The graduate

A new phase of life begins..

My son graduated from pre school last night. My wife and I could not have been more proud of him. Little Ayden, once a nervous little man enrolled in day care and now a child poised and ready to read and write. His eye swelled up with pride during the event. He was on stage with friends. At a few points during the ceremony, in his cap and gown, he peered down at his parents. His bright eyes alive with joy an innocence. He looked like he understood his place in the world and even had an inking as to how the near future was a going to work. When he looked at me and Tara, as our eyes locked, we had the feeling that his youthful energy was burning right through our own souls. Words were not spoken but somehow a message was sent and received. It was an amazing moment.

Just as it seems Ayden now has a bit more of a clue as to how life will work, I think we as parent have less. The cycles of life--childhood and teenage years, the 20s and now the 30 somethings--all come with benefits and tragedies. Each passing moment is just one page in a chapter. Each chapter is a section of book. We don't know the ending and often forget the beginning. There are times we are reading that book of life and just, page by page, stop paying attention to what we are even seeing. When the book comes time to end, we forget everything that happened because we were too busy on peripheral devices or dividing time between sets of activities that never mattered to begin with.

And that is why last night was momentous for me. Without getting involved too heavily with the tears and details, it was a moving ceremony. I cried at how time passed but had tears of joy when I saw Ayden running and playing with friends. Creating memories. Writing his book.

When you are young, you play and pay attention to the book you're in. Every page matters. As we grow, others tell us that our books are not worth anything. Their pages matter more, we start to believe. We often forget the vibrancy we had in youth. By adulthood, acting like a child (in the good ways) is frowned on. We start to take ourselves very, very seriously. To our own demise.

Be young.

Think young

Stop ACTING your age an start being you.

And enjoy each moment. Each page. Each chapter. Your book will one day and someone will review it.  Don't be a bad read.

Act like a child. Like Ayden and is friends. Get a fire in your eye and passion--really, not work related either--and burn the world with the fire of life.

An old fashioned Sunday morning sidewalk of news

Confused about your health? Try these! One new study says cutting back on salt can HURT your health! Another story running in the LA TIMES argues it's time to MOVE BEYDOND the GMO debate.. That GMOs are safe. Frankenfoods no more. My only caution: Always take a peak beyond the headline and look at who funds the survey.. who writes the story.. and who sits on the board of directors at the corporate conglomerate that wants you to believe all is well with genetically modified foods.

Those marching against MONSANTO and BAYER not believe the latest news that GMOs are safe..

1 in 8 swimming pools in the US closed for health reasons.. Summer on hold.. 8 in 10 regularly fail health inspections..

ZIKA virus infects dozens of pregnant women in New York City..
"Imported to America from Africa"

The incredible truth about the human nose..
Genes that determine the shape have been found..

Eh??? Japanese startup firm to use satellites to create ARTIFICIAL METEOR SHOWERS..
Plan it for the 2020 Olympics..

Company in Virginia aims to help explain honeybee losses..

Astronomers find faintest furthest galaxy yet..

Calvin Harris is recovering after being injured in a car crash in Los Angeles Friday, which has prompted him to cancel two gigs. A police spokesperson told E! News a teenage female driver driving several people in a Volkswagen Beetle on a narrow canyon ....

New world: Now you can print 3D gummies of your face and eat them..


NEIGHBORS 2 lands second well behind expectations

The habitable zone: Maybe the entire entire universe. New research says the life count could be in the trillions

Alien Civilizations May Number In The Trillions, New Study Says »

Proving again that we hardly know anything about our universe and certainly nothing about the potential for how abundant life may be ‘out there’ in the cosmos.. enter this study.

The research, published in the journal Astrobiology last week, suggests that more planets in the Milky Way galaxy may harbor advanced civilizations than we previously imagined.
Study co-authors Adam Frank and Woodruff Sullivan looked at recent discoveries of potentially habitable exoplanets and considered the odds of whether sophisticated civilizations existed on them in the past or present.
“What we showed was the ‘floor’ on the probability for a civilization to form on any randomly chosen planet,” Frank, a University of Rochester physics and astronomy professor, told The Huffington Post in an email. “If we are the only civilization in cosmic history, then that what we calculated is the actual probability nature has set. But if the actual probability is higher than that floor, then civilizations have happened before.”

According to the theory, the amount of life on planets beyond ours is potentially staggering.

“Even if you are pretty pessimistic and think that you’d have to search through 100 billion (habitable zone) planets before you found one where a civilization developed, then there have still been a trillion civilizations over cosmic history!” Frank wrote. “When I think about that, my mind reels — even if there is just a one in a 100 billion chance of evolution creating exo-civilizations, the universe still has made so many of them that we are swamped by histories other than our own.”

