Archive for the ‘Russ Miller’s Oddly Enough’ Category

  • Oddly Enough: January 2018

    Dec 29, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller The Cone Shell Mollusk (of which there are hundreds of types) is a snail that can actually fish for its dinner. Using a tongue-like organ that contains a poisonous “harpoon,” the Cone Shell darts its victims with incredible speed. Tough ligaments hold the barbed harpoon fast to the Cone Shell as it “reels in” its prey. So potent is the venom of this little animal that some can kill humans in a few minutes. Collectors have been known to pay thousands of dollars for a single Cone Shell. ODDLY ENOUGH … The Cone Shell Mollusk is blind. It senses its meals by tasting the water while hiding in rocks or sand. ***** Most court-ordered decapitations were carried out using a sword, and unlike most movie versions, the prisoners were either standing or kneeling. The velocity brought to bear by the flying blade was remarkable. In 1645, for instance, a felon who raised his hands at the last moment not only lost his head, but both of his hands were cleanly nipped off at the wrists as well. ODDLY ENOUGH … A swordsman by the name of Charles-Henri Sanson made such a ferocious and clean cut of one victim that his head remained perfectly balanced on his neck. It is reported that Sanson mumbled, “Shake yourself — it’s done.” ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper,

  • Oddly Enough: December 2017

    Dec 1, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller Nat Love, better known as “Deadwood Dick,” was a black cowboy who was born a slave, but freed after the Civil War. He mastered many Indian dialects and became a sought after trail boss during the era of the great cattle drives. He was a legendary champion of the early rodeos and by his own admission lived “an unusually adventurous life.” Well enough educated to write his own autobiography, he included the cattle drive history, shootouts in Mexico, involvement in some of the Indian Wars, and befriending such well-known characters as Bat Masterson. ODDLY ENOUGH … When the railroad was established and the cattle drives died out, Nat Love ended his careers as a common Pullman porter, one of the best positions open to a black man in those days. Not once in his writing did Nat ever mention bigotry or racism. ***** The Star-nosed Mole lives in the Eastern United States. Growing to a length of 5 inches, this mole has a healthy appetite and eats constantly. It feeds on insects and worms and has been known to eat a portion of an earthworm, tie it into a knotted wad, and roll it back into its den to be eaten later, like left over meatballs. ODDLY ENOUGH … This little burrower can swim extremely well, feeding on fish, crustaceans, and water bugs. Even pond ice won’t

  • Oddly Enough: November 2017

    Nov 3, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller Late in the 19th century a very strange set of objects was discovered in the peat of Lancashire, England. Tiny knives, scrapers, borers, and other flint tools were found that were obviously too small for human hands to use. The workmanship was extremely fine. Labeled as “ritual instruments,” none have ever been found alongside actual working tools, and for the most part, no one knows who carved them or what they were designed for. Some fanciful notions suggest gnomes and elves. ODDLY ENOUGH … Whoever the creators were, they were apparently widespread, because “pygmy flints” have also been discovered in Egypt, Australia, Africa, France, Sicily, and India. ***** There are over 1,600 species of starfish. This primitive animal has done remarkably well for a creature with no brain. Starfish reproduce in a variety of ways, but one of the strangest is the Linckia Starfish, which simply sheds its legs, each of which grows into a new, fully formed starfish. ODDLY ENOUGH … The largest starfish ever caught measured nearly 5 feet across. The heaviest starfish ever recorded weighed more than 13 pounds. ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King

