Friday, September 30, 2005

Haunted Massachusetts

At Halloween, the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 always come to mind. But there is more to be afraid of in Haunted Massachusetts, Lizzie Borden's ghost allegedly haunts the Fall River Animal Rescue League, the town of Warren was the site of the demonic possession in the novel "Satan's Harvest" and my friend Bruce has a list of his own ghostly encounters on this webpage.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Haunted Maryland

Countdown to Halloween continues with Haunted Maryland.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Haunted Maine

Stephen King knew there was something 'not right' with Maine. There was 'Salem's Lot, Derry and a few other towns you should avoid when traveling Down East in haunted Maine.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Emily Rose

Went to see The Exorcism of Emily Rose with Bruce over the weekend. Although the critics deadpanned the movie, I enjoyed it. True, it is not of the same caliber for a horror movue as the original Exorcist, it wasn't as bad as the critics claimed. Yes, if you like Law and Order and other courtroom dramas, you should find this movie enjoyable. It was funny how it always seemed to be raining during the flasback scenes, but that is par for the course for a horror movie. A little thought provoking, too.

Haunted Louisiana

The Gulf States may be under water, but the ghosts don't mind, here's Louisiana.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Haunted Kentucky

Even the horses are spooked in Haunted Kentucky

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Haunted Kansas

"Gee, Toto, I don't think we are in the land of the living anymore". No, Dorothy, you are just in Haunted Kansas,

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Haunted Iowa

There's probably a few haunted farmhouses in Iowa, so enjoy the tour.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Haunted Indiana

Countdown to Halloween:

Here's Indiana.

Give back the Pork

There is a movement among some Republicans and some Democrats to give back some of the money used for pork-barrel politics in their home districts and divert the funds to hurricane relief. There is the $24M 'bridge to nowhere' in Alaska, the 'rainforest project' in Iowa (both championed by Republicans) as well as a host of other taxpayer waste all over the country. The move would save $24 billion dollars, not exactly chump change. But who opposes this? The Republican leadership, like the ethically-challenged Tom DeLay. He says it isn't a good idea because the money that goes to his district goes to create jobs. (And don't forget $3M to promote 'core values' through golf). If he cares about jobs, why doesn't he fund job-retraining programs that would help to 'teach a man to fish'. Instead, the Republican leadership shows the true nature of our political process, that pork barrel projects are used to buy votes.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Haunted Illinois

Back in '97, I had started the Y2K Project a few months early for Digital Equipment Corporation (later Compaq Computer, now HP). The recruiter told them it was better to keep me on the payroll for the duration (I started in July and the 'official' kickoff wasn't until September) rather than taking the chance of losing me to another project. So I had time on my hands to surf the 'net. I stumbled upon, which led me to graveyards of Chicago and some other sites. Not only can cemetaries be spooky, but they also can contain quite a wealth of historical information as well. More often than not, if you were well off in life, you had a 'monumental' monument dedicated to you once your gone.

Chicago alone has enough historical and ghostly sites to keep any spook hunter busy for awhile. There is Resurrection Cemetary for example. There are many versions of the 'Resurrection Mary' story, you know the one: A guy 'usually a guy' is driving down the road late at night and is hailed by a young girl for a ride. The guy picks her up, ask her where she is going, and she says 'home - just down the street a bit'. When they pass the cemetary, she disappears. The guy does some research, visits the home of her parents, there is a picture of the girl on the mantle, he says 'that's her!" and the parents tell the guy that she died a few years before. Many versions of the tale, but Chicago claims to have invented it. There is also Bachelor's Grove Cemetary, Hull House, the site of an exorcism a Druid cemetary, a memorial site to a major Circus fire in teh early 20th century, Al Capone's grave, etc.

