By John Ruberry

Twenty minutes into the first episode of a new Netflix series, Dark Tourist, not only did I ascertain what dark tourism is, I realized that I am a dark tourist. After all, I’m someone who has vacationed in Detroit. Twice. I’ve visited the most dangerous neighborhoods of Chicago. I’ve been to Gary, Indiana. Those jaunts are known as urban exploration.

Seeking out similar dangerous and notorious locations outside of cities, such as the radiation hot zone surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, the personality cult-driven capital of Turkmenistan, and the ghost resort town of Famagusta in Cyprus, where the Turkish army bans visitors–is what rounds out dark tourism.

Dark Tourist stars David Farrier, a nerdy journalist from New Zealand who nonetheless is, for the most part fearless, or perhaps I should say foolish. After all, Farrier, during his visit to the Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan, swims in Lake Chagan, also known as “Atomic Lake,” which, as you can guess by its name, is radioactive. And he takes a bite from a fish caught there. Afterwards he at least has the good sense to down a shot of vodka.

Ferrier is a darn good reporter who asks what a cosmonaut calls “a profound question” about space travel at a pre-launch press conference.

There are dark tourism tours right under my nose. Several times a year my day job brings me to Milwaukee. But it never occurred to me to search out sites connected with cannibal serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. When Farrier was in Wisconsin’s largest city he connected with Dahmer devotees. Weird? Yes. What makes this situation very weird is that most of these fanatics are women. What do they see in this gay man who ate his murder victims? Why are bachelorette parties drawn to Dahmer?

The same episode sees Farrier in Dallas where there are Kennedy assassination tours, including one that employs a Jackie Kennedy impersonator.

How do you top these Dahmer and JFK tours? Why with a Charles Manson trip, of course.

Medellin, Colombia has a thriving Pablo Escobar dark tourism industry. As far as I know there are no Jeffrey Dahmer impersonators driving cabs in Milwaukee, but there is an Escobar reenactor cabbie who threatens to kill Farrier’s loved ones. Also in on the drug lord vacation racket is John Jairo Velásquez, whose nickname is “Popeye.” He claims to have murdered 257 people, including his girlfriend, who was recorded speaking with the DEA. Popeye has gone from killer to charismatic YouTube star.

One episode takes place in Africa. Predictably there is a voodoo sojourn in Benin. Then Farrier visits white nationalists in South Africa. They direct him to a group of Afrikaner survivalists.

There are plenty of disturbing and macabre bits, was well as some humorous ones, including Farrier embedding himself with a group of British men impersonating the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army participating in the world’s largest World War II reenactment, a dinosaur robot checks Farrier into a Japanese hotel, and Farrier is followed by his “guide” in Naypyidaw, the capital city of Myanmar.

The other Asian capital Ferrier treks to in Dark Tourist is Ashgabat in Turkmenistan. Both cities are beautiful–Ashgabat has been called the place where “Las Vegas meets North Korea”–but both are largely devoid of people. Turkmenistan is a dictatorship that has had two cult-of-personality leaders since the Soviet Union collapsed. Myanmar’s capital was founded in 2005 when that nation, now a struggling democracy, was a despotic state.

Blogger on a dark tourist trip in Detroit last year

Autocrats love buildings but not people. That’s a dark truth I learned while watching Dark Tourist.

Warning! There are unpleasant images and scenes in Dark Tourist. I dropped my plan to include the official Netflix trailer in this post because even that clip was too disturbing for a mixed audience. Dark Tourist is rated TV-MA.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

I talked to Catholic Children’s Author Susan Joy Bellavance Author of King of the Shattered Glass and Will you Come to Mass? at the 2018 Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show in Lancaster PA

Or rather I talked to her in the front seat of my car in the parking garage at the end of the 2018 Catholic Marketing Network trade show because she didn’t get a chance to sit for an interview during the show and she spotted me in the parking lot and expressed her regret so we got into my car, cranked on the AC and did the interview with her in passenger seat.

I’m a great believer in getting the interview no matter what.

He web site is here you can buy her book here


The 2018 Catholic Marketing Network Interview Bloglist (so far)

Sept 17th Voices of CMN 2018 (and the Front Seat of My Car) Susan Joy Bellavance Author of King of the Shattered Glass and Will you Come to Mass?

Sept 16th Voices of CMN 2018 Pete Socks Breadbox Media Catholic Podcasting

Sept 15th Voices of CMN 2018 Mary Radford of Relevant Radio

Sept 14th Voices of CMN 2018 Karnen Saum of Viva Guadalupe and CMN

Sept 13th Voices of CMN 2018 Peter Kleponis Author Restoring Trust a Couples Guide to getting past porn

Sept 11th Voices of CMN 2018 Mary Lou Rosen Author Three Things Divorced Catholics Need to Know

Sept 10th Voices of CMN 2018 Mariana Quan CCC of America on their Animated Series Lukas Storyteller

Continue reading “Voices of CMN 2018 (and the Front Seat of My Car) Susan Joy Bellavance Author of King of the Shattered Glass and Will you Come to Mass?”