So there you have your “feeling small on Sunday morning” post.. The notion that we are just existent in a universe abundant in other civilizations like this. Or maybe hopefully NOT like us at all..

If a tree talks in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

This is an amazing study.. Trees were studied in two nations for a first of its kind analysis.. Proving, perhaps, that trees do sleep?

The full story is here..

Read it. It’s truly amazing to consider that trees actually become at rest during the darkness of night.. Sleeping Giants in the woods around us.

When I was younger, my father used to tell me that trees could hear and see.. That trees could listen and understand. And that they were smart…
These days with CIA spying it’s more likely that trees literally watch you.

But while I laughed when I was younger at my dad’s tall tales, I realized he wasn’t kidding in what he said and quite possibly was correct in some creepy and deeply paranormal way..

Have you ever been in the woods, alone, but felt like every tree was either greeting you with open branches or dismissing you with fluttering leaves? Have you even felt like a tree, in all its might, may just be able to see and discern your intentions?
And maybe trees have to sleep too..

It’s not easy standing that tall for hundreds of years. Even trees have to take a break sometime.

Wading into the night without Heather

Confusion and consternation abounds after last night's MIDNIGHT IN THE DESERT was a rerun.. No previews from Art Bell on his Facebook page like he's been doing for days. Nothing from Heather Wade.. just the sounds of a repeat.

The crowd at Bellgab is polarized as usual ... some say Wade could not compete with George Noory interviewing Dan Rather on Coast to Coast Am. How exactly did Nores get Rather? It's a schtrange world indeed.. is absent information about what may have occurred with Heather Wade. No mention of ANY show Friday night, rerun or night.

A few MIDNIGHT fan pages on Facebook are all a flutter with hypertension over what may be occurring behind the scenes.

We reached out to Heather Wade to get a comment. Nothing yet. But if one comes we will share.



WHEN VIRAL GOES GOOD!!IF you didn’t see Candace Payne, a Dallas mother of two, laugh hysterically while wearing a Chewbacca mask, you should. It should almost be mandatory on a gloomy day.<br/>She wasn’t anyone famous.. but literally minutes after...


IF you didn’t see  Candace Payne, a Dallas mother of two, laugh hysterically while wearing a Chewbacca mask, you should. It should almost be mandatory on a gloomy day.

She wasn’t anyone famous.. but literally minutes after posting herself in a car wearing a brand new Chewy mask, her Facebook exploded. It completely shattered the Facebook live video stats.

The views were in the millions.. Even KOHL’s send toys for the entire family (Good marketing Kohls) ..

She captioned the video ‘the simple joys.’  And her video makes you just…happy!

The comments I have seen on the videos have been kind and fun. No one degenerating it into some needless debate. Nothing talking politics.. no one laughing or bullying her..

No, instead, it would seem that her Chewbacca mask is exactly what America needs right now. Something to bridge the numerous gaps that divide us on so many levels.

Just a happy woman in her car, sneaking a video of her in Chewy attire.
Completely innocent and completely beautiful as she laughs. And her laugh is actually quite contagious.

Enjoy if you haven’t already:

Egypt air flight 804 vanishes from radar

This is a hard developing story.. 

Known so far: 

The flight left Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport at 11:09 p.m. local time and was supposed to land in Cairo at 3.15 a.m. Thursday. Both the departure and arrival cities are in the same time zone.

-- It vanished 10 miles into Egyptian airspace, the airline said.

--The plane's captain had 6,000 flying hours while the first officer had 4,000, Adel said.

--The Egyptian navy is conducting search and rescue operations in the area it vanished, CNN's Ian Lee said from Cairo. Armed forces are searching the area 40 miles north of Egyptian coastline.

-- There was no special cargo on the flight and no notification of any dangerous goods aboard, Adel said.

-- The plane entered EgyptAir's service on November 3, 2003, he added.


If a tree sleeps in the forest does anyone wake it?

This is an amazing study.. Trees were studied in two nations for a first of its kind analysis.. Proving, perhaps, that trees do sleep?
 The full story is here..
 Read it. It's truly amazing to consider that trees actually become at rest during the darkness of night.. Sleeping Giants in the woods around us.
 When I was younger, my father used to tell me that trees could hear and see.. That trees could listen and understand. And that they were smart...
 These days with CIA spying it's more likely that trees literally watch you.
 But while I laughed when I was younger at my dad's tall tales, I realized he wasn't kidding in what he said and quite possibly was correct in some creepy and deeply paranormal way..
 Have you ever been in the woods, alone, but felt like every tree was either greeting you with open branches or dismissing you with fluttering leaves? Have you even felt like a tree, in all its might, may just be able to see and discern your intentions?
 And maybe trees have to sleep too..
 It's not easy standing that tall for hundreds of years. Even trees have to take a break sometime.

