Quantcast
DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: April 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

TOP 10 HIGHEST GROSSING HORROR FRANCHISES!






   Horror films have been a part of American (and international) culture since the very beginning of cinema. In the last 40 years alone, we have seen so many new icons of horror; from Freddy to Jigsaw, and Jason to Pinhead. But are these nightmarish juggernauts also the stuff money is made of?  We’ll see, as I present to you the top 10 most financially successful (highest-grossing) horror film franchises (Note: Many of these films are 15+ years old, so the amounts of money shown are in 2007-2011 U.S. dollars, and the amounts of money are only the profits of films (not TV shows, video games, etc.); also, there are some spoilers!):





1.  “Friday the 13th” Series


 Main Villain(s): Pamela Voorhees; Jason Voorhees; a crazed ambulance-driver; Freddy Kreuger
 Number of movies, etc.: 12 (including the remake, and “Freddy vs. Jason”); 1 TV show; 1 video game
 Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $380,637,525 (not counting the TV show and video game)
 Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $31,719,793.75

   Neither Jason–nor this franchise–can be stopped! With 12 films (2 of which, don’t even feature Jason as the villain), a relatively unrelated television show, and a mask that will never leave the memories of camp-counselors everywhere, Jason isn’t just a fierce, unrelenting killer: He’s also a very wealthy, fierce, unrelenting killer!






2. “Saw” Series

  Main Villain(s): John “Jigsaw” Kramer; Jill Tuck; Detective Mark Hoffman; Dr. Lawrence Gordon; Amanda Young; and…well…technically, many of their victims (considering how many of the victims were given a choice as to kill or be killed…if you haven’t seen the film(s), it’s kind of complicated…)
 Number of Movies, etc.: 10 (including a direct-to-DVD release, the short film the first “Saw” was inspired by, and a fan-made film); 1 video game
 Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $342,510,598 (not counting the fan-made film, short film, direct-to-DVD release, and video game)
 Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $34,251,059.80

   The most recent horror film franchise in American cinema is also one of the most successful! “Saw” turned horror cinema on its ear, by creating a horror movie icon who doesn’t kill his victims directly, but rather gets them to kill each other! Brilliant!






3.  “The Exorcist” Series

 Main Villain(s): Pazuzu (the demon that possesses Reagan); several others (I have not seen “The Exorcist II: The Heretic” in a while, and I haven’t seen “The Exorcist III” yet)
 Number of Movies, etc.: 7 films (4 of the original films, 1 prequel, 1 director’s cut, and 1 hardcore porno called, “The XXXorcist” (no joke))
 Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $331,592,458 (not counting the porno)
 Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $47,370,351.14

   “The Exorcist” is unique, in that the villain of the story actually possesses the heroes/heroines. It is by far one of the most terrifying series of films in history; so terrifying was the original “Exorcist”, that famous Christian Billy Graham claimed that the reels of film themselves were possessed by demons!







4.   Halloween” Series

 Main Villain(s): Michael Myers (although, his father was also a villain in the remake, if you think about it…); a creepy old guy who makes killer masks; a satanic cult; the orderlies who raped that poor girl in the remake; the guy who bails Michael out of prison
 Number of Movies, etc.: 10 films; 1 video game
 Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $307,729,650 (not counting the video game)
 Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $30,772,965

   Michael Myers is one of the oldest–and most recognized–horror movie icons in American history. Whether it was John Carpenter, or a suddenly competent Rob Zombie, “Halloween” has always been the deadliest–and one of the most profitable–of holidays!