The Boston Globe as Called on the Press United as a whole to go After Trump on August 16th over daring to call them out:

The Globe has reached out to editorial boards nationwide to write and publish editorials on Aug. 16 denouncing what the newspaper called a “dirty war against the free press.”

As of Friday, Pritchard said about 70 outlets had committed to editorials so far, with the list expected to grow. The publications ranged from large metropolitan dailies, such as the Houston Chronicle, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Miami Herald and Denver Post, to small weekly papers with circulations as low as 4,000.

So as these thousands of Newspapers proudly commit to The Boston Globe’s call for a coordinated attack on President Donald Trump him next Thursday to assert their rights as a free press and the Cable news media cheers them for their bravery for daring to go after Mr. Trump I have one obvious point to make:

Given that these outlets have spent the last two years in a relentless all out assault on Donald Trump and have spent every day since Jan 20th 2017 attacking this presidency in general and this President in particular what makes them think any person not already in the NeverTrump camp will notice any difference between their attacks on Thursday August 16th and their attacks of the previous 500+ days?

This is so self-evident that only a group of people living in their own self-congratulatory bubble could possibly fail to see it, which is of course why the press will not only fail to see it but will convince themselves that hitting Trump Aug 16th, as they have daily since June of 2015,  is an act of bravery without parallel in the history of journalism.

The proper response by those of us outside their bubble, point at them and laugh!


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“Remember, leave that cloth exactly where I told you.”

“Boss, why all the cloths?  You’re been advertising to the world that you’re behind this for weeks.”

“Advertising? No, the indefatigable Capt Leland Stottlemeyer and his boobs in blue aren’t remotely smart enough to recognize my signature” said Biederbeck, “I’m only advertising my involvement to one person, Adrian Monk.”

“MONK! That freak is dangerous!”

“Not since I’ve arranged for daily delivery of the current “poop map” to his doorstep,” Dale the Whale’s laugh shook the room,   “I’m more likely to walk the streets of San Francisco than Adrian Monk these days.”


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Last Saturday night my son and I were having dinner at the Cracker Barrel in Sturbridge and had some time to kill before our order came up.  Rather than play one of the peg games they had for sale I came up with a new game, the “Cracker Barrel Trigger a Woke liberal College Student”

You see Cracker Barrel is a restaurant filled with Americana.  The decor has been unaffected by the current  explosion of being “wokeness” and every item on the wall was invented before the term “microagression” existed.

The game can be played with two but can be played with larger parties, the rules are very simple.

Starting with the first player you point out an item of decor that would trigger a liberal, a flag, a gun a photo, an old ad and play continues to the right until a person can not name one.  If a choice isn’t obvious then that person, in the voice of a triggered woke liberal, has to explain why they would be triggered.

In a game with more than two players, the player who can’t name the item is out and play continues until there is a single player left who share of the tip is covered by the rest.

If you’re going to have to deal with woke liberals why not have fun with it?

Noticed this interesting story from the AP & Time concerning civilian gun ownership:

There are over 1 billion firearms in the world today, including 857 million in civilian hands — with American men and women the dominant owners, according to a study released Monday.

The Small Arms Survey says 393 million of the civilian-held firearms, 46 percent, are in the United States, which is “more than those held by civilians in the other top 25 countries combined.”

I found the following stat particularly interesting:

The estimate of over 1 billion firearms worldwide at the end of 2017 also includes 133 million such weapons held by government military forces and 22.7 million by law enforcement agencies, it said.

So think about this, if these estimates are correct the United States Civilian population has more arms than the worlds military forces and law enforcement agencies COMBINED.

And yet the United States is the freest and richest large country in the world, a destination so desired that people all over the world try to get here legally or illegally.

I submit and suggest that there is a correlation between the freedom of America, the wealth and America and the fact that its citizens are so well armed, and I further suggest that it is in the places where civilians are not allowed to be legally armed that Americans, mostly poor or of color, are more preyed upon because those who would prey upon them know they have little to fear.

The prospect of facing an armed population is the best restraint against tyranny.

Via Hotair headlines.

