Free Counter Do You Know?: July 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The 12 World's Strangest Conventions and Events

You join a lot of seminars and conventions, and everything sounds normal. But wait.... how about strange and wacky conventions? Have you been there before? By the way, what kind of "strange" and "wacky" conditions that I meant? Here are several of them.Prepare to get your weird-on...!!!

1. WORLD TOILET SUMMIT & EXPO might be laught at it. But this convention is true and it happened. The first was happened in Suntec, Singapore in 2001 and since then it has travelled to various city around the world, including Beijing, India, Moscow, Taiwan, and Macau. The objectives of this convention are to bring sanitation and clean water to over 2 billion people around the world who still need it.

Wanna meet former President George W. Bush, shake hand with Barack Obama, mingle with Alicia Keys, wink at Sarah Palin, or even have some action with Jackie Chan and Jet Li? Come to the Celebrity Impersonators Convention which held in Las Vegas every year. In this convention, you also can see stage performance, seminar, and lead classes. So... what's you're wanna be?

Starting in 1991 in Laughlin,Nevada, this week-long event has been a annual conventions for all UFO lover. There are seminars, film festival, selling souvenirs, and others. Most topics covered are about adjuction, UFO sightings, paranormal experiences, and much more.

It is the biggest and largest paranormal convention that held in USA. Usually on November, in Lexington Center, Lexington, Kentucky. It hosted by Ghost Chasers International, Inc and was created by Jeff Waldridge, Patti and Chuck Starr. This year, the event will be held on November 5 - 7, 2010. It has movie preview in Kentucky Theatre, live concert at Buster's Billiards & Backroom, Bizarre Costume Ball, amd Boo & Brew Pub Walk. Oh yeah, don't forget to join ScareFest Pageant and judging the Beautiful Yet Gory Ladies of Horror and Mystique.

5. SEXPO :
It is Austalia's Expo about adult entertainment, sexuality, and lifestyles. The exhibition sells products related to sex and sexuality. It also have education about safe practices. There are other things in the exhibition you can find : aviation, wine tasting, marine sports, spa pools, hair and make up styling, and many more.

6. FUR CON :
Also known as Furry convention. It isa formal gathering of members of the furry fandom (people who are interested in the concept of fictional non-human characters with human characteristics). Starting in California during mid 1980s, there are now over 40 annual furry conventions worldwide. This conventions provide place for fans to meet, exchange idea, and engage in entertainment and recreation.

"By geeks,for geeks". Yeah.... you gotta see buch of geeks - or so called - in this celebration. This festival started since 2004 by a group that called themselves The Four Stooges, and offers programming dealing with science fiction, fantasy,pop culture, gaming, anime, comic books, and webcomics.

Also known as Tattoo Conventions. It's been held in Las Vegas, Houston, Austin, and Dallas each year. The body art celebrations are open to the public, but it's invitation only for artists.

This conventions will make you high. Weed lovers gather in Amsterdam each November for this conventions. The five-day festival is dedicated for the marijuana lovers around the world as it's an opportunity not only endulge in their drug choice, but to try different strains which they can help judge.

It is the largest annual gathering of twins in the world. Held in Twinsburg, OH, more than 3,000 sets of siblings (twins, triplets, or quad) from all over the glove congregate in the festival to show off,meet up, and revel in their genetic synchronicity. The next festival will be held August 7 - 8, 2010. If you are twins, don't miss it...!!!

Are you a big fans of lego blocks? You should never miss this convention. Held in IJsselhallen Zwolle, Netherlands, thousands of Lego blocks' fans from all around the world gather to constructing some unbelieveable lego design. Last year we can see big-old Indiana Jones, Star Wars Death Star, and Eiffel Tower fully built in Lego Blocks. Interested?

