Banned Books Week 2013

It’s that magical time of the year when us freedom loving people get together and celebrate the fact that we get to read what we want, when we want, the end. That’s right, it’s Banned Books Week!

Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982.

My favorite part of Banned Books Week is reviewing the updated banned and challenged book list. The list includes books that have banned or challenged from May 2012 to May 2013. The list includes 44 titles, and like every year you see some familiar faces and some stand out titles.

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie – this book ends up on the list every year. I mean at this point people complaining about it is a snooze-fest to me. “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood – I haven’t read this but I’m guessing a lot of you guys have. This was challenged as required reading for a Page High School International Baccalaureate class and as optional reading for Advanced Placement reading courses at Grimsley High School because the book is “sexually explicit, violently graphic and morally corrupt”. We’re talking about high school students, some of them can see R rated movies by themselves, I suspect they can handle Margaret Atwood, am I right? “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card – they don’t actually say what the problem is, but it has to be with the book, and not that the author is bat shit crazy. “Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments, with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies” by Laura Esquivel – this was removed from a reading list at Nampa, Idaho high school because it was considered too racy for sophomores. I can’t remember when it was that I read this book, but first, it was a pretty good book and kind of racy, and second, it was when I was in high school. I think we can say that I turned out all right. Not a word out of any of you! “Different Seasons” by Stephen King – this book was challenge but retained at Roklin California High School. What’s kind of funny about this is that some charities have you buy books for children and I always buy “Different Seasons” for high school aged children. According to some Roklin California parents I suck. FYI, if I can’t buy “Different Seasons” I pick up a copy of “Neuromancer” by William Gibson. Rebecca Elson, corrupting young minds via charity. “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell – marked for removal in the Davis, Utah School District because parents might find it objectionable. Every year someone has to pick on poor old Tango. Why does everyone have to hate on same sex penguin couples just trying to raise their baby penguin the best they can in this crazy world. Did you know there are some sickos out there who buy “Different Seasons” for high school kids? See what they’re up against?

If you’d like to view the whole list, which I encourage you to check out because we didn’t even get into the schools banning whole subjects or the graphic novels that popped up, click here.

If you want to learn more visit the Banned Books Week website, or the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week site, or the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

What Can You Say When Your Hero Dies?

What can you say when your hero dies?

For most of my life my female heroes were fictional. Seriously. Right into adulthood. I don’t know if it showed a lack of worldliness on my part (it probably did), but I’m a product of equal parts movie, television, and comic book women. However all of that changed when I saw the “Cancer” episode of “Penn & Teller’s Bullshit”.

That episode featured a woman named Barbara Brenner who represented an organization called Breast Cancer Action. She was bold, witty, and really didn’t seemed to care that she was on television. You could tell that what she was saying, she would say whether the camera was on or off. That got me to investigate Breast Cancer Action.

Those of you who have read this site for a while know what happened, I became a vocal supporter of the organization. Every October I highlight Breast Cancer Action’s Think Before You Pink campaign and I also will occasionally post about other important work that they’re doing. This is all because of Barbara Brenner, who became my first real life female hero. Because of her Breast Cancer Action’s work was above reproach and they are able to speak truth to power.

Brenner, already having overcome breast cancer, left Breast Cancer Action in 2010 after being diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Even when she lost the ability to talk, she used text to speech software so her voice could be heard. She quickly became a known figure in the ALS activist community and still stayed involved to a certain extent with breast cancer issues as well. She started her own blog “Healthy Barbs” where she discussed her challenges.

Barbara Brenner passed away on May 10, 2013. And again, and again, I found myself asking, what can you say when your hero dies? Then at once I knew.

It’s only when a hero dies, that they can become a legend.

If you wish to honor Barbara Brenner and all the good that she stood for, she asked that in lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Barbara Brenner Rapid Response Fund at Breast Cancer Action.

