Once again October 31st has arrived.
The air is chilly and crisp.
The leaves on the trees are finally changing color and falling to the ground.
Scary pumpkins are outside most homes around the neighborhood.
And this evening around sunset, children throughout the area will dress in costumes and head out in search of candy.
“TRICK OR TREAT?”
Halloween was always a favorite holiday when growing up, as it was also with my parents and their parents. The joy of wearing costumes and roaming the neighborhoods at night in search of candy was always a blast. Sometimes you would hit the jackpot and find a house giving away full-size candy bars, but more often people would give away smaller pieces of candy or maybe some coins. Nonetheless, by the end of the trick-or-treating session we’d normally have enough candy to last us a month.
Instead of boring you with childhood memories, or trying to analyze past and current Halloween customs and traditions, I’m going to take pity on you and skip all of that. Instead, here are some of my favorite cartoons and movies relating to Halloween.
Up first we have the classic Donald Duck cartoon, Trick or Treat. This was first released back in 1952 and stars Donald Duck, his three nephews (Huey, Dewey and Louie), and Witch Hazel. The nephews are on the receiving end of Donald’s tricks when out trick-or-treating, and Witch Hazel helps the boys get their revenge. And some treats.
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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays of the year.
It’s neat when people decorate their homes and get into the festive (and spooky) spirit. Some people put a lot of effort into their work. And then you have others that take it a few steps further.
Take this home in Riverside, California, for example.
Using a massive collection of singing pumpkin faces, tombstones, hand-carved pumpkins, strobes, flood lights, and literally thousands of other lights, this homeowner went above and beyond the Halloween spirit and created a musical Halloween masterpiece. The lights and singing pumpkins are choreographed with the music, and the final experience is just plain fun.
2011 music videos:
“Party Rock Anthem” performed by LMFAO
“This is Halloween” from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas
2010 music videos: Read more…
In response of the ongoing story of the exotic animals on the loose in eastern Ohio (such a tragedy for all of the exotic animals killed), two cool animal videos were recently shared with me.
Up first is something known as “Parahawking.”
Parahawking basically combines the aviation sport of paragliding with falconry, the medieval method of using birds of prey to capture food such as rabbits and foxes. Instead of catching prey, in parahawking, the birds meet up with you —- in mid-air. Imagine gliding nearly silently in the wind, using a parachute-like device to keep you airborne, when a hawk flies along side and lands on your thick leather glove.
How cool does that sound?
Paragliding alone would be a great adventure, but having the birds flying with you and hitching a ride is just plain awesome.
The second animal video takes us on top of and into the ocean courtesy of an ocean kayaker and his amazing encounter with a blue whale.
I would imagine that kayaking in the ocean would be quite an experience, let alone having an animal encounter as incredible as this one. Imagine paddling in the ocean, gliding across small waves, when a blue whale decides to start feeding . . . . . right next to you. Not only would that be cool, but take it one step further and look down into the water and watch as a MASSIVE whale swims directly underneath you, a mere fifteen feet away.
Amazing. Simply amazing.
These days, political elections and the days leading up to the elections are a living hell.
Not from the mud throwing and sometimes slanderous TV commercials.
Not from the celebrities and talking heads endorsing and campaigning for their picks.
No, the days are horrendous from the never ending and harassing, yes, HARASSING, robo-calls reminding us that it happens to be voting day. And the phone keeps ringing over and over and over, ALL DAY LONG!
Today happened to be polling day for a run-off election for the primary for the election of a state representative next month. Yeah, I know, really exciting. At 10:45 in the morning, my dad was the fifth person to show up to vote at his polling station. Care to guess how many times today the house phone was called with recorded messages reminding my parents to get out and vote? At least ten times. Today!
TEN TIMES! And this was just a runoff election to see which candidate would win the primary and run for the state representative seat in the November election. At least ten damn phone calls with the same generic message telling them to get out and vote. Just this evening at dinner three more calls were received. Holy cow!
“Our records show that you may not have voted yet . . .”
“This is a reminder that you can vote today . . .”
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SOMEBODY NEEDS TO STOP THESE HARASSING POLITICAL PHONE CALLS!!!! Read more…
Today in the Las Vegas Indy 300 IndyCar race in Las Vegas, Nevada, one of IndyCar’s best and most talented drivers died after being involved in a massive, fifteen-car wreck early in the race.
Needless to say, I am one of the millions around the world deeply saddened and mourning the loss of Dan Wheldon.
The crash today in Las Vegas was nothing but horrific. The engineers behind the scenes have improved driver, pit crew, and fan safety tremendously over the years, but every once in a whole we’re reminded that the unthinkable can still happen, and it can strike rookies and veterans alike. Unfortunately, today it struck not only a very talented racing veteran, but also one of the best personalities in the IndyCar circuit.
15-car wreck at the Las Vegas Indy 300, October 16, 2011
The view from Will Power’s on-board camera.
