Listening to an old episode of Bonanza while working in my office, and I heard mention of “tarantula juice” , so I did a quick look up during leftover taco lunch, and it is more interesting than I’d hoped.
“For those settlers, miners and prospectors living on the east slope of the Sierra Nevada, the local drink of choice was “Tarantula Juice.” This home-brewed beverage imparted a nasty “bite” due to the strychnine added to it. Strychnine is a poison, but in the early 19th century French scientists had promoted a diluted strychnine/prussic acid mixture as a cure for pulmonary disorders. In lethal doses, strychnine kills quickly.
In Carson Valley, traders purchased a strychnine solution in Placerville, California and then added it to what they called “gin.” Carson Valley gin was wood grain alcohol made from turpentine, oil of vitriol, rosin and essence of laurel. Sometime around 1852, local Nevada fiddle player “Dutch Nick” Ambrose added prussic acid as well as tobacco oil to his concoction and called it Tarantula Juice.
Strychnine is an alkaloid and probably produced an effect similar to the drug methamphetamine. The erratic bursts of nervous energy coupled with heavy alcohol consumption often resulted in violence. The moniker “Tarantula” alluded to more than the drink’s bite.
Historian C.W. Bayer wrote, “As the pleasurable effects of the strychnine whiskey wore off, muscle spasms set in and the celebrant’s skin would crawl as if covered by dozens of baby tarantulas. The name seems to have derived because men ordered two tumblers. The second tumbler remained for early morning — so as to combat the muscle spasms, the lockjaw. Left upon the table until midnight, a spare tumbler of the ‘juice’ killed off the baby tarantulas — that feeling of small hairy arms creeping upon the flesh as limbs began to stiffen.”
Mark Twain mentions miners afflicted with these “spiders” in his book “Roughing It.”
As the moon rose high in the sky, casting its silver light upon the world below, I emerged from the shadows to prepare our meal. With practiced ease and stealthy grace, I gathered the ingredients: beans, veggie meat, flour tortillas, shredded cheese, taco seasoning and taco sauce. The aroma of spices filled the air as I heated up the beans and veggie meat in a pan and added the taco seasoning. Then I warmed up the tortillas and assembled the burritos with care, spooning the beans and veggie meat onto the tortillas, adding shredded cheese and a drizzle of taco sauce before rolling them up. The result was a symphony of flavors, a satisfying and healthy meal that even cryptids like @maximillian_deersteak and myself could enjoy. (If I do say so myself)
Today was the day I had to really dig in and pack up my man cave / office. It had been a long time since I last used this room, as it had become mostly a storage space for things I didn’t need or want anymore. It was a mess of boxes, bags, and piles of stuff about which I had long forgotten.
I am still sorting through the room, just taking a break on the couch before dinner. I look around the room, feeling a mix of emotions. I have spent hours sorting through my belongings, deciding what to keep, what to donate, what to trash. It is to a degree a bittersweet process, saying goodbye to things that have once been part of my life, but now only hold me back. I also feel a sense of relief, knowing that some of my things will make someone else happy. I still have a long way to go before I am finished, but I’ve made a decent start. Moving can be stressful, but also exciting.
I’m looking forward to having more room, and stuff well organized for a change.
On June 4, 2023, a small plane crashed in the Blue Ridge Parkway area near Staunton, Virginia, after entering a restricted airspace near Washington, D.C. The plane had lost contact with air traffic control around 3:50 p.m. and was pursued by F-16 fighter jets that created a sonic boom heard across the region. The Virginia State Police were still searching for the crash site and trying to identify the pilot as of June 5, 2023.
This incident raises many questions about the motive and identity of the pilot, the origin and destination of the flight, and the security and safety implications of such a breach. The airspace around Washington, D.C. is more restricted than any other part of the country, as it is governed by a Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) within a 30-mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport¹. The SFRA is divided into a 15-mile radius inner ring and a 30-mile radius outer ring, which restrict all flights in the greater D.C. area unless they have an authorization from the FAA and the Transportation Security Administration². The SFRA was established as a national defense airspace after the 9/11 attacks to prevent any potential threats to the capital².
According to the news article, the plane was flying from Weyers Cave to Manassas when it entered the restricted zone⁵. Weyers Cave is about 20 miles southwest of Staunton and Manassas is about 30 miles west of Washington, D.C. This means that the plane was flying in a northeast direction and crossed both the outer and inner rings of the SFRA. It is unclear why the pilot did not follow the flight plan or respond to air traffic control. It is also unclear if the pilot was aware of the restricted airspace or intentionally violated it.
The F-16 fighter jets were scrambled from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to intercept the plane after it entered the restricted zone⁵. They broke the sound barrier in pursuit and created a sonic boom that was heard across Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. Some people thought it was an explosion or an earthquake and reported it to 911. The sonic boom also caused some minor damage to windows and buildings in some areas.
The plane crashed in the Blue Ridge Parkway area near Staunton around 4:05 p.m.⁵. The crash site was difficult to locate due to the rugged terrain and dense vegetation. The authorities said there was no threat to public safety or national security from the crash. They also said they were still trying to identify the pilot and determine if there were any passengers on board. They did not release any information about the type or model of the plane.