If you want to learn more about Barbara Brenner, here are a couple of wonderful tributes:

http://bcaction.org/2013/05/11/in-memoriam-barbara-a-brenner-1951-2013/

http://breastcancerconsortium.net/in-honor-and-memory-of-barbara-brenner/

Think Before You Pink 2012

I’ll be damned. I just got done soliciting 5th anniversary gifts for discussing Banned Books Week and here I find out that this is the 5th year that we’ve featured the Think Before You Pink campaign here on The Magical Buffet! I haven’t actually received any gifts yet, but I’m sure they’re just lost in the mail.

Although if you’re looking to do something, I’d suggest supporting Breast Cancer Action and their Think Before You Pink campaign. At it’s heart it is an informational campaign designed to draw attention to what’s going on behind all those pink products that flood the market place in October.

From my local craft store.

However each year they focus on a particular campaign of “pinkwashing”. A “pinkwasher”, according to their site is, “A company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.” A favorite campaign of mine was definitely “Raise a Stink”, a brief sum up from the website, ” Pinkwashing has reached a new low this year with “Promise Me,” a perfume commissioned by the giant of the breast cancer movement, Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Promise Me contains chemicals not listed in the ingredients that: (a) are regulated as toxic and hazardous, (b) have not been adequately evaluated for human safety, and (c) have demonstrated negative health effects.” That’s right, Breast Cancer Action was hating on Susan G Komen before it was cool.

That said, this year may end up being my new favorite, “It’s an Epidemic, Stupid!” During this year’s election season Breast Cancer Action has decided it’s time to go after “political pinkwashers”. These would be politicians who will be wearing their pink ribbon lapel pins this month and sharing heart felt stories about how breast cancer has affected them or those they care about while not supporting or initiating any meaningful policies that will help women living or at risk of breast cancer.

To that end they created The 2012 Breast Cancer Action Mandate for Government Action. After reading it they ask you to email it to your representatives in the government urging them to publicly support it. They make it super easy, you just provide them with your zip code and they find the representatives for you!


See? I did it!

Consider doing it a great 5th anniversary gift for The Magical Buffet and Breast Cancer Action! And remember, Think Before You Pink!

STUFF!

While I’ve been sitting on the sofa letting my ass get wide working my way through old seasons of “Chuck” and “Numb3rs”, and getting sucked into new television like “Once Upon a Time” and “Grimm” (Damn you Hulu!), friends of The Magical Buffet have been actually accomplishing things. So much so that I’m way past due in giving you guys the rundown on all that has been going on.

My friends at the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society have a new website going. It has many of the same features as before, like a chat room and forum, but the upgraded site now also gives them the capability to broadcast investigations live online! Nifty, right? If you haven’t checked them out before, now is the time. www.nnyprs.com

Remember Paula Chaffee Scardamalia who wrote the wonderful essay “Weaving a Woman’s Life” for The Buffet? And how she had a wonderful book, shockingly titled, “Weaving a Woman’s Life: Spiritual Lessons from the Loom”? Well that book is now available as an e-book! Also, her more current work under the umbrella of “Divining the Muse” has a beautiful new website! You can learn more about getting a copy of “Weaving a Woman’s Life” (with free PDF downloadable journal) and her other fascinating work with creativity by visiting her newly refreshed website www.diviningthemuse.com.

Apparently this is the time of year for website upgrades (Jim, get on that!), because New Age musician, and long time friend of The Buffet, Paul Avgerinos just gave the Round Sky Music and Studio Unicorn websites a complete overhaul! You may remember I just talked about Avgerinos’ “Bliss” album in October 2011. In case you’re wondering, it’s still relaxing.

There has also been interesting news out from The Pluralism Project at Harvard University. I received this press release that I think will be of great interest to many of you.

The Pluralism Project at Harvard University is pleased to announce the launch of America’s Interfaith Infrastructure: An Emerging Landscape, a website documenting and resourcing the interfaith movement in the United States. Dr. Diana Eck, a professor at Harvard University and director of the Pluralism Project explains, “While interfaith organizations play a vital role in cities and towns across America, their critical contributions to our multireligious society are often overlooked.”

