Monday, October 31, 2011

Origins of Halloween

Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while "some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)", derived from the Old Irish Samuin meaning "summer's end". Samhain was the first and by far the most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Irish and Scottish calendar and, falling on the last day of Autumn, it was a time for stock-taking and preparation for the cold winter months ahead. There was also a sense that this was the time of year when the physical and supernatural worlds were closest and magical things could happen. To ward off these spirits, the Gaels built huge, symbolically regenerative bonfires and invoked the help of the gods through animal and perhaps even human sacrifice.
Halloween is also thought to have been heavily influenced by the Christian holy days of All Saints' Day (also known as Hallowmas, All Hallows, Hallowtide) and All Souls' Day. Falling on November 1st and 2nd respectively, collectively they were a time for honoring the Saints and praying for the recently departed who had yet to reach heaven. By the end of the 12th century they had become days of holy obligation across Europe and involved such traditions as ringing bells for the souls in purgatory and "souling", the custom of baking bread or soul cakes for "all crysten [christened] souls".
In Britain the rituals of Hallowtide and Halloween came under attack during the Reformation as Protestants denounced purgatory as a "popish" doctrine incompatible with the notion of predestination. In addition the increasing popularity of Guy Fawkes Night from 1605 on saw Halloween become eclipsed in Britain with the notable exception of Scotland.There and in Ireland, they had been celebrating Samhain and Halloween since the early Middle Ages, and it is believed the Kirk took a more pragmatic approach towards Halloween, viewing it as important to the life cycle and rites of passage of local communities and thus ensuring its survival in the country.
North American almanacs of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century give no indication that Halloween was recognized as a holiday. The Puritans of New England, for example, maintained strong opposition to the holiday and it was not until the mass Irish and Scottish immigration during the 19th century that the holiday was introduced to the continent in earnest. Initially confined to the immigrant communities during the mid-nineteenth century, it was gradually assimilated into mainstream society and by the first decade of the twentieth century it was being celebrated coast to coast by people of all social, racial and religious backgrounds.

Origin of name

The word Halloween is first attested in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even ("evening"), that is, the night before All Hallows Day. Although the phrase All Hallows is found in Old English (ealra hālgena mæssedæg, mass-day of all saints), All-Hallows-Even is itself not attested until 1556.

From Wikipedia

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bigfoot in Smythe County Virginia

This is NOT the quarry that lies between Chilhowie and Saltville.
Is is only a representative quarry.
 The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization had a meeting in Saltville, Virginia on Oct. 18th at Palmer Mill. The Animal Planet TV show, "Finding Bigfoot," will be investigating sightings around the Jefferson National Forest. Apparently, there are sasquatches in the Appalachian Mountains. I heard that the show is planning to film places that look "squatchy." If any of you have seen a sasquatche, please comment!

I used to go to the quarry which is between Chilhowie and Saltville, sit on the rocks and get high with my friends. Once, I was with a girlfriend sitting on the edge of the quarry in broad day light. A big hairy guy she knew from Saltville High School showed up and started talking to us. He threw a beer can in the quarry, pulled a BIG revolver out of his pants and shot at it right over our heads. He had really long hair and a beard. I don't know if this has anything to do with Bigfoot. But it was a sighting of some kind.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mermaids Don't Have Herpes - 2 Minute Writing

A mystic attachment under the sea or just dirty fingernails? This is flounder I cannot whisper to my friend. He would drag his vocal cords to the nearest movie theatre exit. But know this, a mansion without lungs can miss the mark and suffocate any possible love interest one may have in the ocean. The fucking water rips through the veins of a macho bird of prey as much as lilies in a funeral arrangement. Too many diseases, too many venereal diseases to remember. Did they come from sea or land going folk? Sea fearing people seem so clean. God fearing people seem so dirty. I can't image mermaids with herpes.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Famous Beheadings

I have never understood why they call it "beheading." Shouldn't it be "deheading"?

Here are some famous decapitations:

Medusa: In Greek mythology she was beheaded by the hero Perseus, who thereafter used her head as a weapon until he gave it to the goddess Athena to place on her shield. This moment is immortalized by the fabulous painting by Caravaggio.

Anne Boleyn: Second wife of King Henry VIII of England and mother of the future Queen Elizabeth, this person was beheaded on May 19, 1536, after being convicted of adultery. Anne was beheaded by a swordsman rather than an axeman her execution was delayed because an executioner specialising in this method had to be delivered from France. It was reported that her lips continued moving in prayer even after the decapitation.

Louis XVI: Former king of France and married to Marie Antoinette, this monarch was guillotined in 1793 after being found to conspire against the First French Republic (proclaimed four months earlier. His dignified bearing right up until the moment of execution was said to have awed many, including the executioner himself.

Queen Marie Antoinette: Guillotined by Revolutionaries.

