All posts filed under: ODD

We have freedom, but we’re not independent

I have been a journalist for 25 years. In fact, this year marks my 25th year of being in the journalism industry in some area, starting in college at a local radio station and later as a paid intern at a newspaper. This also marks the 20th year of my college graduation.

In the last 25 years, I have covered a variety of stories, including homicides, fires and car accidents. I was good at establishing trustworthy relationships with law enforcement, but I have never really enjoyed covering spot news.


My Christmas Tree is Filled With Aliens, Robots and Monsters

By LaReeca Rucker The way you decorate your Christmas tree says a lot about your personality, as do the ornaments that we choose to adorn it. More than 20 years ago, I began collecting and making my own ornaments at Christmastime. I try to make and buy a few new ornaments every year to add to my collection. I started with porcelain cherubs, leaving some white and decorating others. Then I bought traditional Christmas balls and covered them in glitter, back when you couldn’t find glittery decorations like them. I have also made ornaments for my tree that feature pictures of my late pets. In the last few years, I have taken an annual trip to Hobby Lobby to select ornaments that I like. I also look in Walmart, Fred’s and other local dollar stores. Tomorrow, I plan to attend two Christmas craft events and search for more interesting ornaments to add to my collection. There are a few things that I am fond of and always on the look out for – aliens, robots …

The metal rooster

I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen a giant rooster, but if you drive through Rankin County and beyond, you may run across this one. On one of my last trips in that direction, I stopped to take a few  photos of this rooster that is probably one of the largest lawn ornaments I’ve ever seen. The photo at left of me should give you some perspective about its height. This rooster is featured in front of a store that sells other metal decorations for your lawn. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Unusual Mississippi mascots discussed on Yahoo blog

East Union Attendance Center was discussed today on Yahoo’s “Prep Rally” sports blog. Writer Cameron Smith took note of the team’s unusual mascot – a sea urchin. “There is no logical reason why a school in Mississippi should use the sea urchin as a mascot,” he said. “The school in question is not on the water, and Mississippi is not historically known as a particular sea-faring state, unless one conflates on a grandiose paddle boat on the Mississippi River as being seafaring. “That in itself should be enough to push the Blue Springs (Ms.) East Union High Sea Urchins into the realm of the absurd and right to the top of the Mississippi mascot lists. Incredibly it doesn’t, thanks to an equally bizarre mascot that looks like a bouncy ball with giant spikes protruding from all of its surfaces.” Smith goes on to talk about two other Mississippi schools and their unusual mascots – St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis and the Taylorsville High Tartars. You can read the full article here with more descriptions …

Attention all Mississippi gardeners: Check out the Crazy Yard Art video

Deep in the concrete jungles of Ridgeland, right off Old Canton Road in an urban shopping center, is a foliage-filled sanctuary of wild animals so brightly colored that passersby can’t help but turn their heads, startled by giant giraffes, zebras and butterflies. You may hear a monkey squeal, a frog ribbit, birds caw and sheep bleat if your imagination runs as wild as the yard art on display at Freshway Produce. Like other stores in the Jackson metro area, Freshway has become a colorful place where shoppers looking for unique and eye-catching art can purchase something “cra-zazy” that’s guaranteed to make your garden ferocious and fierce while your neighbors’ is tame. Want a flying pig? They got ’em. Need a weird looking metal goat? It’s there. What about a 10-foot giraffe? Check. “We have goats, rabbits, butterflies, giraffes,” said owner Richard Cockrell, adding that giant butterflies and giraffes have been his most popular sellers. The giraffes come in 4-foot, 6-foot and 10-foot sizes. Quirky yard art is so popular these days, it was recently used …

Nuclear testing in Mississippi: a little known history

He was 7 years old when U.S. government representatives came to his Lamar County home, boarded it up and evacuated his family three miles away to protect them from a nuclear blast that shook both his body and the Mississippi earth in a 30-mile radius of the Tatum Salt Dome. (Link to Clarion-Ledger story.) “We were probably about a mile and a half from ground zero,” said Kevin Saul, now 55. “They evacuated us to my grandmother’s house in Baxterville. It was just like an earthquake came through. The house was shimmering and shaking. The ground had a buckle effect to it. It would knock you off your feet.” For 30 seconds, Saul experienced the effects of the only underground nuclear detonation east of the Mississippi River and a moment in history that ultimately helped the United States government fight the Cold War. That riveting experiment helped American scientists realize that their equipment could detect the underground explosions that the Russians were also conducting. “They kept us out for a day, and we were allowed …

Is We Need to Talk About Kevin another prophetic work of fiction?

