Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tabern Rock FOUND


This is a blog about 20 years in the making. It involves a possibly ancient artifact that has sat along the Manumuskin River as the centuries marched stoically by. There have been expeditions and adventures and many old timers and local legends were interviewed for the tale you are about to read. I have been seeking this object for twenty years and on 3/24/08, with my family (at a Geocache of all places) I believe it has been found.

Let’s go back. Twenty years ago I was in the employment of one of the nicest, kindest Mad Scientists you could hope to meet, one Mr. Champion Cox. I assembled control panels, I read blueprints, drilled holes, placing chip sets & buttons and such and wired everything back together so that, eventually, there was a working piece of equipment that could be utilized for industry. The time I spent with Mr. Cox was irreplaceable. He came into my life when I was in need of such a figure; he was (and is) an amazing sort of man, incredibly intelligent and very encouraging to a barely collegiate Evil Chicken. One of the things we did in between switching between listening to WMMR (me) and the local country station (him) was talk. We talked about everything; psychology (my chosen major @ the time), history, writing, books, music, movies, women, business, publishing magazines, string theory, local legends, sailing & sail boats, and making movies; we never ran out of topics; he was just that sort of man.

“So, have you ever heard of dolmens?” He asked me one day. I was screwing an actuator arm into a sheet of 1/8th thick metal.

“A what?” I answered.

“A dolmen – it’s a Breton word that means stone table.”

“Stone table?” I asked. “What do you mean?”

Mr. Cox then went on to tell me that dolmens were rock structures erected by Celtic explorers and that they pepper the New England and Eastern seaboard. He told me about a book by Barry Fell called, “America B.C.” (http://www.amazon.com/America-B-C-Ancient-Settlers-World/dp/0671679740/ref=pd_sim_b_img_3) and how it may have been more than possible for other civilizations and explorers to journey to the Americas.

“You’re kidding me.” I said.

“We have this assumption that early men were a group of idiots.” He said. “I don’t buy it. Think about it – the Phoenicians were sailors; they knew that the world was round – all they had to do was look to the stars.” He would know; he had told me about his tales of waking up while sleeping on the deck of his sailboat with ice caked onto his beard and facing full-blown headwinds with passengers who thought sailing was for wimps. They thought differently once they were back on dry land.

“So what do these dolmens look like?”

“They look like big rocks on legs – which are called ‘peg stones’.” He said. “The difference is that there is Celtic writing on the south west corner of the stone.”

“Southwest corner?”

“Yes. It was their way of identifying things.”

Mr. Cox was never prone to lackadaisical pandering. He was not kidding me. He went on to tell me stories of such a rock that existed nearby. A rock that was old – so old in fact that William Penn used the rock as marker when he was surveying the South Jersey area. He said that the rock itself had a flat top to it and rested alongside the Manumuskin River. “It could be a Dolmen.”

“How would they transport a rock like that?” I asked.

“The topography of the river was different a thousand years ago; but as a marker and a calendar it only makes sense. You float your Dolmen down stream, find an appropriate position with the sun – perhaps on a rise or hill top, and set the marker.”

“So where would it be?”

“Follow the Manumuskin. You’ll find it there on a bluff.”

How about that?

I took this information to my immediate group of reprobates that I called (and still for that matter call) my friends. We have been acquaintances for years and have shared many an odd adventure together – this seemed as good a reason as any to wander into the woods.

One such gentleman who will for our intents and purposes be called, “Dirty Bird” and I paid a visit to one of the only local places that, at the time, had quadrangle topographical maps – the Red Lion Gas Station. There was a colorful old man who questioned us as to why we wanted such a map. We spilled the beans.

“A Rock in the woods.” He said. “You two are looking for a rock in the woods.” The silence between us was palpable. Yeah, it was odd. There we were two college kids looking for some crazy stone in the pines of South Jersey.

“Tabern Rock!” he exclaimed. “You’re looking for Tabern Rock.”

“What?” we asked, “Really?”