The Pluralism Project has been researching religious diversity in the United States for the past two decades; however, America’s Interfaith Infrastructure: An Emerging Landscape represents an in-depth pilot study of interfaith efforts in twenty cities across the U.S. Since 9/11, interfaith initiatives on the national scene have gained prominence and are increasingly covered in major media outlets for their outstanding work, yet few have chronicled interfaith efforts at the grassroots level. This pilot project documents the richly diverse interfaith movement as it continues to develop in the United States. Initiatives include: an innovative community video project in Omaha, Nebraska; a thriving women’s interfaith network in Syracuse, New York; and a long-standing, replicable tradition of a festival of faiths in Louisville, Kentucky.

Dr. Diana Eck explains the importance of this new resource as a starting point for scholars, activists, students, and citizens:

“Ten years after 9/11, the need for inter-religious understanding and cooperation has never been greater. Interfaith organizations create innovative programs to engage and educate – they also offer a counter-narrative amidst the rising rhetoric of division. People of all ages and beliefs from across the country are collaborating in the arts, social services, youth leadership programs, and civic initiatives at unprecedented levels. New forms of dialogue are emerging as we speak.”

The Pluralism Project invites activists, students, educators, and community members to share their own story of the interfaith movement by submitting a short audio or written piece that may be included in the storytelling portal of America’s Interfaith Infrastructure: An Emerging Landscape.

The site, www.pluralism.org/interfaith, includes promising practices, leadership profiles, case studies, and multimedia features; a summary report of the findings from this pilot study is also available.

Lastly, (I know! Freakin’ EVERYONE has been doing stuff except me!) remember Avi Glijansky, creator, writer, and director of the awesome web series “The Further Adventures of Cupid and Eros”? Well sadly he isn’t back with season 2 yet (where I secretly hope to get a cameo as God), but he is part of something new and fun that I thought I would bring to your attention; “The Silver Lake Badminton and Adventurers Club”.

In a world full of secrets, lies, and depravity, there are some crimes that the police are just too mainstream to handle. Enter: The Silver Lake Badminton and Adventurers Club. The heroes Silver Lake deserves but hasn’t necessarily heard of yet.

It’s an over the top hipster noir Scooby Doo adventure, filled with actors you may recognize from “Cupid and Eros”. Here’s part one to try out!

I guess this is a reminder that it’s time to get up and get moving! It’s time to innovate, to reinvent, to create! I’ll get right to that after this next episode of “Chuck”.

10 Questions with Dawn Hunt

1. You describe yourself as a Kitchen Witch. For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, can you tell my readers what that means?
A Kitchen Witch is one who uses food, and the preparation and consumption of it to glean spiritual and personal goals. We use the power of intention and mindfulness to focus energy into food as well as awakening the innate magickal properties in food to help us along our chosen path. By putting love, joy and positivity in our kitchen and recognizing the power of ritual cooking a Kitchen Witch can create the sacred every day through simple recipes and make any meal magickal with the right tools and intentions. Make no mistake, you don’t have to be the world’s best cook and your recipes don’t have to be gourmet or high priced, just full of positive energy and joy and love! At least, that is how I see the world of Kitchen Magick. It is more about your energy than the food in your fridge.

2. How did you end up working with the Temple of Witchcraft to do “Tastes from the Temple: Kitchen Witchery from the Temple of Witchcraft”?
This book was something the Temple of Witchcraft wanted to do for a while, I’m told. However the project was put on hold until fate stepped in and put me in the right place at the right time! I had cooked for a couple of events and vended my Witchy Wares and I guess that they decided to put their faith in my abilities and know how as a Kitchen Witch. I am forever grateful that they thought so much of me!!!