I have always believed that science fiction writers are prophets and sometimes wonder if the same can be true of anyone who pens a fictional story. Perhaps they are connecting to the universe in some strange and mystical way that we can’t fully comprehend resulting in a vision of the future. Take for instance The China Syndrome. The film, starring Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas, tells the fictional story of a reporter and her crew who discover safety coverups at a nuclear power plant and witness an accident that narrowly avoids a nuclear meltdown. It was released by Columbia Pictures on March 16, 1979, just 12 days before the partial nuclear meltdown at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island. In one scene, a nuclear safety expert even says a meltdown could force an area “the size of Pennsylvania” to be evacuated. It also seems like Morgan Robertson was prophesizing in the 1898 novel Futility that tells the story of an “unsinkable ship” that hits an iceberg and meets its doom, but it would be 14 years before …

Should monkeys have rights?

While checking my Facebook news feed this morning, I came across this NPR story Championing Life and Liberty for Animals. As a lifelong animal lover, I have always believed that all of God’s creatures should be treated with kindness and respect, despite the fact that I eat meat, wear leather products and understand that hunting can be a necessary evil to help reduce certain animal populations in certain regions, like deer, that can sometimes cause fatal accidents on highways. The NPR story focuses on Mississippi resident Tim Lepard’s cowboy monkey rodeo – an act called Team Ghost Riders he has taken around the country for years featuring capuchin monkeys dressed in red, white and blue cowboy attire riding on the backs of dogs. During one of Lepard’s recent appearances at a minor league baseball game in Maryland, the article states that a “handful” of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) showed up to voice concerns about the treatment of Lepard’s monkeys and how they were being used in the show. PETA says the …

Have yourself a monster little Christmas

I’m always on the lookout for unique and beautiful Christmas ornaments during the holiday season, and I found these frighteningly funny monster bulbs on Etsy. St. Louis seller Monsteropolis sells a set of two hand-painted ornaments for $20. According to her bio, the former nanny has a bachelor’s degree from the Kansas City Art Institute. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Ghost Cats of the South

This book was sent to us, and the cover gave me a chuckle. One Web site describes it as a “haunting and entertaining volume” that introduces the reader to “a helpful ghost cat in rural Kentucky who smells like soup” and “a hungry cat in Tunica, Miss., who will eat your face,” as well as other spirit felines. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Patchwork chairs and the Mississippi sky

I ran across a cool decor article today on the Ready Made blog about a Brooklyn native who moved to Starkville and furnished her new business with patchwork chairs. Because architect and designer Annie Coggan couldn’t afford to spend a lot of money on new seating for her restaurant, she scavenged for sturdy old chairs, refinished them and pieced some together to form unique works of art. The result gives the Little Building Cafe originality. She painted the chairs with Mythic paint (a company based in Hattiesburg) “Medicine Blue, described as “a hue that matches the peculiar color the Mississippi sky turns as storms are gathering.” Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Photo credit: Caleb Crawford

The vampire trend

I asked a few public relations companies if their clients had any vampire-related products or merchandise that were created as a result of the current popularity of vampires – Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, etc. – and here’s what they came up with. Some sent items that they felt vampire fans would like. 1. A leather jacket from the Hurley collection. 2. A fanged pacifier found online. 3. Therapy Systems sells these eye shadow cases for $19 called Evening Twilight. 4. will be sending some of her jewelry to the set of The Vampire Diaries with hopes that it will be featured on the show. The Unchained Cross necklaces sell for $59 each.   5. Lolita offers these vampire shot glasses. 6. recently launched a Vampire Collection of coasters and cocktail napkins. Each product can be customized with your personal message, monogram, name, date, and more. The ForYourParty Vampire Collection Cocktail Napkins retail for $25 for 50 and Round Coasters for $33 for 50. 7. recently introduced a vampire card for …

Mississippi monsters

They’re supposed to scare people, but how could anyone resist one of these adorable Mississippi monsters? Ocean Springs artist Stacey Johnson creates blue monsters using clay and a cookie cutter. You can find them for $13 on, and they can be hung anywhere. Etsy seller Iris1980 in Gulfport creates these wool felt appliques and stitches them on monster T-shirts that cost $16. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

Zombie Love?