“Some call it Table Rock ‘cause it’s flat on top. Willie Penn used it as a marker when he surveyed the area.” This gentleman was now the second person who spoke of William Penn surveying the area and using the stone as a marker. Was this a coincidence and how could you possibly know if it was? We bought our Topo-map and made plans for an expedition off of Union Road in Millville, NJ. We enlisted the expertise of one “Big Nasty Brain”, one “Eagle Fan” and one who does not have a code name – let’s just call him, “Steve”.

Yeah, Steve works.

One Saturday we started our expedition off of Union Road. We searched for hours but to no avail. We pushed on towards any place that may be close to the Manumuskin or support the elevation of a bluff for a Dolmen. No luck. We searched and searched; we were tired and FULL of ticks. Of our expedition I recall all of us tuckered out, tired and stripped to our underwear by the roadside picking ticks off of places that just shouldn’t have ticks on them. The rock was nowhere in sight.

I knew it was there – it had to be.

Mr. Cox and I made an expedition too. We jumped through local property owner’s hoops but to no avail. We even had shovels in hand just in case we had to dig in one of the corners to confirm that there was Celtic writing on the Southwest corner. We were close – each of us knew it. Someone told us about a “Table Rock” that used to be a partying spot for local kids. This piqued our interest but after talking with the landowners we knew that it was not as credible as we had hoped. I was beginning to think that someone had stumbled across it and smashed it just because it was there. I had thoughts of someone leading us to a pile of rubble, pointing and saying, “There it is.”

Time moved on as time does. Mr. Cox retired to South Carolina with his family, his sailboat and his writing but the possibility that something old, something ancient still existed in the woods of South Jersey intrigued me. Hey, who could blame me? The question continued to come up at the longest running poker game in South Jersey (which includes each member of the fruitless expedition to the woods off of Union Road).

“Remember that rock we were looking for?” I would hear from time to time.

Yes. I remember.

Then the boys from Weird N.J. published this story; http://www.weirdnj.com/stories/_ancient03.asp and it fired my imagination. THAT is a dolmen and I knew in the back of my twisted little mind that there was another similar rock formation that stood on the banks of the Manumuskin right here in South Jersey. I was sure that it was there but it was hidden – forgotten by time.

Enter the world of Geocaching.

“What’s that - geocaching?” you may ask. I direct you, therefore, Gentle Reader to “Evil Chicken’s Favorite Spots” located just to the left. Long story short, click it – you won’t be disappointed.

A Geocacher by the name of “P-Pop” (it’s a handle, a pseudonym – you know, like ‘Evil Chicken’) posted a cache back in January of this year that leads directly to Tabern Rock. We, the EC-5 (my family) have been casually cruising towards our 900th find. It ‘s not about the numbers for us it’s truly about the journey but when Mother Hen began reading the cache description from her PDA I began to get chills. Here is the link to P-Pop’s page: http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=7fb87449-1387-4026-8a4d-403d9f919b8c.

This was it. I knew it. It was even in the same quadrangle that Mr. Cox, Dirty Bird and I narrowed it down to. The stone was about to be found, all that stood in our way was a 0.8 hike to ground zero; no big.

So is it there? Is it as ancient as you thought it was? Does the thing even exist after all these years?

Yes, no, and yes.

It is there. P-Pop is right. Yes – it is there!

Tabern Rock exists. It is not the ancient marker placed by Celts as Mr. Cox and I initially suspected it to be; instead, I believe, a missionary placed it there. Instead of a flat rock on ‘peg stones’ there is a solitary stone standing with a flat stone lying adjacent to the monolith. If I were a betting man (which for the record, I am) I’d say that this other stone lying nearby the monolith was actually the “podium” where the Reverend John Brainerd preached the gospel to the Lenape Indians. The podium was flat – flat like a table. This was the area where Pastor John Brainerd preached. This was the Tabernacle in the woods – dare I say Tabernacle Rock from which he preached. This Tabern Rock is the site where my mind has wandered to over the past twenty years; the site that Mr. Cox and the crusty guy from the Red Lion Gas Station had theorized so long ago.

