The Stagecoach Cometh!

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, friends!  Today, Retro Bus Tours, Inc. is proud to present the “Several Things You Thought You Knew but Really Didn’t About the Old West” tour.  Please ignore the Retro Bus and step quickly across the parking lot to the Retro Stagecoach.

 Our first stop:  1880.  One of our stagecoach stewardesses is passing around a photo of William Bonney.  Perhaps you know him better as Billy the Kid.  This 2×3 inch ferrotype photo was taken in late 1879 or early 1880 by an unknown portrait photographer.  You’ll notice that the Kid is holding an 1873 Winchester rifle with its butt resting on the floor. For years, this was the only photograph known to exists of the Kid.  The image depicts him wearing his Colt revolver on his left side, which led historians to believe the Kid was left-handed.  However, they failed to take into account that the ferrotype photo process produced reversed images. There’s another reason we know the picture was a mirror image and that Billy the Kid was really a righty: The photo also shows his Winchester Model 1873 lever-action rifle. The weapon appears to feature a left-sided loading gate, but in 1873, Winchester only made rifles that load on the right.  (By the way, in June 2011, the original ferrotype photo plate was bought at an auction for $2.3 million by businessman William Koch!) 

Next stop: 1882.  After a short life (34 years) filled with lots of crime, Jesse James, his outlaw gang practically completely annihilated, trusted only brothers Charley and Robert Ford.  Although Charley had been on previous raids with Jesse, Bob Ford was an eager new recruit.  For protection, James asked the Ford brothers to move in with him and his family. By that time, Bob Ford had conducted clandestine negotiations with the Missouri Governor Thomas Crittenden, laying out a plan to bring in the famous outlaw.  On April 3, 1882, after eating breakfast, the Fords and Jameses went into the living room before traveling to Platte City for a robbery. From the newspaper, Jesse had just learned that gang member Dick Liddil had confessed to participating in Wood Hite’s murder. He was suspicious that the Fords had not told him about it. Bob Ford later said he believed that Jesse realized he and his brother were there to betray him. Instead of confronting them, Jesse walked across the living room and laid his revolvers on a settee. As he turned around, he stopped to inspect a dusty picture above the mantle.  He grabbed a chair and stood up on the chair to clean it.  As he was balancing on the chair, his back to the room, Bob Ford drew his weapon, and shot the unarmed Jesse James in the back of the head. 

Of course, none of this is news, but the next part is:  After his bank robbing days were over, Jesse James lived a quiet life in Kearney, Missouri, but his old friends—and enemies—never forgot him.  After his murder, he was buried in the front yard of his farm to thwart grave robbers.  As the years passed and his enemies died off, his family had him reinterred in a Kearney cemetery.  So, who’s lying in the grave in Granbury, Texas which is purportedly Jesse James?  In 1948, a man named J. Frank Dalton came forward at age 101, claiming he was the “real” Jesse James.  While a court of law allowed him to legally adopt the outlaw’s name, no one knows why Dalton made this claim or if he even had any link to the real Jesse James.  It’s speculated that there is a small chance he was actually the youngest member of the Dalton Gang that Jesse rode with in the Northfield, Minnesota bank robbery.   It wasn’t until years later that both graves were exhumed and the remains’ mitochondrial DNA was tested, proving that the real Jesse James is indeed buried in Kearney, Missouri.

 Next stop: 1941.  Feral camels are spotted roaming the plains of Texas.  What?!  It’s true.  The U.S. Camel Corps was established in 1856 at Camp Verde, Texas.  The military reasoned that arid southwest climate was similar to the deserts of Egypt, so the Army imported 66 camels from the Middle East. Though the humped beasts spat, regurgitated, and defied orders, this military experiment was considered to be a success.  After the Civil War broke out, exploration of the Southwest frontier was truncated when the Confederates captured Camp Verde.  After the Civil War, most of the camels were sold (many to Ringling Brothers’ Circus), while others escaped into the wild. The last reported sighting of a feral camel in Texas took place in 1941.  Presumably, no lingering descendants of the Camel Corps are still alive today. 

