Friday, February 17, 2012

Gulf, Anyone?

Thought for the day:  Arizona has a town named Why. Mississippi responds with a town named ...   Why Not. 

It's hard to separate Mississippi from the mighty Old Man River of the same name. Unless you're like that intellectually impaired beauty contestant who, when asked to spell Mississippi, screwed up her face in concentration before asking, "The state or the river?"

Just a couple quick tidbits before going on to the pictures. Didja know root beer has its ... uh... root in Mississippi? Yup. It was invented there in 1898 by Edward Barq. And didja know there's an International Checkers Hall of Fame? Me neither. But there is, and it's located in Petal, Mississippi, where they actually hold international competitions. Son of a gun. Guess there must be a lot more to the game than I ever thought.

Okay, picture time.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is one of the South's most popular seashore resort areas. It stretches twenty-six miles, from Biloxi to Henderson Point, averaging two hundred feet in width, making it the longest and largest man-made beach in the world. Natch, all that water means lots of fresh seafood, too. And if you get tired of the sand, sun, and seafood, there's plenty of Las Vega style casinos there that are only too happy to separate you from your dirty ol' money.

Edwards, Mississippi is home to the world's only cactus plantation. Cactus? Not exactly the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about a plantation, either, but what can I say? They feature more than 3000 varieties.

 Jackson's Thalia Hall hosts international Olympics-like ballet competitions. Only four cities in the world were sanctioned by the International Theater and Dance Committee to host these high-level competitions: Varna, Bulgaria; Moscow, Russia; Tokyo, Japan; and good ol' Jackson, Mississippi.

Old Spanish Fort, located in Pascagoula and built between 1715 and 1726, is now a museum. The world's largest shrimp is also supposed to be located there, but darned if I could find a picture of it anywhere. Maybe they turned it into the world's largest shrimp cocktail.

This is the grave marker for Captain Isaac Ross, located on his old plantation in Lorman. In 1834, he freed his 200 slaves, and in his will, arranged for his plantation to be liquidated, and the money used to send them to the new African country of Liberia. Although his family contested the will, in the end, his wishes were fulfilled. On his gravestone are the words His last will is graced with as magnificent provisions as any over which philanthropy has ever rejoiced and by it will be erected on the shores of Africa a monument more glorious than marble and more enduring than time. Guess what the former slaves called their new place in Liberia? Mississippi. And there, they built mansions like the ones they'd left behind in the United States. The plantation in Lorman, although in various stages of ruins, was purchased last fall, with the intentions of rebuilding and restoring it to its original splendor.

Fittingly, the B.B. King Museum can be found in the town where he was born: Indianola. The museum is straight ahead in the picture, and the building to the right is an old cotton mill. The Mississippi Delta is considered the birthplace of the blues. And B.B.? Well, he was ... the king.

How about a little musical interlude?  Here's a taste of  B.B. King's wailin' Delta blues:

Did you know Mississippi had a petrified forest???

Windsor Ruins


Windsor, near Port Gibson, was the largest antebellum mansion ever built in Mississippi. Built in 1860, it survived the Civil War, but was destroyed by fire in 1890. Twenty-three columns are all that remain, and these Ruins of Windsor have been featured in numerous movies.

How about THAT?

A marker at Friendship Cemetery

This is one of the markers at the Friendship Cemetery in Columbus, where "flowers healed a nation."  On April 25, 1866, the local ladies placed flowers on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers. This act of kindness led to what we now know as Memorial Day.

Longwood, built in Natchez circa 1858-61, is the largest octagonal house in the United States. It was originally designed by its owner Dr. Halder Tush Nash to include solar panels, strategically positioned mirrors to reflect the sun's rays to heat water. When the Civil War started, the Yankee workmen dropped everything and headed north. The house remains unfinished today, and tourists can see the workmen's tools still lying where they dropped them.

