Thursday, October 23, 2014

Zombie Terms 101: Bad Juju

With the so-called zombie apocalypse approaching, one must be educated about the different kinds of zombies before prepping for defense. First, there is the most common and believable-the human that turns into a zombie because of mental collapse, disease, infection, and/or radiation. They stagger around dazed and confused and cause panic to others. Then there is the man-made monster kind or the kind Hollywood and horror authors like me tend to capitalize on.
Zombie interest continues to fascinate the world. Jeffrey Dahmer drilled holes then poured acid down his victim’s heads in hopes of creating his own zombie. His madness didn’t work. Can man make his own zombie? Are these monsters real?
According to Wade Davis, author of The Serpent of the Rainbow, zombies are real. They are a product of the Voodoo religion. He was originally hired by a pharmaceutical company to find out about the drugs Voduists used in their death rituals. He believed that datura also known as zombie’s cucumber was a plant that could medically make one who ingested it appear to be dead for a certain length of time. Sounds like the stuff Juliet used to fake her death. Could Shakespeare known about the magical zombie-making plant?
Datura or sometimes Cimora, a close relative of Datura’s, eventually wears off but leaves the victim in a state of confusion, highly susceptible to the art of persuasion. Presto! A zombie slave is at the captor’s disposal. Mr. Davis didn’t just find his datura flower, but witnessed zombie phenomena as he immersed himself within the Haitian culture.
Bad Juju is a unique blend of horror, romance, and fantasy. Besides The Serpent and the Rainbow, I read volumes of other Voodoo material and watched hours of TV specials. Some of the terms I learned can be found below:
Bokor: A wizard who practices black magic, a zombie maker.
Loa: deity/spirit
Ghede Family: A family of loas known as the spirits of the dead. Three barons rule the family. Baron Samedi is the loa of resurrection. Baron Kriminel is the most feared loa associated with cannibalism and souls. He’s honored on The Day of the Dead. Baron LaCroix is the loa of the dead and sexuality.
Poppet: Voodoo doll
Ti-bon-ange: “little good angel” The part of the soul that represents a person’s individuality.
Gros-bon-ange: “great good angel” Part of the soul that is collected into a reservoir of the Cosmos or spirit world.
Baka: Voodoo spirits in animal form.
Loup Garou: werewolf
Djab: a devil
Dessounin: Death ritual that separates the gros-bon-ange from the body.
Bizango Society: Secret society of Vodouists. They have Freemason-like qualities such as aprons, secret handshakes, oaths, hierarchy, and symbols. Legend states they change into animals at will. They are known for stealing black cats and boiling them to death for Voodoo services. They drink each other’s blood from a human skull chalice.

Bad Juju is available on Amazon for free this weekend.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Review: Homeland's New Season

I am a big fan of Homeland.  Wasn't sure if I was going to watch it after Damian Lewis's Brody character died last season.  Last Sunday, the new season kicked off with an hour and a half special.

Kerri begins a new post in Kabul, Afghanistan, as a station chief. She and her crew track down a bin Laden type of bad guy in a warehouse.  They bomb the place to smithereens.  What should be considered a victory for the U.S. is quickly spun as a massacre as rumors spread that several innocent bystanders died along with the bad guy.  One of the few survivors has a video that proves the rumors, showing a wedding taking pace inside.  He is reluctant to get involved, but his roommate posts the video on Youtube without his consent.  Once again, the U.S. is portrayed as the bad guy. Kerri's promotion is short-lived as she is quickly called back to Washington to explain the PR mess the bombing has caused.
Once back home, Kerri sees her sister and her baby (the one she was pregnant with last season with Brody being the father).  Her maternal instincts are no where to be found.  The idea of having her career destroyed and being stuck taking care of her baby is too much for her to deal with.  She desperately tries to find a way out.  Sure enough, in a Benghazi style cover-up, she learns some dirt on the Secretary of Defense and uses it to get her job back.  She then manipulates her sister into taking care of her baby.