5.  “A Nightmare on Elm Street” Series

 Main Villain(s): Freddy Kreuger; Jason Voorhees; the dream-demons
 Number of Movies, etc.: 8 films; 1 TV show; 1 video game; a 900-number that you could call to get scared over the phone (no, I am not joking)
 Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $307,420,075 (not counting the video game, TV show, and 1-900 number-profits)
 Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $38,427,509.38

   Freddy is one of the most recognizable faces (or lack thereof) in cinema history; he is also one of the most creative, twisting dreams to suit his needs. His terror spread from Elm Street, to Hollywood (“Wes Craven’s New Nightmare”), and then to Crystal Lake. If those numbers are any indication, his reign of terror will continue to be very well funded





6.   “Scream” Series

 Main Villain(s): Stuart; Billy; Mickey; Debbie Salt; several others (I haven’t seen “Scream 3″ in a while, and I have yet to see “Scream 4″)
 Number of Movies, etc.: 4 films
 Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $293,553,139 (not including Scream 4)
 Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $97,851,046.33 (not including Scream 4).

   “Scream” is one of the few horror-film franchises that is satiric in nature. It is also one of the few in which each film has a completely different killer(s). While it’s only #6 on this list in amount of money grossed (to date), it has one of the highest amounts of money grossed (per film)!






7.  Paranormal Activity” Series

 Main Villain(s): An unnamed demon/spirit
 Number of Movies, etc.: 2 films
 Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $192,671,717
 Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $96,335,858.50

   While many may say that “Paranormal Activity” is not quite a franchise yet, it has certainly earned the same amount of money as one! These revolutionary films–inspired by classics, such as “Cannibal Holocaust”, “[Rec]“, and “The Blair Witch Project”–have already proven themselves as a contender in the league of horror cinema!





8.  “Amityville Horror” Series

 Main Villain(s): Well…a house; a doll-house…yes, a doll-house; the people who originally lived in the Amityville house, before the Lutzs; several others (I haven’t seen all of the movies yet)
 Number of Movies, etc.: 9 films (including 3 original movies, 1 remake, 4 direct-to-video films, and 1 made-for-TV movie)
 Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $170,533,321 (not including the sequels not shown in theaters (.i.e.: the made-for-TV movie)
 Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $42,633,330.25

   The “Amityville Horror” anthology is one of the most underrated, under-appreciated horror film franchises on this list. Spanning over 30 years, this exercise in terror is truly for the ages!






9.  “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” Series

 Main Villain(s): Leatherface and his family; some shady organization (from part 4…I really don’t know how to explain them)
 Number of Movies, etc.: 6 films (including 1 remake and 1 prequel; also, “The Texas  Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation” was released into theaters twice); 1 video game
 Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $164,925,750 (not counting the video game)
 Average Amount of Money Grossed, per movie: $27,487,625

   One might think that such a classic sequence of horror films would be higher on this list; however, due to financial issues with the first “Massacre”, and the terrible 4th film (which was released a second time to cash in on the new-found fame of Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger), Leatherface will have to settle for 9th place. I sure hope he doesn’t have a bone to pick with me…






10.  “The Omen” Series

 Main Villain(s): Damien Thorn; Damien’s followers (AKA: Thorn Industries); Satan; Satan’s followers
 Number of Movies: 5 (including 3 original films, 1 made-for-TV movie, and 1 remake)
 Amount of Money Grossed, to date: $162,520,100 (not counting the made-for-TV movie)
 Average Amount of Money Grossed, per film: $40,630,025

   Ah, the Anti-Christ, born from an evil as old as time. What better horror film icon than one who has been over 10,000 years in the making?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

BADWATER ULTRAMARATHON!!




   The Badwater Ultra marathon describes itself as "the world's toughest foot race". It is a 135-mile course starting at 282 feet  below sea level in the Badwater Basin, in California's Death Valley, and ending at an elevation of 8360 feet  at Whitney Portal, the trail head to Mount Whitney. It takes place annually in mid-July, when the weather conditions are most extreme and temperatures over 120 °F, even in the shade, are not uncommon. Consequently, very few people—even among ultramarathoners—are capable of finishing this grueling race.