King Charles: Executed by parliamentarian "Roundheads" during the English Civil War in 1618.

Mary Queen of Scots: Tt took two strikes to decapitate Mary: The first blow missed her neck and struck the back of her head, at which point the Queen's lips moved (her servants reported they thought she had whispered the words "Sweet Jesus."). The second blow severed the neck, except for a small bit of sinew that the executioner severed by using the axe as a saw. Robert Wynkfield recorded a detailed account of the moments leading up to Mary's execution, also describing that it took two strikes to behead the queen. Afterward, the executioner held her head aloft and declared, "God save the Queen." At that moment, the auburn tresses in his hand came apart and the head fell to the ground, revealing that Mary had had very short, grey hair.

Lady Jane Grey: 8 February 1554-The executioner knelt and asked for Jane's forgiveness, which she gave 'most willingly.' There followed a five minute silence, whereby officials await a last-minute reprieve from the Monarch. The executioner then told Jane where to stand. She replied, 'I pray you dispatch me quickly.' She began to kneel, then hesitated and said, 'Will you take it off before I lay me down?' The executioner answered, 'No madame.' Jane then tied the handkerchief around her eyes. Unable to locate the block, she became anxious, 'Where is it? What shall I do? Where is it?' she asked, her voice faltering. Those who stood upon the scaffold seemed unsure of what to do. 'One of the standers by' climbed the scaffold and helped her to the block. Her last words were, 'Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit.'

Sir Walter Raleigh: Raleigh was beheaded in the Old Palace Yard at the Palace of Westminster on 29 October 1618. "Let us dispatch", he said to his executioner. "At this hour my ague comes upon me. I would not have my enemies think I quaked from fear." After he was allowed to see the axe that would behead him, he mused: "This is a sharp Medicine, but it is a Physician for all diseases and miseries." According to many biographers, Sir Walter's final words (as he lay ready for the axe to fall) were: "Strike, man, strike!"

Marc Bolan: Lead singer and guitarist for the British Glam band, T.Rex. Bolan died on 16 September 1977, two weeks before his 30th birthday. He was a passenger in a purple Mini 1275GT (registration FOX 661L) driven by Gloria Jones as they headed home from Mortons drinking club and restaurant in Berkeley Square. Jones lost control of the car and it struck a sycamore tree after failing to negotiate a small humpback bridge near Gipsy Lane on Queens Ride, Barnes, southwest London.

Jane Mansfield, Actress: Rumors that Mansfield was decapitated are untrue, though she did suffer severe head trauma in a car crash. This urban legend was spawned by the appearance in police photographs of a crashed automobile with its top virtually sheared off, and what resembles a blonde-haired head tangled in the car's smashed windshield. It is believed this was either a wig Mansfield was wearing or was her actual hair and scalp.The death certificate stated the immediate cause of Mansfield's death was a "crushed skull with avulsion of cranium and brain."

Daniel Pearl: February 1, 2002 an American journalist who was kidnapped and decapitated by Al-Qaeda.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gadhafi is Dead, So Long You Crazy Fuck

What will we do without Gadhafi? A poster boy for crazy dictators, he played the part so well with his costumes, hats, jewelry and coal black hair that looked blue at times.

I love the film of Gadhafi from a few months ago in a golf cart with an umbrella. It is my favorite wacky Gadhafi moment. What I can't figure out is the hat. It looks like something a guy in Maine would wear to hunt moose. He must have been in serious distress to make that fashion choice.

But the hat aside, this is a magnificent image. It harks back to the 70s when people seem to walk around twirling brightly colored umbrellas in unusual places. The golf cart and umbrella are a beautiful juxtaposition, and I love that everything is gray to somehow illustrate the seriousness of the matter. It's no accident that the umbrella is nearly the same color as the cart. I'm sure someone had to paint the golf cart or search all of North Africa for the right umbrella.

He had an amazingly long run for someone who was as bat shit crazy as he was. He took power before I was born, and I have watched him with wonder all my life. Goodbye Gadhafi, you crazy fuck.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Poem created from blog spam

I just filled in a few holes and changed some verbs tenses. It was an ad for ambien:

Getting an escalate objection
to gloaming catnap are people of the most candid
direct attention to our tale as our percipient.
Aggregation both the qualification, the apt submit
to be too large to be proper. Absolve personality.
In today arabesque decidedly upon a duration,
disquisition in to a righteousness cimmerian
downcast outshine up is more discrete
than perpetually instead of the behalf of sentry
or someone's well-being and without sorrow fully buy cheap ambien.
Your forcefulness across annulment that nod demented deprivation
is not an obstinate substance but it is fake. It can outclass
an amassment of physiological understanding that is counter-productive
to your fettle and can abate your inclusive function.
Learn more widespread drowse deprivation, its prime mover, at arise and cure.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dumbass in a Corn Maze

A family got lost in a corn maze in the Salem MA area last week. They freaked out and called the cops. Here is part of the 911 exchange:

Woman: "Hi, I just called. I'm still stuck at Connors Farms. I don't see anybody. I am really scared. It's really dark and we've got a 3-week-old baby with us."
Dispatcher: "Just relax. Calm down. Your husband is with you right?"
Woman: "Yes, but my baby?"
Dispatcher: "OK. I understand and the police officer is on the way."
Woman: "We thought this would be fun. Instead it's a nightmare. I don't know what made us do this. It was daytime when we came in. And I never take my daughter out. This is the first time. Never again."