3. “Tastes from the Temple” is a fundraiser for the Temple of Witchcraft, can you tell my readers a little bit about the organization?
Well, I am an honorary member of the Temple, which means I have not been through all the formal training but I am considered part of the community because I have helped out at many events and help as much as I can. The organization as a whole was founded by Christopher Penczak, Steve Kenson and Adam Sartwell. These three brilliant, kind and Magickal men grew the Temple of Witchcraft as a nonprofit charitable religious organization based in the State of New Hampshire. The Temple of Witchcraft’s goal on an individual level is to awaken the potential of the human soul to its natural gifts of psychic awareness, communion with nature and the spirits, and magick. Your readers can find out more at www.templeofwitchcraft.org

4. In what ways does “Tastes from the Temple” differ from other cookbooks?
In many ways it is a book in the true spirit of community cookbooks. The kind that old churches would put together to raise funds and unite spirits in a church or organization. But “Tastes From the Temple” has recipes from not only our immediate community but also from all over the country. Stories and anecdotes from Temple of Witchcraft members accompany every recipe so we can really get to know this community. I have taken each recipe and added a little dash of magick by including the innate magickal attributes of the foods, how and why to use them and for what magickal purposes.

5. One section of the book features recipes that highlight “Heirloom Magick”. Can you tell my readers a little bit about this tradition?
Heirloom Magick is one of my favorite portions of the book. It is what I call the idea of cooking with and for the ancestors. We can stay connected to our past loves ones through food and keep their memories alive when we cook their recipes or use their kitchen tools. This is something I really started doing this past year after my grandmother passed away. I got a box full of her old pots and pans, even a muffin tin that had been my Great Grandmother’s back in Italy. I noticed how when using these as ritual tools really helped me to stay close to, not only my grandmother, but my heritage. Recipes I had never made before started erupting from heart and everything just tasted so wonderful and full of love and tradition. I love this type of food magick so much I have even started to teach classes on it!

6. The Temple of Witchcraft community contributed many of the recipes featured in “Tastes from the Temple”, what is one of your favorites contributed from the community and why?
I think one of my favorite contributions is from Alix Wright. She is a lead minister of the Temple and a very, very dear friend of mine. Her recipe is found in the “Sweets” section of the book. It is a fruit cake soaked in brandy for up to a month. Fruit cake is not something most of us find very appetizing but this one is so very rich and a little naughty with all that brandy! To be honest it is one of my favorites because it is something I never would have thought of on my own. It is very unique and has a history and a deep affection among Alix’s family and friends. In the true spirit of Kitchen Witchery this cake is made with love and patience and gets better with time.

7. Now I know this one is going to be really hard, but what’s one of your favorites of your recipes that you used in “Tastes from the Temple” and why?
OH Yes. This is a very hard question…Hummm…I think it is a tie between the Pasta Fagioli in the Heirloom Magick chapter and the Three Bean Chili in the Witchy Entertaining Chapter. The Pasta Fagioli really rings true to everything I mentioned earlier about Heirloom Magick. When I cook it I am taken back to my childhood and cold Autumn nights after jumping in piles of leaves or walking the dog. And the Three Bean Chili is something I make all the time. It has become a staple in my home and for my friends. When I don’t have any in the freezer I make a huge pot of it to be sure that I always have some on hand. In fact, as I write this I am reminded that just yesterday my husband, Justin, asked when we were going to have some chili! It is easy, filling, healthy and comforting; wonderful for big crowds of people or for a cozy night in on the couch. I would be hard pressed to have to choose between these two!

8. Since these recipes are magical, they all magically have no calories, right?
Of course! I have magickaly removed all the calories, fat, sugar and cholesterol! HA HA! The truth is many of these recipes are healthy options and many use good old fashioned butter, sugar, cream and/or beef! The key to anything is moderation. Enjoy everything, just don’t sit down and eat the entire pan of Four Cheese Baked Macaroni found in the Comfort Foods chapter all by yourself!

9. You’re always busy doing events and writing for websites and publications. Where can my readers see you, or read you next?
Well right now I am really focused on “Tastes from the Temple”. I will be selling signed copies at Muse Gifts and Books in Marlborough, NH on January 15th. February 4th I can be found at the Robin’s Nest in Bellingham, MA for my Recipes for Romance Class. And look for my “Cooking with the Element of Air” article in the upcoming “Witches and Pagans” Magazine in early Spring. For a full list of my events and upcoming Classes visit me at www.CucinaAurora.com

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question.
WOW! I get to ask you a question???? OK…What is your favorite food to cook/eat and what magick does it hold for you?

