Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday Morning Edition - 2456745

Happy Saturday!  Today's been an interesting trip out on The Cyber Highway.  It seems like I have spent forever roaming El Net this morning.  Many of the Fun Stuff we've found just isn't appropriate for a typical Morning Edition...stuff like a giant model train show in London...stuff like the hottest new surfing spot in Portugal...and much more such stuff.

Luckily, the choice of today's lead item was easy.  It's all about know, like the ones people used to write with pens and pencils and typewriters.  Letters long ago went the way of the dinosaur...but WAIT!  They're baack!  Yes, Letters have been in the media stream lately because of a guy who started up a company to help people write letters with iPhones and computers.

First--a factoid:

"The post office says the average American home receives only one personal letter about every two months."

Here's the linage of how we found this story.  It was featured as one of the Top 4 Stories in today's Idaho Falls "Post-Register."  Naturally, that story sits behind an Iron Pay Wall.  So, we went to the source of the story in Connecticut.  And here it is:

So, here's the actual website for the company:

And here's some more background from Wiki:

Anyway, we were roaming El Net looking for a fun foto to accompany this item.  That's when we stumbled into this sweet "bonus" article linked below.  It's about a woman who writes about 60 real handwritten letters each week. Truly, this woman is practicing a genuine Lost Art.

Maggie's Mom, Flo.
After posting this Morning Edition, we rececived this Heart Warming note on Facebook from Dear Friend and LDR Maggie J. "At 91, my mom continues to write letters every day along with sending cards to commemorate special occasions for many. She has a box with dividers by month so as not to miss a birthday or anniversary with cards waiting for the date to draw near, a penciled date in the upper right hand corner of the envelope where a stamp will be placed prior to mailing. Her request for a birthday or Christmas gift is " just give me stamps!"

"When she is here during the summer, she has a section of the dining room table that is her spot to write letters to her nieces, sister, friends from years gone by and still walks out to the mailbox daily. She also then receives many letters back in reciprocation. We don't know who will keep the family news distributed to us children." THANKS, Maggie!
Ok, now this story took me on a really long and winding road.  Heck, I could still be traveling that long and winding road but I had to call it quits.  So what was the road?  The Bullshipper Road, that's what.

First, we found this great article in the Missoula, Montana, newspaper about some people who want to create a sanctuary for wild horses.

So, naturally, we became curious about the little fly speck of a town called Drummond on I-90 between Missoula and Helena.  There might be 300 people who call Drummond home....and there might not.  Anywa

"Cattle ranching is vital to this area, and Drummond's location near the railroad tracks resulted in the appropriate town motto of "World Famous Bullshippers"

My, my, Bullshippers, eh?  And that's when we turned off on The Bullshipper Road. You simply can't believe how long and far afield you can travel on The Bullshipper Road. It will takes you places you never thought you'd go.

Meanwhile, back in Drummond, we were reading this quaint little ditty about the place and came up this snippet.  It's not often we truly laugh out loud but this one (in bold) really tickled our funny bone.

"A typical excursion down Front Street could include ranchers discussing the weather, hay crops, or calving. You might even see cattle being driven to market, or there may be no traffic at all."

Yep, you know you're in Montana when "there may be no traffic at all."

Meanwhile, we came upon some great lyrics to a Bullshipper song.  Here's just a small snippet:

"We're the bullshippers big bullshippers
a haulin' them ol' bulls across the land
We're the bullshippers big bullshippers
bullshippin' truck drivin' men."
Meanwhile, The Bullshipper Road took us up to a truly obscure place in Minnesota where The Bullshippers meet every morning...and have been doing so for a couple of generations or more.  This sort of story reminds us a lot of Garrison Keillor's stuff.  Charles Kuralt surely would have loved this story, too.  It's a slice of Americana that plays itself out every morning all cross America.  The actual story is about the Wagon Wheel Cafe.  The Bullshipper slideshow is a very endearing glimpse of a time-honored American tradition.

Luckily, we were able to tear ourselves away from The Bullshipper Road.

Meanwhile, near Oakley, Idaho--The Ice Phantom Haunts The South Hills!
And what's a self-respecting Saturday without at least one Animal Story?
Oddly, there was a story in the Idaho falls newspaper about zombies.  Now we've all heard the term "must have been no news that day" for times when odd and strange things show in newspapers.  That was our first thought when we saw the headline: "Study says Idaho well-prepared for zombie apocalypse."

No kidding, that headline is front and center in today's "The Post-Register."  You can see it for yourself right here:

Well, naturally, that meant we had to go looking for this so-called, purported "study."  And here ya'll go:

Believe it or not, this so-called, purported study must have been so totally and overwhelmingly intriguing to the editors of "The Post-Register" that they actually assigned a real, honest-to-gosh Reporter to go out and find a "local angle" to the story.  Can you imagine a perplexed, young Reporter trying to figure out who to interview for the article?

In our imagination, we see multiple variations of this scenario:

Reporter Makes phone call.

"Hello, this is Lois Lane from "The Daily Planet," and I am looking to interview a Zombie Hunter.  Do you know one I could talk to?"

Person on other end of line:

"Please hold while I talk to my supervisor..."

Anyway, here's the actual full article from this morning Idaho Falls daily newspaper.

IDAHO: Where zombies go to die

Study says Idaho well-prepared for zombie apocalypse

(Copyright 2014 by "The Post-Register"  All Rights Reserved.  Used With Permission.)