The 'demonic threat' to America?

It's official.. America is facing a demonic threat..
 Or so says a Cardinal commenting about what he portrayed as a dismissal of God by America and an impending demonic doom..
 Robert Sarah is his name...
 Praying the game.
 From US NEWS:
In a keynote address at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, Cardinal Sarah said that in the United States, "God is being eroded, eclipsed, liquidated," Catholic News Agency reports.
 Cardinal Sarah pointed out specific events "in the name of 'tolerance'" that have contributed to this erosion, including "the legalization of same sex marriage, the obligation to accept contraception within health care programs, and even 'bathroom bills' that allow men to use the women’s restrooms and locker rooms."

 Lots of news of demonic possession lately.. Stories of entire nations being exorcised.. And. Now. The cardinal. Worried about demons swarming in..
 A threat so serious that even Trump can't save us?

 There is “LIFE AFTER DEATH” according to a study..

That’s an actual headline from the UK EXPRESS.. and while it seems hopeful and amazing, the information was certainly not conclusive. There is a certain chance that we can live up to three minutes after the heart stops.. there is also the chance that many people have experienced ‘life after death’ type out of body experiences.. or as the UK EXPRESS titled them, ‘outer body.’ There is also a chance that Raymond Moody had it best–and first–with his life after life scenarios and circumstances.

What we know is that we still don’t know..
One of the biggest focuses of this website–and me personally–is to get to the bottom of this question. It may be the most important question we ever ask on this planet.  And if we would so happen to find an answer.. my God, imagine how amazing that could really, really be?

I get a sense we will not find that conclusion we are looking for, however.. instead just strange stories, hints, and allegations from the world at large.

We will get the conclusive answer when we meet our fate.
And we hope and strive for a long and healthy question session before we finally get the final answer..

But I am always reminded when I talk about this subject of a comment from John Leer on Art Bell so many years ago: Do NOT go into the light. It's a trap.

Two years ago after a health scare, radio host Clyde Lewis added to the 'no light' statement with a joke that he pictures a hillbilly with a bugzapper as each person enters the tunnel ...

Avoid the light?
Is there a light?
One thing that sticks with me from the UK EXPRESS article describing the emotion people had, mostly, during the NDEs: FEAR.


Rainbow over nostalgia street

Yesterday, May 15 2016, was a peculiar day of weather in Northeastern Pennsylvania.Cold, rain.. heavy rain.. sun.. SLEET, SNOW! And hail. All of that in the span of about 12 hours.

I said snow. Strange for May. Of course in the 1800s we had a season with no summer, hope that won’t happen in ’16 but it sure felt it yesterday.

But one image I wanted to share. In the aftermath of the rain and snow and storm clouds, rainbows were popping up everywhere. Some dramatic photos showed up on my news feed on Facebook and Instagram. I stole one photo from my sister in law that shows a beautiful rainbow. The picture is unfiltered, nothing added … and the rainbow appears to be directly where St. Mauritius Church stood until only a few months back.

You may recall that I wrote about the structure as it was being torn down last year.. 

And now, a reminder of a building that was once there on a cold day in May.

Retail hell and the murder of malls

So often, it seems that I am posting “end times” stories on this website. End times for schools in my area.. for churches.. for stores.. End times for the fabric of the once strong and proud coal region of Pennsylvania.. End times for so many things.

Believe it or not, I am mostly a positive person with some negative traits. While admiring those who can see the glass half full all of the time, I strive for that. But lately, things in this area could not be more depressed..

This past weekend, after 20 years of existence, another store in my local mall shuddered and fell by the wayside. Black Diamond antiques in the Schuylkill Mall, Frackville PA.. it was a strange little place, filled with coveted items of yesterday, trinkets that had no specific meaning but most likely meant a lot to someone who passed away within the last 100 years, and old relics like typewriters, newspapers, and He-Man toys. As a matter of fact, I was able to mostly recreate my entire stock of He-Man toys that were tossed into the garbage late 20th century. My son Ayden gets the collection now. He was upset this weekend to learn that Black Diamond’s He-Man selection will vanish.

The problem with malls is that it is not 1989 anymore. Music stores? No need.. fast food? Less interest.. Specialty shops? Amazon!

