I am enjoying my latest read. It’s George Hansen’s The Trickster and the Paranormal (2001). George and I met years ago at a parapsychology conference in Gettysburg. Even though he is a critic of organized skepticism, he’s just as much … Continue reading
CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago police have released new surveillance images of a car that may be connected to the murder of Lake In the Hills chef Peter Rim.
Area North Detectives want to locate a Nissan Rogue with tinted windows and an unknown Illinois license plate in connection with the Oct. 25 shooting.
According to police, the vehicle pulled up alongside the passenger side of a vehicle Rim was riding in with friends Thursday morning in the the 4100 block of West Diversey when someone started shooting.
Authorities said the Nissan Rogue fled westbound on Diversey Avenue and then southbound on Kostner Avenue.
No one is in custody.
Rim, who owned Bistro Wasabi and El Cochino, was planning to host a Day of the Dead celebration on Nov. 1.
His colleague, Jeffrey Dunham, said his friends and work family planned to continue with the celebration in his honor.
“At the end of the day we want justice brought to the situation,” Dunham said.
Once the most dangerous city in the world, Medellin has emerged, improbably, from its violent past and become a major tourist destination. But what fueled the resurgence, and what was the price? And in the end, will it be able to hold on?
Egg lovers, rejoice! Here is a recipe you would love. There is no fixed time to enjoy this dish. You can have it for an Indian breakfast, lunch or dinner. An incredible thing about egg dishes is that they go well with anything, be it rice, chapatis, parathas or any Indian bread. Put on your aprons, pull out the pans and get cracking!
This is an egg curry with a South Indian twist. These eggs are simmered in tangy tomato and onion based gravy. It is a delectable dish for every egg lover out there!
Prioritising food presentation and food photography, I have created a food group in Facebook. Join us, share your recipe, explore new bloggers and their recipe. Click on the link to join us – Foodie art files
Kerala egg curry cooking instructions.
Serves – 4
Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cooking time – 20 minutes
|Garlic chopped||2 cloves|
|Ginger chopped||1 small piece|
|Curry leaves||1 sprig|
|Garam masala powder||3/4 teaspoon|
|Black pepper powder||1/4 teaspoon|
|Kashmiri red chilli powder||1 teaspoon|
|Coriander Powder||1/4 teaspoon|
|Turmeric powder||1/4 teaspoon|
|Coriander leaves finely chopped||1 Stalk|
2 tablespoons Coconut Oil or vegetable oil
Salt , to taste
- Heat oil in a Kadai and add chopped ginger, garlic, onions and curry leaves. Turn the heat to medium and sauté until onions turn golden brown.
- Add garam masala, pepper, chilli, coriander and turmeric powders and sauté for few minutes.
- Add chopped tomato and salt. Simmer for a few minutes until the tomato begins to boil.
- Add the 1/4 cup of water and bring the mixture to a boil.
- When the gravy starts boiling, turn the flame to low and add boiled eggs.
- Cover the pan and simmer the egg roast for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat; add in the chopped coriander leaves. Kerala egg roast is ready to serve.
I would like to hear from you, please feel free to share your feedback in the comments.You can also follow me on:Regards,Sumith.
The results of the 2018 Chapman University survey of American Fears have been released and they suggest that America (that is, even well-educated America) is even more accepting of the paranormal than in the past three years. You can view … Continue reading
Headed up by multi-talented singer-songwriter Cindy Emch, The Secret Emchy Society has quickly become a cornerstone band of a burgeoning music scene that’s putting marginalized voices at the forefront of an often marginalizing music scene.
I worked for years as a computer programmer, and one thing programmers often do (in fact, this is what gets a lot of people into programming in the first place) is to turn a minor annoyance into an excuse to spend a lot more time building a solution to the annoyance than the annoyance itself costs. I don’t write much code these days, but I apparently still have that programmer mindset.
I wrote a couple of months ago about how I had been trying to help my son realize his desire to play Dungeons & Dragons. We finished the campaign I wrote about in that post, and I began preparing to be the Dungeon Master (DM) for the D&D starter set, which includes an adventure titled The Lost Mines of Phandelver. For somebody new to the game, it takes a lot of prep to feel ready to DM a game. I read the campaign a few times, took some notes, made note cards for the various monsters we would encounter, made some notes for myself about things like how to run combat, and made index cards with key information about each of the players who would be in the game. Then, a couple of weeks ago, we had some neighbor friends over and started playing.