That’s tough. Due to some ongoing health issues my relationship with food has become pretty adversarial at times. These days I enjoy sushi greatly. I always liked it, but as long as it isn’t packing spicy stuff or fried stuff I can pretty much eat as much as my wallet allows. It’s tasty, fun, and we love our local place. We gave them cookies for the holidays!

If I was healthy, I truly miss delivery New York style pizza. Not only is it delicious (in moderation, of course), but it’s the food of parties, of bad days at work when you come home and don’t want to cook, and of course, of rewarding groups for hard labor (like helping you move)!

About Dawn Hunt:
Dawn Aurora Hunt, known as “the Kitchen Witch”, is the founder of Cucina Aurora Kitchen Witchery. She teaches classes on Kitchen Witchery and food Magic, touring and giving workshops along the East Coast. Creating the sacred every day though simple spell recipes and kitchen rituals, Dawn has brought food Magick into the homes of Pagans and Non-Pagans alike. Through her line of infused olive oils, dips, cookie mixes, and Kitchen Witch Ware products she has shown that simple home-made foods are best for the body, mind and soul. She and her husband, Justin, live in the Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts. For more information visit her website: www.cucinaaurora.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter at Cucina Aurora Kitchen Witchery.

About The Temple of Witchcraft:
Witchcraft is a tradition of experience, and the best way to experience the path of the Witch is to actively train in its magickal and spiritual lessons. The Temple of Witchcraft provides a complete system of training and tradition, with four degrees found in the Mystery School for personal and magickal development and a fifth degree in the Seminary for the training of High Priestesses and High Priests interested in serving the gods, spirits, and community as ministers. Teachings are divided by degree into the Oracular, Fertility, Ecstatic, Gnostic, and Resurrection Mysteries. Training emphasizes the ability to look within, awaken your own gifts and abilities, and perform both lesser and greater magicks for your own evolution and the betterment of the world around you. The Temple of Witchcraft offers both in-person and online courses with direct teaching and mentorship. Classes use the “Temple of Witchcraft” series of books and CD Companions as primary texts, supplemented monthly with information from the Temple’s Book of Shadows, MP3 recordings of lectures and meditations from our founders, social support through group discussion with classmates, and direct individual feedback from a mentor. For more information and current schedules, please visit: www.templeofwitchcraft.org.

Think Before You Pink 2011

I was at Wal-Mart recently and was immediately struck by a big ol’ display filled with pink and pink ribbon embossed merchandise. I turned to my husband and said, “It’s almost October.” Since it is now October and we’re in the thick of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is time once again that I ask you all to “Think Before You Pink”.

This will be my fourth year trying to bring awareness to the work of Breast Cancer Action and their “Think Before You Pink” campaign. In 2008 I did a brief summary of the campaign and shared critical questions you should ask yourself before buying a big cart full of pink merchandise. In 2009 I shared their campaign to tell Eli Lilly to “Stop Milking Cancer”. And last year I shared why I support Breast Cancer Action. So this year I find myself wondering what to say….

On September 14, 2011 Marie Clair published a thorough and eye opening article by Lea Goldman that I would encourage you to read before you buy one piece of pink merchandise online or make one charitable donation over the phone. I encourage you to give it a read.

The Big Business of Breast Cancer
Some $6 billion a year is committed to breast cancer research and awareness campaigns. Is it any wonder that the disease has become a gold mine for pink profiteers and old-fashioned hucksters?

And as always, I also encourage you to visit the “Think Before You Pink” website and the website for Breast Cancer Action.

What to do next year. Should I just start all over again and recycle the 2008 article? Check back in a year to find out!

How to Manage an Effective Religious Organization

On a whim Career Press contacted me to see if I had any interest in receiving a review copy of “How to Manage an Effective Religious Organization: The Essential Guide to Improving Your Church, Synagogue, Mosque, or Temple” by Michael A. Sand. Now I don’t manage a religious organization, heck, I don’t even belong to a religious organization, but I jumped at the chance to check out the book. Why? Because I’m nosy. I wanted to see how effective religious organizations might be run, and since the author also wrote “How to Manage an Effective Nonprofit Organization” I figured he probably had a lot of insights since many religious organizations are nonprofits.

