings, heavy horse-like hooves, and the head of a goat. One of the very first sightings was in 1812 by Joseph Bonaparte — the brother of Napoleon — who followed a set of hoof prints into the woods and allegedly came face-to-face with the hissing creature. There have been sightings consistently since then, including a staggering 1,000 in the year 1909 alone, and the moist recent one coming in around 2015.

Burlington, Vermont: The U.S. has more than its fair share of lake monsters, just like Scotland's Loch Ness Monster. Champ is the name of the plesiosaur/sea serpent/monster-shaped bundle of sticks that haunts Lake Champlain in Vermont. He's been a part of the landscape for quite some time: Even P.T. Barnum once attempted to capture the creature. In most depictions, Champ is your classic lake monster: long neck, egg-shaped body, four paddles & a short tail. And that's how he looks in most of the photos and videos, too. Yes, there's no shortage of Champ pics, as long as you're willing to squint a bit. But two pieces of documentation deserve extra attention. In 1977, a woman named Sandra Mansi took the best known photo of the beast, and in 2005, a pair of New York fishermen took footage of ...something with a long, snake-like neck following behind their boat.
Pope Lick Monster

Pope Lick Creek, Kentucky: Sort of like the Jersey Devil, the Pope Lick monster is a human-animal hybrid with a distinctly demonic appearance. It appears in only one place: the trestle bridge over Pope Lick Creek on the Norfolk Southern Railway. It's a dangerous place to go monster hunting, and not because of the tall, goat-headed creature that's out to get you. See, the train tracks are still in use, and in fact, the Pope Lick monster is said to imitate human voices in order to lure victims in front of oncoming locomotives. Whether the monster is real or not, it's the only one on this list that is verifiably responsible for the deaths of monster hunters.

Skunk Ape

Ochopee, Florida: Did you know that Bigfoot has a cousin? In fact, there are about 50 different flavors of Sasquatch: one for each state. But the skunk ape stands out among them as the one with the most fanatical following. Just head on down to the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters in Ochopee if you don't believe it. As you might guess, this ape has a whole lot in common with its more northern relative. The big difference? Its rancid odor.
Loveland Frog Men

Loveland, Ohio: The first two sightings of these giant, bipedal frogs happened in March 1972 — and both incidents were witnessed by police officers. Officer Ray Shockey and Officer Mark Matthews both described a creature that was 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall, with textured, leathery skin and the face of a lizard or frog. Shockey saw his first on March 3, and Matthews' frog was spotted playing dead in the street on St. Patrick's Day a couple weeks later. In 2016, some men may have spotted the descendant of those frogs — right down to the giant eyes reflecting the light of the flash in the photo they took.

The Beast of Busco

Churubusco, Indiana: We probably shouldn't play favorites, but of all the creatures on this list, we believe in the Beast of Busco the most. That's because it's a real animal — just a weird one. In 1898, a farmer named Oscar Fulk spotted an incredible beast on his property: an alligator snapping turtle of monstrous proportions. The story died down for about 50 years, but in 1949, the property's new owner was at the center of renewed interest.  Gale Harris said he saw the beast on his land, but when a pair of Churubusco fishermen on Lake Fulk said they saw it too, it kicked off a massive search. They actually drained the lake in hopes of finding the turtle, but to no avail. Still, who can say for sure that the beast didn't just give them the slip?


Chicago, Illinois: The original Mothman terrorized West Virginia in the '60s (and was the subject of a 2002 movie), but if recent stories are to be believed, a new Mothman is on the loose in the Windy City. In 2017, there were no fewer than 55 sightings of a large winged humanoid swooping over the city streets. If it really is the same creature, or the same type of creature, then Chicagoans should watch out. Its first appearance in 1966 was said to have brought about an infamous 1967 bridge collapse.


Huachuca Desert, Arizona: Thunderbirds are enormous birds of prey with wingspans measuring anywhere from 10 to 60 feet (3 to 18 meters), depending on who tells the story. With wings like that, you'd expect to see reports of them from all over the country. And in fact, that's exactly what you'll find. The thunderbird plays a major role in many Native American traditions, sometimes acting as a protector of the upper realms and sometimes acting as an arbiter of justice for misbehaving humans. But the thunderbirds of Arizona get a special call-out since they're the ones that were cited in an 1890 newspaper article titled "A Strange Winged Monster Discovered and Killed on the Huachuca Desert."

Shunka Warak'in

Denton, Montana: Like the Busco Beast, Shunka Warak'in most closely resembles a massive version of a known animal. Legends of an enormous, wolf-like creature that haunts the Rockies date back several centuries, and its name in Ioway means roughly "Thing that carries dogs away in its mouth." It's described as being similar but not identical to a wolf, and many witnesses describe a hyena-esque appearance. Shunka Warak'in has one more thing common with the Beast: There could easily be a grain of truth to its legend. We may even have two specimens on hand already. One is a taxidermied mount of a creature killed in 1886, and the other is a recently discovered corpse that some scientists have been unwilling to confirm as a full-bred wolf.


