Dark Chocolate is the new red wine

A while back, the big deal was that red wine was suddenly great for you. While the hype was a little overblown, it turns out it was quite true, much to the happiness of those of us who enjoy red wine. (Especially Merlot, in spite of what that character in “Sideways” thinks.)

Well now dark chocolate is getting the same kind of hype. For a long time I’ve preferred dark chocolate to milk or other stuff — and now anything but 70% dark tastes awfully sweet and milky to me. Evidently companies like Hershey and Dove are now pushing their dark chocolates (fancier and more isoflavone-packed versions of them too) because increasing publicity of the health benefits are making it the latest medically sanctified indulgence.

Honestly, I’m not sure if I’d care if it was as bad for me as tobacco, I’d still have to eat the stuff.

While I used to be a big Ghirardelli fan, I’m now more partial to Lindt and especially the utterly perfect carnal tongue-gasm known as Scharffen-Berger. So, if you’re looking for something delicious for the holidays — or if you’re wondering what to get me for Xmas — look no further …

Scharffen-Berger Obsession

More Intel on the Roswell Castle House

Roswell castle house

Originally uploaded by inkblurt.

A friend sent me a link to some info about the house that’s almost as much fun as the house itself. The page on the DuPont Castle website (which has lots of info on other American castles, it seems) has a picture of the house along with tons of emails with various wildly differing stories about the house and its history.
There are some bits of information that sound more accurate than others.
It’s located on the corner of Cagle Rd and Hwy 140 in Roswell, GA.
I looked it up in Google Earth, and lo and behold, found it. Here’s a snapshot from Google Earth (links to the bigger version in my flickr stream).
From the overhead picture, it’s now clear that yes, indeed, there is a real swimming-pool moat around the whole structure.

Wacky Castle House

wacky castle house

Originally uploaded by inkblurt.

Last time I visited my folks, on my drive between their place up around Canton, GA, and the Atlanta airport, I ran across this strange castle-like house, tucked in the midst of semi-rural suburbs.
I’m dying to know what the heck this thing is.
It appears to have a moat around it, because in the front there’s a railing that looks like it goes into a pool (from my vantage point outside the gate, it was hard to tell).
Out back, it has a weird little smaller castle house like a pool house, maybe? And some creepy cartoonish character sculptures.
It must not be a very new house, because it has a gigantic TV antenna sprouting from one of the conical roofs. (I forgot the word for those things.)
There are a few more pics in the flickr stream, linked from the picture.
(Edit: See the new info on the house in this post)

Day of dead parade on south street

Day of dead south street

Originally uploaded by inkblurt.

South Street in Philly had a day of the dead parade on Sunday. It was small but charming. This picture was actually in a shop window, but there are a couple of shots of the skeleton puppets in the parade on my flickr stream.
Unfortunately my real camera broke, so all I could get were these fuzzy phone-cam shots.

The Haunted Mansion – Secrets

This is just grand: The Haunted Mansion – Secrets

An in-depth history and explanation of the Disney Haunted Mansion.

As a kid, I used to have some of the most delightful nightmares about this attraction. And in my child dreamscape I’d sometimes just have happy dreams of Disney in general, the Haunted Mansion was second only to the (in my dreams, hyperbolically fantastic) Magic Shop for causing fireworks in my brains.

Happy Halloween!!!

Ghost of Gullibility Past

I went to college in South Carolina, not very far from the old PTL/Heritage USA complex. I never went, but had friends who did as a sort of anthropological excursion. I imagine a number of other students went with no sense of irony whatsoever.

One professor at my college had an idea he was studying: that the architecture of Heritage was in some ways similar to other Christian structures and properties from history — I don’t remember the details, only a comparison of aerial photos, etc. He was fascinated with the striking similarities in spite of the fact that it was very unlikely they were intentional.

Anyway, I ran across a link from a blog today (can’t remember which now) to a lot of pictures of Heritage USA somebody snapped by sneaking into the now-dilapidated park.

It’s haunting, to see all this naive architecture rotting in the sun. This place represented, for thousands of people, an insulated vision of an ideal America, mish-mashed with neo-Christian piety. Safety from the sordidness of secular life, but with so many of that life’s suburban-dream indulgences.

I was trying to find a picture of the “King’s Castle” from before it was falling apart, and discovered this site:

Heritage USA – Ghost town in Fort Mill Photo Gallery by Ace Pryhill at pbase.com

When I looked over the comments, I had a long-held assumption of mine punctured. I had assumed that the PTL scandal, and the subsequent exposure of just how absurd the Bakkers and their ilk were, had been perceived with some consistency in the country, but I suppose I was wrong. The comments on this site bear witness to many people who are still big believers in the mission of PTL.

And people wonder why, in spite of the obvious incompetence, so many still believe in the current administration? Like the man said, you can fool some of the people all of the time.

Anyway, I’m sort of fascinated with this pictorial comparison… the “King’s Castle” from PTL, ruined by neglect brought on by hubris, and Ronald McDonald smiling in front of a ruined McDonald’s in Biloxi after Katrina. I’m not making a point with the juxtaposition … I just think it’s an interesting juxtaposition.

King's Castle at PTLRonald Waves

A Super-Straight Guy

Great interview with Stephen Colbert

AlterNet: MediaCulture: A Super Straight Guy

COLBERT: First of all, I am a super straight guy. I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, and I am perfectly comfortable in blue blazers, khaki pants, Brooks Brothers suits and regimental striped ties. It’s just genetic. I love a cocktail party with completely vacuous conversation, because I grew up in it.