To say the book was eye opening is an understatement. I’ve attended events at assorted churches and temples throughout my life, but never in a zillion years would I have suspected the amount of effort that went on behind the scenes. Even if these organizations weren’t as effectively managed as they could be, if they were even halfway to effectively managed the amount of work involved is staggering.

It seems so simple on the outside looking in. You have a religious leader and they prepare sermons or rituals, perform weddings and funerals, and then you have some volunteers that I don’t know, keep the place clean and help out when needed. It’s not like I thought it was easy, it just seemed pretty straightforward. I would like to state now, for the record, that I am a dumb ass. Yes you have the stuff I mentioned previous, but what about by-laws? What about actually finding and keeping volunteers? What about budget, or fundraising for that matter? What about membership? The list goes on!

Fortunately Sand’s book is there to lay it all out for you. To me it was overwhelming, but it’s a book, the guidance is still there waiting for you after you catch your breath. “How to Manage an Effective Religious Organization” is not an exciting read, but it is incredibly thorough and detailed despite it’s compact size of 221 pages. Sand does his best to navigate the diverse religious landscape of America without stepping on any toes. Readers of The Buffet will be interested to know that along with the usual Judeo Christian suspects he also briefly touches on the Baha’i faith, the Quakers, and Wicca when discussing how different religious groups find leaders. However, if you’ve been looking for that truly common denominator between assorted faiths, how they can be effectively managed may be the link you’ve been waiting for. It’s an oddly comforting notion.

I honestly don’t know how many of you guys need to know how to effectively manage a religious organization, but if you’re like me and curious, you will definitely find “How to Manage an Effective Religious Organization” an interesting read.

NNYPRS Tech Council: TOD

By Brian Leighton

This past October I attended the 2nd Annual Northern New York Paranormal Expo put together by the City of Plattsburgh and the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society. While there I fell in love with TOD, the adorable Terrestrial Optical Droid new to the NNYPRS. After reading my article about the event, Brian Leighton who has been writing about paranormal research technology for The Magical Buffet, jumped to the obvious conclusion that I would want a whole article devoted to TOD. He was right.

From a box of junk comes our newest team member.

One of the great things about being a geek, I mean head of the NNYPRS Tech Council, is that friends and family give me all kinds of stuff that they don’t need any more. Sometimes what I get is pure junk, but sometimes I hit the jackpot!!! This was the case recently when my brother, preparing for an out of state move, decided to get rid of some of his stuff. I ended up with two big plastic totes of stuff that makes geeks like me drool, among them was an interesting toy.

It’s called SPYKEE and it is a remote controlled robot. We have nicknamed him TOD, it stands for Terrestrial Optical Droid, He is named after a former team member whose sole desire on an investigation was to climb into attics and crawlspaces so that he could get a thrill. TOD is outfitted with a camera, microphone, and I control it with my laptop or my android based phone. Now aside from the fact that I am a big kid and this thing is cool, this is a very practical tool for our paranormal team. We often get claims of noises in areas that my 6’3″ 350lb frame can’t fit in. That is where TOD comes into play, I have modified him to make him more compact and he now carries a more powerful light to see in the dark. So now when we get a report of a noise in a crawlspace or attic, I can run him into the area and transmit noises through him to track his exact location. Once I get to the correct area, I can use the camera to see if there are any loose pipes, animal droppings or nests and then take pictures to show the client. Now TOD has a few other tricks up his sleeves…well he doesn’t have arms anymore. He also carries a microphone so I can actually monitor an area and run an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) session with no human presence. He also has an alarm setting so that if the camera detects any movement he sends an alarm to me through my laptop or phone.