My Review: Where do I start-blown away from the first second to the last.  Brilliant everything-writing, acting, directing, special effects, etc.  Kerri's heroic personality is compromised when it comes to motherhood.  
I was shocked when Kerri almost drowned her baby in the bathtub.  I loved how the moderate Muslim with the wedding video had plenty of secrets.  Quinn gave an outstanding performance as an emotional basketcase with PTSD.  One of my favorite scenes was when Kerri's co-worker gets his face plastered all over the Afghani news for blowing up the wedding and the Muslims beat him to death in the street.  Kerri and Quinn try to save him, but they are too late.  I felt like a witness to a crime rather than an audience of a TV show.  One of the best shows on TV ever-5/5 Stars.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Erotica Review: Skye Jordan's Reckless-Book 1

Reckless is a romance-erotica novel about a clothes designer who designs wedding dresses and a Hollywood stunt man.  These Californians sort of meet at the airport.  The clothes designer flirts with him through a phone app and then shows up at his hotel room.  In the dark, she has oral sex with him and then eventually regular sex while on her business trip.  She wants to chalk off their liason as a one-night stand, but he (Jax) wants more.  They begin to miss each other.  Both have been burned in relationships and aren't ready to jump into another one.  However, the sex is too good to ignore.  SPOILER ALERT: They hook up for good in the end.

My Review: I downloaded this book for free, not really expecting to finish it, but was pleasantly surprised.  The writer knows her way around bedroom.  Her sex scenes were very steamy, but not too steamy in the sense of being edgy, avante guard, uncomfortable, or just plain weird.  I liked both of the characters.  There seemed to be some research done about the fashion world.  Vera Wang's wedding dresses came to mind.  The stuntman's character was interesting as well.  Reckless is a terrific book to read for entertainment.  Erotica and romance are not favorite genres of mine, but Ms. Jordan still managed to drag me into her imagination.  Well done!  4.5/5 Stars

Thursday, September 18, 2014

War in the Middle East: To Be or Not To Be

Both right and left wingers are constantly slamming Obama for his foreign policy.  They feel he is weak, harsh, complacent, indifferent, apologetic, more interested in golf, and everything in between.  Although I am not an Obama fan, I did admire his style. 

Up until today, I thought his actions resembled Ron and Rand Paul.  Why risk the lives of soldiers and throw tax dollars away?
The left is so concerned with the disenfranchised while the right demands war.  Or are they parroting what the inner circle wants-war?  You have to remember that reporters report first to their boss and second to you and me.
Why is it so important to fight ...let's see...-Russia, pro-Russian separatists, ISIL/ISIS, Hamas, al-Qaeda...?  Wait, I think the U.S. now funds al-Qaeda.  I'm sure I'm leaving some group out.  
The only consistency to this hawkish attitude is New World Order conspiracy theory.  To establish New World Order, we need to establish world dominance.  You can't have world dominance without oil dominance.  You also need drug and food dominance, but that's another story or even book.  Big Pharma, Big Agri, Big Conspiracy explains it all.  

Let's start with the Middle East-not our problem.  What happened to those reporters was horrific, but think about this rationally.  With exception to political assassination (Archduke Ferdinand for example), when does any country go to war because a few citizens were brutally murdered?  These reporters were not murdered by a government, they were murdered by a bunch of yahoos who roam the desert and jump from terrorist group to terrorist group like a high school student trying to find his/her niche.  Who are we going to war against?  Define ISIS or ISIL.  What is their address?  What is their driver's license number or voter's registration card?  Do they pay taxes to any particular government?  How do you fight a terrorist group who might join another terrorist group the next week?  How do you know they aren't posing as your ally?  

Obama finally caved from the constant criticism by funding anti-Syrian rebels to fight Assad.  Many believe these "rebels" are al-Qaeda.  What a slap in the face of the U.S soldiers!  And the tie-in to ISIS/ISIL is too confusing.
Is war really just a disguise for a favor?  Or is it pay back?  To begin with, Saudi Arabia aka oil exporters in terms of debt charts is the U.S.'s third biggest sugar daddy.  China and Japan are the biggest debt-holders and the only one the main stream media ever talks about.  But the fact is this: the U.S. owes the Saudis big.  This might be the reason for our "concern" for the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia wants to clean up the Islamo-mess and we can't afford to say no.  
Unlike ISIS, the Saudis like making money and like the idea of an elite class running the world.  Unlike ISIS, they understand real power and it's not going to be found in the middle of the desert with a few machine guns and knives with serrated edges.  The inner circle globalist sees ISIS's terror as an opportunity to take over the region.  What do you think about U.S.'s constant meddling into Middle Eastern affairs?  Leave a comment.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Elizabeth Eckhart Guest Blogs: 5th Wave Jumps on the Dystopian Bandwagon