Just as malls killed main street, Walmart killed malls. Walmart is being slowly impaled on the information superhighway, along with the remaining malls that still survive to today. People have no need for brick and mortar when they can click and order. It’s just the way of the world..

Will these same Amazon shoppers miss malls? Maybe not. A friend of mine complicit in the death of retail shopping holds no guilt. He is fine with the choices he made, completely lavishes in the speed of his goods being shipped and can’t wait for the day when drones can do it.

But those jobs!? (minimum wage, of course.. but summer employment for students and year round employment for seniors… all gone.)


I have been long enamored with the fate of malls. I always sensed it would happen. I am sure you did, too. Nothing after all lasts forever.

I have fond memories of teenage years, scavenging the mall for things to do but finding little. These days, teenagers in the mall would actually be a welcome site—back in the 90s they were always kicked out. Now they doors would be left wide open for ANYONE to come in.

I don’t give my own local mall too much longer.

The Schuylkill Mall even ended up on in 2006. No updates since that …

About a year and a half ago, I decided to call the mall management and give them some ideas. I actually penned them and typed them up, making a concise list of practical things I think they could do to replenish shoppers or even have new ideas that don’t involve shopping. One idea was to quit playing 80s music—that generation is gone and there’s no getting it back. Other ideas was an commerce center, indoor farm and market, and lots of free rent for a few months to spawn independent restaurants.

However this was before I completely read the graffiti on the bathroom stall like the holy scripture of the shopping mall: things aren’t coming back. Maybe there will be a few places.. but not many. Malls are gone. Main street USA is boarded up and not reopening. Jobs are vanquished. Drugs dominate. Towns that once celebrated sundown now fear it. The dead eyes of night stare at empty store fronts and peer into windows of dilapidated structures.

With all that said, I am positive for the future. Somehow.

But things indeed are changing.

The future will be drone delivered.

Perhaps what I will miss most? The photos of people trampling each other on Black Friday.



There is a boom in calls for exorcisms in Idaho, apparently..
This report from KIVI-TV reporter Roland Beres, an ABC affiliate in the state:
BOISE, Idaho - As Idaho’s population grows, there has been an influx of new construction, new restaurants, and oddly enough, and increased amount calls for exorcisms.

“Many times we get calls because people are having activity in their homes or businesses,“ exorcism expert and founder of Apparitions Paranormal Investigations Jeff Mason explained. "We actually had the entity identify itself as a demon attached to a resident of one exorcism.”

Despite the doubt and sometimes laughable portrayals of exorcisms in Hollywood movies, Pastor Mike Freeman said that the issue is a reality for some people – especially those living in Third World countries.

“You step into the Third World and it’s definitely a ‘We’re not in Kansas’ anymore moment,” Freeman explained.

“To assume our way of viewing reality as the only way is to limit ourselves.“

There is an inundation of talk about exorcisms as of late throughout the world. Creepy stories of demon possession, house possession, and Pope Francis calling on more priests to battle evil.

And now it has moved to Idaho…


I have been experiencing some strange jaw pains lately.. stress induced TMJ is the prognosis. The dentist even agreed after a series of X rays were conducted late this evening. I don't know yet if I will choose the mouth guard for sleep--seems unlikely--but I will surely attempt something. Maybe just yoga for stress relief, I don't know yet. I would love to hear what YOU do if you have this condition..

Nonetheless, I had a little bit of a panic attack during the appointment.. I guess this is why my stress level is high and grinding of teeth is often.
Anyway, while sitting in the chair, I looked over at the X ray of my mouth before the dentist walked in to study it..

Here is A MOUTH, stock image.. Google. It's not mine, but I guess it looks familiar besides those wisdom teeth. Mine are out.

The reason for the photo freakout: The skeletal view of my face.. I sat there in a motionless stare at the X ray.. thinking to myself: That is how my mouth will look long after I die. After I perish. After my mortal existence has extinguished and flesh and bones become just bones..
And it will happen to me.
And you.
And all of us.

Mortal thought is so often depressive, especially if you feel you have much more to accomplish. I feel like I do. I want to see more of the world, branch out and enjoy life. Watch my son play and learn and live to an old age with my wife...
...but the angel of mortality is lurking. Always.
That X ray, for all its miracle science, is a reminder of what lurks beneath the surface. What is under the skin.. what is deep beneath the muscle. The soul may be the final thing that cannot be measured---some say we have them. But the bones are there... within the bag containing them.

