10/21/2013

Unsolved Murders in History







Unfortunately, there are murders every day in this country.  Many of them are solved fairly quickly by law enforcement. Others take longer, much longer.  Still others are never solved.  In the day of DNA, it is still not a slam dunk to solve murders even in today's forensic science world.  Many murders are not solved because the body cannot be identified or the person is missing and presumed murdered. 

Murder is never an easy subject to discuss due to the violent and, yes, repugnant nature of the crime.  Motives of murder range from jealousy to anger to hushing a witness.  So, it is in the best interest of the murderer to hide his or her tracks as best as possible.  Sometimes murders are solved decades past the murder.  Some murders, such as those committed by serial killer, the Zodiac Killer (never identified or caught), are never solved.  One of the murders that was became nationwide headlines, in recent years, was the murder of six-year old JonBenet Ramsey.  Speculation was on the parents initially.  If you click on the link provided, you can read the latest update on that particular murder.  The list below are of some of the more noteworthy and, perhaps, not so noteworthy unsolved murders.
Mary Rogers, who was known as the "Cigar Girl," was murdered in July 28, 1841.  Her body was found in the Hudson River.  At the time, it was a national sensation.  What makes this even more noteworthy, this incident became the inspiration for author Edgar Allen Poe's "The Mystery of Mary Roget."

William Goebel, who was the Governor-elect of Kentucky, was murdered on January 30, 1900.  This was one day before he was to be sworn in as governor of the state of Kentucky.  He is still the only governor to be assassinated.

The Vampire Murder Case of Stockholm, Sweden, as it was called, an unnamed prostitute was found dead on May 4, 1932 with a crushed skull. Police stated someone had drank the victim's blood.

The Black Dahlia aka Elizabeth Short, is one of the most famous murder cases in U.S. history, occurred January 15, 1947 in Los Angeles.  The 22-year old was found greatly mutilated as her body had been cut in half.

Jamestown, Ohio. The Hernandez family has been missing since 1953. After the disappearance of the father and his two children, police officials searched the house finding Mr. Hernandez's wife stored in a cold room below their bedroom. To this day there is no record of the two children, or the father. J. Hernandez is suspected in the murder of his wife, E. Hernandez, and the disappearance of their two children.

 Marilyn Reese Sheppard, wife of Sam Sheppard, attacked and killed in her home in Bay Village, Ohio, United States, on 4 July 1954. Sam Sheppard was later convicted of killing his pregnant wife, but this was overturned in 1966, and he was acquitted in a new trial. He claimed his wife was killed by a bushy-haired man who also attacked him and knocked him unconscious twice. Their son slept through the night, just down the hall from the bedroom in which his mother was murdered. The trial of Sam Sheppard received extensive publicity and was called "carnival atmosphere" by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Sheppard case was a large part of the inspiration for the television series and later movie The Fugitive.

Bob Crane, an American actor best known for the TV series, Hogan's Heroes,  was found bludgeoned to death in Scottsdale, Arizona on June 29, 1978.  Crane supposedly called a friend of his the night before his death to tell him (John Henry Carpenter) that their friendship was over.  Police found blood smears in Carpenter's car that matched the blood type of Bob Crane.  However, no charges were filed at that time.  Carpenter was finally charged in 1994.  However, he was acquitted.  The case is now officially cold.

Karen A. Stiit, a 15 year old high school student was found stabbed over 60 times in the neck and chest on September 5, 1982. Her nude body was found in an alley behind the Honey Bee restaurant in Sunnyvale, California by a delivery driver making a delivery to the Woolworth Garden Center on Wolfe Road and El Camino Real. She was bound by her clothing, though no sexual assault was evident. Her murder remains unsolved.

Rashawn Brazell, disappeared after leaving his home in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York, United States, on the morning of February 14, 2005. His dismembered body parts were later found in garbage bags. America's Most Wanted profiled the case three times, on  September 29 2005,  April 1 2006, and December 9 2006.




10/18/2013

Couple Married 68 Years Killed in Car Crash







In one of the saddest stories I've ever read, a couple married 68 years were killed in a car accident in Spokane, Washington.  Floyd and Margaret Nordhagen were killed when they pulled in front of a pickup truck on a highway north of Spokane.  Apparently, Margaret initially survived the accident as state troopers had to ask her to release her husband's hand.  Yes, they were holding hands when law enforcement responded to the accident.  According to the report, one of their former ranch hands stated that the couple were always holding hands.

He said that Floyd Nordhagen always bragged how pretty his elderly wife was to everyone within earshot.  There was not a great deal of detail to the report.  You have to use your imagination to figure out how old they were.  I'm guessing late 80s or early 90s.  It did state that the Nordhagens had four children, eleven grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.  So, there were be many mourning relatives not to mention dozens of friends who will mourn the passing of this married couple who apparently died earlier this week.  Again, there is not a lot of detail to the report (linked above).