If you’ve kept an eye on the box office lately, you’ve probably noticed the slew of YA books being turned into films. More specifically it seems that dystopian themed books are the flavor of the moment: we’ve got The Hunger Games, Divergent, Ender’s Game, and, most recently, The Giver all making the leap from the page to film (for YA dystopian novices they’re all highly recommended and are easily available on demand) . Now, joining those films is The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.
The book is the first in a planned trilogy which centers on a 16 year old girl named Cassie Sullivan. She’s so far survived the first four waves of alien invasions, but there’s a fifth one rapidly approaching. The aliens look like humans, and will kill anyone they meet while traveling in the countryside and backroads, so Cassie can’t trust a soul while traveling alone in the crumbling ruins of society as she used to know it. However, in her quest to find and save her brother she meets a fellow survivor named Evan Walker - but can she trust him?

The book earned Yancey solid reviews, with the New York Times saying, “it’s a testament to Yancey’s skill that for the duration of this grown-up’s reading, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.” Entertainment Weekly agreed, hailing it as “a remarkable, not-to-be-missed-under-any-circumstances book”. Readers loved it as much as critics with over 240,000 hardcover copies and 55,000 e-books sold in its first year.
While the book series differs from many of the other big series popular recently in the YA dystopian genre in that it is much more sci-fi oriented, it doesn’t quite reach that Star Trek/Star Wars area of unbelievability that would likely turn away its core audience. It doesn’t seem as far fetched as, for instance, teenagers fighting to the death for entertainment of others, or a world where all color, emotion, pain, and feeling are held by a lone man.
Catching onto the viability of this series first was Sony Pictures along with producers Graham King and Tobey Maguire, who snatched up the film rights to the series before it even hit store shelves. The film was in pre-production and casting for about a year before they announced they’d casting soon-to-be-”it”-girl Chloe Grace Moretz as Cassie, the lead character. They also announced they’d hired directed J. Blakeson (best known for The Disappearance of Alice Creed) as well as the relatively unknown actors Nick Robinson as Ben Parish, Malaika Monroe as Ringer, and Alex Roe as the mysterious Evan Walker.
Bringing some extra star power to the cast is Liev Schreiber who just signed on to play the villainous Colonel Vosch. Outside of the casting, we do know that the book was adapted by screenwriter Susannah Grant who wrote the screenplays for such hits as Ever After, Erin Brockovich (which earned her an Academy Award nomination), Pocahontas, and the 90’s television series Party of Five. To say the book was in good hands is clearly an understatement.

Aside from that, not much is known about this exciting new film except for its release date, which is slated to be January 29, 2016. If you’re not looking forward to waiting that long for your next fix, you’re in luck! The second book in the series, titled The Infinite Sea is due to be released on September 16th. However, if you’re more impatient than that, there has been a trailer for it released and Britain’s Daily Express newspaper got an exclusive sneak peak at the book and have an extract available on their website for you to whet your appetite with.

Elizabeth, thanks again!  Great post!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Conspiracy Rant: ISIS-The Monster the U.S. Created

My blog fan and fellow conspiracy buff Frank Fontaine is on a roll.  He sent me some links that suggest ISIS is the U.S.'s Frankenstein, created as an excuse to invade Syria.  
Now why does the U.S. want to invade Syria?  Refresher course-A few years back al-Qaeda was fighting Assad and we backed al-Qaeda.  Call me naive, but two bad guys killing each other off is a good thing, right?  Word out on the street says that Syria's Assad was and is trading oil NOT on the U.S. dollar standard.  Not sure how they are trading it and how it is bartered, but U.S. feels deprived.  Russia is also involved.  Bankers who are part of the one world government are upset because the Middle East once again has thrown a wrench in their plans.
ISIS doing what they do best-hate.
Flashback-Our war with Iraq was obviously not about weapons of mass destruction or bin Laden (a Saudi who lived in Afghanistan) or even 911.  What it was about was trading oil NOT on the U.S. dollar standard.  This act alone is worse than all of the heads these monsters have ever lopped off.  The bankers also known as bangsters cannot handle losing power.
So where is Frank getting this information?  It's all over the Internet that U.S. and her allies (Qatar and Saudi Arabia) have funded ISIS with the goal of overthrowing Assad.  
Who are ISIS?  Many believe ISIS is really a shoot-off of al-Qaeda.  Hmm...., so if the U.S. and allies created ISIS, that would mean that they took al-Qaeda and turned them into a fiercer military.  So that would mean that the group of people our soldiers risked their lives over to fight in Afghanistan were now used for the purpose of fighting Assad.  Hmm...So our enemy over the last decade at some point became our army?  So who is our real enemy?  Why are so many news channels criticizing Obama for not going to war?  Why should be go to war?  Trust no one.  Love to hear your theory.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Yezidi or Yazidi Religion: What is it?