Bonus Extra: As part of their “resistance library“, I found this excellent post at Ammo.com about Black Gun ownership

An early incident is particularly instructive in how effective these new tactics were. The KKK was very active in Monroe, with an estimated 7,500 members in a town of 12,000. After hearing rumors that the Klan intended to attack NAACP chapter Vice President Dr. Albert Perry’s house, Williams and members of the Black Armed Guard surrounded the doctor’s house with sandbags and showed up with rifles. Klansman fired on the house from a moving vehicle and the Guard returned fire. Soon after, the Klan required a special permit from the city’s police chief to meet. One incident of self-defense did more to move the goalposts than all previous legislative pressure had.

Monroe’s Black Armed Guard wasn’t a subsidiary of the Communist Party, nor an independent organization like the Black Panther Party that would use similar tactics of arming their members later. In fact, “Black Armed Guard” was nothing more than a fancy name for an officially chartered National Rifle Association chapter.

by baldilocks

I can’t be the only one who noticed this.

This is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg when he testified in front of Congress about user data privacy some weeks back.

And this is former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Schneiderman recently resigned from his office because:

 [Four women with whom he has had romantic relationships or encounters] accuse Schneiderman of having subjected them to nonconsensual physical violence. All have been reluctant to speak out, fearing reprisal. But two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, have talked to The New Yorker on the record, because they feel that doing so could protect other women. They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent. Manning Barish and Selvaratnam categorize the abuse he inflicted on them as “assault.” They did not report their allegations to the police at the time, but both say that they eventually sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked.

Look at their eyes.

Now, I’m not up on the latest in high-end drugs, so, maybe someone who is can help me figure out what these guys are on, if anything.

Or maybe those trillion-yard stares are evidence a different kind of pharmakeia (definition 3).

There are lots of conspiracy theorists out there who believe that the financial, political and entertainment “elite” subscribe to a spirituality other than that of the Holy Spirit in exchange for money, power and/or fame, and that could be so. After all, God gives His children gifts and the Devil lives ever to parody God. (I’m one of those far-out conspiracy theorists who suspects that 99.9% of politicians above your local dog-catcher is bought by some entity. And maybe only half the dog-catchers are clean.)

I don’t know. But I do know that I would not want to see eyes like that looking back at me – especially not from my pillow or my mirror.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Happy Friday! Here are some oddball things I came across, submitted for your enjoyment…

It is “spring” here in New York’s Scenic Hudson Valley, but The Winter That Will Not Die rained ice chips on me while I walked the dogs yesterday and there are still mounds of unmelted snow along side driveways and parking lots in the neighborhood, but I don’t think I have much to complain about because at least we are not buried in tumbleweeds like they are in Victorville, California:

High winds have left a California desert town buried in tumbleweeds. Residents of Victorville, which is northeast of Los Angeles were shocked when hundreds of tumbleweeds blew into their town, burying everything in their wake, including 150 homes. There were so many weeds that they reached the second story of some of the houses.

Video captured and posted to YouTube showed massive piles of the weeds blowing through the town, completely covering some homes as clean-up crews worked to remove the tumbleweed.   MORE

H/T iOTWReport.com

When I saw a headline earlier this week about how some human beings have a genetic mutation that allows them to remain underwater for longer than most people, I expected I’d find out that they’d grown gills, but it turns out that they have special spleens. Via National Geographic:

If you hold your breath and plunge your face into a tub of water, your body automatically triggers what’s called the diving response. Your heart rate slows, your blood vessels constrict, and your spleen contracts, all reactions that help you save energy when you’re low on oxygen.

Most people can hold their breath underwater for a few seconds, some for a few minutes. But a group of people called the Bajau takes free diving to the extreme, staying underwater for as long as 13 minutes at depths of around 200 feet. These nomadic people live in waters winding through the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, where they dive to hunt for fish or search for natural elements that can be used in crafts.

Now, a study in the journal Cell offers the first clues that a DNA mutation for larger spleens gives the Bajau a genetic advantage for life in the deep.  READ MORE

H/T: Instapundit

Two cops were having a rough time trying to arrest a couple of miscreants who were violently resisting. One cop was knocked unconscious, when a female off duty medical assistant came to the rescue with a BODY SLAM to one of the thugs (also a female) who was attacking the cops. The bystander turned heroine then held the crook in place until the downed officer was back up and the cops could finish  the arrest. Via FoxNews:

Officer Brian Lowenhagen and Sgt. Eric Walters were attempting to arrest the suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Jacob R. Hellenbrand, outside of a convenience store on Sunday when a woman who was with him punched Loewenhagen “numerous times,” according to the police department.

As Sgt. Walters attempted to restrain the woman, identified as 21-year-old Olivia J. Boomsma, the “male was able to blade his body toward Sgt. Walters and forcefully kick Sgt. Walters on the right side of his face and head,” according to the police department.

Around that same time, an off-duty medical assistant who had stopped in the convenience store on her way home came to the rescue.