In a day when people are in and out of "relationships," it is wonderful to see that a couple from the "Greatest Generation" believed in marriage.  It is wonderful to see that they believed that marriage vows last a lifetime.  It is only fitting that this couple died together.  Imagine the life of the one left behind after one of them passed on.  It would been a life of hardache and hardship for the survivor of that marriage.  So, God in His infinite wisdom, brought them home together....holding hands.  They were holding hands as they took God's vows and holding hands as they took their last breath together in the wreckage of that accident.  God Bless them both and my sincerest condolences to their family and friends.


10/14/2013

Anti-Bullying Programs Not Working







I read with great dismay an article last week on how Anti-Bullying programs in our public schools are not working. A University of Texas at Arlington criminologist Seokjin Jeong analyzed data collected from 7,000 students from all 50 states. He thought that the data would show the programs are working.  He discovered just how wrong he was.  Mr. Jeong stated that neither intervention or prevention seems to be working. Even more disheartening, according to the study the opposite effect seems to be at play now. 

The Anti-Bullying programs seem to infuriate the "bullies" with whom the program was designed to deal with on a daily basis.  The  anti-bullying videos, shown to students to discourage bullying, are thought to be inadvertently giving new techniques to bullies both in school and in social media such as Facebook.  Some Anti-Bullying programs are actually giving these "bullies" ideas on how to not leave evidence behind that would be traceable back to them.  Jeong further states that the programs should be considered as doing more harm than good now.

As I said in a blog post before (The Bully - The Coward), I was bullied all the way through school until I was in about the eleventh grade.  It was only after I got bigger and was able to defend myself was I able to deal with bullies.  But, a lot of kids (if not most) don't have the luxury of getting bigger to where they can defend themselves.  The kids that get bullied the most are kids that are overweight.  My heart goes out to the child who is obese, not just because of the health problems associated with that. But with the unending bullying and badgering that child must also endure at school.  The fact that the Anti-Bullying programs are thought to now be a failure and, in some instances, are causing even more problems for bullied children leaves me disgusted.  I'm not sure what the answer is now.  I know how I would handle bullies now if I was given the opportunity to do it.  I would find the biggest kid in school (who is not a bully, of course) and tell the bully to bully him or her.  If the bully is the biggest kid in school (which is frequently the case), I would get three of the biggest kids I could find and tell him to bully them now.  No one leaves until a resolution is made one way or another.  Of course, school boards would never allow that to happen.  It is just a frustrating issue that I thought had been resolved for the most part.  Now, schools are back at square one. 


10/11/2013

Sprite: Cure for Hangover?







There was a report last month that gave hope for those that drink a bit too much.  Ok, those that drink way too much.  In any case, the report shows promise.  The report goes on to state that alcohol, in the drink itself, does not cause hangover (which is a surprise to me).  Instead, it is caused by one of the chemical byproducts produced when our bodies metabolize ethanol.
Ethanol is then broken down into acetaldehyde which is thought to cause the effects of the morning enemy known as a hangover.  So, after trying a number of different drinks to inhibit the painful effects of a hangover, scientists discovered that two drinks in particular, Sprite and soda water, increased aldehyde dehydrogenase activity.  In layman's terms that means it significantly lessened the effect of a hangover.  Studies are ongoing and caution is advised to not to go binge drinking with the thought that Sprite will take care of everything in the morning.

Most people always have known that Sprite (or 7-Up) helped with an upset stomach, diarrhea or the flu.  I can remember many times as a child being forced to drink 7-Up or ginger ale when I had a bad cold.  I still keep Sprite or ginger ale on standby during the cold and flu season (which is rapidly coming on us).   I can remember, when I was in the Navy, being told to drink Sprite or 7-Up after one of our all nighters in downtown Naples, Italy.  I honestly don't remember if it helped me or not.  It's been many years ago.  But, if I ever do get a hangover again, I'll remember to try Sprite.  The lemon-limed flavored drink apparently is going to get even more respect now because of this study.  I'm not a heavy drinker by no means.  But, I'll keep a couple cans of Sprite handy just in case. 

10/07/2013

Free Phone Calls and Texts On My Kindle Fire







I really enjoy and love my Kindle Fire.  I mean REALLY enjoy and love my Kindle Fire. It is about three times cheaper than the iPad.  To me, it is just as functional and useful as the iPad I have used from friends in the past.  There are  thousands upon thousands of apps you can use with your Kindle
Fire.  One of the apps I find to be among the most useful and one of high quality is the free Accuweather app. 

It is actually better than their paid app, if you can believe that.  It sounds the alarm of bad weather and is very descriptive, more so than any other weather app I have seen.  But, the best and most beneficial to me, personally, are the magicJack app and the Text Now app.  As you probably have surmised, you get free calls with one and free texting with the other.  I'm sure most have heard of magicJack, the $19.95 a year deal whereby you make all local and long distance calls you want.  A little info on each.