A slight reminder, in a dentist chair, of the fleeting moments of time. Enjoy them all and smile often. Your teeth are beautiful as are you.


Kepler's big day!! More planets to potentially find life!?

This is exciting..

Just when you lost hope in finding life out there somewhere! There are 1284 more new exoplanets to study!

The big announcement came from NASA today -- they are doubling down on earlier projections of planets that could contain life.

This artist's concept depicts select planetary discoveries made to date by NASA's Kepler space telescope.

“One of the great questions of all time, and one of NASA’s objective’s, is whether we are alone in the universe,” said Paul Hertz, director of astrophysics at NASA, at a conference. “We live in time where we can scientifically answer that question.”

Wired also posted a story tonight about the exoplanets but also new bragging rights that NASA can claim:
But that was the old way. Part of today’s announcement was trumpeting a new technique, developed by Princeton astrophysicist Timothy Morton. His method uses paired simulations, comparing values from previous exoplanet observations to current measurements. The first compares the flicker in question to other confirmed signatures of both exoplanets and imposters. The second simulation determines whether—given what scientists know about the total distribution of exoplanets in the Milky Way—the flicker in question makes sense as an exoplanet. Combined, the two simulations assign each flicker a statistical probability of being an exoplanet.

Don't you think we will find life out there?


know, I know.. Life is already been found, some of you would say. Others actually argue that the life came here to abduct people to experiment on them.. free range over cows and look for the meat? ... all of those Linda Moulten Howe types of things. Hardcore UFO after midnight radio stuff..

There are even some who may claim that if life DID exist it surely does not now! That it has come and gone.. died away..

Remember, even this 'structure' that we have seen 1500 lights years away is 1500 years in the past---if the life was there could it have extinguished since?

By the time life finds earth will WE be gone?

All of these amazing questions! No answers, either. Which is why they are so much fun to ask.

The newest piece of information to make things more exciting: 1284 possible new planets that can harbor life .. in a zone where life could work, be real.. and exist.

.....I wonder if one of those planets is having an election this year?



My local mall (so as long as the mall exists, more on that later) has a drive in.. with spring nearing summer *weather still not feeling like it* a drive in will open there.. Which is a throwback, isn’t it?

But a much bigger throwback was a post that a friend of mine put on his Facebook page ..Old images of former drive ins in my county. At this point all of those drive ins have been wrecked and knocked down.

If you look at the one image close enough, you can see “I love Sandy” .. While growing up I always wondered to myself if that person ever stayed with Sandy … and now when I see the picture 20 years after it was knocked down, I wonder again…

My double rainbow experience

I actually drove though a double rainbow on my way to work today.. He sun was rising and the bright amazing rainbow was forming ahead of me. Little did I expect to drive directly through it but I did just that …

Amazing ..

So amazing I didn’t get the chance to get a good photo.

Inspiration for a rainy day… You never know when you’ll have the brightness of God shine down on you.

Mother's day 2016

This post is not meant to scare you away from your reservations today at your restaurant.. or your plans for the park.. or your moment to visit mom in whatever location she rests. Mother’s Day is a fine time meant to conjure love and spirit, connect together child and loving and beautiful.

That said, as is true with most major holidays, there are often times dark and weird histories connected with the celebrations of present day. And as someone who has been dubbed the ‘great ruiner’ by friends and family, I often enjoy pointing those out to you so you can be either aware of history or smile at how we evolve to forget..

Mother’s Day.. Nothing overly awful.. but some eyebrow raising pieces of history to consider.

First the woman who championed the entire idea of mother’s day to begin with; Anna Jarvis ..



Jarvis was the driving force in the 1850s. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC in 2014:
It all started in the 1850s, when West Virginia women’s organizer Ann Reeves Jarvis—Anna’s mother—held Mother’s Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination, according to historian Katharine Antolini of West Virginia Wesleyan College. The groups also tended wounded soldiers from both sides during the U.S. Civil War from 1861 to 1865.

After the war, Jarvis kept working to organize events.
When Woodrow Wilson gave the recognition to Mother’s Day, companies began to highly profit from the commercialization of things. Jarvis boycotted! She was angry.. In 1923 she even crashed a convention to protest.. She died at 84 after a long battle AGAINST MOTHER’S DAY in Philadelphia’s Marshall Square Sanitarium..

The details of Jarvis are fascinating. In 2008, a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story talked about Jarvis becoming mentally unstable as Mother’s Day went the opposite route she wanted.. one piece from the article:
Where the myth of Anna Jarvis ends and the truth begins is hard to determine. Rumors circulate that Miss Jarvis started the day to assuage the guilt of fighting with her mother, something Mrs. Crow-Dadisman debunks.