If you are the fans of StarWars, The Office, The Twillight Saga, The Simpsons, or Harry Potters, and you did the convention for it, then I can understand that. But convention for Al Yankovic? It's kind of weird enough for me if there is any people who would come to the convention to worship Al Yankovic. But... hell yeah... this convention really happened. Located in Chicago, IL, this convention provide some unique and weird exhibition, such as fan convention, bizzare festivals (yeah... like 24 Hour Marriage Marathon Festival, American Fancy Rat and Mouse Annual Show, Bangkok Vertical Marathon, Beef-A-Rama, Big Whooper Liar Contest, Combine Demolition Derby, Fire Ant Festival, and many more....), auction of unique Weird Al memorabillia, Weird Al Look-AL-Like Contest, Lip-Synching Contest, and many more.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

13 Films &TV Series That (Assumed) Have Been Cursed

Some unexplained accidents and misfortune events happened to several films before and after it premiered to the audiences. Some say it is just a coincidence. But some others say the films have been cursed. They believed there are some supernatural forces trying to prevent the filming or showing it to public. When the producer insisted to do the film, something terrible happened to everyone that has taken part of their own in the film. Is it true? Are those movies been cursed? By whom? Who? Why? How? Nobody can explain it until today. Maybe you can. Can you?


One of the most talk about movies is The Omen. The production of this movie was plagued with a series of incidents which some members of the crew attributed to the operation of a curse. A documentary entitled “The Curse of The Omen” was shown on British television in 2005 (it also appeared in the 2nd disc of 30th Anniversary DVD release of The Omen), and mentioned the list of incidents that happened to the crews. Some of them are :
• Scriptwriter David Seltzer’s plane was struck by lightning.
• In a separate incident, Gregory Peck (the star of the film)’s plane also struck by lightning. In other chance, Gregory Peck canceled his reservation on a flight, and the plane crashed, killing all passengers on board.
• Richard Donner (the director)’s hotel was bombed by the Provisional IRA.
• On the first day of shooting, the principal members of the crew were involved in a head-on car crash.

Poltergeist has also become one of the most talk about movies concerning the rumor of a supposed curse attached to the movie series and its stars. The rumor has been known as “The Poltergeist Curse”.
The rumor derived from the fact that four cast members died in a relatively short span of time during the release of the first and third film, with one dying during production of the second film. Some of unexplained dead are :

• Dominique Dunne (actress who played the oldest sibling Dana, one of the characters in the first movie) died after being strangled by a jealous boyfriend in 1982.
• Julian Beck (played as Kane in Poltergeist II : The Other Side) died in 1985 of stomach cancer, with which he was diagnoses before he had accepted the role.
• Will Sampson (played as Taylor the Medicine Man in Poltergeist II) died in 1987 of post-operative kidney failure and pre-operative malnutrition problems.
• Beatrice Straight (played as Dr Lesh in the first series of Poltergeist) died in 2001 of pneumonia.
• Heather O’Rourke (played as Carol Anne in all three Poltergeist movies) died in 1988 at the age of 12 caused by septic shock after bacterial toxins invaded her bloodstream. At the time, she had suffered acute bowel obstruction, initially diagnosed as Crohn’s Disease, which may have been the cause of the death.
• Author James Kahn reported that when he wrote the line “Lightning ripped open the sky”, the building was struck by lighting and all the arcade games in the lounge began playing themselves.

Also known as “Superman Curse”, it s the rumor about the series of misfortunes that have plagued creative people involved in adaptations of Superman in various media has been spread and somewhat well-known in popular culture. Some well-known misfortunes are :

