January 28th, 2007

Anyone Know Voodou Mythology?

The setting isn't really relevant, but I need some info on the Baron Kriminel from Haitian Voudan legend because my chacracter is trying to explain voodoo to a friend. 2007 setting, London England- My character is very open-minded and into everything and her friend is trying to 'soul search' and find herself, so she asked about Voudan practise and mythology.

I know so far that he's one of the faces of The Baron(or Bawon) Samedi and that Baron Kriminel works for pay.

Things I tried to Goolge: Baron Kriminel, Baron Krimminel, Baron Samedi, Baron Criminel and all of those, but in quotation marks. I checked out Answers.com, Dogpile (search engine), Wikipedia and Google (duh..) and I still got next to nothing.

I don't want to know how to call him in ritual ceremony, just what he represents, why a Haitian would strike a deal with him and how... the like. Any and all help is appreciated ^.^
Firefly dinosaurs

Changing of an infant's name at adoption

My story's set in America in the mid-1990s; I've tried Wikipedia, and while I got the impression that these name changes are fairly common, I don't know how common.

My question is: How common was it in the late 1980s - the character was born around then - and in a domestic adoption, for an infant (six months old at the time), to be given a new name by their adoptive parents?

It'd also be helpful, although not strictly necessary, to know what kind of change, if any, there's been in this statistic between then and now.

ETA: So it's common (actually, seems to be more common than leaving it alone, judging by the near-unanimity of the affirmative responses). Got it. I think the reason I needed to ask was that somehow I'd ended up with the idea that open adoptions (which are commoner and commoner these days) = keep the original name.
Tony by Andie Tong

Naval Commissions

I know from the Sharpe books and such like that in the early 1900's, officers in the army were usually people who'd bought their way in. hence the fact that Sharpe was unique to an extent.

Was this the same as the Navy? If I had a 21 year old man in 1850's London who wanted to join his late father's Naval unit, how would he have done so as an officer?
  • fshk

American Civil War recruitment

I'm writing an American Civil War era novel. My characters run off to enlist.

My question is: What is the actual procedure for joining the army?

I've consulted a few books and Googled variations on "civil war" + "enlistment" +/-
"procedure" and mostly what I'm getting are individual unit histories or else information on how to join reenactment groups, but no actual information on what happened when a man decided to enlist and what the procedure might be. (Do men just show up at a designated time? Is there some kind of sign-up procedure? Is there a medical exam of any kind?) All I've managed to figure out so far is that the criteria for acceptance were not particularly strict.

So... any reenactors in the house? If anyone knows the answer to this or can point me towards some resources that might explain it, I'd appreciate it.
  • lisabel

Interior of Covent Garaden

Time Period: It's set in 1803...important because the theatre burned down and was rebuilt in 1808-1809.

Searches Conducted: I've googled and wiki'd until my eyes have been about ready to bleed. Search terms used: Covent Garden Interior, Covent Garden Amigoni, Covent Garden Theatre Interior, Covent Garden Royal Box

The Question: Can anyone describe the interior of this theatre circa 1803? The pictures I've found give me a straight view of the stage and it looks as if the curtain and draperies were all green. Where was the royal box located? Close to the stage? If so, on which side? Or was it in the center of the house like continental opera houses/theatres? Which tier of boxes would the aristocracy have generally frequented?

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.
flapjack joy

Cigarette tricks?

I have googled bar tricks/cigarette tricks, but didn't come up with anything other than illusions.

I'm writing a short story about an aging bar crawler, she was about 18 when punk first emerged making her about 50 now.
There's a fleeting reference of her doing a cool trick to light her cigarette (the point being that even though she's standing alone in an alleyway she still does it out of habit) but aside from flicking one and catching it in her mouth I can't think of anything else. Lighter tricks aren't really what I was looking for, I did look into a few zippo tricks but I couldn't see her doing them.

It's set in present day(ish) UK (it's not set anywhere specifically) although a bar trick is a bar trick and I doubt they vary an awful lot from place to place. I should know this, living as I am in present day UK, but not many of my friends smoke so I'm at a loss as to what fancy things can be done.

I was wondering if anybody had any alternatives to the flick-->mouth trick.
Thank you!
  • Current Music
    Aphex Twin-4

East St. Louis - family terms

Who - African-American family. Poor but doing well relative to the rest of East St. Louis. Two boys, the mother and the maternal grandmother (male side of the family is long gone)
Where - East St. Louis, Illinois
When - The present

What - Informal family terms for mother, father, aunt and grandmother (Please don't say "Big Mama")
Fluffy Vulcan

Federal Penitentiaries in the Northeastern US, Present-Day

My Google-Fu has brought me here: http://www.bop.gov/locations/institutions/index.jsp but my spotty knowledge of sentencing options has left me a little stymied. I'm writing a DC Comics fanfic that alludes to events that happened in canon in Birds of Prey. 

To summarize: A U.S. Senator was caught on film (which was broadcast live across the continent, thanks to a master-hacker who hijacked the airwaves) admitting that he'd ordered the abduction and unlawful confinement 10 women and also given orders to have them killed. The women were rescued, making it attempted murder only.

So, on the one hand, we have a man who would have been able to hire a top lawyer or team of them... but the evidence is incontrovertible. (Some of his aides also cut a bargain with the prosecution to testify against him. Basically, he's going down.)

What I'm wondering is, assuming that he is in fact found guilty and sentenced to prison time, in which level of Federal Prison would he be most likely to serve his sentence?

The senator is in his early 60s, if that would at all impact whether he ends up in a minimum, medium or maximum security prison. 

Thanks for any assistance!

love-heart bunny, hug

Preventing questions - what telephone number to use in North America?

Read this if your stories take place in the following countries: United States and its territories, Canada, Bermuda, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks & Caicos.

People have filed complaints due to their numbers being used in fictional stories. Some people (not me, I understand their motivation but not their follow-through) have tried to call numbers they heard about in movies or read in books. Decades ago telephone companies asked Hollywood to use the prefix 555 for telephone numbers. Obviously many writers, producers, directors, etc. complied. Not complying causes people many annoying calls.

Oh, it gets narrower: Currently only the numbers 555-0100 through 555-0199 are reserved for ficticious use.

True, it may seem more realistic to use other numbers, but it may save some innocent people calls.

More information- entry in "useless_facts"