“People who supposedly lived next door to her said they heard her screaming at her mother,” said Mrs. Crow-Dadisman. “But they were not old enough to remember her.”

Anna Jarvis was born in the two-story wooden house in Webster on May 1, 1864, before her family moved to Grafton. The 10th of the 13 children of Ann Marie and Granville Jarvis, she was one of only four of the Jarvis children who survived, Mrs. Crow-Dadisman said.

Devastated by the high infant mortality rate, Ann Marie Jarvis turned to her brother, Dr. James Reeves. He educated her on how unsanitary conditions — polluted wells, outdoor toilets, dirty diapers — were leading to outbreaks of dysentery, cholera and measles.

Some people say Jarvis went ‘insane’ fighting modern Mother’s Day. But as we learn more about mental illness, it was most likely not that simple. But history does not teach that the woman who was responsible for what we celebrate today died in most likely not the best conditions..


The Jarvis home is now a museum..  It is in West Virginia, and it appears quaint and lovely. Picture perfect..
Darker history? Sure.. Jarvis’ home is also known  for potentially paranormal events..  According to some, the first son Alonzo visits the master bedroom.. a ‘woman in black’ frequents the house.. ‘George’ thinks he is a Civil War soldier. One particularly creepy account of the Jarvis home from the museum’s executive director, as reported a few days ago by Huffington POST:
Olive Ricketts, the museum’s executive director who with her husband restored the home, told The Huffington Post that when they first moved in, their two dogs would spend hours staring blankly at the master closet. But it wasn’t until a 2-year-old taking a regular tour ran into the master closet and could be heard talking up a storm that Ricketts learned about the presence of “Alonzo,” Jarvis’ older brother who died as a young child. Ricketts said that paranormal specialists — think ghost busters — have “confirmed the presence” of two or three additional dead children, a man believed to be a dead soldier who was helped by Jarvis’ mother, and Jarvis’ mother herself. The house is being featured by PBS’ paranormal series, Ricketts said.

Jarvis was childless.
She also apparently hated men. Hence not having a child?

All of this seems so depressing. Perhaps I should stop.

Depressing perhaps, but fascinating as well.. History is not always easy to understand or simple to grasp.. concepts of today are fit perfectly well into the pegs we expect.. Mother’s Day? Advertisements to sell you mom’s gifts and …restaurants especially packed. (Do yourself a favor and make dinner at home today for mom.)

But before ending, I wanted to share a piece of history that actually exists in my hometown: The Ashland Pennsylvania Mother’s Memorial.  It may not draw thousands or even hundreds of people per year, but it is something to be proud of..


From a 2013 article:
The A.B.A. was formed in the early 20th century in response to the widespread job loss and dispersion of coal miners as mines began to fail.  It was a homecoming organization that welcomed former Ashland residents back to their hometown.  Men from all parts of Pennsylvania, as well as several other states, participated in these annual celebrations.  The A.B.A. was the archetype of a poignant Pennsylvania story:  how successive waves of industrialization and economic development create then destroy industries and communities, leaving large groups of people longing for the associations and comforts of family, friends and home.  The Mother’s Memorial stands as a symbol of this sentiment.

At an A.B.A. reunion in 1933, it was proposed to honor all Ashland mothers by erecting a monument or memorial.  Members felt that such a memorial would represent the very foundation of the organization, because their motto was, “Come on home” and home evoked thoughts of one’s mother.  A committee was formed in 1936 to investigate and plan the memorial.  Some A.B.A. members, as well as many residents of the town, advocated the establishment of a library instead, but the memorial was decided upon and eventually gained the full support of the organization and the town.

The idea of commissioning a sculpture based on the painting known as “Whistler’s Mother” was a unique one.  The A.B.A. responded enthusiastically and raised over $6000.00 for the project.  The seven foot high three-dimensional sculpture was designed by Emil Siebern and sculpted by Julius Loester.  Both artists were sculptors from New York who specialized in public art – funerary decoration, memorials, park statuary, etc.  Although they did not routinely work together, both participated in several projects overseen by the Works Progress Administration (WPA).  The completed Ashland monument was made of bronze and placed atop an impressive stonework terrace built by the WPA in 1938.

There you have it.. The convoluted and interesting history of the day today.. Carnations in hand! Gifts galore.. Mother’s Day again, but what is it for?

Jarvis is gone.. her idea is not.
Corporations came and against them  she fought..
Flowers and food, Mother’s and son,

All of that said, don’t ruin the fun.

happy mother’s day!