Abraham Lincoln seems to be busier in death than he was in life. Not only is he reputed to haunt the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House, he has been seen in the state capitol in Springfield as well. Instresting state, Illinois is.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Haunted Idaho

Countdown to Halloween:

Here's your own private, haunted, Idaho.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Haunted Hawaii

I've heard of a haunted 'Interstate' highway (Highway 3) that is haunted due to the desecration of ancient Hawaiian burial grounds. Digging up graves for new highways is tabu in Hawaii. I have visited Hawaii Volcanos National Park on more than one occasion and have always been struck by the stories that some visitors leave behind about the bad luck they have encountered when they try to bring back some lava they've picked up from the ground. I figured if I was lucky enough to be in Hawaii in the first place, why tempt fate? But if you 'buy' souvenir lava, that's not bad luck. Better buy a Hawaii Ti Plant for good luck to offset the bad luck from the lava...

Here's Haunted Hawaii.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Haunted Georgia

I love lighthouses. I went on a day long cruise a few years back discovering the lighthouses from Boston to Southern Maine.

One such lighthouse is reputably haunted off the coast of Georgia, St. Simon's Island lighthouse. A murder/suicide allegedly occurred there and thus, the ghost. For other haunted sites in Georgia, click here.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Haunted Florida

Countdown to Halloween continues:

Here's Florida

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Superdome; Haunted D.C.; A Podcast Novel

On the local news story, some tourists arrived from New Orleans who had been stranded in the Superdome after Katrina. There, they witnessed a murder directly in front of them. They said that they couldn't get sleep for the duration of their time there, as they were fearful of their lives. Apparently, none of the first 10,000 evacuees were screened and there were enough guns that contributed to the lawlessness. I'm sure there were more than enough muggings going on. And this was supposed to be a place of santuary. That, and the fact that at least 10 people died for lack of food and/or medical attention. So, I suggest, that instead of repairing the Superdome, it should be razed and moved to another site, since it is now tainted ground. Perhaps a memorial to man's inhumanity to man can be erected nearby.

Bush says taxes will not be raised to pay for the estimated $200 billion dollars that will be needed to rebuild New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast (don't forget Mississppi, Florida and Alabama were affected as well. So, it will be interesting to see which programs will be cut. Most likely anti-poverty and other social programs will be cut, since Republicans don't believe in that kind of 'nonsense'. How about some pet projects near and dear to Republicans, such as Grassley's 'Rainforest' project in Iowa or Tom Delay's $3M plan to teach 'core values through golf' program.

Countdown to Halloween continues.

In the District of Columbia, it is believed that a ghostly 'Puma' haunts the grounds below the U.S. Capitol which appears prior to a national catastrophe. I wonder if it appeared before August 29th?
The Statue Room is also known to have a few after-hours 'visitors' as well. Dolly Madison haunts the White House as does Abraham Lincoln in, where else, the Lincoln Bedroom. Winston Churchill has allegedly seen the ghost, but he's also been known to throw back a few, so his 'sightings' are left to conjecture, but Queen Juliana of the Netherlands has also allegedly seen the ghost. You decide.

Here's D.C.

Here's something a little different: While perusing's (link to the right) index of topics, I was looking for something along the lines of horror genre, when I came upon my first Podcast Novel, Earth Core: A Podcast Novel, by Scott Sigler. Something different, from the usual music downloads. Strong language and themes, but I've just begun listening, so I have no opinion of it yet, but add the feed into your feeder and see for yourself. Different. Has a Western Mining feel to it, that I find appealing.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Haunted Delaware

Countdown to Halloween continues...

Haunted Delaware.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sell Phones

Anybody who is a fan of Seinfeld has inevitably seen the episode where the gang is in the coffee shop (Monks) and where Elaine, (who works for J. Peterman) announces "I am an an associate" and George says "Yeah, so am I" and the waitress walks by and says 'Yeah, me too." It seems nobody is an employee anymore, we're all associates. Walmart, one of the world's largest companies, doesn't have employees, either, they're all associates. Well, effective immediately, I am an associate of Radio Shack Corporation (Radio Shaq) as a sales associate. So after 3 years, 6 months and 14 days of this economy 'which is strong' according to Bush and Greenspan, I have finally re-joined the world of the living. One can only watch so many soap operas and eat so many bon-bons, since that's the way most conservatives view the unemployed. For the past two of the last three years, I wasn't even an official statistic, since unemplyment numbers are only counted as those who are 'currently' collecting unemployment benefits. Once they run out, if you are not 'unemployed' you must be 'employed'. This adds a rosier picture to the truth. But anyway...