REXBURG -- When the undead flood the streets, stumble up your stairs and scratch against your door, will you be ready to fight back?
If you are an Idaho resident you should fare relatively well, according to
Estately, an online real estate index, released a "study" Monday ranking each state on its residents' chances of surviving the zombie apocalypse. The study ranked the states in 11 categories, including zombie knowledge, survival skills and obesity. Idaho was rated as the fourth most-prepared state behind Alaska, Wyoming and Colorado.
"Idahoans are physically active, heavily armed and are hard to catch because they're oddly really into parkour," the study said.
Madison County Sheriff Roy Klingler said Estately underestimated the Gem State.
"I believe the study got it wrong because Idaho would be No. 1," Klingler said, chuckling.
While Klingler doesn't actually believe in zombies, he said Idaho, and specifically Madison County, would turn zombies into Swiss cheese.
"Madison County probably has more armed residents than anywhere," he said. "If you watch the darn TV, you know you gotta shoot the dang things. Most of our people know how to use weapons. I don't think we would have to worry too much."
A large portion of residents in Madison County, and throughout eastern Idaho, are Mormons whose cultural traits could help them survive a zombie attack. Max Brooks, the New York Times bestselling author of "The Zombie Survival Guide" and "World War Z," recommends "closely cropped hair" to prevent zombies from grabbing would-be victims by the hair.
The Brigham Young University-Idaho honor code states that men's "hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extreme styles or colors, and trimmed above the collar leaving the ear uncovered." Nearly 60 percent of Rexburg's 25,732 residents are BYU-Idaho students.
Brooks also recommends preparing to outlast a siege by stocking up with plenty of canned foods and water. It's a standard Mormon practice to store food in case of major disaster.
The region's physically active population also is a plus. In a nationwide annual study, conducted by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, four of Idaho's 10 healthiest counties were in eastern Idaho with Madison County at No. 1. The study was released Wednesday.
Another factor working in Idaho's favor is its residents' enthusiasm for laser tag. Idaho ranked third nationally for laser tag, behind Utah and Wisconsin. The Craze Fun Zone in Rexburg boasts a 4,000-square-foot laser tag arena, which according to its website, is one of the state's largest.
Ryan Nickum, blogger for Estately and the study's author, said Idaho's abundance of avid laser tag players works in its favor.
"Laser tag skills are probably better in a shoot out with zombies in close proximity," he said. "If a zombie tries to take over your office building, I think a laser tag enthusiast would have a better chance at surviving than a hunter."
Tony Potter, regional zombie expert and English professor at BYU-Idaho, also believes Idahoans are well-suited to survive a zombie raid, but not because of guns.
Idahoans may be well-armed, but they would need survival skills to stay alive, he said. Estately ranked Idaho fourth in survival skills. Potter said the state's geography would work in favor of those trying to escape the undead.
For Potter, the idea of zombies always has been intriguing. But it wasn't until recently that he decided he would rather take matters into his own hands than rest his fate on the trigger of an AR-15.
"Despite all of my talk and knowledge, I couldn't actually survive a zombie apocalypse," Potter said. "I don't have the skills to do that."
Potter wanted to learn how to survive, so he did some research and started so others could learn with him.
Rather than gathering food for storage and buying pre-made zombie survival kits online, Potter started at the beginning. One of the first things he decided was that while guns and axes seem cool, a crowbar was the most versatile tool for survival.
"When I hold the crowbar, it instills confidence in me," he said. "It feels incredible. Just holding a crowbar while going on a hike, it makes you feel more prepared."
Potter practiced wielding his crowbar. Then he bought a large knife and attached it to a stick to make a spear. He also practiced starting fires and digging holes to strengthen seldom-used muscles. (Brooks advises burning or burying all corpses zombie and human to reduce the bacteria hazard caused by rotting flesh.) He incorporated all of these activities into his daily life as to make them second nature in case of an emergency.
"I am confident in my ability to kill zombies, but a few months ago I realized that confidence was displaced," he said. "So for me, I want to be prepared. I don't know what that means, so I'm discovering it."
Reporter Aubrey Wieber can be reached at 542-6755.
Tony Potter's top five zombie survival tips
Regional zombie expert Tony Potter started prepping for the zombie apocalypse with the basics. These are his top five suggestions to survive the undead. For more information, go to
1. Buy a pocket knife.
Potter said this is the most important tool in the fight against zombies because it's compact and versatile. A pocket knife is also quickly attached to a stick to make a spear that could be used for killing zombies or hunting dinner. Potter uses a Kershaw folding knife.
2. Buy a 30-inch crowbar
"It can apparently crush a skull in a single blow, as well as offer some decent stabbing action. It is also, however, a pretty universal breaking-into-stuff tool," Potter states on his website.
3. Keep paracord with you.
To make it more compact, Potter weaves the paracord into bracelets. He also attaches a compass and whistle to the bracelets. Potter said he could use paracord for unlimited number of tasks, including making snares to catch animals and attaching knives to sticks for spears. He said he has also pulled apart the nylon fibers to floss his teeth and sew buttons onto his shirt.
4. Buy a large fixed-blade knife.
This is Potter's zombie-killing knife. Enough said.
5. Learn to make a fire quickly.
This creates warmth, a sense of comfort and cooks food -- all critical for survival in a zombie apocalypse. Potter carries around cotton balls soaked in Vaseline. He said the balls will stay lit for a full minute and can be quickly ignited in heavy wind with a piece of flint and a striker.

Regional zombie expert Tony Potter, right, tests starting a fire in adverse weather conditions using a Vaseline-soaked cotton ball and a flint and striker while his son Keegan, 7, watches Friday at Beaver Dick Park in Rexburg. Potter and his son regularly practice zombie survival techniques such as making weapons, starting fires and melee combat. Keegan is reacting to having cut his hand with a knife while preparing twigs for the fire.  Photo by Pat Suthpin.

Lastly, we have two techie articles.  If you're not into techie stuff, just stop right here and call it a day.

Whoever thinks up this stuff is WAY, WAY OUT THERE!

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