Okay, let's move along, and see what laws are still forgotten in the land of cotton and catfish:

  • If one person is a parent to two illegitimate children, that person will go to jail for at least a month. 
  • It's illegal to teach others about polygamy. 
  • It's against the law for a man to seduce a woman by lying, and claiming he will marry her. (It's okay for women to do so, however. Men don't mind.)
  • Private citizens may personally arrest any person who disturbs a church service. (Think it's possible for a minister to disturb a church service? I mean, some of those dudes disturb the congregation when they preach too long ...)
  • Cattle rustling is punishable by hanging.(Yowza. That oughta put a damper on recidivism.)
  • It's illegal for a male to be sexually aroused in public. (Reckon they feed the teenagers salt peter?)
  • In Columbus, waving a gun in the air will earn you a larger fine than actually shooting it.
  • In Temperance, it's illegal to walk a dog, unless he's wearing a diaper. (Makes pooper-scooping easier, huh?)
  • And in Tylertown, it's against the law to shave while in the middle of the road.

Okay, boys and girls, it's that time again. It's time for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

***  These guys from the Netherlands may be brilliant computer gurus, but their sense of fashion leaves a little bit to be desired. Erik de Nijs and Tim Smit recently unveiled their new creation, which they've dubbed  Beauty and the Geek. It's jeans ... with a built-in full-size Bluetooth enabled keyboard. (Talk about a laptop!) Integrated speakers and a wireless mouse are included with the pants, and the invention works with a USB device and wireless connection. The idea is to allow users to walk around, but still be in control of their computer. Okay. Um, what I'd like to know is ... how do you wash these things?

*** A couple days ago, police pulled a car over not too far from where I live here in Georgia. The offense? Driving too closely to another vehicle. But as it turned out, riding a bumper wasn't the only crime being perpetrated. Police found a bumper crop of counterfeit Nikes in the car, as well. Seventy-eight boxes of them, which one officer immediately recognized as being fake. How, you ask? There was a little problem with the image of Michael Jordan on the boxes. It seems he had ... eleven fingers.

*** Man, is there anything you can't find in Walmart? How about a spouse? It worked for a couple in North Carolina, anyway. She was a cashier, and he was a customer. Now, they're man and wife. And they tied the knot right there. In Walmart. In layaway. And they're now spending their honeymoon in housewares. (Just kidding!) But ya know, come to think of it, if that store is open 24 hours a day, and has a grocery store, ya never know.

*** Not to pick on North Carolina, but ... well, okay, so maybe I am. An agent from the state's Department of Health and Human Services, who was inspecting a Raeford elementary school, confiscated a pre-schooler's lunch this week. She claimed it didn't meet USDA nutrition guidelines. And what terrible lunch did her mother pack inside of that paper bag? A turkey and cheese sandwich, (gasp!) a banana, (horrors!) potato chips, and apple juice. Criminal, huh? Oh, don't worry. The poor child didn't go hungry. She was provided with school-made chicken nuggets. And a $1.25 bill. Talk about invasive! The agent's superiors say they don't know why the lunch was confiscated, because it appears to have met the guidelines. Know what? Even if it didn't meet the guidelines, at what point did that agent have the right to stick her nose into that child's brown bag? Good thing nobody did that when my kids were in school. I probably would've been arrested. Not for the food, but for the contraband ... the stupid pictures, notes, and corny jokes I used to write on their napkins. (Ya see, some of them were in very bad taste.)

                                       Until next time, take care of yourselves And each other.


  1. I loved looking at those pictures! I'd love to see the octagonal house (why hasn't anyone ever finished it?) and those massive pillars. I knew the story about Teddy Roosevelt and the bear leading to teddy bears, but I didn't know it happened in Mississippi!

    As for the school lunch, I just recently finished 8 weeks on lunchroom duty, and I saw some horrible things packed in kids' lunches. One girl regularly came to school with 3 snack bags per day (teddy grahams, potato chips, cheeze-its, etc) a juice box, and an apple. She never ate the apple. For all I knew, it was the same apple every day. After eating the junk food, she bought ice cream from the cafeteria with her daily "snack" money.

    I never confiscated her lunch, but I did draw some not-very-nice conclusions about her mother.