Tabern Rock is found.

As a side note, Mother Hen saw it first. “There’s your rock.” She said. She was wrapped up in black thorns at the time that constricted her every move. She was very excited that I was so excited. Twenty years – I kid you not. I will be getting in contact with Mr. Cox to relay the news, as well as the other gentlemen who have shared this little corner of insanity with me over the span of the fullness of time.

Once we got home Mother Hen partook in the voodoo that she do so well. Here are some great sites that reference the area, the Lenape and honorable Reverend John Brainerd; http://www.usgennet.org/usa/nj/state/Lenape.htm,
http://www.usgennet.org/usa/nj/state/Brainerd.htm, And... http://www.berlinonline.com/berlin_cemetery.htm

Tabern Rock is FOUND and thanks to Mother Hen’s research it has been standing there by the Manumuskin for the last 261 years (give or take).

Thank you P-Pop; thank you. You’ve brought closure to a twenty-year old mystery in my life.

Thanks.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Wolf-Bane is Blooming


I use to love watching Dr. Shock on channel 17 and Creature Double Feature on channel 48 on Saturday afternoons with my Dad. It was pure abandon. We would watch the Universal monsters (anything with Borris or Bela) parade by followed by the Hammer Films (anything with Christopher Lee or Peter Crushing). An occasional Godzilla or Kong would slip into the mix from time to time but one of our favorites to watch on Saturday afternoons was always “The Wolf Man” (1941) staring Lon Chaney Jr.

Fast forward to 2009 (yes I know we are a little ahead of ourselves). Low and behold Benicio Del Toro is now the bitten man with a curse. Check out this Entertainment Weekly article: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20185191,00.html. There’s a great interview with Rick Baker who won the academy award for the makeup effects from “An American Werewolf in London”. Well, Mr. Baker is most certainly still in the game.

I just hope they still have that Gypsy woman whisper that folk tale, “…for even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolf-bane blooms and the moon is full and bright.”

I’m so there opening night.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke Has Passed


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080319/ap_en_ce/obit_clarke_17.

One of the greats has moved on. “The Sentinel” is a short story just about 8 pages long. A young filmmaker by the name of Stanley Kubrick gets a hold of it and makes “2001 – A Space Odyssey” and revolutionizes the way people see the world and the future.

He was prolific as a writer but my personal favorites have to come back to the stories that include the Hal 9000, David Bowman, Heywood Floyd and David Poole – anything with a monolith. These works include; “2001 – A Space Odyssey”, “2010 – Odyssey Two”, “2061: Odyssey Three” and “3001 – The Final Odyssey”. All were great reads and all hold a special place on my bookshelf.

Clarke once said, "Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea is quite staggering."

One of the greats has phased into that universe and I can only wish him well.

Screenplay by Bad Wolf & Evil Chicken


Chick 1.0 (henceforth known as Bad Wolf) and yours truly are going to be collaborating on Script Frenzy 2008. We are going to be writing a science fiction / fantasy anthology based screenplay. Think of it as “Creepshow” meets “Twilight Zone – the Movie”. It is yet untitled but that will be rectified soon enough.

As her father and as her coconspirator on this project, I can’t wait.

There’s room for more in the lifeboat or the Crazy Train depending on your perspective. Click on over to, http://www.scriptfrenzy.org/. It’s gonna be fun. I’ve had the joy and pleasure of writing with some very creative, imaginative and brilliant people; I’m glad that this tradition is alive and well for this latest Script Frenzy writing endeavor.

Same crazy stuff now with TWICE the destructive power!

Life is good.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bradbury Challenge Revisited


You may or may not know, Gentle Reader, that I have had this personal challenge to write 52 short stories in a year’s time. I called this project “The Bradbury Challenge” (see: http://evilchickenscratch.blogspot.com/2006/09/bradbury-challenge.html for details).