It was fairly fun, and I didn’t do terribly, I don’t think. For example, I drew a map of one of the dungeons on a big whiteboard, covered it up with paper, and ripped apart bits of paper to expose parts of the map our campaigners had “seen” as they forged ahead. We used lego mini-figs and a few other little figures from the toy box to represent our characters and to help us visualize combat. It’s perhaps not the best DM prep in the world, but it didn’t seem too bad for my first time out. Here’s a photo of the adventure in progress:
As the game progressed and we met more monsters, I found myself juggling index cards with monster and character info, the book containing the adventure info, a couple of cheat sheets I had made, a little book I was keeping notes in, and so on. I also had some monster figures hidden away in a box on the floor, so that I didn’t telegraph prematurely what monsters we’d be facing (though in one case, I had to use a lamb figure as a wolf, so I don’t suppose I was telegraphing much beyond whether the creature was a biped or a quadruped). It was a lot to juggle, and it was frustrating to rifle through papers while trying to keep the game moving.
DMs have been using things called DM screens for ages. Think back to when you were presenting a science project at a science fair in school — DM screens are foldy things that stand up and provide both a way to organize information in front of you and a way to hide things you’d like to hide, such as DM die rolls, info that might spoil what’s coming up next, and figures to use in upcoming combat. I had looked at DM screens online but didn’t really want to pay for a cardboard screen that contained different info than what I really wanted in front of me. They tend to have loads of info by default, and while I need a lot of it, it can be pretty overwhelming. If I was to use something, I wanted something that could be a little more customized.
In my browsing the web for DM screens, I saw some neat, expensive ones and some fancy homemade ones. I’m not handy at all, but my programmer mentality kicked in and I decided to spend a lot of time trying to engineer a screen that would meet my needs (that is, help me avoid shuffling papers and cards around) and that wouldn’t look terrible. I found this explanation of how one person made a simple, functional screen and picked up the necessary materials. I carefully measured and sanded and drilled and stained and had all the components of a lightweight, wooden screen ready to go, but when I tried to attach the hinges, the very thin wood splintered, and I could tell that it wasn’t going to work. It was a little frustrating, but I wasn’t ready to quit. I would refactor instead!
I had some roughly 1-inch plywood left over from some house project a while back. I hadn’t used this initially because it seemed pretty bulky and heavy, and I had hoped to have something a little smaller. But, as clumsy a carpenter as I am, I figured my odds of not messing up were probably greater with less fragile materials. So I cut two of the boards (which were conveniently already each about 2 feet wide) in half.
Next, I and placed my hinges so that I could draw hinge placement guides and drill some pilot holes, and I sanded. You can see here that I really am a bad carpenter, as that middle hinge is way off center in spite of some attempt to space them evenly.
I had gotten some rare-earth magnets to embed in the panels so that I could affix things to the front. In my first failed attempt to make a screen, the panels were thin enough that the magnets would just barely fit, and they even stuck out a little from the surface. My intent originally was to glue them into their holes but have them exposed. With the new, thicker panels, I had enough depth to be able to drill deeper to embed the magnets fully in the panels and add some wood filler to cover the holes.
I figured out hole placement using index cards. I can fit as many as nine cards per panel (though I doubt I will), or of course I can stick plain pieces of paper or paper of other sizes on as well. The player (vs. DM)-facing side of each panel also has a magnet at top center, in case I decide it’d be useful to hang something on the front of the screen for their view. Next, I sanded the wood filler patches down.
Now it was time to stain each of the boards. I put three coats of dark walnut stain and three coats of oil-based spray-on finish on all of the surfaces. The picture below shows all coats of stain and, on the left panel, a first coat of finish. One thing I’m not really happy about is how much the wood-filled magnet holes show through the stain. I had hoped they would blend pretty well, and a couple of them do just look like little knots, but they stand out more than I had hoped they would (they’re more visible in person than in the pictures).
Once the panels had dried, it was time to hold my breath and attach the hinges (the part of the project at which things went sideways in my first try).
