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

  • Oddly Enough: March 2018

    Mar 2, 18 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller During World War II, when the Japanese occupied the Philippines, they captured over $21 million dollars in U. S. and local cash and bullion. The Japanese used this hard currency to fuel their own war machine. Japanese Pesos were issued to unify their invasion currency. The Filipinos refused to recognize these Japanese Pesos as legal tender and referred to them as “Mickey Mouse Money.” When American troops returned to the Philippines they found areas so littered with these bills it looked as if the streets were awash in autumn leaves. ODDLY ENOUGH … Though literal tons of these bills were burned after the war, more Japanese Invasion Money is still being discovered in island caves, under houses, and in tunnels. And, even for today’s collectors, these bills fetch virtually nothing. ***** Cooperstown, NY was founded by William Cooper, the father of early American novelist, James Fenimore Cooper. Cooperstown has become synonymous with baseball. This was primarily due to a fanciful story about Abner Doubleday inventing the rules for the game in Cooperstown in 1839. The Baseball Hall of Fame, located in Cooperstown, houses tens of thousands of baseball objects and memorabilia and welcomes nearly 300,000 fans per year. ODDLY ENOUGH … In the early 1800s Cooperstown banned the playing of baseball in the streets. The law carried a hefty fine of $1 per participant. ***** Russell Miller

  • Oddly Enough: Russ Miller reflects on his own strange-but-true tale

    Feb 2, 18 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Russ Miller, Prescott-based illustrator, polymath, and creator of “Oddly Enough,” which runs in, among other places, the publication you’re reading right now.] How did you get started doing “Oddly Enough”? Probably one of the big reasons why I started “Oddly Enough” was because of a library. It was the one here, actually, in the Carnegie building. It was in the late ’50s or early ’60s. I used to get dropped off in the summer there because, well, I’m sure my folks had other stuff to do. But I was in the kids’ section at the Gurley Street corner, the bottom section of that building. At one point, as a kid, you’ve read everything of interest in there, but the upstairs was daunting. It was dark, hardwood, and quiet. I remember I started looking around up there and, man, there was some really good stuff. I remember this one particular book I kept trying to check out. It was about strange people — basically, about freaks, when you get down to it — people who’d been in horrible accidents and other stuff. At the time, librarians could say, “No, put that book back on the shelf, sonny.” So, I kept trying and one day they had someone else working there and he just stamped the

  • Oddly Enough: February 2018

    Feb 2, 18 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller Twice a day, 100 billion tons of seawater flows into and out of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada. That amount of water is equal to the daily flow of all the combined rivers on Earth. ODDLY ENOUGH … The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides on the planet and reaches the incredible height of 50 feet. ***** The first pedestrian to die by moving vehicle was in 1896. Since then, the imperative to save lives has been responsible for some innovative if not specious inventions. The “Pedestrian Catcher” (recorded as early as 1927) was one such device, which amounted to a scoop bolted to the front of an automobile. Activated by a lever inside the car, it violently ripped the person off the street and into a kind of netting. As one ad put it: “When the scoop is open, a jaywalker simply can’t get run over, and sometimes that’s more than he deserves.” Along with this dubious creation, there was the S hook, C clamp canvas pet bag that was simply affixed to the vehicle’s running-board. Its advertisement read: “Your dog will ride safely in this sack, which is quickly attached or removed.” ODDLY ENOUGH … These ideas were not simply the fever dreams of crazed American crackpot visionaries; these car accessories were used on several continents until reason, and I’m sure,

  • 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,

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

↓ More ↓