It started innocently enough, having walked into the Radio Shaq which is in back of my house and I asked to fill out an application. "Go online" I was told. Most older people think you are not 'really' looking if you are not 'out pounding the pavement' and they have trouble accepting that computers are here to stay whether or not they (or I) like it. At the time, there were no current openings, but when I walked passed the store a few weeks later they had a 'now accepting applications' sign in the window. I was already a step ahead of the game, as I had already enrolled in their 'Open House' which is held on various Wednesdays, so I went and I was told it was for 'a sales position' and if you didn't like sales, you can leave now...

So, I figured if I was going to sell anything, it might as well be electronic equipment and at least I don't have to ask customers if they 'want fries with that'. If I was forced to work at McDonald's, I might as well move to Oregon, where they have an assisted suicide law. I took a 'test' which included questions are making the proper change. Don't laugh. One place I applied to was more interested in my 'welfare to work' status, my 'criminal history' and whether or not I could speak English, use 'machines' like a label gun and I must know 'numbers'. Thankfully, they didn't ask if I knew 'letters' too.

So, apparently, I did well on the test, got interviewed by two store managers (which is what I wanted, but they insist they only promote from within). Is the money good? No. I am taking a 95% drop from when companies encouraged capable people to apply. But, as they say, the more I sell, the more I make, so in theory, the sky's the limit.

So, I don't begin until the 28th, but I will be attending a Policy Meeting at the District Office and then a Sales Meeting before I begin. The emphasis will be on pushing cell phones (and they are dumping Verizon at the end of the year). I'll switch to Sprint (back to) if the company will cover the cost of breaking my 'bondage' to Verizon and take care of the cost of my 'rebondage' to Sprint.

So, I will be working in the Warren, (R.I.) store. Egad! Two state taxes to contend with. Boy, I miss Nevada, but that is the method to my madness. After working there for awhile, I can 'relocate' to any open position. Incline Village (Lake Tahoe) here I come. I have to keep this as a goal if I am to keep any semblance of enthusiasm. But I'll also consider Reno, Carson City and Las Vegas.

The store is at 601 Metacom Ave in Warren, so feel free to stop by for a visit after the 28th and buy a phone from me, And don't forget the carrying case, car adapter, get a new picture phone your at it. Christmas is coming and we also have electronic toys, microphones, health devices and oh, don't forget the batteries! They are usually not included.

Who runs Verizon-FEMA?; Haunted Connecticut

Last week, when I talked to Jessica, she assured me that my bill for the phone I don't have would be totally credited and I would have a zero balance. Well, guess what - I got ANOTHER bill, now up to over $300 for a bill I will never pay.

So, I had to waste another half an hour on another call to the misnamed 'Customer Service'. I got another person, whose name I didn't write down, who told me they were trying to bill me for the phone that they claim arrived on Sept. 1 when in fact, it has been sitting in their warehouse since July 20th. I have the pallet number it is sitting on. She told me that 'someone' misunderstood the 'note' that was written on it. What should have been written on the bill, was 'delete from system'. I asked her why it was possible that they can put a phone in my hand within 24 hours, but getting rid of an erroneous bill takes months. She was 'all apologies' took my real cellphone number and promised me a call back. I didn't get one. I guess my next step is to write a letter to the Corporate Office in the great and powerful land of Oz to see if there is anyone competent in the entire company who can shred and burn this bill.

Ironically, if it isn't enough hassle to wade through the automated phone system, you get treated to an 'infomercial' about how Verizon is 'working hard' to help the residents of the Gulf States to get phone service back after Hurricane Katrina. Haven't these people suffered enough from both a hurricane, FEMA and now Verizon?