Last stop:  1976.  Wait.  Back the stagecoach up a bit to 1911.  Dimwitted bandit Elmer McCurdy mistakenly robbed a passenger train that he thought contained thousands of dollars.  However, the disappointed desperado made off with only 46 bucks, and before he even had time to spend it, he was shot and killed by some lawmen.  Because nobody claimed McCurdy’s corpse (probably because they didn’t want to admit they related to such a moron), his body was embalmed with an arsenic preparation and sold by the undertaker to a traveling carnival.  The carnival exhibited his corpse as a sideshow curiosity, and when it didn’t bring the same pizzazz as it once had, for the next 60 years, it was bought and sold by various haunted houses and wax museums for use as a prop or attraction.  The corpse finally wound up in a Long Beach, California, amusement park funhouse.  (Obviously, he was much more of a success dead than alive.)  In 1976, the television show “The Six Million Dollar Man” was filming at the funhouse when the prop’s finger (or arm, depending on the account) broke off!  The witnesses realized that it was real human tissue inside, and the corpse was sent to the Los Angeles coroner’s office for study.  There, it was discovered that the prop was actually Elmer McCurdy.  He was finally laid to rest in the famous Boot Hill cemetery in Dodge City, Kansas, 66 years after his death. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Wild Wacky West Throwback, and as always, Retro Bus Tours, Inc. thanks you for your patronage.  See you next week!


#Throwback Thursday #TBT

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The Case of the Bruised Bride

Wednesday is the day YOU get to “Ask an Attorney.”  Just leave your question in the comments below, and if your question is selected, it will be answered on an upcoming Wednesday by one of our attorneys at Dean Burnetti Law.


Cassie L. from Thonotosassa asks, “Last month, just two days before my wedding, I was rear-ended while at a red light.  There wasn’t much damage to my car, but my seatbelt locked and left a large bruise on my shoulder.  My wedding dress was strapless, so the bruise was quite obvious.  My makeup artist attempted to conceal it, but it was too dark.  Now I have to pay extra for my photographer to Photoshop it away out of 1,500 photos!  Also, my honeymoon was in the Caribbean where I planned to wear a variety of bathing suits – which all looked horrible with that bruise there!  I was so embarrassed after the first day that I had to wear a coverup the rest of my time there.  Can I sue the driver who hit me?”

Hi, Cassie.  Congratulations on your wedding and I’m sorry about your unfortunate circumstances.  Have you seen a doctor about any other injuries you may have sustained?  You said there wasn’t much damage to your car, which would imply there was some damage.  Have you settled this with the other driver’s insurance company yet?  I would schedule an appointment with an attorney right away and bring some of the photos before they are Photoshopped as well as an estimate from your photographer and also a body shop who has inspected your car.  It’s possible that you can recover some of the expense you’ve incurred for your wedding photos needing to be altered.  As for the embarrassment on your honeymoon, that may not fall into the category of recoverable damages, but bring some photos when you meet with an attorney to be sure.

Best wishes!

~Dean Burnetti

[If you have a question for one of our attorneys, please write it in the comments below, and be sure to check back soon for a response.]

(The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.)


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Field Goal, Touchdown, Brain Injury, Death!

It’s “Tuesday Newsday,” the day when Dean Burnetti Law brings you news of recalls, legal or political events, or other important happenings…


Who doesn’t love football?  And to get to sit in the stands and cheer on your own kid while he scores for his varsity high school team gives you a high like no other.  Maybe he’ll go pro!  Maybe he can get a full ride to college!  The thoughts, ideas, and dreams swirl around in your brain faster than your son runs the length of the field.

You don’t think much when you snap out of your daydream and notice the opposing team piled like a haystack… Until you notice it’s your son at the bottom of the pile… And he’s not moving!