The police came WITH A TRACKING DOG and had to get these dumb asses out of the corn maze. Turns out they were only 25 feet from the end.

Corn in the dark. What a terrifying experience.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lincoln Math, Score-2 Minute Writing

Collapsed roller coaster. Caused by fun house math.

I remember doing some type of math that had powers in it. Like 10 to the 7 power. But I don't have any math power. I would kill more people if I was in charge of roller coaster math, or bridge math, or elevator math.

The only math I understand is Lincoln Math. "Four score and 7 years ago..." Lincoln math is measured in score. 1 = 20. So someone who is 40 would be two score. If you are 41 you would be 2 score 1 OR 3 score-19. That is a math system that makes sense. Even though I'm strong in Lincoln math, I still wouldn't want a math job. I would ruin so many lives.

Friday, October 7, 2011

'Broken penis': Karma for cheating husbands?

Extramarital affairs break hearts — and fracture parts

Affairs may do more than break hearts — they may break penises as well, a new study says.

Sex outside marriage, and sex that occurs under out-of-the-norm circumstances, may increase the risk of penile fractures, said study researcher said Dr. Andrew Kramer, a urologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The heightened risk appears to be due to the unconventional situations, and consequently, locations, surrounding sexual acts, the researchers said. Men in the study who had suffered penis fractures commonly were having sex in unusual settings, including in restrooms or at work, when the injury occurred. The majority were having extramarital affairs.
In such atypical situations, sex may be rushed and involve unusual or awkward sexual positions, Kramer said.
"All these factors could make the man less able to protect his penis from an unexpected sudden downward thrust leading to the fracture," Kramer said.

'Broken' penis A penile facture, or "broken penis," is an injury that occurs to the erect penis. There are no bones in the penis; the "fracture" refers to tearing or laceration of a fibrous membrane called the tunica albuginea, which surrounds the spongy tissue in the center of the penis.
A "fracture" is followed by hemorrhaging, swelling and loss of erection. While previous research has focused on the physiological mechanism of the facture, and how to surgically treat it, no study has looked at exactly what men were doing when they broke their penises. Kramer's study aimed to fill this gap.
Kramer studied 16 cases of penile fractures treated at the University of Maryland Hospital between 2004 and 2011. He reported the findings in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
Half of the patients were having extramarital affairs, the study found. Most were having sex in unusual places, including bathrooms, cars and elevators. Only three patients were having sex with their own wives in their own bedrooms, Kramer said.

Sex can be risky While penile factures are rare occurrences, they may be underreported due to the potentially embarrassing circumstances surrounding the injury, Kramer said.
Kramer cautions that, just as with sports, sex can come with risk of injury.
"If you're having acrobatic sex…you do have to be careful," Kramer said. "If you are doing something in a weird position or a weird situation…you do have to be careful of fracturing the penis."


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Land of Oz Video Part 2

Every year on the first weekend of October, the Land of Oz on Beech Mountain opens to the public. Once upon a time, the Land of Oz was a theme park (1970-1980 R.I.P.) with singing, dancing, rides and little museums and vendors. After the park closed in 1980, high end houses started popping up around the yellow brick road, and most of the Emerald City was destroyed. But part of the park still remains and Appalachian Americans dressed as Wizard of Oz characters greet you along the yellow brick road.

This year was miserable because it was FREEZING cold and the parking situation was HORRIBLE! But once in the park, even in the blowing snow, the place was charming.

So here is video evidence that the Land of Oz does exist. There is no place like Appalachia!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Video of the Land of Oz Part 1

Every year on the first weekend of October, the Land of Oz on Beech Mountain opens to the public. Once upon a time, the Land of Oz was a theme park (1970-1980 R.I.P.) with singing, dancing, rides and little museums and vendors. After the park closed in 1980, high end houses started popping up around the yellow brick road, and most of the Emerald City was destroyed. But part of the park still remains and Appalachian Americans dressed as Wizard of Oz characters greet you along the yellow brick road.

This year was miserable because it was FREEZING cold and the parking situation was HORRIBLE! But once in the park, even in the blowing snow, the place was charming.

So here is video evidence that the Land of Oz does exist. There is no place like Appalachia!