I lamented the fact that I had not completed said project here: http://evilchickenscratch.blogspot.com/2007/08/time-is-fire.html; where I morosely recounted the fact that I am prone to be captivated by bright and shinny objects and that the project simply was not done.

Hmm…

I was speaking with my wife, something I do from time to time, and she asked me if I included the puppet scripts that I adapt for the Children’s Ministry at our church, Calvary Chapel of Vineland.

“…Uh, no.” was my reply. I had never considered these adaptations of Bible stories as part of “The Bradbury Challenge.” I don’t exactly know why. I believe that it has something to do with the Puppet Ministry as being a part of something much greater than anything yours truly could ever hope to accomplish. The Puppet Ministry is not and never has been about “me” – nor should it be. It’s about planting seeds. It’s about tending to my little corner of the vineyard; and I’m perfectly happy with that.

“So how many scripts have you done?” Mother Hen asked.

“I don’t know, about 60.” I said.

“So you really did meet the Bradbury Challenge.”

…Huh?

Howzaboutdat? Man I love that woman.

I put this one out to you, Gentle Reader, not to pat myself on the back but to underline the idea that pretty cool things can happen when we are working for something outside of the realm of ourselves. If I were to include the Puppet Scripts with short stories I’d have about 70 to 75 short stories completed within the span of 52 weeks.

I’d like to think that Ray Bradbury would be proud but even more so, I’d like to think that Jesus Christ has gained the glory.

See ya next time.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon


Gentle Reader you know the game. Everything in the world of cinema is only separated by Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon.

No really…

Ok, follow me on this one… Pax Ramono (http://paxromano.blogspot.com/) introduced me, Evil Chicken (http://evilchickenscratch.blogspot.com/) to the blogging delights of Final Girl (http://finalgirl.blogspot.com/) whom I introduced to Ron Diprimio (http://www.grindhouse-pictures.com/) who is a very busy guy these days with making trailers & films and hosting a brand new radio show about horror movies on Friday nights at midnight on Crusin’ 92.1, WVLT which can be listened to via the wonderful world wide web here http://wvlt.com/home/ from the comfort and glow of one’s own computer monitor around the globe; well each one of us has seen a film that had Kevin Bacon in the cast.

I love this game. It sure is a small world after all – a small world wrapped in BACON!

So check out Final Girl on Ron’s radio show on Friday night (http://grindhouse-pictures.com/grindblog/?p=44).

It’ll be a hoot.

Wings of Fire


Let us discuss the topic of chicken wings. I love ‘em. For yours truly my preferences for wings are extra crispy with (depending where you are) “medium” to “hot” sauce. Wings are even Atkins low-carb friendly.

Yeah baby – bring it on.

“But Evil Chicken, what about your cholesterol?”

163.

“But what about your cholesterol?”

You just asked that.

“163?”

Yep. Ain’t life grand? Before you ask about family history or mention the important role genetics play in one’s cholesterol count let me just say, “yes”, my father had high cholesterol. I believe I owe the cholesterol count to my low-carb, high protein diet. But enough about the gravy coursing through my veins let’s get back on topic.

Here are my picks for the best places I know of to get wings.

1. Big John’s Pizza Queen. How I like ‘em: extra crispy, hot with cayenne pepper on top. Awesome. Pizza Queen has great pizza too. The pizza sauce recipe has been passed down from the MIGHTY Big John’s Pizza in Bridgeton NJ, where the owner Mr. Robbie Johnson learned his skills. Big John’s should be listed on the historical sites for South Jersey and Pizza Queen continues that heritage. If you’re not eating low-carb it’s manna from Heaven; you won’t be disappointed with the Wings either.

2. Wild Wings in Vineland, NJ. They are smaller wings but they are very tasty. How I like ‘em: extra crispy with medium heat on the sauce; and what a sauce it is. Medium is enough to break you out in a sweat. You’ll like ‘em.