The weird story of the 'suicide village'

The TIMES OF INDIA published an article last week.. I just cannot get the notion out of my mind about the subject matter: A village hit hard by suicides.. Mothers and brothers killing themselves.. people thinking en masse that there is some sort of demonic entity to blame.. others think pesticides. Some argue it's crop failure.. a few blame alcohol...

It's all detailed in the TIMES story about the Badi village in the Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh..

Representative Image- India Tv

Get this: 381 suicides in just one year..

Sisodiya, the village sarpanch also believes that the cause of deaths is a "demonic presence" in the village, but psychiatrists said that the reason behind high rate of suicide cases is rational causes...

Dr Srikanth Reddy told the suicides are related to depression and schizophrenic episodes among villagers, possibly due to excessive use of pesticides, apart from financial stress..

Khargone is officially one of India's 250 most impoverished and backward districts and many such areas are extremely superstitious.  Earlier this year a seven-year-old boy in a village in the Indian state of Jharkand was forced to marry a dog because his horoscopes foretold his first wife would die young.

x x x


How do you stop a ravaging wildfire? Looks like you can't.

Still following this disaster in Canada.. I saw one quote from an official in the New York Times speaking about how to stop the wildfire in Fort Mcmurray Alberta.. He said it was akin to stopping a hurricane from hitting the east coast. It's just going to happen.
 No stopping it.
 And with that said the only thing left to do is watch and hope it stops spreading, fight where you see options, and evacuate as many people as you can..
 It's traumatic and dramatic. My full thoughts and prayers are with the people there.. It's just horrendous.

There is one site have been following with updated live info as it develops from Canada.. Bookmark it for the near future as this disaster continues..

Book review: The Phantom Killer

A dark night.. a window cracked open with a breeze blowing in.. a quiet corner in the confines of your home, safely lit with a lamp. Just enough to see around you.. not quite enough to get a good glance into the distance. That, my friends, is the way to read a book. 
But as so often happens in life, my place to read a book is in a bathroom, a lunchroom cafeteria, or at my desk if I’m early enough to work that I can secure time to read a chapter or two..

 While the book may not be new to me, a great read I recently finished was THE PHANTOM KILLER:UNLOCKING THE MYSTERY OF THE TEXARKANA SERIAL MURDERS. It’s the story of a town in terror..
Written by PH.D author James Presley from Texas, the book travels into the past and recounts the before and after effects of the multiple murders that rocked the post World War II landscape of Texarkana.. 

 I have written about the ‘phantom killer’ before. It remains an unsolved case—though so many by this time in history have theories as to the ‘whodunit’ of the story. Multiple killings happening at lovers lane led to an intense national buzz. It was not the first time global media descended on a small time—but given the time and state of America, it is amazing to see and analyze not only the true crime story but the pop culture and journalistic changes that happened because of the series of crimes at the hands of a masked perpetrator.
As far as the crime itself, Presley details and documents the follies and attempts at investigating during the early stages of some of the crime scenes. Police mistakes, not accounting for an inventory of evidence.. the lack of DNA.. the fact that small town crimes were the normal calling for a police force. And these big headline murders were too much, at times..
Journalism… headline writers had a field day. And once they captured the public’s imagination with the ‘phantom killer,’ all hell broke loose. Literally. More murders and with it fear—people locking windows, staring at neighbors a little more closely.. looking for killers underneath the shrubs. It is a small town mid-20th century vision of the fear that nationally would hit America in the post 9/11 landscape..
 Pop culture.. perhaps you did, or did not know, that there was a movie called THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN made in the 70s.. it wasn’t a ‘true’ account but ‘inspired’ by such. Court cases attempted to stop the film. They did not work. Free form of art won.. and with it, a cult classic horror movie that had little to do with facts. Then came a remake in the 2000s—and the weirdest part? The town shows the original film every Halloween in a field near where the actual real life murders took place decades prior.. Talk about creepy..
 Presley’s book is a must read for those who really into true crime. And even those into psychology and the ultimate state of terror so often people can find themselves in. It sets the stage perfectly well.. the writing style, along with frequent descriptive accounts of the weather on any given day, offers a glimpse into the past. And sort of makes you feel like you’re there.. While you’re not reading the headlines in a newspaper, Presley’s ability to work those true headlines into print gives you the same chills it would have the people of Texarkana so many years ago.
And … the truth the killer was not caught. At least not for the crimes of murder.. perhaps another crime or crimes. Read the book for more on that.

