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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 03/14/16

Monday, March 14, 2016

TOP 10 UNUSUAL CEMETERIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD!






    Benjamin Franklin once wrote in a letter to a friend: "in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes". When the inevitable happens, funeral rites, rituals, and ceremonies must be undertaken. Funeral customs are as old as civilization itself, and they vary from region to region.
    In many cultures and religions, cemeteries (from the Greek koimeterion or Latin coemeterium, meaning sleeping place) are used for death ceremonies, burial, mourning and memorial. Unusual or historical cemeteries have also become popular tourist attractions....cemetery tourism, the "dark" side of tourism, is a growing phenomenon around the world.

    Here is a list of the top 10 unusual and most visited cemeteries:





 
 
  • Cimetiere Des Chiens-Cimetiere des Chiens, a cemetery for dogs and other domestic animals, is said to be the world's oldest public pet cemetery. It is located in Asnieres-sur Seine, a commune in the northwestern suburbs of Paris, France. Opened in 1899, Cimetiere des Chiens was a response to a French law stating that pet owners are not allowed to dump the dead bodies of their animals in the garbage or the Seine River. The most famous gravestone belongs to Rin Tin Tin, the legendary American dog that starred in various Hollywood movies.




 

  • Stull Cemetery (Highway to Hell?)-Located in Kansas, this cemetery has gained the reputation as one of the world's most haunted cemeteries. Some people even consider it to be one of the 7 gateways to Hell. There are so many legends, stories of witchcraft, ghosts and supernatural happenings surrounding it that even Pope John Paul II allegedly ordered his private jet not to fly over Stull while he was on the way to a public appearance in Colorado in 1995. The Pope considered Stull "unholy ground". But just how terrifying is this place? There aren't many places as controversial as Stull Cemetery. There is a tale that the devil's only half-human son is buried there with his mother. Perhaps that's why the devil himself has been visiting the Stull Cemetery at least once (some report twice) a year since 1850. However, Tracy Morris, author of the "Tranquility series of paranormal humor mysteries, asks a legitimate question: "Presumably, Mrs. Lucifer and little Luci Jr. would go to hell upon death, where the Prince of Darkness reigns supreme. So if they're in hell with him, why visit their graves at all?.....Maybe he just wanted s vacation"




 
 
 
  • Cross Bones Graveyard- Cross Bones Graveyard, traditionally called the Single Women's Graveyard, dates back to medieval times. It was the final resting place for prostitutes (locally known as the Winchester Geese) working in London's legalized brothels. Multicolor ribbons, charms, flowers, feathers, poems, pictures, and silk stocking decorate the iron fence of the graveyard. Tudor historian John Stow wrote in his 1603 Survey of London: "These single women were forbidden the rites of the church, so long as they continued that sinful life, and were excluded from a Christian burial, if they were not reconciled before their death. And therefore there was a plot of ground called the Single Woman's churchyard, appointed for them far from the parish church".






  • Le Mummie di Urbania- La Chiesa dei Morti, The Church of the Dead, is located in Urbania, Italy. Inside lies the Cemetery of the Mummies, which was built in 1833. This cemetery is famous for its strange phenomenon of natural mummification. According to specialists, the process is caused by a particular mold that has absorbed moisture form the corpses leading to the complete desiccation of the bodies.




 
  • Shirokorechenskoe Cemetery- In the 1990's, Yekanterinburg was known as "The crime capital of Russia". Many of the leaders of the Russian Mafia lived there and Shirokorechenskoe Cemetery was the final resting place for many of them. Very expensive tombs, black marble, precious stones, laser engraved images and life size granite gravestones are common here. The nicknames of the deceased mobsters are engraved along with some of the things they were known for: He was an expert in using knives.





 
  • Neptune Memorial Reef- The Neptune Memorial Reef (also known as the Atlantis Memorial Reef or the Atlantis Reef) is the world's first underwater mausoleum for cremated remains and the world's largest man made reef. Opened in 2007, off the coast of Miami Beach, the Neptune Memorial Reef is the perfect final resting place for those who loved the sea.





  • S?pan?a- Cemeteries are often sad places, but they can also be amusing and entertaining. S?pan?a, in Northern Romania, is worldwide famous for its Merry Cemetery, a UNESCO World Heritage site. What is so unusual about this cemetery? Well to begin with, the atypical design of the tombstones, which are painted by had in vivid colors, such as red, blue, green and yellow. The tombstones are big crosses sculpted from oak wood, engraved with funny epitaphs, briefly describing the life or the circumstances in which these person passed away, for example: "Under this heavy cross lies my poor mother in law. Is she had lived three more days, I would be lying here and she would be reading. Burn in hell, you dam taxi that came from Sibiu! As large as Romania is, you couldn't find another place to stop, but in front of my house to kill me"? S?pan?a is a unique cemetery and a major tourist attraction. The man behind this concept is a Romanian craftsman, Ioan Stan Patrias, who started sculpting the crosses in 1935. The ancient culture of the Dacians, the Romanian's ancestors, viewed death as liberation and the soul as immortal. S?pan?a preserves this positive attitude toward death and welcomes it with a smile.




