Franken Berry, the Beloved Halloween Cereal, Was Once Medically Found to Cause Pink Poop

Franken Berry, the Beloved Halloween Cereal, Was Once Medically Found to Cause Pink Poop | Food & Think| Smithsonian.

Another interesting Halloween story from Smithsonian. I dimly remember something about this growing up. I thought it was kind-of cool. I mean really? Pink poop? Sounds pretty cool to most kids I think. Parents panic, but what the heck. Maybe that was part of the fun of the whole experience?

PS- they even managed to find videos of the original commercials 😉

The Haunted and the Haunting: Best Places to Visit on Halloween

The Haunted and the Haunting: Best Places to Visit on Halloween | Off the Road| Smithsonian.

Here’s a good article in honor of it being Halloween tonight. 😉

Smithsonian tells about the best places around the world to get your Halloween chills and thrills. Enjoy reading about the Blair Witch Forest, the mummies of Guanajuato, the Capuchin Catacombs, the hotel from The Shining and more.

It would be cool to do some scary stuff on Halloween. I won’t be home til late and will probably miss all the trick or treaters. 😦

The World’s Fastest Failure

The World’s Fastest Failure | Laissez-Faire Bookstore.

Great article by Jeffrey Tucker about Obamacare and why it is such a huge failure (at least a failure if you don’t think Obama was trying to ruin the country on purpose- there are plenty who DO think that and they have some good reasons).

It’s true that this program has degenerated faster than the rest of them. Maybe it’s just because its SO big? Maybe it’s just because people are waking up? Maybe it’s because some people actually understand economics and that Obamacare can NEVER work and they’ve been able to make some progress informing others? Maybe it’s just because government has already taken over so much of the economy already? Maybe it’s just that people are sick and tired of government encroaching on our freedom?

Mr Tucker compares the government to a start-up company which has to compete in the market. He shows why government can NEVER be successful in the markets. It’s just their nature and can’t be avoided. He doesn’t think Obamacare will ever be repealed. Instead it will just collapse eventually under its own weight. I hope not, I hope it will be repealed before it collapses and also takes down the rest of the country (and us) with it. 😦

Its worth reading and thinking about it.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

Flying in to Fourchon

Flying in to Fourchon

I took this from the helicopter on the way in from the Ensco 8501 last hitch. We had just crossed the shoreline on the way in to Fourchon. This was a nice shot of the marshland that goes on for miles. The colors were just gorgeous. My photo doesn’t really do it justice, it’s really hard to get good photos from a helicopter with a point and shoot camera. 😉

Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

Chicago skyline in the evening

Chicago skyline in the evening

I took this from the observation deck of the Hancock Tower in Chicago. I was there for the AWAI Workshop last year.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

Horizon from the beach

Horizon from the beach

I took this on the beach while I was at the International Living conference at the Mayakoba resort near Playa del Carmen Mexico.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

the sun sets over the clouds

the sun sets over the clouds

I took this on the plane while flying home from the travel writing/blogging/photography workshop in Boston. I’ve been having a lot of fun with this blogging stuff since then. 😉

How the Shipping Industry is the Secret Force Driving the World Economy

How the Shipping Industry is the Secret Force Driving the World Economy | Ideas & Innovations | Smithsonian Magazine.

I thought this was pretty good, despite the reservations I have from only seeing this article. It’s an interview with author Rose George about her latest book: Ninety Percent of Everything. She somehow arranged to spend some time sailing around on the container ship Maersk Kendal. I’m going to have to find a copy of this book to read. 🙂

a container ship underway

a container ship underway

She makes a lot of good points. That people who aren’t personally involved with shipping are totally unaware of the industry. That those of us living in ‘first world’ countries don’t know any seafarers personally any more. That the ports have been moved so far away from the cities that most people don’t have any awareness of them anymore. That people on the beach have absolutely no idea what it’s like to be a seafarer.

I do think she got a lot of that correct. She sees how isolating it is out here now. She mentions the lack of communication and that the ships don’t provide internet or phone access to their crews (because of the expense). I do agree that it is an expense. I do not agree that it is an ‘extra’ expense. I don’t think it’s very much to pay a couple of thousand dollars a month when that would be something like 1% of expenses on most ships (if that). Isn’t it worth that for such a HUGE increase in crew morale?

a tank ship underway

a tank ship underway

I don’t really know if she’s right in her assessment of how much or how little sailors have a ‘sense of romanticism’. She mentions that she thinks the captain has more of it then he lets on, that he still secretly loves the sea.

She seems to think that most sailors are only out here for the money. I might agree that most sailors from the poorer parts of the world go to sea for the money. They probably went to sea because it paid better than anything they could find at home.