Proof that the zombie trend continues, check out this $25 Zombie Love shirt by seller Pinuppixie, who is based in Arlington, Texas. One of my friends pointed out that it’s appropriate for Halloween or Valentine’s Day. A quick Etsy search also revealed a zombie bride and groom wedding cake topper, a laptop bag featuring a zombie scene, “Zombies are people too” pins, zombie hands and feet pendants and zombie greeting cards. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

Bugged by the weather

Last weekend it was snowing. This Saturday, it reached a high of 80 degrees. Does this make sense? Not really. Unless you’re a Mississippian. We know to keep both our winter coats and sandals handy for any given day. Since warmer weather “seems” to be headed our way, I stopped by the Ridgeland farmer’s market today to see what plants and vegetables they have for sale. That’s where I spotted this gigantic, metal, folk art grasshopper waiting for someone to take him to their garden. He’s about 3 feet tall. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

The Pink Dolphin

This is something you don’t see every day. The Telegraph reports that a cotton candy pink dolphin has been photographed in Lake Calcasieu in Louisiana. Experts say the color is a result of albinism. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Image: Caters News Save

The M-Files: Mississippi UFOs

When we asked readers if they had ever seen an unidentified flying object, we received many responses, and a number were from individuals who wanted to remain anonymous, fearing they would face ridicule if they came forward with their unexplained sighting. One of the interesting things about these folks is that they all seemed like credible, well-respected professionals, who thought telling their story would damage their credibility, like the radio reporter who saw a mysterious light in the Gautier sky a few years ago. It moved rapidly — faster than anything she’d ever seen — then suddenly stopped and remained still a minute and a half before darting back across the sky in the same direction from which it came. Another man wrote to say that, in September of 1973, he was living in Germany on an Air Force base with other military personnel when he and about 10 to 20 others who were outside on their balconies spotted a large triangular object that moved from the southern horizon to the northern horizon in about …

Express your inner nerd with Kilobyte Couture

In the 1980s it was lame, even downright bogus to be a nerd. Nerds and geeks were a persecuted segment of society who sought revenge in a popular movie of the day, but thankfully times have changed. Now, a quarter of a century later, the intelligently elite traditionally known for having more brain than brawn have embraced their nerdiness, and it’s chic to be geek. Just ask Mississippi State University graduate Brittany Forks, who conceived an idea that combines fashion and computer parts. Kilobyte Couture was born in May of 2006 while Forks was working for her stepfather, Jeffery Wyatt, a researcher at MSU’s Simrall Electrical Engineering Building. To read more, click here. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

Zombie fashion?

I recently blogged about the current popularity of zombie movies. While looking at trend sites today, I ran across this odd little item that seems to fit the subject. seller RW2Gallery crafts Night Life Zombie belt buckles. Zombie fashion? I think I’ve just found Vogue’s next photo spread. 🙂 I also have to wonder if the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” plays some part in this trend. The artist, Robert W. Walker of Ohio, says his surrealism art reflects his way of life – “to live loud regardless of what the emperor appears to be wearing.” Walker says, “Art is the freedom that the product imitates; it’s the hunger that war promises is on the way. Creation is a prerequisite for life, and that force is in our hands.” To learn more about Walker, visit his site. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

The Small Book Company

I am a big fan of, and my latest find is The Small Book Company. Jewelry artist Nicolette Tallmadge creates tiny earrings shaped like books. They were too cute to resist, so I ordered a pair. The company is geared toward book lovers who want to show their love and appreciation of books by dangling a pair from their ears. The tiny book covers are made from printed recycled paper, and each pair comes on an earring card that doubles as a mini book. Open the pages, and you can read about the history of the book. The free bookmark that came with my purchase made the product even more adorable. It features a quote by Henry Ward Beecher that reads “A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors.” Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

The black dog

Today, as I drove home from the Japanese restaurant over the reservoir, I noticed a black lab in the back of a black Chevrolet Silverado wearing an orange collar. As his owner drove, he ran back and forth on each side of the truck, stepping up and sticking his head out on each side to feel the cool breeze. His movement was repetitive. Over and over again, he moved to the left, then to the right. I guess he thought the wind felt better hitting his face the first time, so instead of standing still, he ran from side to side, creating a pause, before sticking his neck out into the air again. It was a funny sight, and since I have a habit of attaching meaning to the things I see, or stopping to ponder the possibilities of signs, I drove contemplating what the wind-loving black dog was trying to tell me. His movement was hypnotizing, like the swaying of a pocket watch held by a stereotypical psychiatrist. It reminded me of a clock …

The bowl diver

I look at three or four different Web sites daily to keep up with rapidly changing trends and see what I can find that’s notably unique. I ran across this toilet decal today that brought a little smile to my face. Apparently others have also found it humorous because the seller “vital,” of Colorado, has sold out. Maybe he’ll have more bowl divers soon. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save