Your heart beats faster as you try to decide whether to wait and see if he gets up or if you should run out there on the field and check on him yourself.  Before you can hesitate one more second, your wife grabs you by the hand as she flies down the steps of the bleachers and onto the field.  Like a brahma bull chomping for the rodeo gate to be lifted, she pushes her way past the other players, coaches, and referee then falls on her knees at her motionless son’s side.  “Noooooooooooo!” she howls as she raises her arms to the heavens then collapses on top of your son’s torso.  Her back heaves as she buries her face in his chest.

Your body and brain go numb.  What’s happening?  The coach has little difficulty peeling your sobbing wife off your child just as an ambulance speeds toward you from across the field.  Somehow, your wife ends up in your arms as she cries into your shoulder as you watch helplessly as paramedics work on your child.

By now, the color has drained from your face, you can’t even feel the cold as light snow flurries start to swirl in the sky, and someone could literally Taser you, and you probably wouldn’t even notice.  You hold your breath as the medics load your son into the ambulance and one of them says, “We’re headed to Regional.  It’s closest,” as he jumps in the back of the ambulance and closes the doors.

The flashing orange lights and piercing siren snap you back to reality just as the coach approaches you and your wife and says, “Come on.  I’ll drive you.”

How did this happen?  Will he be okay?  New thoughts swirl around in your head as you mindlessly follow your wife and the coach to his car.  He’s got to be okay.  He’s healthy.  He’s strong.  He’s only 17.

“These players.  We tell them every year…”  The coach’s voice trails off.  Your wife sniffles every few seconds as she digs in her purse for some tissues.  From the back seat, you can’t help but notice how the air from the heater blows her hair and how her shoulders slump and her head hangs as she sobs.  She suddenly looks ten years older than she did this morning.

The coach speeds through two yellow lights, and his tires squeal as he turns into the hospital’s emergency parking lot.  He screeches to a halt in a loading zone and seems to jump out of the car before it’s even stopped.  You get out and grab your wife’s hand as you rush to follow him into the emergency room.  But before any of you can even form the words to ask about your son’s condition, a man in blue scrubs with grey temples and a stethoscope draped around his neck walks purposely toward you and pats your wife’s shoulder as he says, “You’re Jackson’s parents.  I’m so sorry.”  He shakes his head and clears his throat.  “Your son was dead on arrival.  There was nothing we could do.  With sudden impact brain injuries such as his…”  His voice trails off as your wife starts to collapse.

The coach helps you catch and support her as you guide her to a nearby chair.  Her trembling hands shield her face as she sobs uncontrollably, now allowing her tears to flow freely.


It happened again last week.  Another high school football player died from a brain injury that occurred while playing a game.  A GAME.  A game that is supposed to fun – not deadly!  While at any given time in the United States, approximately 1,100,000 kids play high school football, 2001 was the deadliest year, with 24 football-related deaths.  That means only a fraction of a percentage of kids actually die from playing a game.  That seems like good odds… until one of the small percentage of players killed happens to someone on your child’s team, or to someone on the opposing team while your child is playing against them, or to your child’s friend.  Or to your own child.  Then, the numbers don’t matter.  The odds, however low, are stacked against you.

This century alone has seen 290 high school football related deaths between 2000 and 2017, which means that on average, each season sees just over 16 deaths.   Of the 1,100,000 kids playing high school football, minus the roughly 16 fatalities each year, there are also an estimated 300,000 concussions each year which is 27 percent!  Does that scare you?  Well, if not, maybe this statistic will:  A study in 2007 reported that as many as 39 percent of high school and college level football players suffered catastrophic, non-fatal head injuries which left some level of permanent neurologic disability as well as some serious injuries which left only a temporary neurologic disability.

