Archive for May, 2011
Some of my favorite artists are oftentimes overlooked as artists for some strange reason. In fact, I believe these trailblazers truly embody what “AltArts” is. They slave away for long hours in insufferable conditions, risking life and limb to blades of all varieties and flaming sauté pans filled with sauces that are center-of-the-Earth hot. These weary yet brave souls are often victims of reoccurring back pain and constant foot torture, and for what? — To see the spoils of their genius destroyed and devoured within moments of its inception. Of course, I speak of the chefs: the innovative and motivated individuals that keep this town fat and happy and two of these mavericks are about to prove how big of rock stars chefs really can be.
Chefs Cory Shupe (Executive Chef/Owner – Thyme Square) and Pete Magliocco (Sous Chef – Spring Lake Country Club) have teamed up to present “A Farm Fresh Feast,” a four course, locally sourced, gourmet meal to benefit one of my personal favorite Quincy non-profs, Quanada. This can’t miss event will take place on Saturday, June 4, at Thyme Square in Quincy. There will be two seatings for this remarkable meal, (6 p.m. and 8 p.m.) and it will feature some of the freshest and highest quality meats, cheeses, vegetables and herbs from local vendors (for those vegetarians out there, there will be options for you as well). Along for the ride will be celebrity servers: The Dark River Derby Coalition, sans skates in case you were worried. What’s so special about this event is not only does it illuminate the artistry
and talent of our local chefs and the quality of our local products, but it’s main focus is the continuing support this community gives to Quanada, an organization that this area could not do without-and could not thrive without our help.
The meal is $50 per person and reservations MUST be made in advance by calling Quanada at (217) 222-3069, and feel free to bring your own special spirits to enjoy with your meal. I truly hope to see you all there; it is going to be delicious on so many levels.
Facebook invite: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=177280982326009
Quanada Website: http://www.quanada.org/
Thyme Square Website: http://www.thymesquarecafe.net/
Dark River Derby Coalition Website: http://www.darkriverderby.com
In the world of internet videos, to “go viral” means the clip has gained huge popularity in a short amount of time. Popularity is gauged through counting the number of views of a video on sites like YouTube and Break. Talking dogs, kids reenacting Star Wars light saber fights, and dancing babies, have all proved to be successful internet videos that have gone viral.
Over the last couple months a video by 14-year-old Rebecca Black has sparked interest and controversy. Her song “Friday” has taken YouTube by storm. The repetitive, grating lyrics and off the wall video have entertained some and infuriated many. So much attention has been paid to Ms. Black, that another more important video has been flying under the radar. With much discretion, new video evidence from the 1947 Roswell, New Mexico, UFO crash has hit the world wide web (Watch the video below).
It may be hard to believe, but the latest alien video has nothing to do with the Katy Perry single “E. T.” The grainy footage posted on YouTube shows a thin alien supposedly being interrogated by the United States government after it’s space craft crashed in New Mexico more than 50 years ago. The alien’s appearance fits the stereotypical image of what a creature from outer space would look like. Gray skin, large black eyes and a head about the size of Cheer’s star Ted Danson’s melon. The clip that runs almost a minute and a half has been tweeted about and even was a central topic on a webisode of MSNBC.com’s “Zeitgeist.” It has also sparked a debate over the authenticity of the video.
The journalists at The Weekly World News took it upon themselves to hire an expert to dissect the video. WWN looked to a member of the U. N. Panel on Extraterrestrials, Dr. John Malley for further insight. Dr. Mally believes the video is “real and 100% authentic.”
UFO investigator for the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense, Nick Pope, does not fall in line with Dr. Mally’s judgement. Pope does compliment the clip as one of the better fakes he has seen but also adds it will not change anyone’s mind. Pope goes on in his statement to WWN by saying “believers will go on believing and skeptics will go on thinking its a load of nonsense.”
We live in a time where an internet video can transform a regular person into an international superstar. Justin Bieber, I am looking at you. The mysteries surrounding the UFO crash has been discussed for decades and no definitive answers have ever come to light. Now in this age of internet videos, we may finally get a few answers as to what happened that night in New Mexico. That is my hope, but until then I will get back to enjoying this YouTube clip of kittens wearing mittens.
— Jordan O’Donnell
I’ve never been a good sleeper.
I attribute this to three factors. The first is I drink entirely too much caffeine. I highly doubt there is a time during the day when I am not sipping a coffee or a soda. Another factor is that I sleep with the television turned on. Go ahead and judge, but you try and turn off “Groundhog Day” in the middle of the night. The third factor keeping me awake is the unfortunate fact I come up with ideas for this blog around that very time. Instead of waiting till the morning, I feel the need to start writing immediately.