3. The Pic-A-Lilli (http://www.picalilli.com/) in Shamong, NJ. You have to go a long way to beat the Pic’s Wings. How do I like ‘em? Hot and extra crispy. Please note that Wings at the Pic differ from other places in the universe in that the humerus (drumstick) and the radius and ulna (the forearm of the wing) are still connected so if you order 25 wings it’s really like getting 50. Order the Dog Bowl you won’t be disappointed. Speaking of places that should be listed as historical sites, the Pic is a must experience – a must do. If you’ve been geocaching in Wharton all day and have just pulled off of Quaker Bridge Road at Atsion Lake, the Pic is where you want to be heading. You will not be disappointed.

4. Oliver Twist in Millville, NJ. They have Old Bay Wings that rock. Very tasty and a nice twist on a favorite. As an added feature hanging from the ceiling is a 6-man canoe named “The Sixpack”. It’s a thing of beauty to behold since it’s man made and is in excellent shape. I can remember racing against it and its team about 22 years ago. It’s nice to see that the boat still exists. Break out the Old Bay at Oliver Twist

5. Cowtown Rodeo (http://www.njsouth.com/index-cowtown.htm) in Pilesgrove, NJ. There’s a lady there who runs a stand where she sells Roasted Wings and man oh man, are they tasty. Check them out on Tuesday’s or Saturday’s (the days of operation) between the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Very tasty.

And there you have it, my top 5. If you can recommend others please do so, I’m always in the mood for Wings!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Script Frenzy 2008


Gentle Reader, have you always had a yen to want to write a screenplay, play, or TV script? Yes? Well, April is gonna be a good month for you.

BAM: http://www.scriptfrenzy.org/.

Throw your excuses out the window and start typing. Take no prisoners; if you can don’t pay any attention to the spelling or grammar editing suggestions.

“Just keep typing” is a helpful mantra and here’s the goal 100 typed pages in 30 days time. Does that sound daunting? Don’t sweat it. The good folks from the Office of Letters and Light the same people responsible for NaNoWriMo (just see the link to the left) are making this happen. THAT is such a good thing.

Have you ever wanted to? Yeah? DO IT. It’s possible. I’ve completed two NaNoWriMos and one Script Frenzy; if I can do it, Gentle Reader – so can YOU!

No really.

You too could walk into the month of April a non-playwright or scriptwriter and walk out of April a WRITER!

Now I ask YOU, how cool is that?

Trust me, it’s very cool.

There are 5 simple rules which I reprint from their website…

The 5 Basic Rules of Script Frenzy

1) To be crowned an official Script Frenzy winner, you must write a script (or multiple scripts) of at least 100 total pages and verify this tally on ScriptFrenzy.org.

2) You may write individually or in teams of two. Writer teams will have a 100-page total goal for their co-written script or scripts.

3) Script writing may begin no earlier than 12:00:01 AM on April 1 and must cease no later than 11:59:59 PM on April 30, local time.

4) You may write screenplays, stage plays, TV shows, short films, comic book and graphic novel scripts, adaptations of novels, or any other type of script your heart desires.

5) You must, at some point, have ridiculous amounts of fun.

This last rule is VERY important.

What else can I say? If you have a story in you just waiting to get out April would be a fine time to let it loose!

I for one, can’t wait!

So, what’s it gonna be? Are you gonna to walk out of the month of March a NON-PLAYRWRITE or SCREENWRITER?

NO; perish the thought!

Why would you let that happen when you can just as simply join up with all the madness that is Script Frenzy 2008???

I’ll see you on the other side.

Keep on typin’!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Curiouser and Curiouser

Hillary is suggesting a Clinton/Obama ticket.

Hmmm… http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080310/pl_nm/usa_politics_democrats_dc_3.

Howzaboutdat? Whodathunck?

http://evilchickenscratch.blogspot.com/2008/01/politics.html

And the hits keep rolling along.

The Burlington County Prison Museum


This Saturday the EC-5 (or rather my family – Mother Hen, Chicks 1.0, 2.0 & 3.0 and yours truly) visited the Burlington County Prison Museum. We’ve wanted to make the trip for quite some time now and today, since due to the rain bayside geocaching was out of the question, provided just the right backdrop to our break INTO the prison.