These are simple brass-looking hinges, and I didn’t do anything fancy to try to recess them in the wood or anything. I’m sure they’re not all perfectly aligned, but they’re good enough that the panels swing smoothly. Each set of panels stands alone pretty sturdily. Initially, I had planned to hinge the two sets of panels together as well so that they would accordion fold, but for now, I’ve decided not to. For example, I could imagine adding a dice tower between them one day, or just liking having fewer moving parts to worry about. They stack up fairly well when not opened, and though they’re not super precision panels of fine carpentry and are a little heavier and bulky than I had hoped for originally, they look decent.
I just finished them today and so haven’t played with them yet, but I wanted to see how they’d look and how functional they’d feel with some of the real papers I’ve used in the past affixed to them, and they seem potentially pretty useful.
I can imagine it’ll be a heck of a lot better than having all those index cards in a stack to shuffle through while also jotting notes, reading from the story itself, wrangling dice, etc. If you find the really nice DM screens out on the web, you’ll see fancy things carved or burned into the player-facing surfaces. I’m less of an artist than I am a carpenter, so I’m leaving mine plain (at least for now! — a month ago, I wouldn’t have imagined that I would use a screen, much less sink a few hours into making one, so who knows what I’ll do in the future).
My son and the neighbors we started a campaign with a couple of weeks ago are planning to play again this weekend. The other dad and I are going to switch of DM duty, so I’m on the fence about whether to let him break this in if he’s inclined or whether to hold it back for myself
Born in 1892 into a wealthy Cork family she left all this behind when she became a republican activist & later a communist. She was a central figure in a hungerstrike in 1920 that was a pivotal moment in the war of Independence. This, the first of two episodes on MacSwiney, looks at her early life up until 1920. Next weeks show will look at her later life.
Subcribe to ‘This Week in Irish History’
As anyone who uses London’s bus network will know, it carries all sorts of characters. I was recently sat on the lower deck of the 68 to West Norwood, when I noticed a man stood in front of me seemed to be growing agitated. I couldn’t figure out the reason, but it soon became clear. He suddenly moved, and started to aggressively address a man sat in a row behind me.
‘Have we got a problem?’
I turned round. The man seated behind was taking out an earphone to hear what this person was saying.
He continued, clearly intent on intimidation. ‘You’ve been staring at me this whole time. Now I don’t know where you come from, but where I come from, that’s a problem, yeah?’
The atmosphere soured. But the man behind made clear there was no problem, and the aggrieved passenger eventually walked back, muttering angrily. I don’t know whether there had been purposeful staring or not. Perhaps the accused was simply zoning out to his music, and the other was paranoid.
Just another unpleasant instance of toxic masculinity in public, you might say. But it got me thinking about the fact that simply looking at someone – or even the perception of this – can cause so much trouble.
There’s no doubt that being stared at can feel uncomfortable. We are hard-wired to notice faces – we can even see them in inanimate objects – and are acutely attuned to signals of hostility. Pictures of watching eyes have been found to deter thieves. One TV analysis of the 2016 US Presidential Election race contrasted Donald Trump’s expressions of narrow-eyed resolve with Hilary Clinton’s tendency to appeal with non-threatening wide-open eyes (our brains associate those with babies).
Given our sensitivity in this regard, it’s of no surprise that there’s an ancient superstition about being looked at malignly. A belief exists across a remarkable number of cultures that a person’s gaze can bring bad luck and misfortune. In English it’s most well known as the ‘evil eye’.
Like all folk beliefs, its details vary from place to place, but there are common themes. One, as documented by the ancient Greek author Plutarch, was that the evil eye was caused by envy: he wrote that envious eyes could emanate harmful rays of energy. The Renaissance philosopher Francis Bacon elaborated on this idea:
The scripture calleth envy an evil eye […] some have been so curious as to note, that the times, when the stroke or percussion of an envious eye doth most hurt, are, when the party envied is beheld in glory or triumph; for that sets an edge upon envy: and besides, at such times, the spirits of the person envied do come forth most into the outward parts, and so meet the blow.
Here Bacon seems to allude to hubris on the part of the afflicted, and some believe you can bring the evil eye upon yourself simply through immodesty or narcissism. From her own childhood, Leila Ettachfini recalls how her mother deflected compliments with the expression ‘mashallah’ (‘God has willed it’) to avoid the evil eye. Others believe that unlucky people are cursed to give the evil eye through no fault or ill will of their own.
