Monday, October 31, 2011

Top of the Halloween Mornin' to Ya!

Today is my very favorite day of the year. Not only is it the day that you get to dress up in costume and go beg for candy (or go beg for booze, if you're an adult), but it is also the last day of relative silence that you will experience before being inundated with Christmas advertisements and annoying Mariah Carey holiday songs.

So, without further ado, let's talk about Halloween and all it's wonderfully creepy glory!

  • "Halloween" comes from the term "All Hallow's Eve" which refers to a celebration of the dead. It was celebrated on October 31st, which was the last day of the Celtic calendar.
  • Speaking of Celts....Guess who's responsible for Halloween? That's right, the Irish. So, the Irish have given the world Guinness, Jameson, and Halloween? Yes. You are welcome. You see, the ancient Celts believed that the spirits and ghosts wandered the streets on All Hallow's Eve, so they would dress up in costumes and masks so they wouldn't appear as human. AND, the Irish brought you Jack-O-Lanterns.  Well, originally they were turnips...I, know. Weird. According to legend there was this guy named Stingy Jack who was a trickster who was turned away from both heaven and hell. Since he was stuck in between the two, he used a hollowed out turnip to hold his candle and give him light while he wandered around. When the Irish immigrated to America they kept this tradition, but used pumpkins instead, since everyone in the US was like "what the f*ck is a turnip?" AND, it's believed that trick or treating originated with the Irish. Apparently, Irish peasants would beg for food from the richies to contribute to the All Hallow's Eve feast. The richies didn't want a riot on their hands, so they gave them sweets and fun stuff. So, Halloween=Irish. Pretty rad, huh?
  • Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday, second to Christmas. Hey, those slutty nurse costumes aren't cheap. And do you think black and orange oreos are free?
  • Best and worst candies this year? According to the Huffington Post, it's Kit Kat for best and Smarties for worst. I also would have accepted Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers and M&M's for best and pencils, raisins, and those weird, unnamed orange and black wrapped peanut butter candies for worst.
  • Highest grossing Halloween movie? Not Halloween. It was Jaws. And the Exorcist is number 2.
  • The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1446 pounds. That's a lot of beta-cerotene.
  • The first citywide Halloween celebration in the U.S. was in Anoka Minnesota in 1921.  Hmmm. Minnesota in October. I'm guessing it was also a celebration of coats and ear muffs.
  • Most popular Halloween costume this year? Charlie Sheen. Yeah. I'm not joking. I wish I was. 
  • Babies born on Halloween were believed to be born with a second sight that allows them to see and talk to the dead. 
  • Samhainophobia is an intense fear of Halloween. I know that sounds like I made it up, but I found that word on the INTERNET, where everything is true!
  • Apparently, Scottish girls believed that they could see the face of their future husband by hanging a wet sheet out by a bonfire on Halloween. I'm guessing a lot of Scottish girls thought that they would be marrying The Blob...or Philip Seymour Hoffman, based on the image they saw in those sheets.
So, there's a few facts about Halloween that you may or may not have known. Would you like a necklace to commemorate your new found knowledge? If so, have I got one for you: http://www.etsy.com/listing/81251889/halloween-pumpkin-necklace-victorian?ga_search_query=halloween&ga_search_type=user_shop_ttt_id_5629830
And, if you use coupon code BLOG15, you'll get 15% off your entire purchase in my etsy shop. But you know that already. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Zombies! And Not One Reference to Braaaiiinnnsss. Oops.

It seems that zombies are the big thing to be "into" at the moment. In fact, right now, there is probably a Zombie Crawl being planned in your humble little burgh by some inpsired hipster film dork with daddy's credit card and a "ironically cheesy" second hand t-shirt. But before zombies were "cool," before people were pretending (or in some cases, not pretending) to prepare for the so-called zombie apocalypse, before The Walking Dead, before Shaun of the Dead, and even before Night of the Living Dead; zombie's have had their place in folklore. Yep. People were into zombies long before that cardigan-and-strategically-placed-scarf-wearing neighbor of yours was into them.  And even though this blog might seem like a cathartic rant against hipsters, it's actually a little history lesson in zombies....and also a way for you to "one up" any hipster you encounter. In fact, I'm preparing you for the Hipster Apocalypse. You are welcome.

The origins of zombiism has it's roots in Haitian voodoo culture. The word "zombie" comes from the Haitian word "zombi" (what a stretch) which means "spirit of the dead." According to folklore, a Haitian voodoo priest, or Bokor, can supposedly re-animate a corpse through black magic and a powder called coup padre. Coup padre contains tetrodoxin, which is a toxin found in the porcupine fish. But, here's the rub: Zombies are not really resurrected from the dead. Nope. Instead, a Bokor administers the powder to a LIVING person. The person then appears to be dead after receiving the powder, but they just have a decreased heart rate and lower body temperature. They are not fully dead. They are only half-dead. Bet you didn't think you'd be getting a Monty Python allusion? Nobody expects a Monty Python allusion (I'm on a roll!). Anyway, the family believes the drugged up person to be dead and buries the poor sap.