We are all aware of the 50,000 or so Yazidis, also spelled Yezidis, trapped on Mount  Sinjar by ISIS.  Some of the women are held captive as sex slaves.  ISIS calls them their wives.  The children are also in danger of unspeakable horrors.  U.S. has sent Marines with a rescue mission supposedly in place.  The story has lost much steam over the last few weeks with Americans preferring to concentrate on Ferguson, Missouri, and ISIS's beheadings of journalists.

So who are the Yazidis and what is their religion about?  Reporters like to gloss over the details, claiming it's some sort of combination of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.  Although that's not an out-and-out lie, it omits the core of the Yazidi/Yezidi religion.  
The Yazidis are more closely related to Zoroastrianism than Christianity.  Zoroaster, the religion's founder, preached two mentalities under one god, Ahura Mazda.  This religion comes from the Ismaeli branch of Islam.  BTW, Ishmael was the older brother of Isaac who got kicked to the curb with his Egyptian mother after Sara gave birth to Abraham's second son Isaac.
Zoroastrians pray in front of fire.  They believe in reincarnation, but only once the end of the world happens.  The Magi from the Christmas story were believed to be Zoroastrians.

Yazidis' roots are Zoroastrian, but they have added their own spin on the religion.  Shaykh Abi Musafir, born 1070-1162, was the founder.  Mithra the sun god is involved in the religon. Yazidis have two holy books, the Black Book and Revelation.  Some believe Revelation is a forgery, authored by Westerners with the intention of sugar coating the odd religion.  The Black Book might also be a forgery, but there is a debate.  Most believe this group never had an official sacred text, but passed their traditions orally through their holy men or priests.
Yazidis are concentrated in northern Iraq, Armenia, Georgia, Syria, Germany, and small pockets all over Europe and the U.S. Yazidis believe that God (the Christian God) is under the care of seven angels with Malak Tawas (spelled several different ways) as the head of the seven angels.  Westerners and ISIS believe Malak Tawas is really Satan.  Shaytan is Satan in the Koran.  Shaytan, also called Melek Tawas, refused to bow down to Adam and Eve after God commanded him to.  Yazidis believe God and Satan made amends and reconciled.  The peacock is Malak Tawas's symbol.  Satan was not created by God, but born of a white pearl.  

Yazidi name stems from "yazata" or divine being,  or possibly from Umayyad Yazid, the Sultan Ez.  They speak Kurmanji.  Yazidis believe in reincarnation, pray five times a day, fast, celebrate their own New Year's Eve, throw a Festival of the Peacock, refuse to eat lettuce, and make a pilgrimage to Sheikh Musafir's tomb, the religion's founder.  They believe Jesus was an angel in human form and Mohammad was a prophet.  They won't spit or wear the color blue.  Some believe the color blue represents Noah.  This is especially interesting to me because the Flood might have been about getting rid of all of the fallen angels.  

Yazidis are baptized and circumcised (not a requirement).  They are monogamous, but priests/chiefs can be polygamous.  They believe they descended from Adam alone-NOT Eve.  They also practice Honor Killings which are directed towards women who violate their laws, culture, and traditions.  Recently, a case in Germany was reported about a Yazidi girl who fell in love with a German boy.  Her family killed her.  

I became fascinated with this religion while writing Halo of the Damned and Halo of the Nephilim.  Much research went into the books.