 
  • The Bridge to Paradise- The Bridge to Paradise, in the Xcaret Nature and Cultural Park, is quite an intriguing Mexican cemetery. Its structure is based on the Gregorian calendar: the cemetery simulates a hill with 7 levels representing the days of the week and 365 colorful tombs on the outside depicting the days of the year. The main entrance is a stairway with 52 steps that represent the weeks of the year. Each grave is different form the others in design and building materials. One might look like a replica of a famous cathedral, while the next one looks like a sofa or a bed with headboard and pillows.






  • Wuyi Mountain, Fujian Province- Hanging coffins is an ancient funeral custom found only in Asia: there are hanging coffins in China, the Philippine's, and Indonesia. Some coffins are cantilevered out on wooden stakes, while some lay on rock projections. Other coffins are simply place in caves. The hanging coffins of the Bo people in Gongxian, Sichuan Province, the Guyue people of Dragon Tiger Mountain and Guyue people of Wuyi Mountain are the most famous. The Wuyi Mountain coffins are the oldest; some are more than 3,750 years old. As bizarre as it may seem, it makes sense. Why bury a coffin three meters under the ground, if you want to go to heaven?





 
  • The Cemeteries of Giza and the Valley of the Kings- The Giza Plateau, the site of the mysterious Great Pyramid, the Sphinx and thousand of tombs, has attracted more tourists, archaeologists, historians, scientists and mathematicians than any other. The Great Pyramid (Pyramid of Khufu or Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and biggest. One of he 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, it houses the body of Pharaoh Khufu and was built with more than 2 million stones over a period of 20 years. The complex and elaborate funeral customs of ancients Egyptians were believed to ensure immortality in the afterlife. The Valley of the Kings, a World Heritage Site, is known to contain more than 60 tombs and 120 chambers. It was the main burial place of major royal figures of the Egyptian New Kingdom. The fascinating tombs of Egyptian pharaohs are still being discovered to this day.

MAKE YOUR OWN POLYMER CLAY!

  This diy comes from www.thenewnew.blogspot.com .  I very ingenious idea if you love to mess around with clay and sculpt your own holiday figurines and other misc. items.  It's also alot cheaper that buying fimo clay (they are the ones that make most of the polymer clay you find at arts and crafts stores)  at the craft store. Have fun and make something today!


Homemade Polymer Clay


At different points over the last few years I've played around with different kinds of homemade "clay." My favorite is a polymer clay also known as cold porcelain. Its main ingredients are cornstarch and white PVA or Elmer's glue. I like it because it's smooth and a little bit elastic to work with and dries extremely hard. It's also relatively non-porous so it takes paint really well. And it doesn't degrade over time like baker's clay or salt clay does. I've used it to cover blown-out chicken eggs for Christmas ornaments, as well as to make various and sundry bowls, boxes and pendant blanks, among other things.


But it took awhile to get the recipe right. Most of the ones I found online resulted in a compound that was way too sticky to work with. So I experimented with different proportions of glue and cornstarch and the inclusion/exclusion of various secondary ingredients. What follows is the fruit of my experimentation. Lucky you!

Materials
  • 3/4 cup white glue
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons mineral oil (I used baby oil but reportedly even vaseline will work)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Non-stick pot
  • Wooden spoon
Steps
Add cornstarch to glue in a nonstick pot. Mix together and then add mineral oil and lemon juice. Blend well.


Cook over low flame stirring pretty much constantly (you can take a quick break or two if your arm gets tired, which it will) until the mixture resembles mashed potatoes.



Remove from heat! Squirt a little additional mineral oil around the top of your mashed potato mass and with your hands, remove it from the pot. Knead until smooth. It's best to do this while it's still as hot as you can handle.


Pull off a bit to work with and put the rest in a re-sealable plastic bag with the top about half-way open until it's cooled down a bit. Then seal the bag (with as little air in it as you can) and store in the fridge.

Let dry about 2-3 days, then paint, or not.

Until next time --

Enjoy!

THE IDITAROD, THE LAST GREAT RACE ON EARTH, PART II!!



History of the Iditarod

    The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race first ran to Nome in 1973, after two short races on part of the Iditarod Trail in 1967 and 1969. The idea of having a race over the Iditarod Trail was conceived by the late Dorothy Page. In 1964, Page was chairwoman of the Wasilla-Knik Centennial and was working on projects to celebrate Alaska's Centennial Year n 1967.
    She was intrigued that dog teams could travel over land that was not accessible by autos. In the early 1920's, settlers had come to Alaska following a gold strike. They traveled by boat to the coastal towns of Seward and Knik and from there, by land into the gold fields. The trail they used is today known as The Iditarod Trail, one of the National Historic Trails as so designated b the U.S. Congress. In the winter, their only means of travel was by dog team.







