Lights Out Extra: COVID19 Edition. Since we’re all cooped up at home, let me bring a bit of ghost hunting to you! I went out for some fresh air, and visited the fine folks at the Peoria State Hospital. (Don’t worry — I did stay six feet away. They’re all in the cemetery.) Enjoy the “cootie edition” of Lights Out! https://youtu.be/EHCK2Wc3b8I
I’m a librarian, and I’ve been working from home during the coronavirus shutdown. Part of that means processing books (yay!!!). I don’t usually read James Rollins — I have done in the past, but I tend to go more for domestic thrillers rather than action novels. Plus, I really don’t like reading large-print books, as I find there’s not enough material on a page to keep the thread of the story going. But in the box of books that I had to process, I found Rollins’ latest, The Last Odyssey. I’d read most of my library-book stash at this point in the shutdown, so I gave this a go.
I’m glad I did! It’s one of a series (again, not my fave), but I had very little difficulty picking up the nuances between the different characters, even though there were references to previous books. There was a goodly amount of action, and I just skipped over the techy parts (where Rollins got all drooly over weapons and submarines and speedboats). What really drew me in, and what got me interested in the book in the first place, was that the book was an imagination of the travels of Odysseus. I was a Classics major in college, so I happily dorked out to the mythology references.
I was satisfied with the ending, too. The bad guys all separately got what was coming to them. There was even a little bit of redemption, of sorts, for the really reprehensible female bad guy (and I won’t go into it any farther than that, but it was awesome).
All in all, if you like James Rollins in the first place, this is a no-brainer; you should definitely read it. But, even if action thrillers aren’t necessarily your jam, give it a try. There’s history, action, and excellently-drawn characters. I found it really enjoyable.
Robins usually eat worms, but they also have a sweet tooth. They’re particularly fond of pastries, fruitcake, and coconut cake.
Let’s get out of the house and go on a field trip. How does St. Joseph, Missouri sound? Glore Psychiatric Museum is unique. Begun as a simple display for Mental Health Awareness Week in 1966, the museum now has over 10,000 artifacts of life in the St. Joseph State Hospital. And it has ghosts! Join me as we look for them. https://youtu.be/eS4X41FM3MY
Jerry Springer was born in a London Underground station. The trash-talk show host came into the world at Highgate Station on the Northern Line on February 13, 1944, when his mother was sheltering there during a Luftwaffe raid in World War II.
Deep-sea anglerfish — those blobby things with allll the teeth, enough to give Jaws nightmares — have a very interesting way of reproducing. When a male angler finds a female (who, incidentally, is much larger than he is), he latches onto her with those horrifying teeth and doesn’t let go.
As time goes by, the male actually becomes fused to the female. He basically gets absorbed into her body, losing his eyes and all his internal organs … except of course for the testes. The fish need those to make little baby anglerfish. A female anglerfish can support five or six males at a time, so when she’s ready to reproduce, she has her choice of males.
Before Fiorello LaGuardia became a popular mayor of New York City in 1933, he was a judge. One day he presided over the case of a poor man who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed his family.
LaGuardia stated that by law the man should be fined $10. Then he paid the fine himself, adding, “I’m going to fine everyone in this court 50 cents each for living in a town where a man has to steal bread in order to eat.” He had the bailiff collect the fines — and give them to the defendant.
And now for another special edition of Today I Learned … St. Corona is the patron saint of epidemics. She was martyred as a teenager by the Romans, probably in Syria. The Aachen Cathedral in Germany has some of her relics in an ornate gold and ivory shrine. The artistic and religious treasure was scheduled to go on display this summer, but restorers are working on getting it ready to view a little earlier than that. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-germany-saint/german-cathedral-dusts-off-relics-of-st-corona-patron-of-epidemics-idUSKBN21C2PM
It’s time for another episode of Lights Out! If you’re stuck at home, why not enjoy a tour of this haunted museum in St. Joseph, Missouri? St. Joseph is known for two things: the beginning of the Pony Express, and the end of Jesse James. And the Patee House has connections to both of these historical events. Come explore this unique museum, and meet its resident ghost, Henry Corbett. https://youtu.be/-KPW8QBUoWc
The word “quarantine” comes from the Italian “quaranti giorni”, meaning “forty days”. Centuries ago, people coming to Italy by ship had to spend forty days on board in the harbor to make sure they didn’t bring in any plague.
The duration of a yellow light at an intersection is based on the speed limit for that intersection plus .5 seconds. For example: if the speed limit is 35 mph, the yellow light lasts 4.0 seconds. If it’s 50 mph, the light lasts 5.5 seconds.
Kid McCoy was a boxer, the welterweight champion of 1896. Early in his career, he showed a desire to win that was pretty ruthless, even for a boxer. Here’s one of his dick moves: he was fighting a guy who was completely deaf. By the third round, McCoy had figured out that his opponent couldn’t hear the bell. Halfway through the round, McCoy stepped back, acting as though the bell had rung. (It hadn’t.) When the other boxer dropped his fists and turned to go to his corner, McCoy knocked him out.
I love poking around antique stores. There are so many stories there, just waiting to be rediscovered.
And sometimes, you find delightful bits of random weirdness, like this:
The grammar in that second picture is just … painful. But hey, it gets the idea across! Sort of.
There are more libraries in America than there are McDonald’s. And as of 2019, there are more libraries in America than Starbucks. (From Writer’s Digest, September 2019.)
In medieval times, people walked differently. Instead of striking with the heel first, they put the ball of their foot down first to check for debris that would be painful to step on, then brought the heel down. Shoe soles weren’t the sturdiest back then, so they stepped more carefully than we do today.
Here is a lovely little snippet of Lights Out goodness for you. What better way to spend a sunny summer morning than wandering through a peaceful, gorgeous cemetery? Join me as we spend a few pleasant hours at Mount Mora Cemetery in St. Joseph, MO. https://youtu.be/HH_fZ083sfo
On the show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Mr. Rogers always mentioned out loud that he was feeding his fish. Turns out there was a reason for this. A young viewer of the show wrote to him, saying that she was blind, but enjoyed the show nonetheless, and she was wondering how the fish were doing. After that, Rogers made it a point to say out loud that he was feeding the fish.
The average cumulus cloud weighs roughly 1.1 million pounds. (No, I have no idea how they figured that out either.)
Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, required overnight guests at his estate to stay off the lawns in the early morning. The reason? The writer liked to walk around and admire the morning dew on the spiderwebs, and he didn’t want the webs disturbed.
Shaka, the African leader who created the Zulu nation in the 1800s, was of lowly birth. His name translates as “intestinal parasite”.
Welcome back to the virtual campfire! This time we’re going to visit the Sallie House, considered one of the most haunted houses in the country. Is it haunted by the spirit of an innocent young girl? Or is there something much more malevolent here? I learned a harsh lesson with my visit to this place. https://youtu.be/Q9zaRaxAdVM
According to the fossil record, penguins who lived 37 to 40 million years ago weighed 250 pounds and stood six feet tall.
The word PEZ (as in the candy dispenser) comes from the German word for peppermint — PfeffErminZ.