• Kirk Alyn, played as Superman in two series of low-budget serials of Superman (1940) failed to find work afterward.
• George Reeve, played as Superman in Superman and The Mole Men (1951) was found died of a gunshot wound at his home with his Luger P08 pistol near him (June 16, 1959). His dead is still questionable, while some said it is a suicide.
• Christopher Reeve – the son of George Reeve - played as Superman in four of Superman Film Series (1978 – 1987) was paralyzed from the neck flown after being thrown from his horse in a cross country riding (May 27, 1995). Reeve died on October 10, 2004 due to heart failure stemming from his medical condition.
• Dana Reeve, the widow of Christopher Reeve, died of the lung cancer on March 6, 2006 at the age of 45.
• Margot Kidder, played as Lois Lane in 4 series of Superman (together with Christopher Reeve) suffered from intense bipolar disorder.
• Marlon Brando, played as Superman’s biological father Jor-El in Superman (1978) underwent various personal tragedies: In May 1990, his first son, Christian shot and killed Dag Drollet, the lover of Christian’s half-sister Cheyenne Brando. Even claimed it was accidental, Christian was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to ten years in prison. Christian died at the age of 49. Later on, in 1995, Cheyenne committed suicide by hanging herself. She was still 25 years old at that time. Brando himself died of lung failure brought on by pulmonary fibrosis at the age of 80 in July 1, 2004. He had also been suffering from liver cancer, congestive heart failure and diabetes, which was causing his eyesight to fail.
• Lee Quigley played the baby Kar-El in Superman (1978) died after inhaling solvents in age of fourteen (March 1991).
• Richard Pryor, played as Gus Gorman in Superman III (1983) had previously suffered from a drug addiction that leads to an almost fatal accident. He died of cardiac arrest on December 10, 2005.

The discussion about the film was been cursed has become urban legend and still been discussed until today. The interior sets of the MacNeil (the character in the film)’s residence, except for Regan’s bedroom, were destroyed by a studio fire and had to be rebuilt. Other issues include:

• Linda Blair fractured her spine during the filming of one of the bedroom scene.
• During his first day of filming, Max Von Sydow was informed his brother in Sweden had died. Coincidence?
• John Frankenhiemer (the original director of Exorcist: The Beginning) suffered a stroke after spinal cord surgery and died while the movie was in pre-production.
• Renny Harlin (the director of Exorcist: The Beginning) also got several unexplained accidents. His dog started to hemorrhage for no apparent reason. The dog soon recovered, but no cause for the hemorrhaging was found. While did some scene shot in Rome, Harlin almost hit and killed by a car. He had 13 pins put in his leg and finished filming the movie on crutches.

5. THE CROW (1994)
The most famous incident that happened in this movie is about the dead of Brandon Lee – son of the legendary Bruce Lee – who died on the set while shooting his last film, The Crow. A scene was being filmed that required dummy rounds to be shown being loaded into the handgun. When shot the scene, the gun that should be loaded with blank cartridges, dislodged the bullet and sent into Lee’s abdomen. Brandon Lee died about 12 hours later.
Meanwhile, during the actual filming, many accidents happened. A carpenter was severely burned after a crane in which he was riding struck high-power lines. Another crew member slipped and drove a screwdriver through his hand. And a lorry full of equipment mysteriously went on fire.

6. BLADE RUNNER (1982)
Among the folklore that has grown up around the film over the years has been believe that the film was a curse to the companies whose logos were displayed prominently as a product placements in some scenes :
• RCA, which is one of the U.S. leading consumer electronics and communications conglomerate, was bought out by one time parent GE in 1985 and dismantled.
• Atari, which dominated the home video game market at that time, had ceased to exist in 1990.
• Cuisinart went bankrupt in 1989.
• Bell System monopoly was broken up that same year, and all of the resulting Regional Bell Operating Companies have since changed their name and merged back with each other and other companies to form the new AT&T.
• Pan Am suffered terrorists’ destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 (December 21, 1988) and went bankrupt in 1991 with the falloff in overseas travel caused by the Gulf War.

Before the released of the film, Heath Ledger died on an accidental overdose and Conway Wickliffe –a stunt supervisor of the film – died in accident in London while setting up a car crash scene. And after the film gain financial successful (released on July 18, 2008), Christian Bale was arrested in connection with an alleged assault on his mother and her sister (July 22, 2008). Then Morgan Freeman has been in a tragic car crash near Ruleville, Mississippi (August 3, 2008) and broke his shoulder, arm, and elbow.

The film was made partially on location at the Dakota, off Central Park West in New York City. There is one scene that depicts where a woman jumped from a balcony is the same part of the sidewalk where John Lennon was shot. Coincidence? Let’s try these facts :
• Just before the first take was filmed, a private messenger served Mia Farrow with formal divorce papers from her husband, Frank Sinatra. Farrow openly wept in front of the cast and crew, and Roman Polanski – the director of the film – insisted that the day be canceled and filming be postponed until the next day.
• Roman Polanski and his pregnant wife actress Sharon Tate was murdered in 1969 by Charles Manson and his followers, who titled their death spree as “Helter Skelter”.
• Producer William Castle got kidney failure after receiving death threats relating to the film in April 1969.