I think the real culprit here is those 'contracts' that users are forced to accept. Corporations shouldn't be 'guaranteed' loyalty if people are 'guaranteed' jobs or health care. The best way to ensure customer loyalty is to provide a quality product and quality customer support. And I don't mean my misleading customers into believing that their requests are be handled by Americans by a guy named 'Kevin' who is located in Bangalore. You and I know that 'Kevin' isn't the guy's birth name. I guess they don't want us to be reminded that most high-tech jobs (as well as customer service) are handled overseas. But that increases the corporation's bottom line. And cellphone companies figure they don't have to provide good service, because, if you don't like it and try to leave, we'll send the lawyers after you for breaking the 'contract'. I call upon the so called 'free market' Republicans to file legislation to ban cellphone contracts, if they are not to busy passing legislation that affects every aspect of your personal life, that is.

Verizon can go to hell, which is where most of the ghosts from Connecticut come from.

For the past few years around Halloween, PBS showed a great two hour show called 'A Haunting in Connecticut'. It is the story of an upstate New York family, consisting of a father who is often not home as a salesman, the mother, two teenage boys and a younger girl. The eldest boy, Paul, has cancer and he has to travel to Connecticut to see a specialist. The specialist is located about 4 hours from home, so the family decides to make a move to somewhere closer. They find a lovely Victorian in central Connecticut, for 'the right price', if it only had enough rooms. The house was being renovated and she asked the workmen if it had the required number of bedrooms. He said no, but the basement could be converted into a bedroom. Sold! But what is that 'walkin freezer' for and all those chemicals...

If this show is reprised this Halloween, check it out. Recommended.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Tim Wins!

Tim McCoy, the first candidate to receive the Scorched Pig Endorsement has cleared the primary hurdle to move on to the General Election for School Committee in Fall River, Mass.

Out of a 14 man race, Tim came in 4th garnering 4,627 votes despite a low turnout of 27% at the polls.

Interestingly, the primary challenger to the incumbent Mayor (and another rematch) only received 2,742 votes in a field of four, with the smallest challenger only getting only 197 votes.

Things that make you go Hmmmm...

Haunted Colorado

Countdown to Halloween...

Heeeere's Johnny, er Colorado.

Don't Overlook the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. It was the site of the great movie, Stephen Kings The Shining. Also, 'Unsinkable' Molly Brown's house in Denver is also said to be haunted.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Haunted California

Don't forget to check out the Waley House in San Diego, reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the U.S. as well as the Coronado Hotel, also in San Diego. There's also Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay, the Winchester Mansion in San Jose. There's even a haunted Toys-R-Us in Southern California (forgot where).

So here's Kal-i-forn-ya.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Scorched Pig Endorsement

The Scorched Pig heartily endorses Tim McCoy for election to the School Committee seat he currently occupies in Fall River, Massachusetts. If you live in Fall River, or know someone who is a registered voter there, please encourage them to vote for Tim. I know Tim and know he'll do what is right for the children of Fall River.

Haunted Arkansas

Continuing the countdown to Halloween and our tour of haunted America:

Here's Arkasas.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Haunted Arizona

I was in BJ's a wholesale outlet to buy a few things and I always stop in at the book section. I am a sucker for bookstores and libraries. I love to read and could browse for hours. I had been there a few times in the past and saw a book that kept on tempting me to buy it. Its list price was $29.95, the member price was $19.95, but yesterday it was listed for $9.95. The book is 'Ghosts' by Hans Holzer. It is a hardcover tome of over 700 pages so I could resist no longer. I am usually behind in my reading, what with old college textbooks that I managed to hold on to after my move, a few magazines and one or two I intend to pick up. After furniture, books are the heaviest things I end up moving, so I many cases, after I read a book that I don't plan on keeping, I try to donate it to the local library.

There are many stories in this book and after you get past the Introduction and the first two chapters, should make an easy breakpoint. I've started to read the book before bedtime and will read a few stories in an effort to get this book polished off hopefully by the time Halloween arrives.

So, I was thinking: I am going to begin a 13-year project of creating a resource guide for everything spooky. The number of years should be of no surprise. It will contain links, stories (maybe), movie lists, DVDs, books and whatever else I come across and then I'll have it published. I think I call it "The Best Damned Guide to Everything Spooky" And so, the compiling begins.