     Course

    Originally, the run was conceived as being between the lowest and the highest points in the contiguous United States:  Badwater, Death Valley (−282 ft) and Mt. Whitney's summit (14,505 ft). The two are only eighty miles apart on the map, but the land route between the two points is substantially longer, 146 miles, because of detours around lakebeds and over mountain ranges. Additionally, since the finish-line is 11 miles  from the nearest trailhead, anyone who competes over the 146-mile  race-distance must be capable of a total physical effort of 157 miles. Due to the two mountain ranges that must be crossed between Badwater and Whitney, the course's cumulative elevation gain exceeds 19,000 feet.
   In later years, as the United States Forest Service required summit permits to climb Mt. Whitney, the official course was shortened to end at Whitney Portal. The Badwater-to-Portal course is 135 miles  long, with 13,000 feet  of cumulative elevation gain. Forest Service regulations do not allow competitive events in the John Muir Wilderness; however, many runners choose to continue tradition and complete the ascent to Mount Whitney's summit on their own.






   Early History

   The hike between Badwater and Mount Whitney (via the treacherous salt flats in Death Valley) was first made in 1969 by Stan Rodefer and Jim Burnworth of San Diego.
   Al Arnold first attempted running the route in 1974 but was pulled off the course after eighteen miles with severe dehydration. After vigorous sauna-training and desert-acclimatization, he attempted the run again in 1975. This time, a knee injury aborted the run at fifty miles. In 1976, training injuries kept him from even beginning his annual attempt on the course.
   In 1977 he successfully pioneered running the course, summiting Whitney eighty hours after his start at Badwater. Arnold has never returned to the course, except to receive the Badwater Hall of Fame Award.
   The second Badwater-to-Whitney running was completed in 1981, by Jay Birmingham.






   In 1987, the crossing became an official, organized footrace. Five runners competed the first year. During the early years of the race, no particular route between Badwater and Whitney was specified and runners attempted various "shortcuts" between the start and finish. Adrian Crane, one of the competitors in the inaugural race, even used cross-country skis to cross the salt-flats at Badwater.
   AdventureCORPS manages the competitive race from Badwater to Whitney Portal. The course route is specified, and the race is held annually. The field is invitation-only and limited in size. Demand to participate in the race usually far exceeds available spots. Rules have changed somewhat over the years: afternoon starts have been discontinued; the use of intravenous fluids now disqualifies a runner.






   Course support is not provided. Each runner must arrange for his or her own support crew and vehicle. The crew provides their runner with his or her needs, including water, ice, food, gear, pacing, and first aid.
   Runners who complete the course in sixty hours receive a commemorative medal; runners who complete the course in forty-eight hours receive a belt buckle. No prize money is awarded.
   The record for the 146-mile  race was set in 1991 by Marshall Ulrich: 33 hours and 54 minutes. Records for the current 135-mile course are 22 hours 51 minutes 29 seconds (men), set by Valmir Nunes, and 26 hours 51 minutes 33 seconds (women), set by Jamie Donaldson.
   In the last few years, 70 to 80 people have competed in each race, with 20–40% failing to reach the finish line. There have been no fatalities.






   Multiple Crossings

   In 1989, Tom Crawford and Richard Benyo completed the first double crossing (which became known as the "Death Valley 300"), running from Badwater to Mount Whitney's summit and back to Badwater again.
   In 1994, Scott Weber completed the first Triple Crossing going from the Mount Whitney Summit to Badwater, then returning from Badwater to the Mount Whitney summit, then going from the Mount Whitney summit back to Badwater in 10 days. The first leg of the Triple was also done solo unassisted with Weber pushing an unmodified "baby jogger" cart with his supplies from oasis to oasis spaced from 20 to 30 miles  apart. Weber completed the majority of the triple unassisted and solo being met once or twice a day by Ben on the second leg and for 100 miles of the third leg. Faced with the necessity of completing the Triple before August ended, Weber abandoned his cart at mile 390 to be fully crewed by Denise Jones. Completing this Triple and adding the Badwater race from the previous month made Weber the first runner to complete four full crossings of the Badwater-Mount Whitney summit course in a single July-August window. He remains the only runner to have done a multiple crossing with a solo unassisted section of 146 miles or greater.