8. SEINFIELD (1989 – 1998)
Recently, the term of “The Seinfield Curse” has been applied to typecast actors / actresses who, after appearing in an enormously popular television series or movie, have trouble finding popularity in other roles. And this term at the beginning was refering to the three stars of the show: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards. After the end of Seinfield show, they have trouble finding popularity in other roles. Each attempted to launch new sitcoms as title-role characters. However, almost every show was canceled quickly, usually within the first season. But it seems like the curse is about to break after the latest sitcom from Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine, received high ratings and entering the 4th season already. She also won the Lead Actress Emmy Award for her work on the show’s first season, which is exactly ten years after she won it in Seinfield.

Just two weeks in shooting set, Daniel Craig got injured two times already. In the first accident, he has eight stitches on his face after cut during filming. The second happened when he sliced the tip off one of his fingers. A fire broke out at Pinewood – the film set – and causing severe damage to an outdoor Bond set. Two stuntmen were injured in separate car accidents while filming car chase scene in northern Italy.

There was an accident in this film that has been known as “The Twilight Zone Tragedy”. On July 23, 1982, during the filming of a segment directed by John Landis, actor Vic Morrow and child actors Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen died in an accident involving a helicopter being used on the set. Pyrotechnic explosions caused the low-flying helicopter to spin out of control and crash. The accident led to legal action against the filmmakers which lasted nearly a decade, and changed the regulations involving children working on movie sets at night and during special effects-heavy scenes.

Three of the main stars (James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Sal Mineo) died under tragic circumstances. Dean was killed in a traffic accident on September 30, 1955. Wood drowned on November 29, 1981. Mineo murdered on February 12, 1976.

12. DIFF’RENT STROKES (1978 – 1986)
Although become one of the most successful sitcom – and was in the top 30 of the TV ratings for its three seasons from 1978 until 1981 - three of the child stars from Diff’rent Strokes ended up having problem after the show ended.
Dana Plato went on to pose for Playboy, arrested twice (for armed robbery and for forging a prescription for Valium). She died of a drug overdose in 1999 at the age of 34.
Todd Bridges was arrested in 1994 after allegedly ramming someone’s car after an argument. He also had issues with illegal drugs for several years.
Gary Coleman filed bankruptcy in 1999. He was working as a security guard at a shopping mall from 1998 – 2001, where he’s been charged with assault after punched a woman in the shopping mall in 1998.

A couple of weeks after the film’s release, all of the publicity traded companies that made products featured in the film had been their share prices fall in the time.

Are These Super Stars Die Naturally?

Nothing is last forever. But what if it lasted too fast without any solid and clear explanation? The following article is about movie stars who died mysteriously. Even the explanation of their dead is published, but still there are some questions are left unexplained. Did they really die as “simple” as that? No any other reason?  

1. DAVID CARRADINE (Death : June 3, 2009)
He was an American actor best known for his work in 1970’s television series Kung Fu and appeared in more than 100 feature films. His last performance was Crank : High Voltage (2009), played as Poon Dong. On June 4, Carradine was found dead in his room at the Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel on Wireless Road, in central Bangkok, Thailand. Carradine was found hanging by a rope in the room’s closet and it reported by Bangkok Post that his body was found curled up in the wardrobe with a shoelace tied around his genitals and neck.
Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunand, a Thailand Forensic Patholgist and Director of Central Institute of Forensic Science, stated it was an accidental death involving autoerotic asphyxiation.
However it has been reported that Carradine was found “with his hands tied behind his back”.
Carradine’s body was taken to a hospital for an autopsy by last Friday (Jun 5, 2009).