The magicJack app on my Kindle Fire is like a home phone without the added expense of a home phone.  Now, you can get the little device you plug into your router and you can make all the calls you want.  But, magicJack Plus has a similar device where you can use any phone—corded, cordless, portable, DECT and simply plug it into your new phone jack in the new 2014 magicJack Plus which can be plugged into the wall.  But, if you have a Kindle Fire (and I will willing to wager it works with the iPad as well) you don't need anything but the app itself.  I was given my own home phone number, my own voice mail, my own 411 to use.  I simply can't imagine why anyone would buy a home phone today if you have a Kindle Fire, iPad or some such tablet.  You can read more about the magicJack app for the Kindle Fire HERE. The best part, again, it is free. 



Most people have unlimited texting with their cell phone carriers today.  I do also with T-Mobile.  But, that wasn't always the case.  Text Now, as is the case with magicJack, you get your own texting number.  You can text straight from your Kindle Fire.  I do use this app with my Kindle Fire, especially if I'm sitting at a restaurant or some other place with WiFi.  But, you can go straight to their web site, create an account and text from the web site from your home computer if you wish.  It is much easier than texting from my cell phone, or even my Kindle Fire.  The Kindle Fire just makes it more convenient if I'm out and about somewhere.  It's very simple to use.  Only thing, if you text someone from your Text Now, account (this goes with the magicJack account also) make sure you identify yourself to the person you are texting or calling.  A lot of people will ignore the out of state call thinking it is a marketing agent or some kind of political survey.  I know I would ignore it if I did not know who it was.

Just a couple of ideas to save you some money with absolutely no cost to you.  I hope you give both apps a try.  ***This is NOT a paid advertisement for magicJack or Text Now.***


10/04/2013

Regrets About Retirement




 

I have met lots of people who have regretted they retired from the workforce.  I met one former co-worker who squandered his 401k and now is trying to live off Social Security benefits that he took at age 62.  You get reduced benefits at that age in comparison to age 65 (at least for baby boomers such as me).  So, this former co-worker is now selling boiled peanuts to try to make up for blowing all his hard-earned 401k just 3 years after retiring.  That's right, he's selling peanuts and making peanuts as a result.  He hit me up for a loan not long ago.  Of course, I turned him down because there is simply no way he could ever repay me.
 
As a result, he no longer has anything to do with me now.  It is not my fault he doesn't know how to manage money.  This is something he should have thought about long ago.  Anyway, back to the subject....as I have stated before there can be regrets about retiring for several reasons.  Some did not consider the money that will be needed for health issues as you grow older.  Medicare cannot and will not cover all medical expenses.  Thusly, I decided to keep my Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan after retirement.   People think I'm crazy for having two health care insurance plans with BC/BS and Medicare.  But, considering what Obamacare will do to insurance premiums in the future, I am looking like the wily old fox.  Less and less is being covered by Medicare.  BC/BS picks up the remainder of my bills when I go into the hospital like I did for Diverticulitis earlier this year.

There are retirement regrets about everything from loss of companionship of co-workers on a daily basis to boredom.   I've covered some of these regrets in other retirement posts.  But, it seems I hear more and more about regrets of retirement as the years roll by.  In November, I will be retired ten years.  That simply doesn't seem possible to me.  It's too late for me to be really regretful about retirement. You can easily overcome other retirement regrets mentioned such as boredom, lack of companionship and other non-monetary complaints.  The regret about lack of money is not so easily overcome.  Some people have to "un-retire" and get a job to help pay expenses.  That's easier said than done.  It's tough on Senior citizens to find a job in a good economy.  It is far tougher in a bad economy (despite what you may read or hear from the news media).  Do I have regrets? In some ways I can say,  yes, I do.  Financially, I'm doing ok.  But, ten years into my retirement, I admit to boredom.  I do find things to keep myself occupied.  I do and have considered volunteer work in my spare time. But, even that gets old after a period of time.  You start thinking about each big event in your life.  You graduate from high school, college, get a job, get married, and then you retire.  After that, there is only one big event left....and you really don't want to spend much time thinking about that.

There are a lot of people who have regrets about retirement.  I was one of them at one time.  I guess it takes a couple of years to get accustomed to not having a job to go to each day after working for 30-40 years.  If there is any advice I can impart to you about retirement, it is the following;  1.  Set a goal for how much you want to save for retirement.  That is probably the best sage advice I can offer.  There are so many people who regret they did not save enough or even save at all for retirement.  2.  Think about the one thing you have always enjoyed doing and DO IT!   With me, it was my writing.  I finally published that novel I always wanted to do after I retired.  Find something to do that you never get bored of doing.  This is really important.  3. Finally, make sure you are mentally ready for retirement.  Lots of people look forward to retirement.  It's all I ever talked about when I was working every day.  But, be prepared for a life changing event.  Because, essentially, that is what retirement is, a life changing event.  Your life is changed from the everyday grind to a grind of not having to grind it out each day.  Some say they can't wait for that day.  I hope you really mean that.  In fact, make sure you mean that before you retire.  Retirement can be years of enjoyment if you prepared properly.  But, it also can be a life of regrets, about retirement, if you are not prepared.


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