Since 1976, the Football Powers That Be have been initiating changes to make the game safer such as banning tackling with the crown of the head (“spearing”), mandating a new technical standard for helmets, initiating the banning of helmet contact rules, penalizing “targeting” (the act of intentionally taking aim and initiating contact with an opponent above the shoulders with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow, or shoulders), and this year, when a new rule was initiated which penalized the lowering of the head and failing to evade avoidable helmet contact.  Yet, children are still dying or being subjected to permanent brain injuries which will literally impact the remainder of their lives, all in the name of “fun.”

While we all love football, the love of our kids far exceeds our love of a game, and we want them to stay safe when they play.  This writer doesn’t know the answer to the question of, “What would make this game less deadly?” but we hope the Football Powers That Be can come up with a solution before any more parents have to bury their child.

Have fun, but more importantly, stay safe!




[Written by R. Carrera] 

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Why do you love the Lord?

It’s Monday. Welcome to a new week. Today is the day for “Monday Ministry.” Did you know that Attorney Dean Burnetti went to seminary before he was called to the legal field?  The following is a devotion given to you by Dean…


Psalms 116:1-2  “I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.  Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”

Many years ago, I used to love to watch The Art Linkletter Show.  He was such a gracious man who had an amazing capacity to interview young children.  In the 60s, it was the best of entertainment.

'Kids Say The Darndest Things' On 'Art Linkletter's House Party'I especially enjoyed listening to the interview answers from the children. There comes such an honesty with all that they have to say. Their perception may not be the same as mine, but it is always pure truth.

Many years ago I remember hearing Mr. Linkletter interviewing some young adolescents and asking them if they love their mom and dad.  He didn’t just stop there.  He went further to ask them the question, “Tell me why you love your mom and dad.”  One young girl just replied, “Because I do.” Another young boy came up with a reason that sounded more justified that he loved his mom because, “She makes me cake.”

My favorite was a young girl with yellow, curly hair who explained that she loved her dad because when she would sit on his lap, he listened to her talk about her day.  When I came across today’s verses in Psalms, it made me remember why that little girl loved her father.

The Psalmist tells us that he loves the Lord because He bends down to listen. Because He hears his voice.

Today, if you are a believer, be encouraged that God hears your voice. He bends down to listen to you because he loves you, too.  I really like that.

Have a blessed day.

~Dean Burnetti

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Happy Un-Birthday to You!

It’s my birthday, and I plan on having a happy one!  And I’d like to wish a Very Merry Un-Birthday to YOU!  Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

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I didn’t always wear knee socks!

Good morning, friends, and welcome to Throwback Thursday!  As you board the Retro Bus today, you’ll notice the balloons and streamers for my birthday tomorrow.  Last week, as you’ll recall, we visited the date of my birth (September 28th) over several different years.  Today, we’re focusing only on the actual day I was born.  Take your seats quickly, as the Retro Bus is gassed up and ready to speed back to 1957.

The President was Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The Vice President, Richard Nixon.  The average cost of a new home was $20,000.00!  (Of course, the median household income was only $4,454.00, but the ratio of wages versus cost was a lot better than it is currently.)  A gallon of gas cost 24¢, a gallon of milk cost $1.00, a dozen eggs cost 82¢, a first-class postage stamp cost 3¢, and minimum wage was $1.00 an hour.

So now that we’ve covered the economy basics of the time, what did they do for entertainment?

Well, the top-ranked TV show in the day was Gunsmoke, followed by The Danny Thomas Show, Tales of Wells Fargo, Have Gun – Will Travel, I’ve Got a Secret, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, General Electric Theater, The Restless Gun, December Bride, and You Bet Your Life.

If you preferred music over television, the top ten singles were All Shook Up by Elvis Presley, Bye Bye Love by the Everly Brothers, Little Darlin’ by the Diamonds, Round and Round by Perry Como, So Rare by Jimmy Dorsey, Don’t Forbid Me by Pat Boone, Singing the Blues by Guy Mitchell, Young Love by Sonny James, Too Much by Elvis Presley, and Young Love by Tab Hunter.