  • Oddly Enough: October 2017

    Oct 6, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller Gun manufacturers have shown amazing ingenuity in the making of firearms throughout history. Concealed weapons have taken the shape of pocket watches, whip handles, smoking pipes, flashlights, belt buckles, gloves, helmets, shields, and umbrellas. There is even a surviving example of a Spanish flintlock key pistol. ODDLY ENOUGH … Possibly the weirdest, if not the most dangerous demonstration of hidden weaponry is a set of German tableware made in 1715. Talk about “shooting your mouth off.” ***** Carlisle Castle in the English county of Cumbria has been a working castle for nine hundred years. Three hundred years ago, after the fall of the Jacobite rebellion in Scotland, more than 300 Scots and Irish prisoners were brought and held here. The prisoners, tried for treason, were sent South to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Others were sold as slaves. During the summer of 1746, while awaiting trial, as many as 90 people were held in a single dungeon. In desperation for water, many prisoners were reduced to licking the moisture that collected on the vault walls in order to stay alive. ODDLY ENOUGH … These damp stones were visited so often that permanent tongue grooves were worn into them and can still be seen to this day. They are known as the “licking stones of Carlisle Castle.” ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast,

  • Oddly Enough: September 2017

    Sep 1, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller In the skull of a saltwater catfish called a sail-cat, there is a bone that, when dried, resembles a crucifix. On one side can be seen a figure on a cross, capped by a “crown of thorns” made of short ribs. On the reverse side, a slab of bone resembles a majestic robe being held up by a figure with arms raised. This fish, common to the waters off the coast of Florida has been dubbed the “Crucifix Fish.” This unique bone itself comes from the roof of the animal’s mouth. ODDLY ENOUGH … When the dried object is shaken, it rattles. The noise is caused by the otoliths, or tiny “ear stones” contained in two bony bladders which aid in swimming balance and locomotion. The rattling is likened to the dice cast by the Roman soldiers as they gambled for the seamless robe of Christ at the crucifixion, as the story goes. ***** The Coturnix or Pharaoh Quail, indigenous to Egypt and North Africa, is the only quail that truly migrates. When it migrates, it moves in huge numbers, and generally walks. They seldom perch in trees. The speckled eggs hatch in a remarkably short 17 days with chicks fully capable of foraging for themselves. When alarmed, the quail often from-up in circles and fluff out their feathers which resemble quills in appearance, like a hedgehog

  • Oddly Enough: August 2017

    Jul 25, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller During an archaeological dig at the prehistoric village of Cladh Hallan (on the island of South Uist, off the coast of Scotland) scientists discovered two preserved bodies-one male, one female. Strangely, these bodies had been buried 300 to 600 years after their deaths; having been left in a bog to mummify before being transported to their final resting place. Stranger still, was the fact that these fetal positioned bodies were actually composites of as many as six different people who had been deliberately pieced together into two complete cadavers. ODDLY ENOUGH …Whereas the female body had been composed of body parts that date to around the same period of time, the male was made up of parts from people who had died a few hundred years apart. ***** Navy cannon projectiles have varied creatively for centuries, depending on the desired effect upon the enemy. Spider shot (chained together cannonballs) and Angels (split balls separated by an iron rod) were designed to spin wildly and rip through masts and rigging, rendering the enemy vessel nu-maneuverable. The hinged blade-shot would spin and deploy knives destroying sails and crushing moral. Some ships had cannonball furnaces on board developed for heating cannonballs red hot (approximately 1,500 degrees F) to be fired at enemy targets to start fires or produce black powder explosions. ODDLY ENOUGH … Heated shot, though very effective at

  • Oddly Enough: July 2017

    Jun 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller Tommy Cooper, a Wales born prop-comic, was born in 1921 and served with Montgomery’s Desert Rats (an armor division) in Egypt during WWII. Known for his trademark red fez perched on his unkempt hair and an ostentatious cigar jutting from his clenched lips, Cooper would deliver a deluge of surreal one-liners while performing magic acts that constantly went horribly wrong. Though a skilled and respected magician, Cooper got more laughs fumbling his illusions and tripping through his routines. A statue of Cooper stands in his birthplace of Caerphilly, Wales. In 2008 it was unveiled by fellow entertainer, Sir Anthony Hopkins. ODDLY ENOUGH … Cooper has the singular distinction of actually dying on stage while performing on live television. ***** Meg Mons is a cannon with a long history. She was built in 1449 by orders of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy in France. Philip made of gift of her to James II, King of the Scots in 1454. His hopes were that James would use this bombardment ordinance against the English. He did. When fired in 1681 celebrating the visit of James, Duke of Albany and York, the barrel ruptured and the cannon fell into a corrupted state. After the Scottish Jacobite Rebellion, the clearing of the Scottish Highlands, and the disarming of the Scots, the British moved the massive gun to the Tower of London,