And what a prison it is. There are bars, cellblocks (which as the brochure says, “…were to house separate groups, e.g. habitual criminals, first offenders, and women.”), bleak halls and gallows (which were built and rebuilt as the need arose but now rebuilt - stand where their predecessors once did). It was a trip worth taking; a trip that you won’t forget. A stroll through the prison’s halls is a walk through history. Contained within those walls are thousands of stories and one gets the sensation that if walls could talk that one wouldn’t want them to ramble on too long about life imprisoned there in Mount Holly. If one were to let ones imagination wander it would not be hard to make the case for a place on this earth that would be downright spooky. I’m skeptical when it comes to ghosts but if they were to exist, the Burlington County Prison Museum would be where you would look to find them.

Perhaps the most haunting thing is the graffiti that has been left on the walls. The staff has sanitized it for the consumption of school kids and grandmothers but it is still there; and there is a lingering hopelessness to seeing graphic evidence of grids penciled to a wall with months and dates of internment scrawled upon them.

Other things that caught my attention were the size of the barred windows. The debtor’s cells have the best view with the largest windows. The maximum is smaller and the one in the “dungeon” (or rather those who were chained to the floor awaiting their time to swing from the gallows) – pretty small. A part of me rejoiced that Robert Mills, the project architect, designed the prison so that even the hardest internee was given the chance at seeing sunlight, no matter how small it may have been. The vast majority of the people incarcerated in Mount Holly were justifiably there – still the designer’s of the prison (Mills from 1810-1811) made sunlight an option for those who may or may not have deserved it. That’s pretty progressive. There are arches all over the place to facilitate the flow of air and to placate the needs of a prisoner population and their overseers. The front door must have been intentionally designed to be foreboding – wait until you see the lock (bonus points if you can post the year inscribed above the handle), wait until you see the key.

You’ve really got to see it to appreciate it. We spoke with the man working behind the counter. He was very knowledgeable about the prison and it’s strange secrets. There have been escapes, murders, overcrowding and justice has been dispensed all within the walls of the Burlington County Prison in Mount Holly. Go see for yourself, you won’t be disappointed. It’s $4.00 for adults, $2.00 for students & seniors and kids under 5 are free. Here’s their website: http://www.co.burlington.nj.us/departments/resource_conservation/parks/sites/museum/info/.

Can a trip across the river to Eastern State Penitentiary be that far off? Only time will tell, Gentle Reader; only time will tell. For now a trip to the Burlington County Prison Museum is just too cool and too close not to visit. You won’t be disappointed.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Who Watches the Watchmen?


Me. I guarantee it. I will be there to watch them opening night, lest there be no doubt.

These were released a few days ago but they are too cool not to pass along – for the scoop click here: http://www.superherohype.com/news/watchmennews.php?id=6887.

“The Watchmen” along with “The Dark Knight Returns” defined the graphic novel. I won’t gush too much but let’s just say Evil Chicken is jazzed.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Of Dogs, Marines and Cliffs

NOTE: Unlike most stuff here this one isn’t light. You don't have to read this one. You will also notice, Gentle Reader, that I did not include a link to the video. I won’t post it here. If you must see it do a Clusty or a Google search for; “Dog, Marine and Cliff” follow the link.

I’m not convinced that the video of the marine throwing the puppy off the side of a “cliff” is real yet although the Marine Corp’s quick response in saying, “that’s not what marines do” unfortunately appears to lend credence to it actually having happened. If this was a hoax it was staged well (save for the puppy sounding a little less than real to these –never have thrown a puppy off of a cliff- ears). So, what if it’s real?

There’s this stupid old joke…

Q) How many Viet Nam vets does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A) YOU wouldn’t know, man… you weren’t there.