Two points to note here:  How odd that two top ten songs had the same title – or were perhaps the same song!  Also, it did not go unnoticed that the number six spot was sung by today’s walk-in tub spokesman!

If you preferred movies over staying home, your top ten movies of the year included: The Bridge on the River Kwai, Peyton Place, Sayonara, Old Yeller, The Curse of Frankenstein, Raintree County, Island in the Sun, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, A Farewell to Arms, and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

In the news that year, in the year of my birth, headlines included: Soviet Union inaugurates the “Space Age” by launching Sputnik I, the world’s first artificial satellite. A month later Sputnik II carries a dog into orbit, making that dog the first living being to enter space.  President Eisenhower announces “Eisenhower Doctrine,” pledging defense of Middle Eastern nations against communism.  Britain detonates hydrogen bomb; U.S. conducts first underground nuclear test.  128 people die over the Grand Canyon when 2 airplanes collide. The University of Alabama enrolls its first black student. One of the most publicized marriages of the century occurs between Hollywood Actress Grace Kelley and Prince Rainer III of Monaco. The first transatlantic telephone cable stretches 2250 miles, from Oban, Scotland, to Clarenville, Newfoundland. The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, explodes onto the scene, starting a revolution in the music industry. The first Midas Muffler Shop appears and the first battery-powered wristwatch is introduced by Hamilton.

As far as fads, the term “Beatnik” enters the vernacular as a description of the emerging “Beat Generation” counterculture movement.  Successful Sputnik satellites mark the beginning of the “Space Race,” with intensive efforts by both the U.S. and Soviet Union to achieve space milestones.  American Bandstand goes national with Dick Clark as host.  71 cities have populations of one million or more in 1957; 40 years earlier such cities numbered only 16.  General Foods Corp. introduces TANG breakfast beverage crystals.  5,000 new products will hit the supermarket shelves, including frozen pizza.  The Edsel was introduced by Ford Motor Company with a big fanfare and lots of hoopla. And Theodore Geisel writes Cat in the Hat as Dr. Seuss!

As for the younger crowd, Wham-O releases the first Frisbee toys for sale during January, which was produced to mimic the empty pie tins that college students would throw from the Frisbie Pie Company in Connecticut in the late 1800s.  The Frisbee inventor, Walter Frederick Morrison, got the idea for a flying disc in the late 1940s and developed a plastic version, specifically designed to fly easily.  He originally named it the Pluto Platter, hoping to cash-in on the alleged flying saucer U.F.O sightings at the time.  Wham-O toy company bought the Pluto Platter, changed its name to the Frisbee, and it soon became a wildly popular toy.

In other news of 1957, the final episode of “I Love Lucy” aired on May 6th.  Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz went on to continue the show in a different format from the end of the year to 1960 as “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.”

The popular Philadelphia television show “American Bandstand” made its national television debut in August. The show aired on ABC and featured groups of teenagers dancing to the most popular songs of the week. Often, one of the featured musical acts would appear on the show to perform a lip-synced version of their hit song. The show was hosted by Dick Clark and ran for over 20 years and the final episode aired during October of 1989.

During July, test pilot and future astronaut, John Glenn Jr., set a new transcontinental speed record while piloting a F8U Crusader from Los Angeles to New York. He became the first pilot to average supersonic speed during a transcontinental flight which took three hours and twenty-three minutes to complete.

1957 was also the peak of the Baby Boomer years.  The Definition of Baby Boomer by the U.S. government: is the demographic birth boom between 1946 and 1964.  After World War II ended in 1945 hundreds of thousands of servicemen returned home, thus starting “the baby boom.”

On June 27th of that year, Hurricane Audrey hit the United States Gulf Coast on the shores of Louisiana and Texas.  The storm came early in the hurricane season and formed on the 25th of June. It was one of the most devastating hurricanes on record and caused large amounts of damage in the Gulf coastal region, especially in Southern Louisiana and South Eastern Texas. It is estimated that around 500 people died as a result, and it caused over $100 million in damage to the towns that were hit by it.