  • Oddly Enough: June 2017

    Jun 2, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller The Cockatoo Squid is nearly clear and has a variety of quirky behavioral traits. It contains a sack of ammonium chloride in its body that it uses to maintain buoyancy. Whereas the Cockatoo Squid is capable of ejecting ink into the water when disturbed, it can also release the ink into its own body cavity, making it appear darker. ODDLY ENOUGH … The Cockatoo Squid has bioluminescent organs on the underside of its eyes. It’s believed that these light organs combined with its lack of pigment and the strange way the squid holds its arms, helps break up its silhouette as it is viewed from below. This makes it easier to hide from potential predators. ***** The humble seahorse is actually a member of the pipe-fish family and can range in size from less than an inch to nearly a foot in length. Masters of camouflage, some seahorses can actually speckle themselves to resemble bubble patterns. Seahorses have no teeth and no stomach and must feed constantly to stay alive. They can consume as many as 3000 brine shrimp a day. Each eye moves independently, so this fish can look for prey and threats at the same time while remaining immobile. Females deposit their eggs into a frontal pouch on the male.  When the eggs hatch, it’s the male that actually gives birth, releasing as few as

  • Oddly Enough: May 2017

    Apr 28, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller Texas Threadsnakes (which actually live in other states as well) can grow up to 8 inches in length, but are still small enough to comfortably coil up on a dime with plenty of room left to spare. They look very much like earthworms but are voracious hunters. They have extremely shiny scales and find their prey by a keen sense of smell. ODDLY ENOUGH … Threadsnakes mainly feed on large ants which could easily overpower them and kill them. However, unlike most snakes which slowly envelope their food to swallow it, these tiny snakes have lightning fast, hinged jaws which allow the snake to gobble ants quicker than they can retaliate, opening and snapping their mouths shut many times a second. ***** A fifty-six year-old Spanish thief grabbed the purse of a woman in Alicante, Spain. It contained approximately $170. In his haste to get away, the bandit accidentally swallowed his own dentures. ODDLY ENOUGH … By the time the authorities arrived, the ill-fated purse snatcher had choked to death when the false teeth lodged in his windpipe. ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King

  • Oddly Enough: April 2017

    Mar 31, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller Bell Rock Lighthouse was built off the Scotland coast, near Dundee, in 1811 by Robert Stevenson. It’s 11 miles from land and was built cement-free out of one-ton interlocking blocks of granite. In almost 200 years, this 100-foot tower has never needed repairs to its stone surface. Built on a submerged reef, workers had to use hand tools while standing in freezing water, taking advantage of the two hours a day the low tide provided. They worked only in the summer since the weather of the North Sea was too violent. It took over four years to build and is still working today. It was the first lighthouse built by Stevenson who went on to build 23 more. ODDLY ENOUGH … Robert Stevenson died in 1850, the very same year his sickly grandson was born – writer Robert Louis Stevenson who gave the world such books as “Treasure Island,” “Kidnapped,” and “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” ***** Sunset Crater is a 900-year-old cinder cone volcano, rising 1,000 feet from its 7,000 foot elevation base. Located in Northern Arizona, this volcano produced an ash field of over 800 square miles, killing many indigenous people who lived in the area. Though inactive now, it remained active from 1065 to 1250 A.D. Sunset Crater is now a state park and considered a sacred place by many

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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