I’ve reconciled myself with the notion that getting eight hours of sleep a night is not in the cards for me. I do however cling to one goal when it comes to my nightly rest: I always try to be asleep between the hours of three and four a.m. I’ve made this goal, because I have no desire to be awake during “The Devil’s Hour.”
Many have heard of the term “The Devil’s Hour,” but may not be certain what it actually means. “The Devil’s Hour” refers to the time of night when malevolent spirits and demons are the most active. The website hubpages.com warns demons are not to be taken lightly. The site describes the creatures as “bringers of pestilence and disease, corruptors of innocence, and champions of all sin.”
There is a reason behind “The Devil’s Hour” taking place between the hour of 3 and 4 a. m. In Catholic belief, it is said that Jesus was crucified at 3 p.m. The adverse of this time, being 3 a.m., is believed when Satan’s demons are the most powerful and likely to communicate with humans and mock the idea of Jesus Christ’s return.
“The Devil’s Hour” has cropped up in popular culture lately, particularly on film. In the 2005 movie “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” the hour of 3 a.m. brings about Satan’s demons to stop the lead character’s watch and shake her windows. Also, observant audiences will notice the presence of “The Devil’s Hour” in 2007′s “Paranormal Activity.” The film is shot from the point of view of a camera set up by one of the central characters. Through this cinematic device, the audience can see the camera’s time-mark in the corner of the screen. This provides detail as to when the “footage” was captured. When the central couple of “Paranormal Activity” experiences the most active disturbances, it occurs during “The Devil’s Hour.”
When it comes to “The Devil’s Hour,” I find it hard to express how much of it I believe. I have my questions, but in no way do I feel comfortable proclaiming “The Devil’s Hour” as false.
Go ahead and blame it on my eight years of Catholic schooling, but if you ask me, I say I am just being safe. It does not matter to me if there is any validity to “The Devil’s Hour,” because I have no desire to risk inviting an angry demon into my home.
As a public service to all the insomniacs, the paranormal occurrence of “The Devil’s Hour” needs to be highlighted. No one wants their late night viewing of the Food Network to be rudely interrupted by pesky demons disturbing their home. Next time you find yourself awake between the hour of three and four a.m. please be mindful that you may not be alone. The visitors you may get during “The Devil’s Hour” want much more than your late night snack.
Life needs a narrator. That was the only thought flowing through my mind on a Friday night when I found myself standing in a Civil War era cemetery. The situation would make much more sense if only I could hear Vincent Price’s voice chime in to describe my surroundings.
Unfortunately this is real life and not the music video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Without Mr. Price to call on for a dramatic narrative, I was left to fend for myself. The Haunted Hannibal Ghost Tour in Hannibal, Mo., had lead me to my first paranormal investigation and the sight of a cemetery already had my skin crawling.
The Haunted Tour visits some of Hannibal’s most spooky landmarks. Along the way, passengers are treated to stories and intriguing historical facts about the locations around the town. The tour is capped off when the shuttle reaches The Old Baptist Cemetery. Here the passengers are invited to their own paranormal investigations with the help of dowsing rods.
Though originally used to find groundwater and buried minerals, ghost hunters have found dowsing rods to be effective tools in locating the presence of paranormal energy sources. The user holds the two “L” shaped brass rods loosely in hand and follows the direction in which they point. Once the two rods cross and make an “X” the source of the paranormal energy has been located.
With dowsing rods in hand, myself and the rest of the small group on the tour began to roam around The Old Baptist Cemetery. By the time we reached the investigation site, the sun had gone down. Even if someone is a non-believer in ghosts, I would imagine it hard to move around a dark graveyard and not feel a heightened level of anxiety.
Tour guide Lisa Marks showed us one of the unique things in The Old Baptist Cemetery. A marked grave site of a slave stands near the edge of the grounds, which is quite rare and Marks makes a point to highlight it on every tour. As Marks is telling the story of the slave, she extends out her hand behind the grave stone. She explains she is feeling what ghost hunters call a “cold spot.” These “cold spots” can be a sign that a ghost may be present. Sure enough when feeling the air near where Marks hand was out stretched, it felt much colder than the surrounding areas. I couldn’t tell if it was the shot of icy air or the thought a ghost might be present, but the hairs on my arms were standing straight up.
When I was able to shake off my chill, I got back to experimenting with my dowsing rods. As I walked towards the middle of the cemetery, I noticed the ends of my rods had flipped and were pointing behind me. I turned my body till the rods straightened out and began to move in the direction they were guiding me. I was almost back to the area of the marked slave grave when my rods crossed to form an “X.” My arm began twitching a bit. Something was trying to get my attention.
I looked around the location that I was summoned to for clues, but the spot I was standing in had no marker or evidence it was a grave of any kind. Marks then informed me that there are people buried in the cemetery who’s markers have either fallen down or never had a marker at all.