   In 2001, Marshall Ulrich was the first runner to complete the "Badwater Quad", consisting of two back-to-back Death Valley 300s for a total of four consecutive Badwater/Whitney transits. He completed the course, a distance in excess of twenty-two marathons, in ten days.
   In 2003, Sawyer Manuj became the first Asian-American to complete the Badwater duo.
    Unassisted solo crossingsIn 1994, Scott Weber became the first runner to cross from the summit of Mount Whitney to Badwater course solo without a crew. He did so by pushing a 'baby-jogger' cart with his supplies going oasis to oasis (20-30 miles  apart). Weber then continued on to complete 2 additional crossing with minimal support until being crewed full-time for the final 45 miles of this 438+ mile journey.






   Unassisted "self-contained" Solo Crossings

   In July 1999, Marshall Ulrich became the first and only runner to complete the 146-mile  Badwater-to-Summit course without a crew or resupply, denying himself the use of artificial shade or outside aid of any kind. Starting with 225 lbs of gear and water loaded in a modified baby jogger, he pushed and pulled the cart to the Whitney trail head, then continued on to the summit with a pack. He reached Whitney's summit in seventy seven hours and forty six minutes.






   Badwater Solo Ultra Marathon 135/146

   In 2005, in response to the desire of local and non-elite runners to test themselves against the course, Hugh Murphy initiated the Badwater Solo Ultra 135/146.  Runners attempt the course during the months of July and August and have their completion verified and published by Murphy. Runners are encouraged to include the Whitney summit as part of their transit, but credit is given for either distance. In compliance with National Park and Forest Service permitting rules, this is not a competitive race but a "solo" crossing with a support crew (as in, "not a part of the official race", which is not to be confused with Weber or Ulrich's use of "solo" to designate an unassisted crossing).
    In  2007, then-19 year old Ben Eakin completed his first solo crossing, having only finished 2 marathons and 1 50K prior to doing so. Eakin completed the solo from Badwater to the summit of Mount Whitney, to become the youngest male to complete the lowest to highest course, as well as the first type-1 diabetic.
      In   2005, Barbara Szeprethy, then 24, is the youngest woman to finish the course, 3 times total, in consecutive years.




Death Valley Cup

   Any competitor who completes both the Badwater Ultramarathon and the Furnace Creek 508 bicycle race (also held in Death Valley) during the same calendar year is awarded the Death Valley Cup.







 Badwater World Cup BWWCBadwater World Cup (BWWC) consists of:
  • Badwater ( race in the desert)
  • Brazil 135 Ultramarathon ( race in the mountains)
  • Arrowhead ( race in the snow)
  • Europe 135

          .

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

8 CRAZY CHAMPIONSHIPS!!




   We have all heard of unusual championships, such as caber tossing – but I am certain that almost no one will have heard of the six bizarre championships listed here. This is a great opportunity for us all to learn about other people’s interests, and to maybe consider entering ourselves next year!






8.  Pig Squealing Contest

   In Trie-sur-baise, France, a pig squealing contest is held every year. The contest involves standing before a microphone and squealing like a pig. Besides the pig-squealing, there were awards in the Sunday competition for pigging out — this year’s winner ate nearly 4 feet of blood sausage in under five minutes. I am very pleased to be able to present a youtube clip from the contest – but unfortunately the person who added the clip to youtube doesn’t seem to want people to share it easily – so you must






7.  Gumboot Throwing Festival

   Every year in the small New Zealand town of Taihape, the residents and visitors have a gumboot throwing contest. The aim of the festival is to break the world record for the longest gumboot throw. It is a real fun family event, which includes a number of other competitions like the best-dressed gumboot and "shoot the loop" with gumboots. Gumboots can also be tossed skyward on any day of the year in the official Gumboot throwing lane located in the "Outback", just behind the main shopping centre. The festival takes place on “Gumboot Day”. There is even a kiwi folk song based on gumboots – it is called The Gumboot Song.