I would agree that the great majority of seafarers are not in a great position at sea. Some of the conditions sailors work under are just horrible. A lot of shipowners do flag foreign just so they can cut expenses.

They all say that the cost of the crew is their largest expense so they cut it any way they can. They cut the crew size, they lengthen the hitch (2 YEARS or more), they skimp on groceries, they skimp on medical care, they refuse to pay for visas so the crew can’t leave the ship in port, etc.

That’s not even to start on the issue of crew abandonment. Rose George seems to think the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) will help. I’ve seen in the news there have already been 3 ships detained, but I have serious doubts it will actually help the crews.

In spite of conditions like that, I believe most seafarers do still enjoy sailing (at least sometimes). 😉

romanticism of life at sea

romanticism of life at sea

I know I still do. Most of the time. 😉

The Enchanting Sea Monsters on Medieval Maps

The Enchanting Sea Monsters on Medieval Maps | Collage of Arts and Sciences.

Another good one from the Smithsonian this morning. I always thought those old charts were so cool. I really loved the drawings.

Those people really had some great imaginations! 🙂

Where Did the Fear of Poisoned Halloween Candy Come From?

Where Did the Fear of Poisoned Halloween Candy Come From?Smithsonian

I always figured this whole thing of the poisoned candy was some sort of old wives tale. I read this article thinking ‘here’s one more example of how we’ve been scared to death over nothing.’ I was right.

I do remember some scare stories about poisoned Tylenol and bad apples. I seem to remember a pretty big media frenzy over both of those things. I do have to admit that I can’t remember anything specific about poisoned candy or razor blades in apples.

Did all this fear really come about from Dear Abby? WOW! How have we come to let the media manipulate us all like this? I feel sorry for the kids now a days that can’t even enjoy a good time on this holiday without somebody bringing this stuff up. Let them enjoy their treats in peace please.

Reading to the end of the article really makes me wonder about people, WTF are they thinking??? (trying not to give away the story- read it- it’ll get you going!)

Thought For the Day

root of all evil

root of all evil

From Big Foot To Bluto, Gulf Of Mexico Set For Record Oil Supply Surge

From Big Foot To Bluto, Gulf Of Mexico Set For Record Oil Supply Surge | gCaptain

Good news for the Gulf of Mexico. At least that looks like the consensus at the moment. Somehow it seems the predictions never pan out. We go through booms and busts for reasons we never seem to figure out until after the fact.

From my perspective, the GOM does seem to be gearing up for a boom. I see more rigs heading this way, more boats being built, etc. (Check out the photos of the Olympus rig under tow in the link.) I also see more roadblocks for people who want to get into the industry which can’t help since nothing can get done without the trained workers to do the job.

I don’t see the hiring process matching any definition of the reality out here. There are lots of people looking for ways to get into the industry but the companies seem to be intent on isolating themselves behind online applications and never answered phone calls.

One other thing, the price of oil has been dropping lately. I’ve noticed the price for light crude has dropped from around $110/bbl to around $96/bbl in the last couple of months. It’s up slightly now but if it starts dropping off, so will the drilling and so once more the boom will bust.

I’m trying my best to work as much as possible now. 🙂

5 Sky Events This Week: Morning Comets and Solar Eclipse

5 Sky Events This Week: Morning Comets and Solar Eclipse – News Watch.

If I was still working as planned, I would be sure to see the (partial) solar eclipse. Nowhere better to see one than while at sea. 🙂

If you’re somewhere where you have clear, dark skies, this should be an interesting week for skywatching. Comet ISON will be visible in the constellation Leo from November 1. The Zodiacal Lights will be visible from November 2 for about 2 weeks. Then the solar eclipse on the 3rd.

For readers in Africa, you will be able to see a total eclipse! Be sure to use good shades. 😉

Texas Beach Cleanup: Update

Following up on my earlier ( post about the Texas Beach Cleanup last month, I was able to find the results of our efforts online this morning.

Stahlman Park, Fall Beach Cleanup 2013

Stahlman Park, Fall Beach Cleanup 2013

At Surfside Beach, (which was where I went-along with a few friends), they had 1200 (!!) volunteers who cleaned up 13.35 tons of trash over 14 miles of beach! WOW! What a great turnout for a day that wasn’t expected to be nice weather wise. It was fairly windy and it actually did rain a bit after noon. And remember, Surfside Beach only has about 450 full time residents.