2. RIVER PHOENIX (Death : October 31, 1993)
His dead was considered one of show-business’ most shocking and tragic and elicited a vast amount of coverage from the media at the time. On October 31, 1993, Phoenix collapsed from a drug overdose of heroin and cocaine outside the Viper Room, a Hollywood night club partially owned by actor Johnny Depp (until 2004). It reported, he began convulsing for eight minutes. He was rushed to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center via ambulance. But unfortunately, all attempts to resuscitate Phoenix were failing and he was pronounced dead at 1:51 a.m. 
Some people – until today - still not believe if River Phoenix was having drug habits. He was known as a dedicated animal rights, environmental, and political activist. He won PETA’s Humanitarian of the Year  Award in 1990 for his fund-raising efforts. 

3. HEATH LEDGER (Death : January 22, 2008)
Ledger was found unconscious in his bed by his housekeeper and his masseuse, in his fourth-floor loft apartment at 421 Broome Street in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. On February 6, 2008, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York released its conclusions, based on initial autopsy of January 23, 2008. They concluded that Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effect of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine. The manner of death is accident, resulting from the abuse of prescription medications.
Even the case has closed, the question still remain: How Ledger obtained the oxycodone and hydrocodone in the drug combination that killed him? Oxycodone is main active ingredient for the relief of moderate to severe pain, and hydrocodone is an orally active antitussive and commonly compounded with other analgesics like paracetamol or ibuprofen. Meanwhile, the prescription did not mention any kind of medicine that use those kind of ingredients.

4. MARILYN MONROE (Death : August 5, 1962)
Her dead become one of the most debated conspiracy theories of the 20th and 21st centuries. Monroe was dead at her home in Brentwood, Lost Angeles. It was her live-in housekeeper Eunice Murray found her. Sergeant Jack Clemmons was the fist police office to arrive at the death scene.

The official – as stated by Dr. Thomas Noguchi of the Los Angeles County Coroners office - cause of her death was “acute barbiturate poisoning” An examination of the body ruled out intravenous injection as the source of the drugs leaving only an enema or suppository as a source. The results of full autopsy – oversaw by Dr. Theodore Curphey – were never made public and no record of the findings were kept.
Today, the mystery surrounding her death prevails. The sealing of her file by the government, the destruction and loss of the many records during the time and the death of many of the people involved, leave us with a very big question mark.

5. GEORGE REEVES (Death : June 16, 1959)
The man who personified the “real” Superman for an entire generation of television fans, George Reeves, died at 1: 59 am on June 16, 1959. He was died of a gunshot wound to the head in the upstairs bedroom of his Benedict Canyon home. Police concluded that Reeves had committed suicide. But many people refused to believe that he would kill himself. There is a fact that no powder stippling from the gun’s discharge was found on the actor’s skin. Police also found the gun too thickly coated in oil to hold fingerprints.
Until today, the caused of George Reeves’ death still unexplained.

6. THE NOTORIUS B.I.G. (Death : Mach 9, 1997)
On March 9, 1997, Christopher George Latore Wallace – also known as The Notorious B.I.G, one of the well-known American rapper – killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. The incident happened fifteen days before his double-disc set Life after Death released. The album hit #1 on the America album charts and was certified Diamond in 2000. Since his death, a further three albums have been released.
Wallace’s murder remains unsolved. The Lost Angeles Times reported that Wallace might be killed by the Southside Compton Crips because he was not paying them money he owed for security services provided in the West Coast.

7. TUPAC SHAKUR (Death : September 7, 1996)
Tupac Shakur – well-known American rapper and actor -  was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. He died six days later of the complications from the gunshot wounds. People speculated about the connection between Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. since both of them are having unpleasant relationship, especially after Shakur released “Hit ‘Em Up”, a diss song in which he explicitly claimed to have sex with B.I.G.’s wife. There has speculation from outset about the possibility of B.I.G.’s collaboration in the murder. But there is no evident about it. His death is remaining a mystery. 