Later, the Bokor exhumes the individual. Although physically intact, the zombified brain has lost all memory, free will, and rationality.... kind of like a Stepford wife...or a Scientologist. The zombie is now under the control of the Bokor until said Bokor dies.

The prototype for the film zombie was in the movie White Zombie (not the band) which premiered in 1932. White Zombie tells the story of a well-to-do Haitian businessman (played by Bella Lugosi) who falls in love with a married lady. Lugosi's character "zombifies" the husband to get him out of the way. Most zombie movies that followed would portray the same sort of setup: a once cognizant being is rendered brainless by and under the control of a malicious master.

It was George Romero that re-invented the way we view zombies. In 1968, he released Night of the Living Dead, which gave us a new type of zombie. The new zombie is a formerly dead, weak, flesh-hungry monster that was created by some epidemic or event (in this case, radiation from a fallen satellite). And, most importantly, the zombie spreads it's disease through biting. After Romero's idea of the zombie, several other zombie films followed suit, using this prototype. The zombie has come to represent disease, war, invasion, etc., depending on the era  and what was going on in the world. Also, Romero was the one who declared that a zombie could be killed by a blow to the head.

But, more interestingly, I just happen to be listening to Queen's Don't Stop Me Now as I type this. Those of you who are Shaun of the Dead fans understand why that is "interesting."

But, even MORE interesting, is this necklace. Ah, yes. We have come to that point in the blog where I try to pay the bills. Here's a great necklace that will be perfect for Halloween. And if you wear it in front of your hipster neighbor and say something like "I don't really believe in zombies, but I think this necklace is fun," that will really piss him off. He'll have to hug his Coachella t-shirt and chug some coconut water to get over it.
http://www.etsy.com/listing/76396233/night-of-the-living-dead-necklace
And, use coupon code BLOG15 to get 15% off. Yay, savings!

AND- This just in: This blog won silver in the Colorado Springs Independent Best Of issue. Yep. I can't believe it either. This blog isn't even my second favorite blog....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bats, Belfries, Etc.

"Just how many bats are in your belfry?" That's is the question I would like to ask Michelle Bachman or Christine O'Donnell or Victoria Jackson or Sarah Palin or...well you get the point.

But this blog isn't about crazy ladies. It's about bats! Because it's getting close to Halloween and I think bats are pretty cool little mammals....


  • Yep, I said mammals. They are warm blooded, have live births, and nurse their young. Also, they are the only mammals that can fly...well except for Snoopy when he fights the Red Barron.
  • Bats have arms and fingers. Their wings consist of a thin layer of skin that stretches over their arms and fingers. That is both creepy and fantastically awesome.
  • Speaking of wings, bats don't just flap their wings up and down. Instead, they sort of swim through the air, using motions that resemble a butterfly stroke.
  • Vampire bats rarely bite people and they rarely kill their prey. Instead, they feed on large mammals like horses and cattle. To feed on their prey, they make a shallow wound with their teeth and then they lick up the blood. They ingest about an ounce of blood a day...which is a little under a shot glass amount (to put it in terms I can better understand). Oh, and also, vampire bats don't turn into Count Dracula....Just in case you didn't know that already.
  • Bats eat at night and sleep during the day. Like college students. They live in caves or at the tops of trees and sleep upside down in a colony. The largest bat colony is in Bracken Cave, TX (release the Bracken!). Also in Texas is the Congress Avenue bridge in Austin. A bunch of bats live there too and they like to fly out near sundown to nom on some insects. It's a cool thing to see. But it's kind of smelly and also, I was afraid one would get stuck in my hair....
  • Bat babies are called pups. Adorable.
  • The term "Blind as a Bat" is inaccurate. Bat's have pretty keen senses, including their eyesight.
  • Bats have super high metabolism...so maybe the saying should be "Skinny as a Bat." I'm going to try to make that saying catch on...
  • Less than 10 people in the past 50 years have contracted rabies from bats. Bats are scared of people, so they don't really mingle with them.
  • So, why are bats associated with crazy? Well, the term "Bats in the Belfry" allegedly comes from the idea that the belfry of a church is similar to a person's mind. Bats only inhabit a belfry when a church has become abandoned because the ringing of a bell would drive them, well, batty. So, if someone has "bats in the belfry" then they have mentally "checked out" and have a colony of crazy in their head. And what about the term "batsh*t"? Well, that's just taking the whole saying a little bit further...I think you can fill in the rest.
Speaking of crazy, you'd be crazy to not get this necklace.  Yeah, I just typed that. I'm not proud...but apparently, I'm not too proud to pander. I've got bills to pay.



And, you know the drill. Use coupon code BLOG15 for 15% off...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Think Pink!

Well, I know that I promised that every blog post this month would be about something Halloween related, but I want to take this week's blog post to talk about something scary, but not Halloween related.

As you probably know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. And as the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, I feel that it is important to take this opportunity to help spread awareness.

So here's a few breast cancer facts:

  • Estimated new cases of breast cancer in 2011: 230,480 (female), 2,140 (male, yep- dudes can get it too)

  • Factors that increase a woman's risk for breast cancer: age, genetics, menstrual history, obesity, daily alcohol consumption (uh oh for me). Factors that decrease the risk: breast feeding and physical activity. While there are no proven prevention techniques, a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk.

  •  Scary statistic: about 40% of women will discover a lump in their breast. But, this does not mean that they have breast cancer. A lump can be benign and not breast cancer related. Still, it is very important to fell your boobies for early detection. If you do find a lump, go see your doctor asap. 

  • State with the highest instances of breast cancer: Rhode Island. State with the lowest: Arizona.

  • The causes of breast cancer are still relatively unknown. While we now know some of the things that can raise your risk, it is still important to fund research so that we can find a cause and a cure.

  • So, what's up with the pink ribbon? Well, the first known use of the pink ribbon was when it was handed out in 1991 to participants in the Susan G. Komen New York City race for breast cancer survivors. The pink ribbon was modeled after the red ribbon for AIDS awareness.

  • The pink ribbon was chosen as a way to represent fear of breast cancer, hope for the future, and charitable goodness of people and businesses. It is used to evoke solidarity amongst breast cancer patients.
These are only a few facts about breast cancer. I wanted to keep this post relatively light. If you need or want more information about breast cancer, or you would like to make a donation to research, please go to  http://ww5.komen.org/ .

Here's a sweet little necklace that I think is appropriate for the month of October. Also, if you buy this necklace, I will donate the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen center.
http://www.etsy.com/listing/82887521/pink-victorian-lady-necklace-resin-retro

And, for the month of October, I'm offering a discount off your total purchase in my etsy shop. Just enter coupon code PINK20 for 20% off. The discounted percentage will also be donated to the Susan G. Komen center.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Jersey Devil...And I don't mean Snooki

It's finally October, my favorite month EVER! And, around the corner is Halloween, my favorite holiday EVER! And, I'm getting over my cold with some doctor prescribed vicodin-spiked cough syrup, which I suspect makes me add exclamation marks to everything!

Minor prescription-drug-induced-hyperbole aside, I really do love Halloween. So for the whole month of October, I'm going to blog about all things scary, creepy, frightening, etc. So, let's start with The Jersey Devil...and I don't mean Snooki...although she does fit into the category of scary, creepy and frightening.

There's several variations of the legend of the Jersey Devil. But, we'll focus on the most popular and interesting of them all. The story goes that a rather "loose" woman (aka whore) named "Mother Leeds" found out that she was pregnant with her 13th child. Upon giving birth to the kid, she cursed it by saying "Let it be the devil." Well, be careful what you wish for. According to legend, the child was born with horns, wings, a tail and a horse-like head. And, no- the child wasn't Sarah Jessica Parker... she's from Ohio, not New Jersey.

The Jersey Devil is said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey, reeking havoc on livestock and even humans. The most active time period for Jersey Devil sightings was said to be one particular week in 1909. Sightings occurred from January 16 through January 23 and included hoofed footprints in the snow to actual creature sightings by eyewitnesses. In fact, the sightings became so frequent and widespread (even reaching Pennsylvania and Delaware) that many schools and workplaces shut down in panic.  Among the alleged attacks, was an attack on a trolley car in Haddon Heights, NJ as well as an attack at a social club in Camden, NJ. It was even reported that shots were fired on the creature in by the Camden police department.

After that, not much was heard about the Jersey Devil. A few sightings would be reported every now and then, but much like the Loch Ness monster, no definitive evidence has surfaced since the 1909 sightings. 

So, was the Jersey Devil a real monster or perhaps a drunken New Jersey housewife? Who knows. But, just like Bigfoot, the Chupacabra, Nessie, and aliens; I think it's fun to buy into the folklore. Why not?

Well, this necklace isn't exactly the Jersey Devil...from what I've seen the image of the Jersey Devil isn't exactly the cutest thing to have around your neck. But, I really like this vintage deco devil image. And so should you. 

And, use coupon code BLOG15 for 15% off your entire purchase in my shop:)