6.  Air Guitar Championships

    The Air Guitar Championships started in Finland in 1996. In these championships the contestants pretend to play electric guitar solos. There are two rounds in this contest. In the first round, the participant chooses his or her favorite song and plays that song in the edited 60-second format. In the second round, the contestant has to play a song chosen by the organizers.






5.  Extreme Ironing World Championships

   The Extreme Ironing World Championships started in Leicester, UK in 1997. This is an exciting and dangerous sport. Anyone who would like to participate should be ready for ironing a few items of laundry, preferably on a difficult climb of a mountainside, ice or under water. Anybody from any part of the world can participate.





4.  World Beard and Mustache Championships

   The first World Beard and Moustache Championships took place in Höfen-Enz, Germany, in 1991. The contestants have long, highly-styled facial hair like moustache and beard. Last time these championships were held in Brighton, England in 2007.  This time they will be held in Alaska on 23rd May, 2009.






3.  Wife Carrying Championships

   The Wife Carrying Championship is held in Sonkajrvi, Finland every July. To enter this contest, every man must come with a wife (not necessarily his own) who is at least 17 years old and weighs at least 49 Kilograms. If she is less than 49 kilograms, he must add additional weights up to the prescribed weight. He must reach the destination by crossing sand, grass and asphalt. If he drops his wife, he loses 15 points. The winner is awarded with his wife’s weight in beer.






2.  World Pillow Fighting Championship

   The World Pillow Championship is held in July in Kenwood, California. In this championship each contestant holds a wet feather pillow in one hand and slither along the slippery wet pole (suspended over a pit of mud) to the starting positions. There are certain rules in this contest: the contestants’ hands cannot touch the pole and they cannot use their feet to unseat their opponents. Each contestant must swing the pillow with one or both hands for every 30 seconds until they manage to topple their opponents into the mud.






1.  World Sauna Championships

   The World Sauna Championship takes place in Heinola, Finland every August. This championship was started in 1999. The competitors must sit in a 110° sauna and half a liter of water is added every 30 seconds. They must sit erect with their thighs and buttocks on the seat. They cannot touch any surface with their hands and forearms have to be in an upright position and must stay on their knees. The person who sits longest is the winner.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

12 AMERICAN TOWNS WITH UNUSUAL CLAIMS TO FAME!!

   There may not be an official registry (or even an unofficial one), but that doesn't stop towns, states and countries across the globe from declaring themselves the "Capital of the World" for thing or another.
   Some self-proclaimed titles are pretty well justified. Hawaii, for instance, is called the "Macadamia Nut Capital of the World." Considering the Aloha State is said to grow 90% of the world's supply, we think it's an apt description.
   Other claims are not so black and white. Biloxi, Mississippi is often referred to as the "Seafood Capital of the World," but so is Calabash, North Carolina and Crisfield, Maryland. Which place deserves the nickname most? We'll leave that up to seafood lovers to hash out.
   We take a look at 12 towns in the good ol' U.S.A. that have found a way to differentiate themselves by "capitalizing" on what makes them unique, and well, a little unusual.





The Lost Luggage Capital of the World
Scottsboro, Alabama


     Ever wonder what happens to all of the lost airline luggage that goes unclaimed? Much of it winds up at the Unclaimed Baggage Center located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Even with today's advanced baggage tracking technology, .005% of all checked luggage is permanently lost. That may seem like a small amount but it translates into an average of 7,000 lost luggage items that the Unclaimed Baggage Center is able to buy each day. Since Scottsboro houses the only store in the county that sells unclaimed baggage and the store is the size of a city block, we think it is indeed the "Lost Luggage Capital of the World."