8. CHRIS FARLEY (Death : December 18, 1997)
Years before his death, Farley had attempted to seek treatment for his alcohol and drug abuse. He also made numerous visits to weight reduction treatment centers. However, on December 18, 1997, he found dead in his apartement on the sixtieth floor of the John Jancock Center in Chicago. His younger brother, John Farley, found his first. An autopsy later revealed that Farley had overdosed on a combination of cocaine and heroin with advanced atherosclerosis cited as a significant contributing factor in his death. Somehow, at the time of his death, there were no illegal drugs found in his apartment, only prescription pain killers.
(Later on in his official biography, The Chris Farley Show : A Biography in Three Acts, it stated that actually there were several bags of cocaine found in the apartment.)

9. BRUCE LEE (Death : July 20, 1973)
Several weeks before his death, Lee was collapsed in Golden Harvest studios while doing dubbing work for his film, Enter the Dragon. Suffering from full-body seizures and cerebral edema, he was immediately rushed to Hong Kong Baptist Hospital where doctors were able to reduce the swelling through the administration of mannitol and revive him. Rumors said, the caused of the seizure was the injured that Bruce Lee got during a fight between him and a Silat (one of the popular martial art from Southeast Asia) Master from Malaysia, Dato Meor Abdul Rahman. The fight happened while Lee was doing a research on Malay Silat.

Late night on July 20, 1973, after having a dinner with former James Bond star, George Lazenby, Lee and his producer, Raymond Chow, went to Betty Ting’s house to discuss their next film, Game of Death. Betty Ting is a Taiwanese actress who also Lee’s colleague.
A short time after, Lee complained of a headache and Ting gave him an analgesic, which content aspirin and muscle relaxant. At 7:30 pm, Lee went to lie down for a nap, and never woke up after that. Lee was dead while being sending by ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The doctors announced Lee’s death officially was ruled a “death by misadventure”.
Many people are questioning his dead was questioning for years. But on October 15, 2005, Raymond Chow stated that Lee died from a hypersensitivity to the muscle relaxant in the analgesic. Even the statement has been given, the exact details of his death are still a subject of controversy. There are many theories about his death, including murder involving the Triad Society and a supposed curse on him and his family.

10. BRANDON LEE (Death : March 31, 1993)
While making The Crow, Brandon Lee – the son of Bruce Lee - was supposedly hit by blank gun fire that made by actor Michael Massee (played as Fun-boy, the film’s villain). However the movie’s teams who prepare the gun forget to pull out the primer bullet. An when fired, it hit Lee in the abdomen and lodged in his spine. He was immediately rused to the hospital, but Lee’s heart stopped once in the ambulance.
Same as his father, his death has raising the rumor about the curse on his father which extended to him.

11. PHIL HARTMAN (Death : May 28, 1998)
He was a Canadian-born American actor, comedian, screenwriter and graphic artist. You might remember him if you watched his appearance in the films Houseguest, Small Soldiers, Sgt. Bilko, and Jingle All the Way.
On the evening of May 27, 1998, after returning from dinner with producer and writer Christine Zander in  Italian Restaurant  Buca di Beppo in Los Angeles, Phil had an argument with Brynn Hartman – his wife – and threatened to leave her if she started using drugs again. While he slept, Brynn entered his bedroom at 3 am with a .38 caliber handgun and fatally shot him twice in the head and once in his side.
Los Angeles police stated Hartman’s death was due to “domestic discord between the couple”.
Some people found difficulty to accept the facts of this murder case. Actor Steve Guttenberg said that the pair were “a very happy couple and they always had the appearance of being well-balanced”.

12. NATALIE WOOD (Death : November 29, 1981)
On November 28, 1981, Wood together with Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken went on to Catalina Island for weekend use their yacht.  It was anchored in Isthmus Cove. After midnight, while tried to leave the yacht, Wood accidentally slipped and fell overboard.
Thomas Neguchi, a Los Angeles County coroner, held an investigation and resulted in an official verdict of accidental drowning. Noguchi concluded Wood had drunk of wine and was intoxicated when she died. There were marks and bruises on her body which considered have been received as a result of her fall.
Still for some people, her death is still unsolved because many questions are unanswered. The story about Wood was going to go boating around the cove in a dinghy at midnight in her thin nightgown does not sound realistic. They also questioned numerous bruises over the lower and backside of her legs. Even the case has closed, her death is still under mysterious circumstances.

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