Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

The Following Information Courtesy History Channel

Ancient Origins of Halloween

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.
By 43 A.D., the Roman Empire had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.
On May 13, 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome in honor of all Christian martyrs, and the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established in the Western church. Pope Gregory III (731–741) later expanded the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs, and moved the observance from May 13 to November 1. By the 9th century the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually blended with and supplanted the older Celtic rites. In 1000 A.D., the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It is widely believed today that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. All Souls Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. The All Saints Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cool Music Friday # 43 - Devics

Devics is a dream pop band from Los AngelesCalifornia consisting of Sara LovDustin O'Halloran, Ed Maxwell, Theodore Liscinski, and Evan Schnabel. Their music can be described as melancholic.

Recently (2008) the Devics covered The Cure's "Catch" for the American Laundromat Records produced compilation "Just Like Heaven - a tribute to The Cure". It was recorded by Pall Jenkins of the Black Heart Procession and included performances by Scott Mercado, Jimmy LaValle, Pall Jenkins as well as Dustin O'Halloran and Sara Lov.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Guess The Firsts

All of the pictures below depict a "World's First" in history.  Can you guess them all correctly?  The answers can be found by clicking "the rest of the story" link at the end of this post.

A. First Memory Chip
B. First Microprocessor
C. First Computer
D. First GPS chip

A. First Record Album Cover
B. First Lithograph
C. First Lighted Marquee
D. First Orchestra Appearance at a Theater

A. First Lie Detector
B. First Computer Projection Display
C. First Slide Projector with Sound
D. First Digital Camera

A. First Turbo Charged Car
B. First Convertible
C. First Race Car
D. First Concept Car

A. First Crossword Puzzle
B. First Contest
C. First Anagrams Puzzle
D. First IQ Test

A. First Newspaper Ad
B. First Magazine
C. First Dot Matrix Printer Output
D. First Billboard

A. First Church in Russia
B. First Church in Hawaii
C. First Motel
D. First Lighted Sign

A. First Electric Bicycle
B. First Motorcycle
C. First Sewing Machine
D. First Mechanical Bull

A. First Electric Meat Slicer
B. First Electric Knife
C. First Surgical Saw
D. First Computer Mouse

A. First Commercial Digital Scale
B. First Commercial Digital Thermometer
C. First Commercial MP3 player
D. First Digital Wallet

A. First Web Server
B. First E-Reader
C. First Handheld Scanning System
D. First Digital Home Broadcasting System

A. First Bank
B. First Drugstore
C. First Skyscraper
D. First Department Store

A. First Artificial Joint
B. First X-Ray
C. First Modern Art
D. First Frame from the Movie "Saw"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Signs Made Better

Some readers out there have no doubt defaced a sign before.  I did a few when I was a rowdy mid-teen.  But none as I recall were ever as funny as these.  Have a look, but be careful milk doesn't shoot out of your nose!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fortune Cookies Can Be Fun!

I've always wanted to make Misfortune cookies and replace all of the traditional ones, found in Chinese restaurants around the globe, with these new, and funnier, cookies.  Each cookie would contain a misfortune, like "you will soon break your collar bone in a freak accident", or, "I hope you didn't order the Shrimp Tempura".

On the same note, here are some very clever fortunes from a slightly more unusual batch of fortune cookies...