Saturday, October 30, 2010

Charles Addams

H A P P Y   H A L L O W E E N

Let's burn some wicker

Fans of the 1973 British cult film The Wicker Man will dig this. Just in time for Halloween, too.

I've just learned there is a huge alternative music festival on a farm in rural Scotland every year that parties for three days and then burns a 30-foot wicker man as a sacrifice to the festival gods. The Festival's site is very near to various shooting locations in the film.

Called The Wickerman Festival, it's an odd mix of Woodstock and Burning Man, with acres of campsites and trailer parks. (The UK calls them caravans.) It's called the Glastonbury of Scotland.

The event is held at the East Kirkcarswell Farm, Dundrennan, Scotland, south of Glasgow and north of Manchester, near the Irish Sea. Dates of the Festival vary.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Jolly Halloween

In the news

It's been revealed that Cherie Blair, the wife of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, likes to shop on eBay, and is purported to have a history of buying high-end merchandise there, bypassing London's expensive shops. British tabloid reporters hacked Ms. Blair's eBay account and blabbed.

A British dating website for unattractive people has its first engagement. Selling itself as a site for looks-challenged people, celebrated its first anniversary this week by announcing that a Welsh couple met and will be married. There is a U.S. version, if you're interested.

In Sri Lanka, an Indian man swallowed three condoms filled with 2,000 diamonds, estimated at $670,000. He was caught by airport security acting on a tip. Police recovered the diamonds.

A man in Boulder shot himself in the knee with a 9mm handgun while sleepwalking. He does not remember the incident but remembers hearing the shot go off. Police said he lives alone and there was no evidence of an intruder.

A young man from Angola has set the Guinness World Record for the widest mouth. At seven inches wide, he can fit a can of soda pop in his mouth with room to spare. He was spotted performing his talent at local markets in his hometown.

For the record book, McDonald's has lost a lawsuit down in Brazil. A former store manager said he gained 65 pounds in the 12 years he was employed by the chain, claiming food testing and free lunches unfairly packed on the pounds. McDonald's was ordered to pay the man $17,500, unless, of course, there is an appeal.

And that's the news for today. Be careful out there!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quote of the day

Louisa May Alcott
A little kingdom I possess, where thoughts and feelings dwell; And very hard the task I find of governing it well.

To find out more:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Himeji Castle, Japan

Himeji Castle started as a fortress in 1333 during the feudal period and was completed in its present state in 1609. It is an excellent example of Japanese Midieval architecture.

It was defended by three moats, making it nearly impossible to conquer:
"By the time the enemy had gotten past the third moat, their strength and reserves were considerably lessened...The wandering passages of the castle are intended to confuse an enemy unfamiliar with the layout."

It has survived earthquakes, wars and typhoons. It was named a National Treasure in 1931. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. It has 85 buildings and is the largest castle in Japan.

The castle was featured in such movies as James Bond's You Only Live Twice, The Last Samurai, several Akira Kurosawa movies, and in the U.S. television miniseries Shogun.

How Halloweeny

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sequoias and redwoods

Sequoia trees

Redwood trees

Sequoias and redwoods are very different trees. They live in different climates and geographical areas. Sequoias are found on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, while redwoods grow along the Pacific coast. Sequoias are the oldest trees, redwoods are the tallest.

Redwood trees are found along a narrow corridor 470 miles long and 50 miles wide that follows the Pacific coastline from Monterey Bay to Oregon. Sequoias flourish inland at higher elevations where there is more precipitation.

The oldest living sequoia is over 3,500 years old. The largest sequoia, in volume, is 42,500 cubic feet. The widest is 26 feet in circumference. Known for their height, coastal redwoods grow over 300 feet tall.

Both trees are fire and bug resistant, which accounts for their longevity. The foliage begins so high off the ground that insects are not a threat.

Seedlings can reach 65 feet in 20 years.


African-American Halloween card

Strange sights are seen on Halloween

Dark Shadows

ABC 1966-1971

 Dark Shadows also featured werewolves, ghosts, zombies, man-made monsters, witches, warlocks, time travel (both into the past and into the future), and a parallel universe.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Breaking the sound barrier

The vapor cloud is created when a sudden drop in air pressure causes water to condensate and form a cloud.

At Mach 1, the speed of an aircraft is equal to the speed of sound — 720 mph or 332 miles per second. At Mach 2, an aircraft is traveling at twice the speed of sound; Mach 3 is three times the speed of sound, and so on.

In May of this year, the Air Force broke the Mach 5 record to reach Mach 6 for 200 seconds.

Painter Peter Stimeling

Autumn Shadows

Pumpkin contest winner

"Ron Root of Citrus Heights, California shows off his first place ribbon next to his 1,535 pound Atlantic Giant Pumpkin during the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, California on October 11, 2010. Root pocketed more than 10,000 dollars for his colossal cucurbita." UPI/Terry Schmitt

Saturday, October 16, 2010