This incident is reminiscent of another plane crash that occurred in Crozet in 2018, when a Staunton pilot was killed after flying intoxicated⁴. The pilot had taken off from Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Weyers Cave and crashed into a wooded area near Crozet around 9 p.m.⁴. The pilot had a history of alcohol abuse and had been arrested for DUI several times before⁴. The plane was a Piper PA-28 Cherokee, which is a small single-engine aircraft⁴.
It is possible that there is no connection between these two crashes, other than being coincidental tragedies involving small planes from Weyers Cave. However, it is also possible that there is some link or pattern that could shed light on the mystery of the Staunton plane crash. Perhaps there is something about Weyers Cave or its airport that attracts or enables risky or reckless pilots. Perhaps there is something about Staunton or its vicinity that makes it a target or a waypoint for unauthorized flights. Perhaps there is something about Washington, D.C. or its airspace that attracts or repels certain pilots.
Whatever the case may be, this incident highlights the need for more vigilance and enforcement of airspace regulations, especially near sensitive areas like Washington, D.C. It also highlights the need for more education and awareness among pilots and general aviation enthusiasts about the rules and risks of flying in restricted zones. It also highlights the need for more cooperation and communication among federal, state, and local authorities in responding to such incidents and ensuring public safety and security.
In conclusion, the Staunton plane crash is a mysterious and alarming event that raises many questions about the motive and identity of the pilot, the origin and destination of the flight, and the security and safety implications of such a breach. The incident also reminds us of the previous plane crash in Crozet in 2018, which may or may not have a connection to this one. The incident also highlights the need for more vigilance and enforcement of airspace regulations, especially near sensitive areas like Washington, D.C. It also highlights the need for more education and awareness among pilots and general aviation enthusiasts about the rules and risks of flying in restricted zones. It also highlights the need for more cooperation and communication among federal, state, and local authorities in responding to such incidents and ensuring public safety and security. Hopefully, the authorities will find out what happened soon and prevent any similar incidents from happening again.
Sources – 6/4/2023 (1) https://www.faa.gov/uas/resources/community_engagement/no_drone_zone/dc/#:~:text=The%20National%20Capital%20Region%20is%20governed%20by%20a,inner%20ring%20and%20a%2030-mile%20radius%20outer%20ring.. https://www.faa.gov/uas/resources/community_engagement/no_drone_zone/dc/. (2) DC Area Prohibited & Restricted Airspace – Federal Aviation Administration. https://www.faa.gov/uas/resources/community_engagement/no_drone_zone/dc. (3) Airspace Restrictions | Federal Aviation Administration. https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/where_can_i_fly/airspace_restrictions. (4) The 5 Best Places to Fly A Drone Near Washington, D.C. – UAV Coach. https://uavcoach.com/where-to-fly-drone/washington-dc/. (5) The Washington, DC Flight Restricted Zone. http://www.washingtonfrz.com/Washingtonfrz.com.html.
No pancakes for me this morning, we ran out of time, and went to do dunkin…which was a major line up. So, off to sonic for lunch! I got a breakfast burrito (no sausage) and tots, while Mrs Mermaid got her beloved footlong with chili and cheese.
FIL smartly got a milkshake and I stole pulls off of Mrs cherry limeade after I drank down my other drink I had with.
MIL got a jr burger and a pretzel.
My tummy is now quite satisfied, but I wouldn’t mind some donuts or pancakes tomorrow.
After, we hit the farm stand and snagged some watermelon and peaches (for mrs), blueberries and jalapeno cheese focaccia (for me), lemons for everyone.
Good restful start to a nice weekend, hope all those who are able have a sweet one too!
We came down from the mountains yesterday, and today we went to visit my wife’s family on the Chesapeake Bay. They live in a charming little town where everyone knows each other and the smell of saltwater is always in the air. I felt welcome among them, as usual. Crab dinner
We had dinner at their place overlooking the bay. The sun was setting and the sky was ablaze with colors. My wife and her mother had crab legs, cracking them open with their teeth and sucking out the meat. I had a veggie burger, corn and baked potato. I enjoyed the conversation, and despite my back tricking up a bit.
After dinner, I offered to help with some tech issues they had. They had a Samsung smart TV that they wanted to connect to a few different streaming sites, but it really wasnt up to the task. I ordered then a fire stick and will set them up with it tomorrow. (I do like how fast stuff gets here, evil Amazon has a few warehouse locations nearby.)
It’s nice to visit the bay again, but I already miss our home in the mountains. I look forward to the return trip. Meanwhile, I can pack up some of the secondary stuff up for the next journey back, and enjoy visits with more bay-pals soon.
Looks like Old Yeti Scotto and his Uncanny Cryptid Zoo Crew are working their way down the mountains, back to the beach for a little while. Spending some quality time with Chessie and the other bay beasts, and gathering the remainder of our stuff before we head back up to the Blue Ridge, where we rightfully belong.
It was a long journey, filled with discoveries of the past and free milkshakes.