Across the cemetery a woman had been lead by her dowsing rods to a grave that had the same birthday on it as her son. I made my way over to join the rest of the group. I noticed once I had left my spot, the dowsing rods had flipped back around. Whatever was calling me to the unmarked spot didn’t want me to leave.
I pointed this out to Lisa Marks who told me the dowsing rods can also be used to ask questions to the spirits. By asking a question then saying to cross the rods for yes, spread them apart for no, the living can open a channel of communication with a ghost.
I was filled with hesitation to try and speak with my ghost. The words kept getting caught in my throat. Finally I was able to spit out, “Would you like me to come back, cross the rods for yes.” The moment I finished my inquiry my dowsing rods quickly crossed into the now familiar “X.” I glanced back to the spot. Part of me wanted to go back, while the other just wanted to get back on the shuttle and go home.
I decided I would oblige my ghost and return to the spot it had called me to earlier. Once back my dowsing rods again formed an “X” letting me know I had reached my destination. I didn’t try to communicate with the ghost this time, I just stood quietly. The air around me felt heavy. The feelings of fear and anxiety were gone. In the short time period, I felt a strange closeness to the spirit. So many questions were on my mind. Who was this spirit? Why didn’t it have a grave marker? And out of all things, why did this spirit chose to reach out to me?
I looked back towards the shuttle and the rest of the tour had started to gather. Time had gone by so fast and it was time to go. When we arrived at the cemetery, I didn’t even want to get out of the shuttle, now I really didn’t want to leave. I felt like I was letting the spirit down. In a strange way, I felt like I had made a new friend. Some people make new friends at parties or bars, apparently I make them in cemeteries with people I can’t see. Go figure.
My experience on the Haunted Hannibal Ghost Tour gave me much more than I had expected. In addition to the fascinating stories, the tour gave me the opportunity to make a connection I never thought I would have. Though my wish remains not granted that my life be narrated by Vincent Price, I can say however I am proud to know I have a spirit friend out at The Old Baptist Cemetery.
*For more information on the Haunted Hannibal Ghost Tour, visit www.hauntedhannibal.com or call (314) 494-2918.
I’ve been a vegetarian for many years now. This is why I’ve been a supporter of animal rights causes. There are so many charities and organizations raising awareness. This is great because many animals will receive the funding they need. Despite this, there is an animal in desperate need of help but continues to be ignored. That poor animal seeking charity is the beloved Bigfoot.
Todd Standing and those at the Sylvanic.com have been tracking and documenting a group of Bigfoot in a region of the Rocky Mountains. Through their research, they believe the Bigfoot are descendants of the giant apes, Gigantopithecus. Standing and his crew also believe these Bigfoot are in grave danger. (Source: ourbigfoot.com)
Standing makes a point on his website that while researching he does not “compromise the site in anyway.” He also discusses the Bigfoots zero tolerance for human contact. This is why Standing is fearing for the lives of these creatures. Through hunting and deforestation these Bigfoot will suffer and die. (Source: Ghosttheory.com)
So now Standing and Sylvanic.com have made it their mission to not only research these creatures but also protect them. He has attempted petitions to the United States and Canadian governments. Nothing has been passed yet but progress has been made through awareness. So if you love animals, especially Bigfoot, this may be a cause to get behind.
Over the past few years vampires and werewolves have risen to prominence in popular culture. The “Twilight” series alone has drawn interest to these creatures.
Recently, zombies have started to catch up in popularity by an abundance of new novels, films and video games.
Zombies have starred in famous horror films. Features like “Night of the Living Dead” and “Dawn of the Dead” have managed to generate large cult followings. Audiences have enjoyed zombies for the level of fear they arise, but still take comfort that the the dead rising from the grave is a concept that sounds completely based in fantasy.
According to PLoS 0 Journal and onecare2.com scientists have discovered a species of fungus in Brazil that contains spores that are turning carpenter ants into real life zombies.
Soon after the ants are exposed to the fungi they lose all mind control. Some wander off on their own and display bizarre behavior and they run around with the fungus living in and on their bodies.
Eventually the ants will find a spot either on a leaf or to the side of a tree and die. After their demise the fungus spores are released from their bodies, further infecting other carpenter ants. (Source: The Guardian)
“Science Today” points out that there are four different types of fungus that have zombie mind-effecting chemicals. Human beings have been known to eat mushrooms that do. In China, some people have been using these fungi for many years thinking they have power to cure diseases.
While the zombie plague sweeps through the ant population, there are many humans going through life with no knowledge of the occurrence. If a fungus can rise so easily and transform simple carpenter ants into zombies, whose to say the human race are not close to meeting a force with similar capabilities. Who knows how it will come about or when it would happen. Perhaps, a zombie outbreak amongst humans shouldn’t be considered something that only happens in fantasies.
— Jordan O’Donnell