Musings

Bye, Bye Mysterious Heartland

After nine and a half years, 1,150 posts, and 5,220,000 site views, Mysterious Heartland is finally closing its doors. Well, you’ll still be able to see the archives at trueillinoishaunts.wordpress.com (its original name). It’s no secret posting has been sparse over the past couple of years. As I moved out of the Midwest, I wanted to focus on more generalized travel writing and photography. People seemed to just come to Mysterious Heartland for the top 10 lists anyway, and there’s only so many of those you can write. You can still follow my adventures here and the new Memento Mori photo blog:

Memento-mori.co

Thank you for your readership and patronage over the years. I hope you enjoyed reading that website as much as I (once) did in creating it.

Roseanne and Trump Drive the Media Crazy

I haven’t written about insanity in the news media recently because I’ve been preoccupied with living my life, but this latest controversy is too crazy to pass up. In case you haven’t heard, actress/comedian/Peace and Freedom Party presidential candidate Roseanne Barr made an insensitive and racist tweet about Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett, causing ABC to dump its popular Roseanne reboot.

Roseanne Barr’s original sin in their eyes was not only making (somewhat) supportive statements about President Trump, but then also having a hugely popular TV reboot starring a character that supports President Trump. Horror of horrors.

So when this whole controversy went down, of course the usual suspects in the media tried to make this about President Trump instead of the person who actually made the comment. Trump, who can’t help talking about himself, came out with a statement about the incident that, to no one’s surprise, also focused on himself.

Now, it really annoys me when politicians feel the need to release statements or make comments about everything that happens in the world, so I don’t think the president should have said anything about this. After all, it had nothing to do with him. However, after his statement, CNN came out with this article: “Trump breaks silence on Roseanne Barr scandal.”

Trump breaks silence? Like he was avoiding talking about it? Why should he say anything about it at all? What does a comment by Roseanne Barr about Valerie Jarrett have anything to do with him? Is Trump supposed to comment on every public spat between celebrities and public figures?

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Introducing Memento Mori

Hello friends! I’d like to announce a new blog dedicated to cemetery photography called Memento Mori. If you enjoy cemetery art, sculpture, and history, like I do, you’ll love this new blog. I hope to update it with new photos 4-5 times a week. I grew up with an interest in cemeteries. As an amateur historian, I loved the Victorian Period especially, with its romantic architecture, literature, and art. I hate everything about modern cemeteries, with their flat, cheap, and mass-produced headstones.

When I was younger, I enjoyed visiting cemeteries and looking at the artwork, and naturally, I wanted to share what I’d seen. As I got better at photography, I thought back to people like Matt Hucke, also a native Chicagoan, who captured images of this beautiful and haunting artwork, much of which is in danger due to erosion and vandalism. Although I’m not nearly as good a photographer, I created this blog to share some of my work. I hope you enjoy seeing these images as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Check it out at memento-mori.co, and follow to get daily photos in your in-box.

Fake News about Fake News

The news media loves pointing out “fake news” in order to differentiate their alleged “objective” and “fact-based” reporting from the outright hoaxes and propaganda being slung around social media. I came across this article in the Providence Journal, purporting to do just that. The article, however, reveals biases of its own, and shows how the so-called legitimate news media engages in propaganda to push their own political messaging.

The Journal headline reads: “Fake photo of Emma González went viral on the far right, where Parkland teens are villains,” which already is suspect. Are all Parkland teens villains to the far right, or just the ones who exploited a tragedy at their school to push a pro-gun control message? Is Cuban flag wearing, buzzed haircut Emma González representative of all teens in Parkland? Never mind that she intentionally projects an image designed to piss off conservatives.

That’s why I thought the photo of her wearing a Cuban flag was the doctored photo in question, but no, it’s a photo of her tearing up a paper target doctored to look like she’s tearing up the U.S. Constitution. Now I don’t doubt some people actually thought this was a real photo. I’ve seen some of my own friends on social media taken in by obvious hoaxes. But the photo is clearly political satire. I remember when Democrats used to edit President Bush’s face onto images of Adolph Hitler and Nazis. No one in the mainstream news media raised a big stink over that.

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On 104.9 The X with Kevin and Lori

Last week, hosts Kevin and Lori graciously invited me on their show “The Morning X”, 104.9FM The X in Rockford, to discuss my new documentary Tinker’s Shadow: The Hidden History of Tinker Swiss Cottage, now available on Amazon Video Direct! We talk about what it took to make the film and how everyone contributed to putting together such a great project.

Tinker’s Shadow is now available!

My first documentary, Tinker’s Shadow: The Hidden History of Tinker Swiss Cottage, is now available on Amazon Video Direct! Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens in Rockford, Illinois has long been rumored to be haunted, but what do its ghosts teach us about the past?

Join host Amelia Cotter as she takes you inside and reveals the hidden history of this beautiful museum. This 60-minute film features interviews with museum staff, visitors, volunteers, and researchers. It is a fun and unique way to learn about Rockford’s past.

It’s available in HD to rent for $2.99, buy for $9.99, or watch free with ads. Click on the Amazon button below to watch:

Tinker’s Shadow Coming Soon

My first documentary, Tinker’s Shadow: The Hidden History of Tinker Swiss Cottage, will be released on Amazon Video Direct on March 26! Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens in Rockford, Illinois has long been rumored to be haunted, but what do its ghosts teach us about the past? Join host Amelia Cotter as she takes you inside and reveals the hidden history of this beautiful museum. Featuring interviews with museum staff, visitors, volunteers, and researchers.

FOX39 in Rockford did a great interview with Steve Litteral and Samantha Hochmann of Tinker Cottage about the project. Check it out here: Amazon to debut documentary about Tinker Swiss Cottage’s haunted history