  2. I don't care if I put a can of dog kibble and a bottle of pop in my daughter's lunch to take to school. I provided her with what I want her to eat and NO ONE is confiscating it. That is waaaay over the line. They can check nutritional value on school provided lunches all day long, but it is too "big brother" for me to have them checking the meals I provide for my kids.

    My kids don't buy school lunch because they are nutritional incomplete, regardless of what the district/state tells you. They are also disgusting and my kids won't eat them. They are a waste of money at 3 dollars each.

    [and no, I don't send my kids to school with dog food or soda]

  3. Geeks and the fashion business should never cross over.

  4. That NC school lunch story steamed my gills, too. Chicken nuggets are better than a turkey and cheese sandwich? Grrr. The intrusion is unjustifiable.

    Oh, and I'm glad I'm not the only mom who used to load the kids' lunchboxes with corny notes. They had to suffer through that all through elementary school. *grin*

  5. Okay, Twilight Zone time. Mississippi has cactus? I live in Arizona and even I hadn't heard of a town called "Why." Interesting...

    P.S. On a personal note, thank you for your kind comments on my blog regarding my Dad. I appreciate them very much. xo

  6. Oh, I love the picture of the dolphins! I'd love to go to the Gulf coast sometime. I always enjoy your Friday posts as it makes me feel like I can take a virtual trip here at my desk.

    Love the laws, especially about the dog in diapers. Maybe I should try that with my own dog LOL.

    Have a great weekend!

  7. Dianne- Glad you liked the pictures, and I didn't realize Teddy Roosevelt's bear hunt took place in Mississippi, either. (Wait'll you see the cool stuff I found for NEXT Friday's post!) As for the kids in your lunchroom with the crappy lunches, I wouldn't be surprised if the kids packed 'em themselves, and their parents have no idea they're taking such lousy lunches to school.

    Skippy- I agree with you 100%. That story irked me to no end.

    Arleen- You've got that right. A lot of the people I hang out with could be defined as "nerds", I suppose, and speaking as one of them, most of us HAVE no fashion sense. (And we don't care!)

    Linda- Heck, I still tucked a joke or two into their lunch bags when they were in middle school. But, pfffft! They lived through it.

    Liz- Yeah, hard to believe cacti would grow in Mississippi, isn't it? And you're very welcome. I hope things are going well for you and your family.

    Julie- Heck, maybe I oughta change my title to "virtual tour guide." Yeah, that has a nice ring to it. Glad you enjoyed it, dear lady. You have a wonderful weekend, too.

  8. Wow -- your place posts put the "GEE!" in Geography! I learned a lot of cool things about Mississippi.

    And I join the outcry at the actions of lunch-box Nazis in NC. From the ruckus in the media, I'm expecting the agent to lose their job...

  9. Susan: You post the most amazing information and photographs. My favorites are the Mississippi ones. I would love to see that part of the country. I have known and know people who lived/live there.

    I saw your comment on my blog. I'm so glad I checked into my blogger blog, because I found why you couldn't link to my WordPress blog - because I forgot to put in the link! It's there now, thank goodness, for future bloggers. So here's my signature link that will take you there if you'd like to read the rest of the post. I also put in a plug for my self-published novella and an excerpt that might interest you.
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

  10. Chris- Oooh, I like that ... I put the "Gee" in geography ... that, dear sir, is very clever! Thank you. And not that I'd wish that woman to lose her job or anything, but at the very least, she needs some serious re-training.

    Ann- I'm glad you enjoyed the Mississippi tidbits. And I will go check out the rest of your post right now.

  11. I heard about that school lunch thing; I would throw a fit if they did that to me!

    Love the story of the slaves returned home. And that octagonal building is very cool; I'd love to see that some day.

    Interesting town names are so fun. I'll always be a fan of Truth or Consequences, NM. I wouldn't actually want to live there, but what an awesome name for a town, don't you think?

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  12. Shannon- Me, too, and I have a feeling that mother IS raising a ruckus. Otherwise, we never would've heard about the story. I agree that Truth or Consequences is a totally cool town name, and I'd rather live there than in some of the strangely named cities in Pennsylvania. (Like Intercourse, and Blue Balls ... I mean, what were they THINKING???)