That is one of the great things we do at the Tech Council, we turn things that people don’t want into tools that people don’t expect. Like most of my tools TOD is getting upgrades very soon. His next upgrade is a better quality camera and I am currently putting together the parts to make that camera pan and tilt so that I can get a better view of my surroundings. Those are some of the newest tools (toys) that we are developing within the Tech Council.

Some of the other tools we are currently working on – a Hydrophone made form an old buzzer and a 35mm film case, an underwater camera made from an old web camera and clear housing. Both of these are being tested for our Champy investigation we are going to do on Lake Champlain this summer.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our group visit us at www.nnyprs.com. And if you are interested in attending one of our Investigative seminars in Albany, NY then send me an email at Brian@nnyprs.com.

Brian following TOD's adventures on his laptop.

About Brian Leighton:
Brian Is the NNYPRS Team Leader and head of the Tech Council. You can contact him at Brian@nnyprs.com with any question or comments.

Ghost Hunters of the Finger Lakes: Investigation Summary

Article Provided by Ghost Hunters of the Finger Lakes.

Private Residence in the Newark Valley of Upstate New York.

We got a call to check out a house in Newark valley in upstate NY. The owner had been having activity and wanted some answers to what was going on in her home. Her husband had even witnessed a large apparition in the basement. He actually walked over to it and swished his hand right through the dark shadow man standing before him. Then the shadow man vaporized right before his eyes. They also had lights flickering, doors closing and opening, and a lot of other noises in their home. After figuring where to set up our equipment and started our investigation, we had a heard a lot of noises and had some really high EMF spikes in the living room. My EMF meter was sitting on the table in the living room and it just started going off for no reason at all. We had many motion lights coming on for no reason and the house seemed to have a lot of paranormal activity happening. We picked up our equipment and headed home.

The next day I was looking over my photos taken from the investigation. I could not believe what I had captured in several of my photos in the living room. It was a huge man standing right where we were getting very high EMF readings. The man was huge and it was easy to tell it was not any of our investigators. At first it showed no head, only shoulders and his large body. The next picture showed his head and you could plainly see he was wearing a large hat. We showed the family what we captured along with the high EMF spikes and motion lights going off with no one around them. They could not believe what we captured for evidence in their home. We assured them that it was okay and nothing that could hurt them.

They still have activity in their home but they know its okay and not to be afraid of the ghosts among them. They are harmless and never tried to hurt them. Here is my photo of the large man that haunts their home.

The first picture is my sister walking by the large ghost in the living room.

Copyright belongs to Ghost Hunters of the Finger Lakes

The next one is the large ghost standing by himself in the living room.

Copyright belongs to Ghost Hunters of the Finger Lakes

To learn more about the Ghost Hunters of the Finger Lakes, visit their website.

Prepare Yourself, Movember is Coming!

Two years ago my friend Will Hobbs, an artist whose work you may recognize from this very website, brought Movember to my attention. With it’s commitment to men’s health issues and swaggering attitude I decided then that each year I would dedicate one post to bring attention to this spunky international fundraising organization.

What is Movember? (from the Movember United States website)

Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month. The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men. Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days.

The idea for Movember was sparked in 2003 over a few beers in Melbourne, Australia. The plan was simple – to bring the moustache back as a bit of a joke and do something for men’s health. No money was raised in 2003, but the guys behind the Mo realized the potential a moustache had in generating conversations about men’s health. Inspired by the women around them and all they had done for breast cancer, the Mo Bros set themselves on a course to create a global men’s health movement.

In 2004 the campaign evolved and focused on raising awareness and funds for the number one cancer affecting men – prostate cancer. 432 Mo Bros joined the movement that year, raising $55,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia – representing the single largest donation they had ever received.

The Movember moustache has continued to grow year after year, expanding to the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, the Netherlands and Finland.

In 2009, global participation of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas climbed to 255,755, with over one million donors raising $42 Million US equivalent dollars for Movember’s global beneficiary partners.

The funds raised through Movember’s US campaign benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

The success of Movember can be directly attributed to the more than 627,000 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas who have supported our cause since 2003. Movember is sincerely grateful for their efforts and appreciates all they do.

To register, donate, or learn more, visit the Movember website.