Even More Great Horror Movies (21-30)

22 Oct


I love top ten lists!  I have, in fact, already published two top ten lists related to scary movies.  Psycho, Halloween, The Shining, Friday the 13th, and The Sixth Sense are just five of my favorites, and they each appeared somewhere in the (thus far) top 20.  My original lists are here and here.

It is a funny thing about horror movies, though.  They seem rife not just for sequels but for remakes.  Four of the five films mentioned above have been remade (with the original remaining superior in each instance).  As I continued the list for this Halloween season with ten more scary movies, I noticed that four of those films have also been, or are currently being, remade.  Additionally, one of them is the sequel to a film that was remade, while another one is a remake!

What else can be said, except to remark about the genre’s durability and profitability…and for me to share my list of ten more great scary movies:

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Cemeteries around the World

15 Oct

Fall is my second favorite season.  Autumn leaves, crisp morning air, cool, foggy nights, haunted houses, S’mores, the list goes on….

During my travels I grew to love cemeteries.  Sounds morbid, yes?  But hear me out.  There is a sort of peace in these places, walking amongst the tombstones, alone with your thoughts.  Fall is an especially great time of year to visit cemeteries.  For one thing, fallen leaves will crunch beneath your feet (hopefully the only sound you’ll hear besides, perhaps, the hoot of a screech owl).  For another, your imagination gets carried away with memories of a gazillion horror movies come to life.  (Especially if you visit after dark.)

Here is a collection of images from some of the more interesting cemeteries I’ve come across during my travels.  Not all pictures were taken during fall, but the season, along with my mother’s recent passing, has found me reflecting on life…and death.


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Portrait of a Neighborhood: Pedregal

4 Oct

The next Mexico City neighborhood that I have decided to profile lies in the south of the city, beyond the reach of the subway.  It is a ritzy area of palacial homes, double-decker shopping malls, Aztec ruins, desert gardens, and some of the worst traffic in the city.

Pedregal (full name: Jardines del Pedregal – “Rocky Gardens” en inglés) is an urbanization of land that sits immediately north of Periférico Sur and west of Avenida de los Insurgentes, in the shadow of Picacho Ajusco, the city’s 3,986-meter (13,077-foot) mountain.  Although I have grown to not just like but love Pedregal, its sprawling, plus-sized colonia, filled with diesel-belching buses that drive past gated private residences is not for everyone.


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Photo Locale of the Month – September 2016

30 Sep

It amazes me sometimes how quickly time flies.  Five years have passed since I visited this month’s photo locale – a mountain retreat for kings and queens of old, and one of Mediterranean Europe’s most undiscovered gems.

Sintra, Portugal, which sits in the mountains roughly 30 minutes inland from Lisbon, was the longtime resort getaway for Portuguese royalty.  A series of castles and palaces, some whimsical, some stately, some medieval, dot the hilly landscape.  They are a shutterbug’s delight,  and a simple day trip (which is all that many tour bus travelers get) is nowhere near enough time to take in all that Sintra has to offer.


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Remembering My Mother

25 Sep

Ann M. Skinner, 70, passed away Monday, September 19, 2016.  Ann was born and raised in Chicago, IL, graduating from Maryville Academy and attended the Moser Secretary College.  She raised her family in Plainfield, IL where she was very active with her children’s schools and the community.  She and her family moved to Memphis in 2004.  Ann spent most of her career in the secretarial field, however, the last 15 years she spent as a telephone operator with Target Stores which she retired from in 2011.  After retiring she then relocated to Morristown with her husband.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Stanley and Alice Poterala.

Ann leaves her husband of 47 years, Greg Skinner; son, Scott Skinner; daughter, Shari Riley; granddaughter, Taryn Riley; sisters, Barbara Hanas and Jackie Nogle; and extended family members of various cousins, nieces, and nephews.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24 at Mayes Mortuary with the Rev. Gordon Smith officiating.

In lieu of flowers the family asks for memorials to be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 1311 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains, NY 10605 or www.LLS.org.


My mother’s funeral was yesterday.  The facts are summarized in the obituary clipping above that featured in Wednesday’s Citizen-Tribune; the paragraphs below are from my eulogy to her:


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Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

18 Sep

I have mentioned more than once in this blog that September is one of the best months for hiking.  My Mount Kilimanjaro hike, in 2010, is just one example of successful multi-day, late summer/early fall hiking.  I can hardly fathom the thought that it has been exactly 11 years ago this month when I hiked the Inca Trail through the Peruvian Andes to the pre-Colombian citadel of Machu Picchu.


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Urban Graffiti around the World

7 Sep

I spent part of last Saturday afternoon walking around downtown Nashville.  It was a perfect summer day, with non-threatening clouds and a gentle breeze.  As I headed from Gay Street towards Market Square, one block away, I passed an alley that travels between the two…and did a double take.

Graffiti, alive with color, adorned both sides of this urban alley, and a dozen or so tourists were snapping pictures.  When in Rome, the saying goes…and so I did.

Graffiti Alley Knoxville 1

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City Showdown: Memphis vs. Nashville

26 Aug

Memphis has traditionally held the title of “Tennessee’s Largest City,” ever since westward expansion post-Civil War brought settlers across the Mississippi River.  But that honor changed hands not long ago.  Nashville, the state capital, is now 25,000 people greater than Memphis in population.  In fact, Memphis actually has fewer residents than it did in 2000!

Mud Island 42

What is going on here?  How can a city decline in population?  And which city is the better one, really?  Over the next several paragraphs, I’ll give my $0.02 on which city reigns supreme in categories of location, food, museums, parks and gardens, sports, nightlife, and – most important of all – overall livability.

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Where I Come From – Part Two

17 Aug

Last June, I published a blog entry that was near and dear to my heart.  In it, I wrote about my paternal family tree.  I first told of my grandfather, a WWII sailor, Middle East adventurer, Paraguayan coffee plantation owner, and Prohibition-era beat cop who fathered eight children with three different women.  I then blogged about my grandmother, an incredible cook who outlived three husbands and had a closet filled with identical-looking blue house dresses.  Finally, I introduced Loyal Readers to my father, a decent man and Army vet with an encyclopedic knowledge of baseball and a functional case of obsessive-compulsive disorder, the latter of which is simultaneously annoying and endearing.

But that is just half of the story.

Lincoln Museum 5

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Photo Locale of the Month – August 2016

10 Aug

The 2016 Summer Olympics are underway.  When I first learned, in 2009, that Rio de Janeiro was awarded the games, my heart leaped.  No South American city has ever hosted an Olympic games before this year, and if the 2014 World Cup (also held in Brazil) was any indication, the Games of the XXXI Olympiad will go off without a hitch.

The New Seven Wonders of the World were announced in 2012, and Rio’s Cristo Redentor – Christ the Redeemer – made the final cut.  But did you know that Rio’s Natural Harbor was one of the original Seven Natural Wonders of the World?  And for good reason.

Corcovado 16

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