Houston Zoomers came down to help out

Houston Zoomers came down to help out

The great bunch of SaveOurBeachAssociation ( volunteers manned the home front at Stahlman Park and provided plenty of (FREE!!) hot dogs, chips and cold drinks to the hordes of cleanup crews. They served over 1800 volunteers around Brazoria County that day!! Here’s a big Thank You to S.O.B.A.!! 🙂

SOBA volunteers serving up the cleanup crews at the 2013 fall cleanup

SOBA volunteers serving up the cleanup crews at the 2013 fall cleanup

Quintana Beach had another 174 volunteers who cleaned up 2 miles of beach and found 2.32 tons of ‘marine debris’. Yeah!!

I was not prepared to see bus after bus unloading at Stahlman Park and along the beach. People came from all over the area: representatives from Houston, Galveston and even further away. It was great to see so many people out and about, helping out. School kids in uniforms, church groups, civics clubs, sports teams…Young and old, all colors, all types, from prim and proper to young punks to grizzly old fishermen.

Bus unloads helpers at Surfside Beach

Bus unloads helpers at Surfside Beach

I didn’t really understand until I got there and started wandering the beach how the data would be gathered. It was a little harder than expected to keep track of every piece of garbage we found, from cigarette butts, bottle caps, plastic and glass bottles (none with messages inside), plastic bags, soda cans, plastic cutlery and tiny pieces of unrecognizable plastic to dead fish, old tires, fishing line, floats, escaped balloons, etc. The organizers gave us tally cards along with our collection bags. Great job everyone!

Assigned search areas for Surfside Beach 2013

Assigned search areas for Surfside Beach 2013

You can see the results for all of Texas here…

And if you want to help out with the next one, you can find more information on that here:

Worldwide, the place to go is:

I had a lot of fun at this event. It was a wonderful way to get out of the house, play on the beach, enjoy the natural world, learn something new, have a good time with friends old and new. I hope I’ll be able to make the next one. I didn’t know it until I looked it up for this post, but there are at least 3 more cleanups in Texas coming up before the main one in Spring (April 26, 2014).

Just curious, but did anybody make it to one of these events where you live?

Surfside Beach 2013 Fall Cleanup

Surfside Beach 2013 Fall Cleanup

Gary Johnson at Stop Watching Me Rally

Gary Johnson speaks at the Stop Watching Me Rally last Saturday. I wish I could have been there. Gary Johnson should have had the chance to speak during the last Presidential campaign, but like Ron Paul, he was shut out by the mainstream media and their bosses in the Democrat and Republican parties(y). Too bad. He has  lot of GOOD ideas. Listen for yourself…

Filthy-Minded Teenager

Filthy-Minded Teenager | OnEarth Magazine.

This sure sounds like a great idea. It looks feasible. It’s great to hear about kids coming up with such new and interesting ideas. We sure can use all the help we can get on coming up with practical solutions to all the problems we have (mostly self inflicted).

A comment below the article (, leads to another really great article about the issue of plastic polluting the oceans.

So this might not really be a solution after all. Maybe at least its a starting point. So far, I haven’t heard (but Stiv Wilson has) of anybody else coming up with anything to try to get rid of all that crap floating around out there in the middle of the ocean and washing up on our beaches. 😦

Read both articles for a good idea of what’s really happening out there.

14 Halloween Cocktail Recipes

14 Halloween Cocktail Recipes : Decorating : Home & Garden Television.

It looks like I’m going to miss all the Halloween parties this year (again). Here are some scary looking Halloween treats for the grown ups to enjoy while the kids are out hunting for candy. 😉

Instead of the usual Zombies in celebration of Halloween, I’d like to try some of that Pumpkin Spice Halloween Punch or maybe try a Liquefied Ghost or a Vampire, after a few of those I might be ready for some Bloody Brain Shooters (braaaaiiiinnnss)!

Save me some!! 🙂

OSV Crew in Africa Performs Toto’s “Africa”

WATCH: OSV Crew in Africa Performs Toto’s “Africa” in Viral Video | gCaptain

Great job by the crew of the Bourbon Peridot!

Working in Africa is one of the most dangerous places in the world for working seafarers. At least these guys still have a sense of humor. 🙂

It’s nice to see there are some places in the world where we can still enjoy doing our jobs. It’s encouraging to think that there is still some hope to find a shipboard job where its not all about the ISM, IMO, SMS, USCG, BSEE, and all the other alphabet soup that organizes our every move.

In the USA, the lawyers and accountants have taken all the fun out of the job. We would NEVER be allowed to do something like this here anymore. I see ‘no horseplay’ posted on almost every vessel now and the companies here do take that very seriously.

Someone would be hounding these guys about their JSA, and where the heck is their PPE? Gloves, safety glasses (with side shields), steel toes, long sleeved fire-resistant clothing, ear plugs, hardhats, etc. No one is allowed out the door here without all that on! 😦

And OMG!!! He had a KNIFE! Not an alternative cutting device! He would be fired immediately! Sailors without knives are like birds without feathers. A necessary part of our garb has been stripped away from us. A safety item has been declared ‘too risky’ for us to use!! What total BS!!