Meanwhile, here's a link to haunted Arizona. A good place to start would be Tombstone, I guess.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Satan has a blog; Haunted Alaska

More Halloween links:

Satan has a blog! Wouldn't think it would be suitable for children, but click here.
Haunted Alaska

If you have good spooky sites or ghost stories to share, send a comment and I'll post them for the mega link page at the end of the series.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Countdown to Halloween - Haunted Alabama

Halloween is a big holiday out here in the desert,

Beginning today, I will be listing links for haunted sites throughout the country, state by state, for your traveling and exploring pleasure. Many of these sites are private property, so explore at your own risk.

I will also be adding links for ghost stories and I will publish all the links I have come across on Halloween. Today, we begin with Alabama.

I also encourage readers to pass along links for ghost stories, haunted sites or their own stories of paranormal phenomena. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Good Times?

Alan Greenspan claims that the economy is doing so well, that he has had to raise interest rates 10 times since 2004 to 'slow down' the juggernaut.

Last week, when Hurricane Katrina was pummelling the Gulf Coast, the Census Bureau released statistics that said that the poverty rate in the US rose to 37 million, up 1.1 million since 2003. It is th fourth straight annual increase. The number of people without health insurance edged up by 800,000 to 45.8 million people. Most of the people who lack health insurance, about half, actually have jobs, so the people who lack health insurance are not exactly welfare queens, are they?

There has not been a decline in poverty numbers since Bush took office, which should come as no surprise to anybody. Trickle-down economics didn't work under Reagan, when the gap between rich and poor widened, so what would make anyone think that Bush's tax cuts to the really well-off (wealthfare) would work? The last decline in poverty was in 2000 was during the Clinton administration was 'only' 31.1 million people who fell under that threshold. The irony is of course, that there are more people today under the 'smaller government is best' Republican administration who depend on government assistance than under the 'Big Government' Democrats.

The report also says that incomes are flat and more and more Americans are dipping into their savings just to get by. Plus, the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the oil supplies will hurt, guess who, the most? The working poor, who need to pay 50% more just to get to their jobs that provide no health coverage. The median household income stood at $44,389 since 2003, while the number of people getting health insurance through their employers keeps dropping. All this, in the midst of record profits by corporations. The next thing will happen will be the expected decline in 'discretionary spending' as many people will have less and less 'discretionary' money to spend money other things beside getting to work and heating their homes this winter. Expect increases up 31% for heating oil and 71% for natural gas this winter.

Of course, the philosophy behind the massive 'no millionaire left behind' tax cuts is to give back tax money to the most well off so that they can 'invest' it and create jobs. Not 'good paying' jobs, just jobs, and of course, there is no requirement that they do so. Nothing to stop them from simply pocketing the cash and finding a no tax or tax deferred shelter for it. So where is the 'wealth effect' from all the jobs. The only wealth effect will be for George, Dick and Condi, all of whom have nice portfolios that will rise with the price of oil.

So, speaking of Katrina, I am of mixed feeling about the 'forced evacuations' of 'evacuees'. I have sympathy for Mayor Nagrin who claims there is no god reason to stay, what with no electricity, water or food, plus the very real possibility of water and air borne disease. But, you can't blame people for not wanting to leave, especially if you were a homeowner. With millions of records destroyed, how can anyone prove that they owned the property and begin rebuilding. Not since Kosovo, have we seen anything like this. I wonder if the real estate market in New Orleans will be awash with speculative fever when the place dries out. Sure, it'll be risky to live in a city below sea level, but then again, its risky to live along the Mississippi river, or anywhere in California, and hurricanes that keep pounding away at Florida have only made the prices go higher although hurricane warnings are an annual event in Florida.

So, if you want to help out your fellow Americans, who need your help as much as the people in Iraq or tsunami victims in South Asia, you can donate to the Red Cross by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW. I made my contribution through the Unitarian Universalist Association ,
the church that I belong to when I can.

And let's not forget that pets from this disaster need our help too. PetsMart Charities has sent up a charity to find foster owners, or new ones for all the dogs and cats separated from their owners. That's another reason why so many people in the affected areas refuse to leave. They can't bear the thought of leaving Fido behind. You can donate here.