Divine Savior Hospital employee Vanessa Guerra ran toward the officers after she noticed Walters had fallen unconscious. As she was checking on him, the “female suspect was beginning to fight with Officer Loewenhagen again and was yelling about having a knife in her pocket,” police said.

That’s when Guerra “disregarded her own safety to help protect the officers,” the police department explained. She “body-slammed” Boomsma against a wall and “held her there until Sgt. Walters resumed consciousness and was able to handcuff the female,” the station added.

“I’m in the medical profession. When you get into that mode, you’re there for your patients, you’re there for the person that you see in need. And that’s what you do,” the medical assistant later told WKOW.

Portage Police Chief Manthey of the Portage Police Department thanked Guerra for her bravery, WKOW reported. RTWT

Dogs. They really do make everything better! Via SunnySkyz:

A group of Border Collies are having the time of their lives and they don’t even realize how much they are helping the planet.

Last year, wildfires in central Chile destroyed over a million acres of forest land.

Months later, a unique team was brought in to help restore the damaged ecosystem.

A border collie named Das and her two daughters,Olivia and Summer, have been fitted with special backpacks that allow them to distribute native plant seeds throughout burned forests.

Although the task is a serious one, it’s an excuse for the dogs to have fun.

“They reeeeeally love [it]!!” their owner, Francisca Torres, told Mother Nature Network. “It’s a country trip, where they can run as fast as they can and have a great time.”

Depending on the terrain, the four-legged trio can cover as many as 18 miles in a day and distribute more than 20 pounds of seeds.

Credit: Instagram / summerbordercollie via SunnySkyz

Dogs helping to reforest the forest. The longer I live, the longer I come to believe that there is little in this world that cannot be improved with dogs.

Have a nice weekend!

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

The weird egg laying mammal with a duck’s bill on its face may hold the key to the problem of our antibiotics not working well against resistant bacteria and germs. Via Sky News:

A breakthrough by Australian scientists has found that the platypus – which is already a unique creature – is also in possession of fairly unique biochemistry.

Researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Deakin University have discovered a special protein contained in platypus milk.

CSIRO scientist and lead author Dr Janet Newman said: “Platypus are such weird animals that it would make sense for them to have weird biochemistry.

“The platypus belongs to the monotreme family, a small group of mammals that lay eggs and produce milk to feed their young.

“By taking a closer look at their milk, we’ve characterised a new protein that has unique antibacterial properties with the potential to save lives.”

The study, published in Structural Biology Communications, finds that the way platypus mothers feed their young – which unusually for mammals hatch from eggs – has led to the antibacterial properties developing.

Platypus do not have teats, but instead express milk on to their belly where the young suckle it – meaning the milk becomes exposed to an environment where it could be contaminated by local bacteria.

Evolutionary processes have meant that the milk contains a special protein which protects the platypus babies against this bacteria.

Dr Julie Sharp of Deakin University said: “We were interested to examine the protein’s structure and characteristics to find out exactly what part of the protein was doing what.”

They found that the protein contained a unique 3D fold which had never been seen before in the structure of the molecule.

As Instapundit likes to say, “Faster, Please.”

Pic: Laura Romin and Larry Dalton. Via Sky News

Platypus, funny face, savior of the human race? (Apologies to The Doors)

Which will come first, the Zombie Apocalypse, or the Cure from mammals who lay eggs?

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

by baldilocks

One Ring to rule them all.

With Louis Farrakhan’s well-known anti-Semitism, hatred of whites, and alliance with the Women’s March and the Congressional Black Caucus being in the news, I am reminded of something startling that I talked about back in 2012.

When I was on my way to church this morning, I saw something very interesting near my house.

The “Church” of Scientology has been building centers in and around South Central Los Angeles and in Inglewood — something that had previously been unheard of. Today, being Fathers’ Day, I guess there was some big event at the center near me.  But guess which organization was celebrating the day with them? The Nation of Islam.  FOI, bean pies, and white “garments” (similar to burkas) all over the place!

Did a little research when I got home.  There isn’t much to go on, but one website reports that, back in 2009, Louis Farrakhan said that there was some sort of “marriage” between the two organizations.  Marriage, eh? One wonders who will get to be on top in the end.

(I recall getting a funny look when one of the FOI tried to give me an unsuccessful hard-sell on a bean pie. Yes, I recall that they are delicious, but I can’t in good conscience give my money to that organization.)

A “marriage?” Between those two? Bizarre doesn’t begin to describe it.

I don’t live in that house anymore and, therefore haven’t had an up-close view of the evolution of this relationship. So, let’s see what’s out there. Continue reading “These are Some Really Strange Bedfellows”