No wonder most sailors who have been anywhere other than the USA are so desperate to get away from this place again and will work pretty much ANYWHERE else. Personally, I am willing to take quite a pay cut in order to enjoy my job again. Too bad that’s what they’ve done to this place. 😦

Hey, anybody over there need a good DPO??? I’m available any time. 😉

The Phony ‘Fight’ And The Real Story

The Phony ‘Fight’ And The Real Story : Personal Liberty™.

Another good article from Bob Livingston and Personal Liberty. This one is discussing the events of the last few weeks, the fight over the budget and Obamacare. The scare tactic to ‘shutdown’ the government, as if that is a bad thing we would never want. As usual, the politicians caved in for bigger government, more money and more power for them. 😦

I agree completely with Bob on the idea that there is really only ONE party in this country. We might as well just call it the ‘statist’ party since every piece of it (every so called ‘independent’ party), whatever it’s called, is for BIG government.

As the latest vote in congress just proved once more, BOTH the Democrats AND Republicans are for BIG government and completely against the limited government this country is supposed to have according to our Constitution and all the rest of our founding documents!

ALL of those politicians are breaking their oaths of office to uphold the Constitution. EVERY ONE OF THEM, FROM BOTH PARTIES! The Libertarians are the ONLY political party (unless there is an anarchist party I’m not aware of) who is NOT statist and is for the limited government our Constitution calls for.

The latest ‘shutdown’ was just one more farce. The latest show put on for us by ‘our’ leaders to trick us into giving up even more of our power to them. 😦 I just keep wondering just WHAT is it going to take to get the American people to wake up? To put a stop to this?

I managed to piss off a good friend of mine tonight. He’s a die hard Obama fan and just couldn’t take any more of my ‘ranting’ about how Obama (and all of our previous ‘leaders’ for the last few decades) has been ruining this country.

Well, sorry to him and anybody else who can’t/won’t see the truth. I’m no Tom Paine, but I think the more people put it out there (shout out for freedom/liberty), the more people will come to their senses.


I’m thankful to all the other people in this country and around the world who are fighting for Liberty. In any way. Thanks to the Libertarian Party, to all the small L libertarians, to the Free State Project, to the Advocates for Self Government, to the International Society for Individual Liberty, to the Young Americans for Liberty, for Ron Paul and all his supporters, for the ACLU, for the Gun Owners of America, for the Institute for Justice, for ALL the people fighting AGAINST statism and FOR liberty!

I’m thankful to WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and any other platform I have to spread the word. To get MY voice heard, out there to compete against the mainstream media who keeps on NOT doing their jobs. Dianne Feinstein can go to hell! Here’s to me and the rest of the (‘non-journalist’) bloggers out there!

Keep up the good work!! 🙂


Obama vs Nixon…

Hard to believe he still hasn’t been charged with anything, he’s done a hell of a lot more to hurt this country then Nixon ever even thought of. He swore an oath to uphold the Constitution (or he SHOULD have) and he has done nothing since he’s been in office but work to destroy it. 😦

He should have been MORE than impeached over this illegal spying. Don’t even try to tell me he didn’t know about it. He knew. Therefore he was complicit. As the leader of the Executive Branch, he was ultimately responsible. Since he was a ‘constitutional law professor’, he KNEW every bit of every one of those programs was unconstitutional (and so illegal) and it was HIS duty to destroy ALL of them! Period!!

Instead, he chose to destroy the constitution. He should be drug out of the White House on his ass, tarred and feathered and then thrown in a (regular) prison for the rest of his life! And yes, Bush should have had the same treatment for Iraq and the PATRIOT ACT. (But Obama has done NOTHING to get rid of that horrible ‘law’, and our people are STILL in Iraq and Obama could have brought ALL of them home years ago!)

I can’t think of ANY other reason he’s still in office and has evaded the trouble that even Clinton had except that Obama is ‘black’. Yeah, I know, I’m going to be accused of racism. Well, accuse away…

I know I’m not a racist and that anyone who brings that up is only doing it because they have nothing else to say. They have NO rational argument to make, so they start calling names. All those high hopes for our first black president from so many people. Obama has sure given the shaft to the next few dozen blacks who might want to run. It’ll take a LONG time to get rid of his ‘legacy’. I only hope this country can survive the rest of his term. 😦

I am SO sad to see what has become of my once great country. ALL of our presidents for the last few decades (at least) have been working overtime to destroy that history but Obama is the one in there now and he needs to GO before he’s allowed to do any more damage!