Dumb old joke – yes. But the answer proclaims the weight of the situation. The human animal is capable of anything. We like to forget this about ourselves. Whether Iraq, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Guyana, wherever; under the stress of survival in a war zone where it’s perfectly natural to be shot at by and return fire on groups of children, to understand that one wrong step through a tripwire will be yours or your companies last, to see the physical remains of the carnage that walks hand and hand with you every moment of every day of your time there; the all too real torture rooms, the mass graves, the piles of decaying corpses, the mutilations, the raping, the disfigurement, the genocide, the “insert barbaric atrocity here.” Under the right circumstances, we are capable of anything.

I have never been in war. I wouldn’t know. I wasn’t there. But I can read, type and watch the evening news. I’ve known people touched by war. I met a man with a number tattooed on his arm that was put there by the Nazis while he was imprisoned in Poland. His job was to stuff bodies into ovens. My father was in the Korean War and my father-in-law was in Viet Nam. My father-in-law rarely talked about his experiences and when he did it was never in any great detail. “You do things in war that you are not proud of. Things that you would never do anywhere else.” He said.

My father-in-law knew the inhumanity of war. To what extent I’ll never know. I never felt comfortable asking him about it. The puppy thrower(s) know it too. Such behavior is a symptom of a more insidious cancer. I’m not defending them – I pity them and by pitying them I pity us all.

Here’re two much better blogs than this one you might find interesting: http://www.bestcyrano.org/cyrano/?p=45 and http://www.bestcyrano.org/cyrano/?p=62. They are both by the same guy, Camillo “Mac” Bica. It is real good stuff on PTSD and worth the read.

Another Coffee House Found

While in between appointments today I happened across the Higher Grounds Coffee House, which is located at 21 Rosenhayn Ave. Bridgeton, NJ, 08302. I ordered an “Atlantic Coast Blend” and it was very good, most definitely worth a visit or two. I believe that a local church runs it although I’m not sure which one. It has good brew and that whole coffeehouse / cafĂ© groove that I’ve fallen in love with.

They have a menu for both breakfast and lunch that sounded good but with my annoyingly strict low-carb vows, I just drank my java. If you choose to “eat in” you’ll be served in a tall mug – which was a nice little touch BTW.

Their Winter Hours are; Monday 7 AM – 2 PM, Tuesday-Thursday 7 AM – 6 PM, Friday 7 AM – 10 PM (7-10 PM, Music), Saturday 7 AM – 6 PM and closed on Sunday. It look to this caffeine addict as a pretty good place to meet, greet and eat.

Now I’ve got to get to Smithville; I hear there’s a good one to sample in the area. I’ve got to make the time to do so.

Until then, three Splenda’s and Half & Half, thanks.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I’ll Take a Bib and Five Gallons of Drawn Butter, Please

Norwegian Lobbyists say, “Eat Whale and Save the Planet”. No, really. Check it out here:http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSEIC37493020080303?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews&pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0.

"Greenhouse gas emissions caused by one meal of beef are the equivalent of eight meals of whale meat," the study said.

Does Al Gore know about this?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Lost Watch Found, the Build a Bear Workshop, the Sukura Japanese Steak House and the Sorrow Hill Kickoff Party


You know, Gentle Reader, it was a busy day today, lest there be no doubt. I believe the title says it all. Welcome to my world.

Let’s just go in chronological order, ok?

“But Evil Chicken, it’s just a watch, what’s the big deal?”

Excuse me?

I recently lost my watch and turned over my bedroom looking for it today. I have a tad bit of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and I couldn’t rest until I found my Seiko Kinetic watch. It had been missing for about four days and, although I have a Coleman Camping watch as a back up, it’s just not my Seiko. You see my Seiko and I have been through many an adventure together – no really. We’ve been diving off the breakers at Assateague Island, on countless geocaches, and have survived many a pool party together, it’s taken its knocks and it has proved itself a worthy companion time and time again. It was missing. Something had to be done. I had to take action. I checked under the bed at least three times to no avail. Under my dresser? Check. Under my bed stand? Check. Mother Hen opened a drawer and, low and behold, there it was!

Man, I love that woman.

Man, I love that watch.