In the driver’s meeting nearly two hours after the crash, Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti announced to the other IndyCar drivers that Dan Wheldon had perished. The remainder of the Las Vegas Indy 300 race was cancelled. The drivers voted unanimously to drive a five-lap salute to honor their fallen friend.
Announcement of Dan Wheldon’s death and the five-lap salute.
Wheldon was one of my favorite drivers in the IndyCar series along with Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and Will Power. His loss is a huge blow to the sport and racing fans worldwide. This tragedy could not have struck not only a better driver but also a better person in general.
R.I.P. — Dan Wheldon
A recent news story shed some light on San Francisco restaurants and a plot to make 25% tipping mandatory.
That’s a standard tip rate, as in, something that is automatically added to your bill whether or not the service was actually worth it.
So the big question is: Should restaurants impose a mandatory tipping percentage to take care of their staff, or should tipping still be left up to the customers that they serve?
Tipping is all about rewarding good service. If the waiter or waitress can send your order correctly to the kitchen, refill your drink when the glass is low, bring you your food, and check and make sure that everything is okay, then that worker deserves a tip. If the worker is friendly and extra helpful, then that tip should be increased an appropriate amount as determined by that customer. As a whole, most customers know this unwritten policy about tipping, and most of them can follow it well.
Every once in a while you’ll hear about how customers stiff the workers, or how some big shots are incredible cheapskates when it comes to tipping. When that happens there’s usually talk about how bars and restaurants should have a mandatory tip, especially when a worker or even a restaurant has to bend over backwards to see to the customer’s smallest of special requests.
But should restaurants go that far to protect their workers? Read more…
Every once in a while you hear about a new word being added to Webster’s dictionary.
For example, I remember there being a big deal about adding “D’oh” as an interjection with the definition, “an exclamation of annoyance when something goes wrong.” As we all know, this word was constantly uttered by Homer Simpson in The Simpsons.
Another new word added to the dictionary in recent history was “google.” In honor of the mega popular web search company and since most people were using it in common conversations, “google” officially became a verb with the definition, “to search the Internet for information about (a person, topic, etc.)”
In essence, pop culture can eventually add new words to the dictionary. But as you’ll see, pop culture and everyday people can also destroy words just as easily.
Next time you watch TV, read an article, or even read idiotic comments on Facebook or YouTube, take a look and see how often people use the word “are.” The verb may pop up here and there at the start of a sentence like in a question, or it may be partially concealed in the form of a contraction (such as “we’re”), but as you may notice, it just doesn’t seem to be as popular these days. Read more…
Situated on the south side of the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga is the Tennessee Aquarium.
The aquarium itself is divided into two separate buildings and experiences. The original aquarium is known as River Journey and it is the world’s largest freshwater aquarium. The second, and newer, building is Ocean Journey, and it focuses on saltwater creatures and fish. Admission to the Tennessee Aquarium includes both buildings and requires a few hours to see and appreciate all of the fascinating exhibits.
Arriving at the Tennessee Aquarium, you’re treated to two creative and imaginative structures that house both primary exhibits. Although the glass pyramids on top of both buildings may feel more like the Journey into Imagination pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World, the rest of the building is a massive, multi-level complex filled with dozens of exhibits and literally thousands of animals that live above and below the water. Long escalators take you to the top of each building, and a self-guided tour takes you back down to the street level, seeing many interesting exhibits along the way.
Outside of the buildings is a creative display of various water features in the sidewalks. It’s fun and imaginative, and I’m sure that the kids love to splash around in them during the summer months. Read more…
During our week in the Ellijay, Georgia, area, we decided to take a one-day excursion to Chattanooga, Tennessee and be tourists for the day. This part of the trip report involves activities on Lookout Mountain including Ruby Falls, the Incline Railway, and Rock City (includes the full park guide map for Rock City).
Well, to be honest, we actually planned on going there well before leaving for the trip. Purchasing ticket combos through our local AAA office saved some time and money in the process.
Situated mostly in the state of Georgia and not really Tennessee is Lookout Mountain, a 2,392-foot mountain home to several of Chattanooga’s most famous tourist attractions and spectacular views of the city.
Driving up the mountain involves lots of elevation changes and curvy roads. Just take note that some of the attraction directional signs can be misleading and actually take you off the main roads and through residential land.
Our original plan was to visit Rock City first, but very overcast skies send us deep into Lookout Mountain and through the caves to Ruby Falls. As it turned out, seeing Ruby Falls first was a great idea as our tour group only had about eight people. Later groups that morning had about thirty or so people. Score another one for BDL (born dumb luck). Read more…
Part two of the North Georgia trip report involves an excursion that we made to Helen, GA, followed by Brasstown Bald, the highest natural point in the state of Georgia.
Driving to the alpine-themed town of Helen is one of the most scenic drives in the state of Georgia. This drive was even better for us from Ellijay as we took a number of scenic roads through the mountains as we drove to the town.
Helen originated as a logging town. As the industry declined, the town switched to focus on tourism and themed the town to that of the Bavarian region in southern Germany. The result is a German-themed town that brings in plenty of tourists, especially in the fall during its Oktoberfest celebration. Read more…