Also, that year, the National Guard, on the order of Governor Orval Faubus was used to prevent nine African American students from entering Central High School in Little Rock on September 4th, and shortly afterward, Federal troops charged defiant protesters with fixed bayonets to ensure they could attend.  Known as the “Little Rock Nine,” Carlotta Walls, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray, Minnijean Brown, Terrence Roberts, Melba Patillo, Thelma Mothers, and Jefferson Thomas were encouraged by the Arkansas NAACP to be the first students to integrate the school.  The students attempted to enter the school on the first day of classes on September 4th, but were blocked by the National Guard as ordered by the Governor.  Later in the month, the National Guard was removed and the students, escorted by police, were successful in entering the building. However, violence broke out within the crowd of protesters upon their entrance, and the students were told to leave because administrators were worried for their safety.  Two days later, President Eisenhower ordered federal troops to escort the students, and they were able to complete their first full day of school on September 25th.   Of the nine, eight students successfully completed their first year of school at the newly desegregated Little Rock Central High School. They faced harassment and attacks throughout the year, and Minnijean Brown was expelled after she had retaliated against an attack by white students. Ernest Green went on to became the first black student to graduate from Little Rock Central High School in May of 1958. After the school year ended, the Governor ordered Little Rock high schools to be closed as the state grappled with the issue of integration. The schools remained closed until August 1959.

 The United States’ first attempt at launching a satellite with the Vanguard TV3 rocket was made during December 1957.  The launch took place at Cape Canaveral, but it was unsuccessful as the rocket exploded only a few seconds after launch, destroying the rocket and damaging the satellite and surrounding area. By the time of the attempted launch of the Vanguard TV3, the Soviet Union had already successfully launched two Sputnik satellites, and the United States was feeling the pressure to catch up during the early days of the Space Race. This made the failure particularly devastating and more humiliating to those working on the launch. The United States did not successfully launch their own satellite until January of 1958 with Explorer 1.

Also in 1957, Elvis Presley purchased a mansion in Memphis, Tennessee and called it Graceland.  The Cavern Club (where the Beetles started) opened in Liverpool.  Elvis’ film Jailhouse Rock premiered.

So, there you have it!  All that happened in 1957, as well as the debut of ME!  I hope you’ve enjoyed your trip on Retro Bus Tours, Inc. today, and please remember to stop by our gift shop for a free slice of birthday cake!  And by the way, NO, I did not always wear knee socks!  See you next week!

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Wednesday is the day YOU get to “Ask an Attorney.”  Just leave your question in the comments below, and if your question is selected, it will be answered on an upcoming Wednesday by one of our attorneys at Dean Burnetti Law.


Kailey V. from Mulberry asks, “I was involved in a car accident last night.  I ran through a stop sign and hit the front of a car coming from my right.  I was given a ticket, and both the other drive and I claimed injuries.  The problem is that there is a low hanging tree beside the stop sign, and it covered the sign completely.  I’ve never been to that intersection before, so I was completely unaware there even was a stop sign!  What can I do?”

Hi, Kailey.  I’m sorry about your accident.  The first thing I need you to do is go back to the scene of the accident right away and take photos of the stop sign and the tree before someone cuts it back.   Take photos from all angles, including the view of what it looked like as you drove toward it.  Take video, too.  Next, you need to make an appointment with a personal injury attorney such as myself.  An attorney can go with you to fight the ticket, and they can also determine who owns the property with the tree on it and name them in a personal injury claim.  If the other driver files a claim against you, you can then direct a third-party claim against the party who should have been responsible for the overgrown tree.

Best wishes!

~Dean Burnetti

[If you have a question for one of our attorneys, please write it in the comments below, and be sure to check back soon for a response.]

(The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.)

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