The Fire Hydrant Capital of the World
Albertville, Alabama


    Let's not leave Alabama just yet. Not before we take notice of another town's claim to fame: fire hydrants. Albertville owes its legacy to the Mueller Company, a leader in the manufacturing of fire hydrants. After the Albertville plant produced its one-millionth hydrant in 1989, Albertville was declared the "Hydrant Capital of the World." A polished nickel-plated hydrant on a pedestal was even erected outside of the Chamber of Commerce to commemorate the occasion.






The Rolle Bolle Capital of the World
Ghent, Minnesota


      From Memorial Day to Labor Day, dozens of people take to the court next to the Silver Dollar Bar in Ghent, Minnesota to play Rolle Bolle. Pronounced "rollie bollie", this Belgian game gives a nod to horseshoes, bowling and bocce ball. The point of the game is to roll a small wheel closest to a stake at the other end of the court. If you wanted to try your hand at this outdoor game, you likely won't be able to purchase a set at your local sporting goods store. The little-known pastime is only played in a handful of places in the U.S. For more on this small (population: 300-or-so) town's sport of choice.






The Fruitcake Capital of the World
Claxton, Georgia

    Claxton was incorporated in 1911 and named for Kate Claxton (1878-1924), a popular actress at the time. However, today, it has another passion: fruitcake. Home to both the Claxton Bakery and the Georgia Fruitcake Company, each year millions of pounds of fruitcake are produced and shipped worldwide from this small community in Georgia. Texas residents, however, have their own "fruitcake" bragging rights. Located in the city of Corsicana, the Collin Street Bakery has been making it's world-famous DeLuxe Fruitcake since 1896.






The Cowboy Capital of the World
Bandera, Texas


    According to the Bandera County Convention and Visitor's Bureau web site, "Bandera embodies the cowboy in its strong rodeo tradition. Even today you'll often see horses tied to downtown hitching posts. Bandera County dude ranches offer a taste of the cowboy lifestyle with horseback riding, trail rides, and chuckwagon meals. Secluded cabins tucked away in the hills throughout the county are perfect for watching wildlife, listening to the birds, and gazing at the stars. At local honky-tonks, the music is lively, the dance floor is full, and the beverages are cold." Enough said.






The Honeymoon Capital of the World
Niagara Falls

    Yes, we know it's not completely American -- half of the Falls are Canadian -- but we decided to keep this pick on our list anyway. The destination's reputation as the "Honeymoon Capital of the World" dates back to the early 1900s, when that phrase began to be used in brochures and advertising. Today, the American side of Niagara Falls welcomes more than two million visitors each year, with approximately 90,000 being newlyweds and honeymooners from around the world. Tens of thousands more head to the other side of the falls, where many pick up their Official City of Niagara Falls Honeymoon Certificate.






Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World
Beaver, Oklahoma


    Cow chips (a.k.a. dried cow dung) were an integral part of the pioneer experience. Settlers relied on them as fuel to cook food and heat their homes. Each fall, families would take their wagons to the pasture and load up on cow chips for the coming winter. Family members soon began competing against each other to see who could toss the chips into the wagon with the most accuracy. Fast forward to 1970 and the Town of Beaver turned that storied pastime into an actual sport and now bears the title "Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World." Home to the annual World Championship Cow Chip Throw, people travel from all around the globe to see and even participate in the Cow Chip throwing contest, held the third weekend of April in Beaver, each year.






The Halloween Capital of the World
Anoka, Minnesota

   According to Anoka: The Halloween Capital of the World web site, "Anoka, Minnesota is believed to be the first city in the United States to put on a Halloween celebration to divert its youngsters from Halloween pranks. When Anokans awoke to find their cows roaming Main Street, their windows soaped and their outhouses tipped over, they decided something had to be done." So, in 1920 civic leaders suggested the idea of a giant celebration including a parade of costumed children. The town's love affair with the October holiday has been going strong ever since. Each year, multiple festivities take place during the week leading up to the big day.