 
    The Iditarod Trail soon became the major thoroughfare through Alaska. Mail was carried across this trail, people used the trail to get from place to place and supplies were transported via the Iditarod Trail. Priests, minister, and judges traveled between villages via dog teams.
    All too soon the gold mining began to slack off. People began to go back to where they had come from and suddenly there was less travel on the Iditarod Trail. The use of the airplane in the late 1920's signaled the beginning of the end of the dog team as a standard mode of transportation, and of course with the airplane carrying the mail, there was less need for land travel. The final blow to the use of the dog teams came with the appearance of snowmobiles in Alaska.








    By the mid 60's, most people in Alaska didn't even know there was an Iditarod Trail or that dog teams had played a very important part in Alaska's early settlement. Dorothy Page, a resident of Wasilla and self made historian, recognized the importance of an awareness of the use of sled dogs as working animals and of the Iditarod Trail and the important part it played in Alaska's history.
    She presented the possibility of a race over the Iditarod Trail to Joe Redington, Sr., a musher from the Knik area. Soon the Pages and the Redingtons began promoting the idea of the Iditarod Race to the extent that Joe and Vi Redington moved to the Knik area from their homestead at Flat Horn Lake and they have never moved back.







 
    The Aurora Dog Musher Club, along with men from the Adult Camp in Sutton helped clear years of over growth from the first 9 miles of the Iditarod Trail in time to put on the first short Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1967. A $25,000 purse was offered in that race with Joe and Vi Redington donating one acre of their land at Flat Horn Lake adjacent to the Iditarod Trail to help raise the funds. ( the land was subdivided into one square foot lots and sold with a deed and special certificate of ownership, raising $10,000 toward the purse) Contestants from all over Alaska and even two contestants form Massachusetts entered that first Iditarod Race, but a newcomer, Issac Okleasik, from Teller, Alaska, won the race with his team of large working dogs. The short race of approximately 27 miles, was put on again in 1969.



Joe Redington Sr.







    The goal was to have the race go all the way to the ghost town of Iditarod in 1973. However in 1972, the U.S. Army reopened the trail as a winter exercise and in 1973, the decision was made to take the race the 1,000 plus miles to Nome. Redington and Page were instrumental in getting the first long Iditarod on its way to Nome in 1973, amidst comments that it couldn't be done. There were many who believed it was crazy to send a bunch of mushers out into the vast uninhabited Alaskan wilderness. But the race went on. 22 mushers finished that year and to date, there have been over 400 finishers. Mushers have come from Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Italy,Japan, Austria, Australia, Sweden and the Soviet Union as well as from about 20 different states in the United States.








    The late Dorothy Page, the "mother of the Iditarod" is quoted in the October 1979 issue of the Iditarod Runner on her intent for the Iditarod: "To keep the spirit of the Iditarod the same. I don't even want to see high pressure people getting in and changing the spirit of the race. We brought the sled dog back and increased the number of mushers. It is really an Alaskan event. I think the fact that it starts in Anchorage and then ends in Nome has opened up a whole new area for people in Alaska. I think they appreciate that it puts them in touch with the pioneer spirit".








Iditarod Today

    The race has started in downtown Anchorage since 1983. The teams leave the start line at the corner of 4th and D, at two minute intervals. Starting at 10 a.m. There are usually over 65 teams starting and some years even more.
    The mushers follow a multi use trail through Anchorage and out to Tudor Road. A telephone auction is held each year whereby fans can be a rider in a musher's sled from the start line for the first 8-9 miles. This auction opens on October 1st and closes at 5 p.m. Alaska Standard Time on January 31st. The money raised is used to offset expenses of the race and to provide each musher who finishes the race after the top 20 (who received cash prize winnings), with $1,049. This helps the mushers get their teams home. The mush along the Glenn Highway into the VFW Post 9785 in Eagle River. From there the dogs are loaded into dog trucks and taken home for the night. This is a ceremonial start and does not count in the overall time to Nome.









    On Sunday, March 8th, mushers will again line up at the old Wasilla Airport in Wasilla about 40 miles north of Anchorage. At 10 a.m. the first teams will depart on their way to Nome.
    From Wasilla, they travel to Knik Lake, the last checkpoint on the road system. Spectatros may drive the 17 miles from Anchorage to Eagle River and the approximately 30 miles from Eagle River to Wasilla. It's about 13 miles from Wasilla ti Knik. Once the mushers leave the Knik checkpoint, they are off the road system for the duration of the race.







 
      It is impossible to predict the exact day or time that the first musher will cross the finish line in Nome. However, it is expected to be between 9 and 12 days, making it on the second Tuesday or Wednesday. Doug Swingley, the 1995 Champion, completed the course in 9 days, 2 hours, 42 minutes and 19 seconds to become the first usher from outside Alaska to ever win the Iditarod.