Archive for February, 2006

Man assaults 110-year-old suspected witch

From the Accra (Ghana) Daily Mail:

Mr. Noah Owusu, a school proprietor in Techiman-North is helping the police in investigations into the brutal manhandling of a 110-year old woman on the allegation that she is a witch.

Owusu, is alleged to have committed the offence with some of his students. They allegedly stripped Madam Yaaya-Dam Libaar naked, beat her up and accused her of being a witch.

A Civil Rights treasure trove discovered

This is really one of those cases where the pictures speak a thousand words.

A photographer at The Birmingham (Ala.) News was looking for a lens, but found a box instead filled with negatives of photos from the civil rights movement in Alabama.

Many of the images include the biggest names and key events of the movement, but were never published before.

Minutes after the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed on Sept. 15, 1963, Tom Self was on the scene taking pictures.

The photographs, published in The Birmingham News, were among hundreds that appeared in print during the civil rights struggle in Alabama. Self, who retired as chief photographer in 1998, remembers many of those images.

He also recalls many not published. One is a picture from inside the Sixteenth Street church moments after explosives blew the face of Jesus Christ from a stained-glass window and killed four little girls.
“I shot a picture of Jesus, and everything was intact except his face; his face was blown out,” Self remembered. “It was an eerie feeling to look up there and see the whole frame of the window and just the face was gone.”

The link to the photos, stories and audio accounts from the retired photographers themselves can be found here, a terrific online exhibit that was published as part of a special in the newspaper.

For some civil rights activists who marched in the era I’m sure the photos will bring back a lot of memories.

For the rest of us, view them for inspiration. We owe these people heroes for their courage and faith to continue their struggle for justice and equality and to make the world a better place.

RIP: Octavia Butler

Noted science fiction author Octavia Butler has died following a fall outside her Seattle-area home. Her work was both intensely political and personal, providing a much-needed voice that was unafraid to discuss race, gender, or class – and often all three at once. From her obituary in the Seattle P-I:

SEATTLE — Octavia E. Butler, the first black woman to gain national prominence as a science fiction writer, died after falling and striking her head on the cobbled walkway outside her home, a close friend said Sunday. She was 58.

Butler was found outside her home in the north Seattle suburb of Lake Forest Park on Friday. She had suffered from high blood pressure and heart trouble and could only take a few steps without stopping for breath, said Leslie Howle, who knew Butler for two decades and works at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle.

Butler’s work wasn’t preoccupied with robots and ray guns, Howle said, but used the genre’s artistic freedom to explore race, poverty, politics, religion and human nature.

“She stands alone for what she did,” Howle said. “She was such a beacon and a light in that way.”

There are so many tributes to her tonight, I don’t even know where to point you – Steven Barnes and Cory Doctrow are a couple of writers I like, but there are many, many others sharing their thoughts about her passing tonight. Hers was a unique voice that will not be easily replaced.

UPDATE: Neil Gaiman, more Steven Barnes, John Marshall (one of the Seattle P-I’s book critics).

[via Atrios]

RIP: Darren McGavin

While I know some of y’all are going ‘Who?’, I know others recognize this as the passing of the original Kolchac.

McGavin, 83, died Saturday of natural causes at a Los Angeles-area hospital with his family at his side, said his son Bogart McGavin.

McGavin also had leading roles in TV’s “Riverboat” and cult favorite “Kolchak: The Night Stalker.” Among his memorable portrayals was Gen. George Patton in the 1979 TV biography “Ike.”

McGavin’s official website is here; his IMDb page is here.

[via Pam Spaulding @ Pandagon]

Posted in Horror | 3 Comments »

More spooky vacation ideas: European catacombs


(photo of Palermo Ossuary by Hugues Leblanc)

I know that in the past I’ve waxed poetic about my TiVo – and I’m gonna have to do so again, so just bear with me. A couple of nights ago, my TiVo recorded (unbidden, mind you – God! I love that machine! Okay, that wasn’t too much waxing, was it?) Incredible Catacombs on the Travel Channel, and I’ve got to say, there were a couple of places mentioned that I’d never heard of…

They did the obvious, covering sites we’ve talked about on MotHV before: the Parisian catacombs, the early Christian catacombs outside Rome (including one that was the scene of a massacre – Roman soldiers attacked an early Mass, killing everyone in attendance, including one of the early Popes), the vaults and closes under Edinborough’s streets, the chapel and ossuary at Sedlec. They covered the Wieliczka salt mines outside of Krakow, with its beautiful chapels and shrines, and whimsical grotesqueries.