  13. I love the south - it's so romantic :). And I've been to Mississippi and loved it!

  14. I love the south - it's so romantic :). And I've been to Mississippi and loved it!

  15. How you find this arcane info is a mystery to me, but I'm glad you do. I especially love keyboard pants.

    Hopefully, some travel service will hire you for a "different slant" on why you should travel. I love your guided tours.

  16. Fascinating!

    I think every state in the Union has such crazy laws. You can't be aroused in public??? Do the police check that?

    And I have a bunch of friends pissed about that lunch confiscation. And I can't believe it happened in North Carolina.

  17. Today's been entirely upside down so here I am, before I get ready for bed instead of when I'm trying to wake up. And Yammy Friday is good at both ends of the day! Mississippi is a cooler state than I thought! As for school lunch, they're worse than when we were kids. I ate with my greatniece one day- tater tots, mac n cheese and corn dogs. How is any of that healthy?

  18. I didn't know that Mississippi had a petrified forest. I thought the entire state was petrified. And that lunch thing in North Carolina. Turns out the teacher didn't realize the little darling had brought her own lunch and the little darling, being respectful and obedient and all that, did what the teacher instructed when she told the children to go get lunch. Another case of parental out of control and over zealous media. But then there's the Teacher of the Year in Texas to told a blathering wetback to go back to Mexico. She was suspended. Probably should have been awarded Teacher of the Year again. OK, OK. I'm in one of those moods.

  19. I've never been to Mississippi. I'd like to see the octagonal house.


  20. Hi Susan .. great range of photos and stories here .. just listened to BB King while 'I ran through'! I hadn't realised the Teddy bear story came from Mississippi either .. and I love that girl asking which name she should spell the river or state!

    Enjoy the weekend .. cheers Hilary

  21. Judy, Judy- You must really really like the south south, huh? HA! Me, too, but you must've visited Mississippi during a mild spell. Nothing particularly romantic about the stifling heat, humidity, and rampant bugs of mid-summer. (But I like living in GA; I really do!)(as long as the air conditioner keeps working)

    Barb- No mystery. I do a LOT of research. Interesting thought about a travel service hiring me, but no thanks. I tried working once. Didn't much care for it. (Just kidding!)

    Jay- Yeah, those old laws crack me up. What's even funnier is the legislators are so busy striving for relevancy by enacting NEW laws every year, they're oblivious to some of the stupid antiquated laws still lingering on the books.

    Laura- Morning, noon, and nighttime, too, always glad to hear from you. Once in a great while, I was permitted to buy school lunch when I was a kid... always on a Friday, when they'd serve tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, and a cup of peaches. I wonder if they still serve that in schools today? On alternate Fridays, they'd have fish sticks and (YUK!) stewed tomatoes, which I don't think ANY of the kids ate. You'd think, with all the hoopla about proper nutrition in school, the meals would be a lot better than corn dogs, tater tots, and mac & cheese. (Probably had ketchup on the side, too, since the gov't decided it's a bona fide "vegetable.")

    Mr. C- In one of those moods, huh? Well, even when you're feeling like a curmudgeon, you still manage to be funny. (Parts of the whole south are "petrified" ...)

    Janie- Yeah, an octagonal house is pretty cool, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by.

    Hilary- Oh, cool! I'm glad you listened to BB King while you browsed. And boy, you've been busy. What do they call it? A hat trick? Close enough ... you hit three of my posts boom, boom, boom. (Thanks!)

    I hope you all have a super weekend.

  22. I so love that marker at Friendly Cemetery and didn't know that about Memorial Day OR about Root Beer. Have an awesome weekend!

  23. Tracy- Cool. Ya learned something new, so now you can take the rest of the weekend off. Have fun!

  24. Wow what a bumper post this is! I love the picture of the antebellum mansion it is so atmospheric.

  25. Madeleine- Glad ya liked it, dear lady. The antebellum mansions can really capture the imagination, can't they? Take care.