 
The Jell-O Capital of the World
Le Roy, New York


   Located in upstate New York, this picturesque village is known as much for its tree-lined streets and stately Victorian homes as it is for being the birthplace of "America's most famous dessert." In 1897, Pearle Wait, a carpenter in Le Roy experimented with gelatin and came up with a fruit-flavored dessert which his wife, May, named Jell-O. He tried to market his product but he lacked the capital and the experience. In 1899, he sold his formula to a fellow townsman for the sum of $450. Jello-O would go on to become one of Le Roy's most important industries. Jell-O devotees who want to make a pilgrimage to Le Roy, can visit the Jell-O Gallery museum and see everything from memorabilia to past commercials.





The Earmuff Capital of the World
Farmington, Maine

    It is said that Chester Greenwood's ears turned "chalky white, beet red and deep blue" in the cold. It was this annoyance that motivated a 15-year-old Farmington boy to invent earmuffs. He called his contraption "The Greenwood Champion Ear Protector" and it proved an instant hit. Three years and a couple of improvements later, the United States Patent Office awarded him a patent. It was 1877 and Greenwood was only 18-years-old. He soon established a factory and by 1883, he was producing 30,000 muffs a year. Thus Farmington became known as the Earmuff Capital of the World. If you're in the area, there is a parade that celebrates Greenwood's birthday the first Saturday in December where you can see local police cruisers in the parade decorated as giant earmuffs.






The Carpet Capital of the World
Dalton, Georgia


   The Dalton Convention & Visitors Bureau puts it this way: "Dalton, Georgia is known as the "Carpet Capital of the World," and for good reason. More than 90% of the functional carpet produced in the world today is made within a 65-mile radius of the city. " The carpet and rug industry is the economic engine that drives this Northwest Georgia area, with nearly two billion square yards of carpet shipped annually. If you're in the market for floor covering, it's also home (not surprisingly) to a large number of carpet outlets.







Ice Cream Capital of the World
Le Mars, Iowa   

Designated the "Ice Cream Capital of the World" in 1994 by the Iowa General Assembly, Le Mars is home to ice cream maker Blue Bunny. "Today, more ice cream is produced in Le Mars by a single company than in any other city in the world!," the town's web site boasts. The town is also home to an ice cream museum, an almost 10-foot-tall ice cream sundae statue, a replica of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and dozens of street banners bearing ice cream cones

Monday, April 25, 2011

CAMBODIAN NEW YEAR!!




     Cambodian New Year (Khmer) or Chaul Chnam Thmey, in the Khmer language, literally "Enter Year New", is the name of the Cambodian holiday that celebrated the New Year.  The holiday lasts for three days beginning on New Year's day, which usually falls on April 13th or 14th, which is the end of the harvesting season, when farmers enjoy the fruits of their labor before the rainy season begins.  Khmer's living abroad may choose to celebrate during a weekend rather than just specifically April 13th through the 15th.  The Khmer New Year coincides with the traditional solar new year in several parts of India, Myanmar and Thailand.
   Cambodians also use Buddhist Era to count the year based on the Buddhist calendar.  For 2011, it is 2555 BE (Buddhist Era).




The Three Day of The New Year

Maha Songkran
   Maha Songkran, derived from Sanskrit Maha Sankranti, is the name of the first day of the new year celebration.  It is the ending of the year and the beginning of a new one.  People dress up and light candles and burn incense sticks at shrines, where the members of each family pay homage to offer thanks for the Buddha's teaching by bowing, kneeling and prostrating themselves three time before his image.  For good luck, people wash their face with holy water in the morning, their chests at noon, and their feet in the evening before they go to bed.




Virak Wanabat
   Virak Wanabat is the name of the second day of the new year celebration.  People contribute charity to the less fortunate by helping the poor, servants, homeless, and low-income families.  Families attend a dedication ceremony to their ancestors at the monastery.