But they also included a couple I’d never heard of. The first was a subterranean city in central Turkey; built by early Christians fleeing Roman persecution, the crypts could house up to 50,000 people! While this was cool (and the ancient volcanic landscape quite surreal and striking), of more interest to you, our loyal readers, would be the Capuchin ossuaries of Rome and Palermo. While both contain the bones of centuries-worth of monks, some displayed in bizzare tableaux, the Palermo one contains thousands of mummies. Evidently, it was a fad among the wealthy in the 1800s to have your corpse soaked in vinegar or arsenic and placed in the dry limestone niches and crypts in Palermo’s Capuchin catacomb. Dehydration would do the rest…

So if you get a chance, give the show a whirl – it airs again on Sunday, March 5th. I know my list of places I should see has definitely grown.

(Special Saturday Bonus: the photographer and writer responsible for the ‘Dark Italy’ site where I got the photo also have a great ‘Dark Mexico’ site… Check ‘em both out – they’re quite cool.)

Giant aircraft of the future

Paging Jules Verne. Mr. Verne to the courtesy phone please. From ABC News:

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … an Aeroscraft?

A Tarzana, Calif., company has been working on a new kind of aircraft that looks more like a flying cruise liner than anything inhabiting the skies today.

“It’s not a blimp, it’s not an airship, it’s a totally new vehicle,” said Edward Pevzner, business development manager for Worldwide Aeros Corp.

“Today we have three types of vehicles — air vehicles, which are airplanes, helicopters and airships [blimps]. So this Aeroscraft, as we’re going to call it, is going to be the fourth type. And it is going to combine technologies of all three other vehicles.”

Roughly the size of two football fields, the Aeroscraft can be used as a military transport for troops, artillery and equipment; as a cargo transport service in the spirit of Federal Express or UPS; as a commuter transport service; and as a luxury travel option.

Night Watch

The Russian vampire film Night Watch opening tonight in limited release. I am really looking forward to seeing Night Watch when it comes to my area.

Slate reviewed it:

How do you go about describing Night Watch (Fox Searchlight)? “It is easier for a man to destroy the light within,” as one Night Watcher intones, “than to defeat the darkness that surrounds him.” Hear that, brother; and harder still to follow the plot of your movie. But here’s the rub: I didn’t care. For the first hour of Night Watch, a dark, arresting, and unrelentingly weird thrill ride out of post-Soviet Russia, one feels lost. Not bad lost, as with a densely clotted mess like Underworld: Evolution, whose mythopoetics land in the viewer’s lap in concrete chunks; but good lost, exhilarated lost, like what am I watching?

Posted in Horror | 1 Comment »

The taxi driver

Here’s a joke that was emailed me:

A passenger in a taxi cab, needing to ask the driver a question, leaned forward and tapped him on the shoulder.

The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up on the curb and stopped just inches from a large plate glass window.

For a few minutes everything was silent in the cab. Then, still shaking, the driver said, “I’m sorry but you scared the daylights out of me.”

The frightened passenger apologized saying that he didn’t realize a tap on the shoulder could be so scary. “No, no,” said the driver. “It’s all my fault. This is my first day driving a taxi. For the last 25 years I’ve driven a hearse.”

How to tell if your IT tech is a zombie

ITtoolbox Blogs has a list of signs to determine if your IT person is a zombie and a list of tips on how to deal with your zombie IT worker:

* does he use too much Axe bodyspray or too much cologne (to cover up the smell of his rotting flesh)?

* does he nibble at your ankles when plugging in your network cable under your desk?

* after troubleshooting your slow computer, does he call back to his office and ask them to “send more brains”?

* does he stare at you with his eyes rolled halfway back into his skull and groan everytime you explain to him that you really do need him to open up the firewall for your streaming audio?

Tip of the fedora to FARfeteched for emailing me the link.

Posted in Horror | 1 Comment »

Friday vampire cat blogging

Hat tip to PhillyGal.

Posted in FVCB | No Comments »

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