What’s this about “Build a Bear”?

Capitalism. Man, there’s nothing like it. Case in point – the “Build a Bear Workshop”. If you have access to children and you’ve been to a mall than you understand the seductive siren call of the stuffed animal cult that the “Build a Bear Workshop” is.

Oh my goodness.

What first struck me was the shear amount of humanity that frequents this establishment. There was an Irish family holding up the line as Chick 3.0 and I stepped into the boundaries of the place of business. I was tempted to call immigration on them just so the line would move faster. For some reason they had chosen a similar skin to stuff that Chick 3.0 had chosen.

“Oh bother,” as Pooh Bear, says. BTW, where I used to find “Pooh Bear” charming and an integral part of my childhood, I cannot stand the filthy blighter today. The well’s dun been poisoned.

The Irish family moved on. It did not matter. You see, any fears of a recession and our failing economy must be false because people are more that willing and able to spend their dollars at the “Build a Bear Workshop.” Everyone who has or is in close proximity to a child has brought them to this obscene and exploitative place of business.

Crazy? You bet. It just doesn’t matter. After the helpful, employee and Chick 3.0 stuffed the bear Chick 3.0 was then instructed to brush and comb her new Best Friend under the blowers and then to pick out clothing for her new Best Friend.

You know what, I do believe that a little bit of explanation is in order here for us to continue. The “Build a Bear Workshop” is a capitalist’s dream comes true. YOU (or rather your offspring, or grand-offspring or significant child other) choose a skin to stuff, ranging anywhere from $12.00 to $ 25.00 (we had a coupon and Chick 3.0 chose a $22.00 skin that resembles a Husky Dog). We are then led to a woman who by some strange magical powers enchanted my child to dance and spin and pick out a heart for her new FRIEND.

There is something macabre and grotesque about this process.

Chick 3.0 was instructed to stick a heart and a voice box into the skin and to stand on a pedal to pump her chosen skin full of stuffing.

“You know, Honey,” I began. “Dogs don’t like clothes.”

“You think so?” she asked.

“No doubt about it.” I said. “I’m the same way.” And with that my daughter and I – in a line that stretched around the store, mind you – began to maniacally giggle. It’s good to scare the straights every now and then. We were ushered over to the “Birth Certificate Center” or rather the “LET’S GET ALL YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION CENTER.” And as happy capitalists we complied. We were now deemed clean to go to and to participate in the “Bearville” web site – once we pay our debt to the cult, mind you.

Life is good – or rather a 7 year-old Chick 3.0 feels that way.

Moving on…

Chick 2.0’s 11th birthday happened this past week and to celebrate we took her and her best friend out to the Sukura Japanese Steak House, Hibachi Grill just passed the Hamilton Mall in Mays Landing. Have you ever done Hibachi, Gentle Reader? If not, find one near you and go. Mother Hen and I have been only a handful of times and we have always wanted to take the kids so tonight was the night. They loved it. So did we. I had the Filet Mignon and Scallops and it rocked. Mother Hen jumped on the Filet and Shrimp while the girls got the chicken. Wonderful. Amazing feats of fire and cooking displayed right before your eyes. Much fun was had. Go, you’ll like it too.

It was a busy night. After dinner we hit Starbucks and then, after we traveled to the MVP Sports Bar in Buena, NJ. Man, what a crowd and most of them were there to wish a local filmmaker, Mr. Ronald DiPrimio well with his picture, “Sorrow Hill”. Mother Hen and I stopped in to do just that. As I’ve stated before, Ron is a truly talented guy and I can’t wait to see how this current project of his takes flight. He’s going to be one to watch. No doubt. He’s going to be shooting the trailer next weekend at a great location that I’m not giving away.

How cool is that?

If you are interested in filmmaking and want to read the ins and outs of making a project happen then you’ve got to check out Ron’s site here: http://www.grindhouse-pictures.com/. All the best bro.

“So, Evil Chicken – what have you been up to?”

Days like these, baby. Days like these.