Buy a bug or shoot the mule. Your choice.

   Three years back, the Hinsleys of Dora, Missouri, had a tough decision to make.
   To buy a new mule.
   Or invest in a used bug.
   They weighed the two possibilities.
First there was the problem of the bitter Ozark winters. Tough on a warm-blooded mule. Not so tough on an air-cooled VW.
   Then, what about the eating habits of the two contenders? Hay vs. gasoline.
   As Mr. Hinsley puts it: “I get over eighty miles out of a dollar’s worth of gas and I get where I want to go a lot quicker.”
   Then there’s the road leading to their cabin. Many a mule pulling a wagon and many a conventional automobile has spent many an hour stuck in the mud.
   As for shelter, a mule needs a barn. A bug doesn’t. “It just sets out there all day and the paint job looks near as good as the day we got it.”
   Finally, there was maintenance to think about. When a mule breaks down, there’s only one thing to do: Shoot it.
  But if and when their bug breaks down, the Hinsleys have a Volkswagen dealer only two gallons away.

[Genuine VW ad found here.]

Casper’s – Springfield, Missouri


Yeah. I could hang out here.
The music and chili dogs are righteous.

[Found here. More here.]

The FBI asks for help. [UPDATED – SOLVED?]



There was a murder in the summer of 1999, and it’s remained unsolved. The FBI recently released the cryptic notes found in the victim’s pocket, and asks for help to decipher them.

On June 30, 1999, sheriff’s officers in St. Louis, Missouri discovered the body of 41-year-old Ricky McCormick. He had been murdered and dumped in a field. The only clues regarding the homicide were two encrypted notes found in the victim’s pants pockets.

Despite extensive work by our Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit (CRRU), as well as help from the American Cryptogram Association, the meanings of those two coded notes remain a mystery to this day, and Ricky McCormick’s murderer has yet to face justice.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

1. It’s not a sophisticated code.

2. There are no mysterious symbols, excepting what appear to be typos.

3. It’s a mnemonic code, so character/word frequency counts won’t work well.

4. The scribbled letter “n” stands for “and.”

5. Some of the characters that appear as the letter “R” are actually the letter “Q.”

6. I suspect that the character groups “WLD,” “SE” and “CBE” are the initials or references to people’s names.

7. The character group “on” means the same as the word, followed by a date.

8. “71” likely refers to July 1 1999; “74” refers to July 4; “75” refers to July 5.

9. Parentheses are parentheses. The “+” means “plus” as it’s clearly different from the capital “T” in the cryptogram.

10. The last line indicates Day-Week-Month-Year. MIL suggests the word “military.”

Have at it.


UPDATE I: Apparently the FBI has received so many responses and tips that it’s set up a separate website for them:


UPDATE II: José Galofré Manero. left a comment here with a link  to a site where he’s referred to as “Joseph from Spain.” (Gran obra, mi amigo.)

That links to this:

That links to this:

And also leads you to Jose’s multi-part analysis.  Here’s Part 1 of several:

His conclusions are astounding. I suggested to Jose that he write it up in his native Spanish for clarity.

Jose contends that Ricky McCormick was NOT murdered, but someone else was, and to solve THAT homicide a briefcase/satchel/package must be unearthed in the outskirts of St. Louis MO. Based upon his decryption, Jose has a good idea where it might be found. So far the FBI doesn’t seem interested, but I think that’s about to change.


UPDATE III: José posted links to his original analysis in his native Spanish below. More to come.

%d bloggers like this: