Monday, May 22, 2017


   It can be hard, shopping for the zombie survivalist: by definition, they're prepared to just about anything, and they're used to training themselves to put.
   That said, there are still some great Christmas gifts you can get for your favorite zombie survivalist- and when zombies attack, they could even help save your life!

Firearms Training

   A well-placed bullet is the surest defense against zombies, but learning how to shoot and how to do it well takes time and money. For this Christmas, give the gift of a firearms safety and training course to the zombie survivalist in your life: you'll help them improve their shooting skills and they'll learn valuable skills regarding safety and firearms. The NRA offers training courses around the country from certified firearms safety instructors, and many local shooting ranges and hunting clubs offer training as well.

Martial Arts Training

   The problem with firearms is that they need reloading. As an alternative, consider giving the gift of a month or two of martial arts training. It's fantastic exercise and a lot of fun, too. Try to pick a discipline that offers a fair amount of training with weaponry, such as kendo or eskrima.

The Max Brooks Trifecta

   Any good zombie survivalist should have read Max Brook's The Zombie Survival Guide, but less well known are his two other works, World War Z and the just-released The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks. The first book is a comprehensive zombie survival handbook, chock full of tips and tricks to help stay alive during the zombie apocalypse. The second book is a collection of anecdotes from survivors of a theoretical zombie apocalypse, valuable for its discussions of the mental, emotional, and physical rigors of life among the walking dead. The third book is a discussion of several historical zombie outbreaks. A gift of any or all of these books is sure to be welcomed by your zombie survival buff.

The Zen of Zombies

   It may seem like fraternizing with the enemy, but there's a lot we can learn from zombies. Scott Kenemore's The Zen of Zombies is a philosophical look at the walking dead and how we still among the living can benefit from acting more like them.  Let's not forget that one of the best ways to fight one's enemies is to understand them; the Zen of Zombies is sure to help the zombie survivalist in your life do just that. The book retails for about $12 and can be found at most major bookstores.

Magnesium Fire Starter

   A good tool for any survivalist, zombies or no, a magnesium fire starter is a wonderful little tool that allows for the building of a fire even in damp, difficult conditions - a must if you have to get the hell out of dodge quickly. With a spark upwards of 3000 degrees, there are few things that won't burn when you put magnesium to use, and a single fire starter is enough for building hundreds of fires. Even better, they're fairly cheap; Amazon sells one for around $10.

Other Zombie Survival Gear

   Anything with a survivalist slant will make a great gift for the zombie survival enthusiast. Consider items like a solar-powered GPS receiver, hand-crank flashlights, military surplus MREs, or even a good pair of sturdy hiking boots.


some of the moors costumes

   Araquio festival is a celebration traditionally held every May in Nueva Ecija. The festival dates back to the Spanish colonial period and is celebrated with a theatrical/religious presentation similar to Spanish zarzuelas, dramatizing the spread of Christianity in the country and the war between Christians and Muslims.

Some of the Costumes


History and Customs

   The name Araquio is said to have come from "Heraclio", the name of a bishop during the time of Constantine the Great. The first Araquio presentation took place in the town of PeƱaranda, Nueva Ecija over 120 years ago. Before modern musical instruments were available, the bands used instruments made from indigenous materials like bamboo. According to Francisco Vergara Padilla, director of the Araquio group in the barangay of St. Tomas in PeƱaranda, during his grandfather's time they used basins and utensils as substitutes.

   Araquio is usually presented in May, during the feast of the Cross. The date of the feast varies from one town to another. This festival starts with a mass and ends with the elaborate Flores de Mayo celebration. Each performing group is given a day or two to perform in the town plaza, making it a weeklong presentation. Local wealthy families usually make it their spiritual duty to sponsor the festival, sometimes giving no less than fifty thousand pesos.


   Festival performers sing, act and dance while a brass band plays. The choice of songs and choreography varies, but the script has remained the same since the tradition started. It tells of the feud between Muslims and Christians that started over territory. In the play, Christians use the power of the cross, symbolizing their faith, to defeat the Muslims, who later retaliate by stealing the cross. After many battles, the cross is recovered, and the Muslims are Christened.

   Normally, there are 16 performers in each Araquio group. Nine of these play Christians led by Reyna (Queen) Elena and Haring (King) Constantine. The Reyna Elena has two servants, Laida and Blanca. The rest are soldiers named Alberto, Arsenio, Rosauro, Fernando and Leonato. The Muslim group, on the other hand, is composed of seven people, led by Ordalisa or Erlisa and the Emperor. Their soldiers are Emir, Dublar, Marmolin, Engras and Sagmar. The male Muslims wear red costumes with feathered headdresses, while the male Christians wear either blue pants and white top or black pants and blue top. The female costumes are similar for both Muslims and Christians, except that the Christian women wear a sash or "banda" while the Muslim women wear feathered headdresses similar to their male counterparts.
   The players stand on an elevated stage, either wood or concrete, during their performance. The presentation also allows for crowd participation. The band plays on and the performers continue their choreography but pause their dialogue to give way to the dancing audience.



   Straining to relieve constipation, George II fell off the toilet and smashed his head on a cabinet. He died from his injuries.

   Ken Barger, 47, of Newton, North Carolina, accidentally shot himself dead in 1992 while answering the phone in the middle of the night. He went to pick up the phone beside his bed, but half asleep, grabbed his .38 Smith and Wesson special instead. The gun went off when he pulled it to his ear.

   King Charles VIII of France died as a result of his gallantry. On entering a tennis court in 1498, hw bowed to his wife and allowed her to proceed first. As he brought his head up, it crashed against a low wooden beam, fracturing his skull and killing him.

   Canadian lawyer Garry Hoy fell 24 storeys to his death while attempting to demonstrate the safety of a building’s windows. Hoy was showing visiting law students around Toronto’s Dominion Bank Tower. To illustrate how strong the windows were, he barged into a pane with his shoulder. The window gave way and Hoy ended up in the courtyard below. He was described by the head of his legal firm as “one of the nest and brightest” members.

   Isabelle, daughter of Charles VI of France, was a widow at the age of ten. She was only seven when she married England’s 29-year-old King Richard II in 1396, and he died just over three years later.

   Alexandros I of Greece died in 1920 from blood poisoning after being bitten by his pet monkey.

   Nicholas Breakspear who, as Adrian IV became the only English Pope, choked to death on a fly he’d accidentally swallowed.

   King Alexander III of Scotland died when his horse jumped over a cliff while they were out riding at night.

   The son of George II, Prince Frederick, should have succeeded him as king. But Frederick was hit by a cricket ball and died in 1715.

   The first person to die of radiation poisoning was Madame Curie, discoverer of radium. She took not precautions against radioactivity and, even now, nearly 70 years on, her notebooks are still too contaminated to handle.

   Escapologist Harry Houdini boasted that his stomach could withstand any blow. But one day a fan punched him without warning. Houdini collapsed in agony, having suffered an internal rupture. He died shortly afterwards.

   Six people drowned in Southern Egypt in 1997 while trying to rescue a chicken that had fallen into a 60ft. well. An 18-year-old farmer was the first to go in after the chicken, but drowned in the strong undercurrents. His sister and two brothers, none of whom could swim well, went in one by one to help him, but also drowned. Finally two elderly farmers went to help, but met a similar fate. After the six bodies were pulled from the well, the chicken was also brought out … alive.

   In 1985, New Orleans lifeguards threw a party to celebrate a season without any drownings. As the party came to an end, one of the guests was found dead at the bottom of the pool.

   American Jim Fixx, the man who started the trend of jogging, died of a heart attack while out jogging.

   Viscount Palmerston died from a heart attack while having se with a parlour maid on his private billiard table.

   A guard in a US armoured van was killed in 1986 when $50,000 worth of quarters fell on him.

   James II of Scotland was attacking Roxburgh when one of his own cannon exploded and killed.

   The Earl of Morton was beheaded by the very guillotine which he had introduced into Scotland.

   Attila the Hun had a dozen wives but the last proved one too many. For he burst an artery and died while enjoying rampant sex with her on their wedding night.

   In 1957, King Haakon VII of Norway slipped on the soap in his marble bath and struck his head fatally on one of the taps.

   Napoleon’s stomach finished up in a silver pepper pot. His shriveled penis went on sale at a London auction room, but failed to reach its reserve price.

   Michael Anderson Godwin spent years awaiting the electric chair In South Carolina before finally his sentence for murder commuted to life imprisonment. Then in March 1989, while sitting on the metal toilet in his cell, he tried to fix his portable TV set. He bit into a wire and was electrocuted.


The History

   5000 years ago, people don’t have surnames, they are only identified through their occupation. Labrador (meaning laborer) identifies those who perform hard work in the fields. San Isidro is one of them, a tenant of a certain land. Despite his tardiness he always finishes his tasks for that day. His landlord wondered how the laborer finished his work despite being late, so one time he went to the field to see for himself how San Isidro does his job. Upon arriving at the field he saw an angel plowing the field. In shock and awe the landlord knelt, a scene immortalized in various images of San Isidro Labrador.

The Festival

   Pulilan Carabao Festival was created in honor of the carabao, the farmer’s companion in the fields and his helping hand during plantation and harvest, but the main reason on why it was created is to honor their patron saint, San Isidro de Labrador.
   Before the festival, the populace will have Novena for 9 days and for 24 days they will have a procession of the patron saint around different towns of Bulacan. After the said activities the festivities then commence.

The Scoop

   The day before the festival four drum and lyre bands with majorette dancers line up in front of the parish and perform their own set of moves and musical tunes as the crowd watches.
   At the day of the festival (May 14) the streets are flocked with carabaos, dancers, musicians, and floats resembling the farmer’s beast of burden. Dancers are adorned with colorful costumes and dance in fluid motion.

   What makes the festival memorable is the carabaos that kneel whenever they pass by the church, some of them walk while on their knees, a sign of homage to San Isidro de Labrador, the laborer who always finishes his job even when he arrives late.

Monday, May 15, 2017


May 5, 1889-July 19, 1968

      As we look back on the cinematic pioneers of the 20th century, no individual is more significant in his field than genius makeup artist Jack Pierce, the legendary monster-maker who worked in the 1930s and 1940s at Universal Studios during their classic horror period.
   Pierce's story is equal parts triumph and tragedy. After immigrating to the United States from Greece at the turn of the century, he attempted to play baseball, unsuccessfully trying out for a semi-professional team in California after achieving some notoriety as a shortstop in Chicago. He next worked in the fledgling motion picture industry in the 1910s and '20s, trying his hand at a variety of jobs ranging from early nickelodeon manager to stuntman to assistant cameraman. At this time, Universal was a nascent little studio in the San Fernando Valley, referred to as "Universal City" in 1915, after only three years in business.

Pierce with Boris Karloff

   The brainchild of former haberdasher Carl Laemmle, Universal was the home to many silent shorts in the 1910s, many of which featured the talents of an unknown actor named Lon Chaney, who got work by creating his own unique makeups, transforming his entire face and body in the process.
   Jack Pierce eventually drifted into acting, then makeup, working at Vitagraph and the original Fox Studios in the 1920s. By 1928, after Chaney had left to freelance stardom, Universal made Pierce department head of makeup where he worked on the last of the silent films made at the studio. His fortune was cemented when Carl Laemmle made his son, Carl Laemmle, Jr., head of production as a 21st birthday present. Called Junior by his peers and colleagues, Laemmle, Jr. decided to produce film versions of the classic horror novels, encouraged by Chaney's huge successes with The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera at Universal in the mid-'20s. Laemmle's personal tastes couldn't have been any more fortuitous for Pierce: from 1930-1947, Pierce created some of cinema history's most distinguishable screen characters.

   In 1930 Dracula was first produced, and though Bela Lugosi refused to let Pierce apply his makeup (the actor had come from the stage where he always did his own work), Pierce came up with the styling for the vampire character and his many female victims. Immediately following the success of Dracula, Junior wanted a follow-up, which led to the production of Frankenstein 1931. Though many have argued as to whether director James Whale, actor Boris Karloff, or Junior himself contributed to the makeup, the driving force behind the look of the character unquestionably belonged to Jack Pierce. Every morning, Karloff sat for four uncomfortable hours, suffering the makeup's high levels of toxicity, as Pierce and his assistants applied the head, facial buildup and layers of padding and costume modifications that would make him into the movies' most memorable monster. For the 43-year-old Karloff and 42-year-old Pierce, it was a remarkable achievement; their legend would have been guaranteed even if they had stopped their unique artist-performer collaboration right then and there.

   Furthering their reputation, though, Pierce and Karloff teamed the following year to create The Mummy. Though the actual creature is only seen on film for a matter of seconds, it was another unforgettable achievement in cinema horror when Im-Ho-Tep came alive and paraded across an unearthed Egyptian tomb. Karloff spent most of the picture as Ardath Bey, another Pierce incarnation, the doomed prince looking for his lost bride.

   The Laemmles also tried to get new cinematic treatments of Phantom and Hunchback off the ground at this time. Lon Chaney had died in 1930, but many of their efforts stalled. A version of The Wolf Man with Boris Karloff was even planned, but this, too, would be derailed due to production problems. If you can't initiate wholly original projects, why not try a sequel? Universal did just that, starting a trend that would result in numerous Dracula, Frankenstein, and Mummy spin-offs which became their

trademark. First on the boards was what would be the final horror film in the Laemmle period, Bride of Frankenstein. Revamping his first version of the monster, Pierce also created the famous makeup and designed the electric hairstyle for Elsa Lanchester's bride. Once again, Pierce created an iconic movie character who only appeared on screen very briefly at the end of the film. Then, in an instance of commerce overwhelming art, the Laemmles sold the studio in 1937, ushering in a series of revolving studio heads at Universal for the next 10 years.

   In the many comings and goings of Universal executives in the late 1930s and early '40s, Pierce did manage to retain his level of high-quality character makeups in several cranked-out sequels and B-movies. For Bela Lugosi, with whom Pierce had locked horns several years earlier on Dracula, Pierce created Igor in 1939's Son of Frankenstein. Conceived as a man who couldn't be hanged, the bearded, gnarled-toothed wretch became Lugosi's most original character in years and put him back on

the map. Two years later, Pierce pulled out all the stops for The Wolf Man with Lon Chaney, Jr. in the title role. Though the two did not reportedly get along--Chaney did not like wearing the makeup or undergoing the lengthy application and removal period--Pierce excelled again with his werewolf concept, utilizing a design he had created for Karloff a decade earlier. Originally intended as a B movie, The Wolf Man was a true horror classic, and Pierce's version of the character has been the model for the numerous werewolves that have since come to the screen.

   The final, original Pierce makeup arrived in 1943 with a new Phantom of the Opera movie. Starring Claude Rains, it would be the only Jack Pierce monster movie shot in color. Though his treatment of Rains' makeup-revealed only at the end of the film--was cut down at the request of the producers (Pierce's original concept was considered too hideous!), it stands as another horror movie landmark.
   Jack Pierce's reign at Universal ended shortly after WWII when the studio merged with International Pictures and replaced many of its department heads. He had been a makeup supervisor for 19 years and worked at the studio for 30 years, but Pierce ended his career working in low-budget independent films and television projects during the final 20 years of his life. His last project was working as makeup department head for the TV show Mr. Ed from 1961-1964.

   Unthinkably, he died in virtual obscurity in 1968. However, today's artists still view Pierce's work as a relevant force in the annals of cinema crafts, and Pierce has been honored with a tribute DVD, a lifetime achievement award by the makeup union, and a proposed forthcoming star on Hollywood Boulevard.


   Most ghostly experiences along roadways happen at night. The ghosts that are reportedly seen along these roadways vary from subtle wisps to full-fledged, seemingly corporeal bodies that get into the car and carry on conversations.
   Many road-ghosts just walk down the road where they were killed, or appear alongside a driver hoping to catch a ride back to their home. Sometimes ghosts move alongside a car as it speeds down the highways and still others appear abruptly in front of the vehicle, nearly causing an accident.

    Haunted highways are not only occupied by ghosts, but also phantom cars. Sometimes, these phantom cars appear in the rear view mirror as two headlights (that quickly disappear), other times, a vehicle will allow a car to pass only to discover there is no car behind them after all.
   This type of paranormal activity as legend throughout the world, but to experience it is a rare occurrence.    
      Here are details,  about  some roads,  throughout America,  that have legends attached and ones where witnesses have claimed to have seen ghostly activity.

Clinton Road- in West Milford, New Jersey:  A ten-mile curvy stretch of road that meanders through woods and has a distinct air of isolation. Legend has it a little boy was playing on this road on a bridge above a waterway and fell to his death. They say if you throw a quarter into the water, it will be thrown back at you. There are also tales of being followed by unseen beings, the overwhelming feeling of being watched, and a red-eyed hound from Hell chasing people out from the foliage.

   Shades of Death Road- in Warren County in New Jersey:  Yes, it really is called "Shades of Death" Road. The locals gave it that name because numerous murders, accidents and strange happenings have occurred on this roadway. It is said that people have been killed by wildcats roaming the area. Discarded, mutilated corpses have been found along this road. The road itself is full of twists and turns and is shaded by numerous trees, lending to its spooky air. The spirits of the Lenni-Lenape people are believed to haunt this road, having been viciously attacked by a tribe of Iroquois Indians.

  Split Rock Road in Hibernia New Jersey:  There are numerous legends surrounding this stretch of road. One such urban legend goes: if you drive down this road late at night, people (who these people are depends on who you're talking to locally), they might be Satanists/Albinos/Gangs, will block each end of the one-lane bridge and trap you in the middle as you drive across it. There have been murders and suicides on this road. Animal carcasses have been found as well as unexplained lights in the sky.

   State Road 15 North in Bristol, Indiana:  Legend has it if you drive north on State Road 15, past the toll road you will come across a house on the left, directly before the state line. Stop and study this house. Eventually, if you sit there long enough, the spirit of the owner of the house parts the curtains and waves at you.

   US HWY 20 in Brushy Prairie, Indiana:  Most active around the holidays, there exists an urban legend of a Lady in White.  She wears a wedding dress and when people try to pick her up, she disappears.  This supposedly happens between the midnight and 5am hours.

   Highway 12 West in Fredrica, Delaware: The legend - A man, quite angry with his landlord, murdered the landlord then ground him up with cornmeal.  He then fed it to his dog.  It is said that the phantom dog with its red, glowing eyes can be seen by drivers at night along the side of the road.

   Salem Church Road in Newark, Delaware:  In the 1900's, a family of six was hung due to accusations of witchcraft. This family has been seen, all six of them, walking along this highway, in search, people say, of the relatives who hung them. (Don't think I'd want to be them!)

   Mona Lisa Drive in New Orleans, Louisiana:  The statue of a philanthropist's daughter, Mona, has been erected in City Park but destroyed by careless teenagers. Witnesses claim to have seen a very sad Mona as they drive along this road. She floats silently next to the car, scratching the glass forlornly, then just as quickly, she vaporizes.

   Remember, if you drive down any road expecting to see ghostly spectacles, be respectful of those living there, as well as any other traffic on the road! I would love to hear from anyone who has had a first-hand paranormal experience on any of these, or other roads.