The dreadful forest fire in the North: Videos and information

Like many of you I am shocked looking at footage from Canada.. the massive forest with no end,  out of control.. The evacuations are enormous and the work being done to try to stop the fire impressive but often fleeting.

APTOPIX Canada Wildfire

The fire is in Alberta's Fort McMurray.. A wall of smoke and fire is rampaging the landscape.. Even parts of a Canadian City were overtaken by flames.

Get this: Authorities ordered the evacuation of about 88,000 people, including the entire city of Fort McMurray, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo said. 80,000..

The blaze has already destroyed 80% of Fort McMurray's Beacon Hill community.

24,000 + acres have been scorched at the last press briefing. 1600 structures have been completely destroyed.

This quote from CNN:
High winds, warm weather and dry conditions were expected to create "explosive conditions" for fire growth and make it difficult for firefighters to keep up, Alberta forestry manager Bernie Schmitte said.

There are 85 wildfires right now in Canada. Albert must wait. That word according to the Forest Minister.

The pictures are harrowing. The information is plenty..

Hopes and prayers and goodwill towards all going through this right now.

Wednesday headlines to be aware of

Headlines and more from around the world and beyond.. Start your day informed..

Ted Cruz dropped out last night as Donald Trump, somehow, made history.. meanwhile the presumptive nominee for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton, lost. The Dems in disarray and Sanders, with another victory behind him in Indiana, pledges to continue.. Could it be, after all of these months of speculating about a brokered convention, that it happens with the Democrats and not the Republicans...?

How does the world view the Trump victory..
According to publication HUFFINGTON POST, the world isn't pleased..
Japan believes he is riding a wave of 'warped' 1980s nostalgia..
Cameron calls Trump divisive stupid and wrong..
Asian market sell-off: Because of Trump victory?

Illma Gore posted this image to Instagram
Remember the 'naked Donald Trump' painting? I bet, like me, you cannot get the sordid image out of your head either.. The woman who painted the picture, Illma Gore, posted an Instagram image of herself with a black eye and said she was assaulted by a Trump supporter..

x x x

Fierce storms are going to take aim at Florida today.. Be prepared to not see as much sunshine as most likely desired..
Meanwhile to the north: Hail battered Washington DC.. See the video.

News of weather, but from space: Earth is entering a debris field from Halley's Comet. It is the annual Aquariid meteor shower.. peak May 5. Look to the heavens especially during the hours right before sunrise.

Smart bling: China wins against Apple: iPhone handbags to be permitted..

More women please: Saudi minister claims he is not 'satisfied' with level of female employment in the kingdom.. Female unemployment is at 34%..

China's army releases 'first person shooter' recruitment videos to attract millennials..  The video seems to be based on games like CALL OF DUTY and has a soundtrack where the words "kill kill kill" repeat themselves..

HUSH: Screen Gems is developing a SLENDER MAN film.

BIG BIRD: Bert and Ernie used for STD testing advertisements..

German horror: Women tortured to death after answering ads of couple claiming they had lonely hearts..

Bithi Akhtar
Reclusive 'werewolf girl' lives alone to avoid bullies..

Claim: Orthodox churches around the world being burned because a Nazi cardinal did not become a saint..

Federal lawsuit claims: Students who want to talk about Jesus at North Carolina State university have to get a permit first!

Wildfire is worsening along highway 63 Fort McMurray, Alberta Canada May 3, 2016. © CBC News
Tens of thousands flee Canadian super fire..

And finally.. with all of the political hot mess microwaving itself until explosion points, there is one last weird and creepy video (in a long series of them) featuring Ted Cruz to watch. This? After he conceded he will not win he punched his wife in the face. All accidental of course.. but it just adds to the mystique of Cruzifer.

Thanks for the memories Ted.

Would you unlock your iPhone for Mark Dice?

A warrant was issued in February ordering Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan to unlock an iPhone seized from a Glendale, California, residence. She later pleaded no contest to a felony count of identity theft, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan

The debate centers around whether unlocking on iPhone or the smart device for police is the same thing as testifying without speaking a word.. talking without having a lawyer.. giving up the right or privacy that should not have been trampled..

These are big questions and a big future ahead..

The entire story which centers on one woman has huge implications. Police want your fingerprints to unlock your phone. And should that be allowed?

There is one person asking people to unlock their iPhones for him to see a reaction. Mark Dice, the famed conspiracy researcher, took to the streets to demand passersby unlock their phones. And why would they refuse, after all!? If they have nothing to hide there's nothing to fear... right?

When put into the context of someone asking them to unlock their phones they refused. But if the person wore a uniform and had a badge, they'd obey?

What would you do?


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