Have a nice life. Good times. Ain't we lucky we got 'em?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

America, Left and Right

NBC News points out how New Orleans is 67% Black, poor and most of the people stuck there had no transportation out, haven't had food and water in 5 days and that's why they are looting.
Now, for the conservative point of view (Bill O'Reilly). Why isn't there martial law? Why aren't they sending in the National Guard to 'shoot these thugs'. Everybody knows that some people stayed by choice, because they saw opportunities to loot."
After 9/11, Bush had a plan: Reduce Afghanistan to a parking lot.
Now, eveybody's asking: Why aren't you dropping food from the sky?
Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell after 9/11 "God lifted his protected umbrella because of the 'gays, lesbians, feminists, ACLU and liberals"
No comment from Pat ot Jerry on why God bitch-slapped the Bible Belt...
Before the hurricane: (according to NBC): "50% of the children born in Mississippi are born into poverty". Then why do we spend so much money building the infrastructure of Iraq?

Gas has hit over $3 here, and I saw over $4/gal in the hardest hit areas of the Hurricane? Any clue how much money Bush and Cheney (both oilmen) have pocketed in wealth since this thing hit. Even Condi Rice, the poorest of the Bush cartel has an oil tanker named after her.

Greenspan will raise rates again, because the economy is doing so well...

And so it goes.

Jessica Rocks!

I got another bill from Verizon for the phone that I returned because it wasn't the one I ordered. Now, the bill that I won't pay is up to $237.12.

So, I waited until today to call them rather than pop a vein in my neck, so I made the call this morning. But first, I had an idea - when I handed off the phone to the FedEx, she told me to hold on to the recipt, (this copy for your records). So I decided to go first to since its 'expiration date' was 2007. I checked the 'order' no. and nothing came up. There was another number on the side which I neglected to look up so I called them and gave them both numbers. (While on hold, I checked the second number and still no luck). So the guy said, call Verizon, and give them these numbers and maybe we they'll have a clue. We send tons of stuff to that address. Ok, thanks.

I called Verizon and got Jessica. I told her the story (again) and I gave her the numbers I had from the FedEx slip. Please hold. Wait. Wait. Wait.

She came back on the phone and said the phone was in their warehouse and it had a lot number and pallet number. I took the numbers down even though I 'probably' won't need them. So, I said "Great! now what about this phone bill?" "Let me check on that and issue any credit and close the account". Pleae hold. Wait. Wait. Wait. My phone was plugged in to the wall getting recharged, and fortunately, it didn't lose the signal that cellphones often do. So I put the phone down and went back to work on the computer. Wait. Wait. Wait. (Good thing calls made to customer service aren't charged.). She would interrupt occasionally, to tell me how sorry she was for keeping me on hold, and oddly, I didn't mind.

Finally, she said "This is going to take awhile and I hate to keep you on hold, so can I have your number and call you back? " I said "sure", gave her the number. And then I took a break.

Upon returning, the phone rang.

"Hello, may I speak to Mr. Pig?"
Me: "Speaking."
"Mr. Pig, this is Jessica prom Verizon. I just called to let you know, that we are crediting all charges on this bill, so we can close this account. We will be sending you a bill with a 0 balance. There will be a charge for early termination, but since you closed the account only two days later, don't worry, that will be credited as well."
Me: "Jessica, it is SO nice to deal with someone who knows what they are doing, its been TWO MONTHS trying to get this resolved, several people and one Supervisor".
Me: "Jessica, I want you to know that if they send me one of those 'How Did We Do" surveys, I'm gonna give you an 'Excellent' on every one and I'm gonna write "Jessica Rocks!" on it.

I think I made her day.

Sadly, Jessica will NEVER be promoted now. She is too good to remove from Customer Service. She can actually get things done! Poor Jessica.

Since I often squeal about the poor state of Customer Service these days, it is a relief to give a shout out about Jessica!

While, I'm on the subject - remember the post about the "Bitch Dog"? Well, it happened again recently. A Palistinian American and a Navy veteran received a credit card solicitation from Chase addressed to "Mr. Terrorist Bomber". When he called to complain, (not that he wanted a card) the person at the other end actually said "How can I help you, Mr. Bomber?".

Chase claims it gets its lists from an outside source, but at least they apologized, which is more than I can say for Comcast.