Tngay Leang Saka
   Tngay Leang Saka is the name of the third day of the new year celebration.  Buddhists cleanse the Buddha statues and their elders with perfumed water.  Bathing the Buddha images is the symbol that water will be needed for all kinds of plants and lives.  It is also thought to be a kind deed that will bring longevity, good luck, happiness and prosperity in life.  By bathing their grandparents and parents, children can obtain from them, best wishes and good advice for the future.


New Years Customs

   In temples, people erect a sand hillock or temple grounds.  They mound up a big pointed hill of sand or dome in the center which represents sakyamuni satya, the stupa at Tavatimsa, where the Buddha's hair and diadem are buried.  The big stupa is surrounded by four small ones, which represent the stupas of the Buddha's favorite disciple:  Sariputta, Moggallana, Ananda, and Maha Kassapa.  There is another tradition....pouring water or liquid plaster (a mixture of water with some chalk powder) on someone.
   The Khmer New Year is also a time to prepare special dishes.  One of these is a "kralan", a cake made from steamed rice mixed with beans or peas, grated coconut and coconut milk.  The mixture is stuffed inside a bamboo stick and slowly roasted.





Khmer Games

   Cambodia is home to a variety of games played to transform the dull days into memorable occasions.  These games are similar to those played at Manipur, a north eastern state in India.  Throughout the Khmer New Year, street corners often are crowded with friends and families enjoying a break from routine, filling their free time with dancing and games.  Typically, Khmer games help maintain one's mental and physical dexterity.  The body's blood pressure, muscle system and brain are challenged and strengthened for fun.
Tres
   A game played by throwing and catching a ball with one hand while trying to catch an increasing number of sticks with the other hand.  Usually, pens or chopsticks are used as the sticks to be caught.




Chol Chhoung
   A game played especially on the first nightfall of the Khmer Yew Year by two groups of boys and girls.  Ten or twenty people comprise each group, standing in two rows opposite each other.  One group throws the "chhoung" to the other group.  When it is caught, it will be rapidly thrown back to the first group.  If someone is hit by the "chhoung," the whole group must dance to get the "chhoung" back while the other group sings.






Chab Kon Kleng
   A game played by imitating a hen as she protects her chicks from a crow.  Adults typically play this game on the night of the first New Year's Day.  Participants usually appoint a strong player to play the hen who protects "her" chicks, while another person is picked to be the "crow".  While both sides sing a song of bargaining, the crow tries to catch as many chicks as possible as they hide behind the hen.





Bos Angkunh  
    A game played by two groups ob boys and girls.  Each group throws their won "angkunh" to hit the master "angkunhs", which belong to the other group and are placed on the ground.  The winners must knock the knees of the losers with the "angkunh".  "Angkunh" is also the name of an inedible fruit seed, which looks like a knee bone.



Leak Kanseng
   A game  played by a group of children sitting in a circle.  Someone holding a "kanseng" (Cambodian towel) that is twisted into a round shape walks around the circle while singing a song.  The person walking secretly tries to place the "kanseng" behind one of the children.  If the chosen child realizes what is happening, he or she must pick up the "kanseng"






Bay Khon
   A game played by two children in rural or urban areas during their leisure time.  Ten holes are dug in the shape of an oval into a board in the ground.  The game is played with 42 small beads, stones or fruit seeds.  Before starting the game, five beads are put into each of the two holes located at the tip of the board.  Four beads are placed in each of the remaining eight holes.  The first player takes all the heads from any hole and drops them one by one in the other holes.  He or she must repeat this process until they have dropped the last bead into a hole that lies besides any empty one.  Then they must take all the beads in the hole that follows the empty one.  At this point, the second player may have his turn.  The games ends when all the holes are empty.  The player with the greatest number of beads wins the game.  It is possibly similar to congkak.



Klah Klok
   A game played by Cambodians of all ages.  It is a gambling game that is fun for all ages involving a mat and some dice.  You put money on the object that you believe the person rolling the dice (which is usually shaken in a type of bowl) and you wait.  If the objects face up on the dice are the same as the objects you put money on, you double it.  If there are two of yours, you triple, and so on.