In his 1895 book The Evil Eye: The Classic Account Of An Ancient Superstition, Francis Thomas Elworthy noted the beliefs in his native Somerset, where sudden sickness or death in livestock would be blamed on being ‘overlooked’ by someone in the community – this might have once resulted in accusations of witchcraft.
He also explains that the verb to ‘fascinate’, while having a positive meaning in modern English, has more sinister roots in the Latin fascinatio – to bewitch. In the Roman empire, fascinum were phallic symbols used to ward off evil – their obscenity perhaps acting as a distraction. Similarly, in more modern times the ‘cuckold’ horns-gesture has been deployed against those suspected of carrying the evil eye.
Belief in the evil eye has a particularly rich tradition in cultures around the Mediterranean and Middle East, and Elworthy attests to the persistence of the superstition in nineteenth-century Italy through an incident with a bookseller:
At Venice I entered a large second-hand establishment, and was met by the padrone all smiles and obsequiousness, until he heard the last words of the title of the book wanted, sul Fascino. Instantly there was a regular stampede; the man actually turned and bolted into his inner room, leaving his customer in full possession of his entire stock. Nor did he venture to look out from his den, so long as I waited to see what would happen.
Other objects suggest the evil eye’s considerable age. In Syria, eye-shaped amulets have been found from as far back as 3,300 BC. Perhaps the most familiar talismans today are blue eye beads known as nazar, and the hamsa/khamsa, which shows a hand, often with an eye in its palm – these are commonly found across North Africa and the Middle East.
John Psathas is a New Zealand composer with Greek heritage. But strangely, in his own words, almost all his trips to Greece have involved ‘some unpleasant and often bizarre’ experiences. These misfortunes included motorbike accidents, a lengthy salmonella infection, and even a donkey bite to the groin (don’t laugh – it could happen to you).
After ‘an unprecedented onslaught of bad luck’ during a trip in 1998, his concerned sister consulted someone with expertise in such matters. He recalls:
The soothsayer, when checking my aura by long distance (these days such matters can of course, be conducted over the phone via free-call numbers), gasped, went silent, and declared I was so heavily and completely hexed that my halo was utterly opaque.
In 1999 Psathas composed a short, virtuosic piano piece named after a word for the evil eye – Jettatura. Like the blue-eye amulets found in his ancestral homeland, this piece is ‘my talisman, my good eye’.
Jettatura is ‘an uncomplicated moto perpetuo […] shot through with defiance and aggression’. The music seems to emerge from a wellspring of chaotic energy, opening with spiky accented motifs that leaves us without any clear sense of pulse. A series of fast figurations down in the bass register intensifies its demonic feel.
A more sparse section follows, a left-hand ostinato with rapid right-hand phrases shooting right up into the eerie stratosphere of the piano – their improvisatory jaggedness perhaps reflecting Psathas’ interest in jazz.
Rhythmic energy seems to be a feature in much of Psathas’ music, as is the prominence of percussion – his marimba concerto Djinn showcases legendary Greek themes, while Planet Damnation is a work for solo timpani with orchestra.
In his musical career at least, he seems to have had good fortune. He has collaborated with famous names from Dame Evelyn Glennie to Salman Rushdie, and composed music for the opening ceremony of the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Jettatura showcases the pianist’s dazzling skill much as the talisman dazzles the evil eye. And while it’s easy to roll one’s eyes at superstitions, the persistence of this belief across so many cultures suggests it is tapping into some deep human needs. Perhaps it is a way to rationalise the arbitrary cruelties of the life, a warning to keep hubris in check, and an awareness of potential hostility from those around us – as was so vividly exhibited by the man on the 68 bus.
As Elworthy put it, over 100 years ago:
We in these latter days of science, when scoffing at superstition is both a fashion and a passion, nevertheless show by actions and words that in our innermost soul there lurks a something, a feeling, a superstition if you will, which all our culture, all our boasted superiority to vulgar beliefs, cannot stifle.
Whether you put much store in the evil eye not, the enormous variety and artistry of the talismans made to protect us from its gaze have their own perennial fascination – that is, in the modern sense of the word.
This article was powered by dedication….and a lot of caffeine. Buy me a coffee on Ko-Fi to help me write the next one!
Find out more:
Jettatura is published by Promethean Editions.
Elworthy’s book previewed on Google Books.
John Psathas’ website.
Quinn Hargitai on the evil eye for BBC Culture.
More videos of Konstantinos Destounis on YouTube.
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