Mount St. Helens, Washington: Sometimes, you don't need a lot of verifiable evidence. Sometimes, you don't need a spooky story. Sometimes, all you need is a name: Batsquatch. You can probably already picture it: a giant, ape-like body, a grotesque, bat-like face, and a pair of enormous membraned wings. Allegedly, it was spotted first right before the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, but that's not important. What's important is Batsquatch. Batsquatch!!
(curiosity.com/Reuben Westmaas)


Wednesday, November 28, 2018


This was sent to me by my friend Shirley:

Auto repair shops will go away.

A gasoline engine has 20,000 individual parts. An electrical motor has 20. Electric cars are sold with lifetime guarantees and are only repaired by dealers. It takes only 10 minutes to remove and replace an electric motor. Faulty electric motors are not repaired in the dealership but are sent to a regional repair shop that repairs them with robots. Your electric motor malfunction light goes on, so you drive up to what looks like a Jiffy-auto wash, and your car is towed through while you have a cup of coffee and out comes your car with a new electric motor!

Gas stations will go away. Parking meters will be replaced by meters that dispense electricity.  Companies will install electrical recharging stations; in fact, they’ve already started. You can find them at select Dunkin' Donuts locations.

Most (the smart) major auto manufacturers have already designated money to start building new plants that only build electric cars.

Coal industries will go away. Gasoline/oil companies will go away.  Drilling for oil will stop. So say goodbye to OPEC!

Homes will produce and store more electrical energy during the day and then they use and will sell it back to the grid. The grid stores it and dispenses it to industries that are high electricity users. Has anybody seen the Tesla roof?

A baby of today will only see personal cars in museums.

The FUTURE is approaching faster than most of us can handle.

In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt. Who would have thought of that ever happening?

What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next  5-10 years and, most people don't see it coming.

Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later, you would never take pictures on  film again? With today’s smart phones, who even has a camera these days?

Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had  10,000 pixels, but followed Moore's law.  So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a time, before it became way superior and became mainstream in only a few short years. It will now happen again (but much faster) with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs.

Forget the book, “Future Shock”, welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Software has disrupted and will continue to disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.

UBER is just a software tool, they don't own any cars, and are now  the biggest taxi company in the world!
Ask any taxi driver if they saw that coming.

Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don't own any properties.
Ask Hilton Hotels if they saw that coming.

Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world.
This year, a computer beat the best Go-player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected.

In the USA, young lawyers already don't get jobs. Because of  IBM's Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for right now, the basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. So, if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90% fewer lawyers in the future, (what a thought!) only omniscient specialists will remain.

Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, its 4 times more accurate than human nurses.

Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars are already here. In the next 2 years, the entire industry will start to be disrupted. You won't want to own a car anymore as you will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it you will only pay for the driven distance and you can be productive while driving. The very young children of today will never get a driver's license and will never own a car.

This will change our cities, because we will need 90-95% fewer cars. We can transform former parking spaces into parks.

1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide including distracted or drunk driving. We now have one accident every 60,000 miles; with autonomous driving that will drop to 1 accident in 6 million miles. That will save a million lives plus worldwide each year.

Most traditional car companies will doubtless become bankrupt. Traditional car companies will try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels.

Look at what Volvo is doing right now; no more internal combustions engines in their vehicles starting this year with the 2019 models, using all electric or hybrid only, with the intent of phasing out hybrid models.

Many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; are completely terrified of Tesla and so they should be. Look at all the companies offering all electric vehicles. That was unheard of, only a few years ago.

Insurance companies will have massive trouble because, without accidents, the costs will become cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.

Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move farther away to live in a more beautiful or affordable neighborhood.

Electric cars will become mainstream about 2030. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity.
Cities will have much cleaner air as well. (Can we start in Los Angeles, please?)

Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean.

Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can now see the burgeoning impact.
And it’s just getting ramped up.

Fossil energy companies are desperately trying to limit access to the grid to prevent competition from home solar installations, but that simply cannot continue - technology will take care of that strategy.

Health: The Tricorder X price will be announced this year. There are companies who will build a medical device (called the "Tricorder" from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample and you breath into it.  It then analyses 54 bio-markers that will identify nearly any Disease. There are dozens of phone apps out there right now for health purposes.

WELCOME TO TOMORROW – it actually arrived a few years ago.



Monday, November 26, 2018


I have a great appreciation of bees.  They work hard to make honey.  They pollinate many of our crops.  We probably wouldn't have enough to eat if it weren't for bees.  We certainly wouldn't have as much variety in our diets.  What I don't appreciate is having fifty or so dead bees on my front porch every evening, which we've had for a couple of weeks!!

I told my exterminator about them & he sprayed the porch--twice.  Like moths, they were attracted to my porch light.  He said we didn't have a new hive & they must have come from my neighbor Richard's trees.  Richard didn't have a regular exterminator but he called one out.  They found a hive in the eaves over his garage & removed it.  He said we might have a few bees for a couple of days but we didn't; they were all gone!!  The exterminator explained, "The bee goes out to work.  After work, he stops for some beer & gets a buzz on.  Then he flies home & says, 'Holy shit, my house is gone!!' & he leaves."

A poem from my husband's childhood:

The bee is such a busy soul,
He has no time for birth control.
That is why, in times like these,
There are so many sons of b's!!