Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Matter of the Tip

By Chris Chaos

Nice Guy Eddie: C'mon, throw in a buck! Images
Mr. Pink: Uh-uh, I don't tip.
Nice Guy Eddie: You don't tip?
Mr. Pink: Nah, I don't believe in it.
Nice Guy Eddie: You don't believe in tipping?
Mr. Blue: You know what these chicks make? They make (expletive deleted).
Mr. Pink: Don't give me that. She don't make enough money that she can quit.
Nice Guy Eddie: I don't even know a (expletive deleted) who'd have the (expletive deleted) to say that. 
Let me get this straight: you don't ever tip?
Mr. Pink: I don't tip because society says I have to. All right, if someone deserves a tip, if they 
really put forth an effort, I'll give them something a little something extra. But this tipping 
automatically, it's for the birds. As far as I'm concerned, they're just doing their job.
Mr. Blue: Hey, our girl was nice.
Mr. Pink: She was okay. She wasn't anything special.
Mr. Blue: What's special? Take you in the back and (expletive deleted)?
Nice Guy Eddie: I'd go over twelve percent for that.
excerpt from Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs
Tipping, who decides what line of business/service workers gets tips? Why tip a waitress but not the person working the register at McDonald's? Who set the rate of pay of a waitress/waiter at below minimum wage? What constitutes a tip? Good service? Small talk? Accuracy of the order? How do you tip if the server and service was good but the food was bad? Should you simply tip just because you know they make only between $2-3 an hour and rely on tips to pay their bill?

Although in the United States tipping is not mandatory but in some situations it is expected. Some restaurants that serve a large number of foreign customers, tourist areas (or for larger parties) may impose a mandatory gratuities since those customers may not be familiar with US tipping policies. But this must be clearly marked in the menus. Some pizza shops or like businesses may put a tip jar out near the register so if the customer feels they have received great service they can "reward" the workers with their change.
The following is considered the going rate for the following: For waiters at sit-down restaurants, 
bartenders, barbers/hairdressers/attendants at beauty salons, taxi drivers, tour guides, and food delivery people, the tip should be calculated as a percentage of your total bill as follows: 10% usually means you aren't totally happy, 15% usually means all was good, 20% for excellent, over 20% for outstanding. 15% and over is considered "normal".
(These recommendations are based on ones provided by the Emily Post Institute, an expert on etiquette in the US)
If you experience bad or unacceptable service it is customary to tip as low as 10%. If service is bad enough to deserve only 10%, it is a good idea to let the manager know. Also, placing 2 pennies side by side on top of bills neatly placed on the table lets the server know that it is intentionally low because of bad service. If the server in some way did such an awful job so that you do not wish to leave any tip at all, still leave the 2 pennies, so that they understand that you did not just forget to tip.
But all in all if your server is doing their job, is pleasant and you can tell they are trying to assist you, by all means let that reflect in your tip. Although there can be a few people your food goes through to get to you and your table, if the food is not to your liking that may be the cooks fault, not your sever, do not take it out on them.
But one thing that I have learned from the various people that I know that work in the food industry: DO NOT MESS WITH PEOPLE THAT HANDLE YOUR FOOD.
NOTE: The author is a columnist for

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ghost Hunting, Paranormal Research and the Preservation of History Rich Locations

by Chris Chaos/
The Origin and Background of “CURSED”
Cused book A few years ago it was decided to produce a documentary and an accompanying book entitled “CURSED”, it was to be an exploration and documentation into abandoned buildings, investigation of supposed haunted locations, preservation of history, lore and documenting architectural wonders. 1st on the list was an exploration into the very cursed section of Haddon Heights, New Jersey. This location served jumping point for a few unsolved murders from many years ago near Haddon Lake, an attempted suicide where a man drove his car 100mph into a McDonalds killing several of its workers and where a transsexual accused of molesting neighborhood children had a shoot-out with the police when they came to serve a warrant. Then the CURSED project branched off into other locations that were in danger of being torn down and lost to modern memory that were shrouded in some sort of dark past. While researching and documenting we visited dozens of locations in the NJ and PA area researching the history and documenting through video, photo and writing up reports. Looking back many of the buildings have been torn down since then and something else was built in its place. We hope their legends can live on through CURSED.

 Some of the locations that we investigated were abandoned mental facilities, prisons, schools and hospitals. One thing that was noticed about many of the popular ghost hunting shows were the cast were lacking credibility, experience and knowledge on the backgrounds of the ghosts they were talking to...most were former mental patients or criminals..the celebrity ghost hunters also had no real world experience in dealing with these “formal people” (or people in general for that matter). I wished to expand my talents into the psychological field so I took a position with V.O.A. and Bancroft which deals with the criminally insane, people with brain/mental disorders, victims of crimes, atrocities and the like. With the training they provided and more exposure to the living people contrasted to and bled over into these abandoned buildings where I might encounter their ghostly counter parts. Learning how to talk and associate with these people in real life experience gave the edge to interact with any specters that might be encountered in our expeditions. Knowing how to talk to these possible ghosts may put them at ease and make a bridge for an open dialog.
 The "CURSED" book series is an investigation into the paranormal, the unexplained, local lore and upholds the preservation of history, culture and architectural landmarks.
 How it differs from what is already out there:
 Many of the popular Non-Fictional Ghost/Paranormal TV shows (for entertainment purposes) have been glamorized and have producers on board that feel they ''have to" present something paranormal to the audience and have a tenancy to add in false items to spice the story up and to mislead the viewers. The reality of the situation is 90% of the time when a "haunted" location is investigated nothing happens. When we visit a location we educate ourselves prior to the visit concerning the story behind the lore and take it into account and attempt to either confirm or disprove the different stories, and usually there are several different versions of the same legend. Whether the stories are true or false and regardless of the lore and possible tales of hauntings, we always document what we find thru photos, videos and draft up a report of what may have occurred for public record and for the "CURSED" version of the book. "CURSED" also is not limited to "ghost hunting" as many of the current TV shows are, we also believe in preserving our local legends and history. Many of the former Asylums ( and abandoned buildings) are considered an eyesore and a burden to the community, so investors and people with no appreciation for history come in and buy the land up to use for strip malls, super stores or condos, effectively destroying all the history and lore that might have been associated with the location.
 Yes it is "fun" to go on urban explorations through old abandoned buildings and landmarks to see what can be found, but it is also important to not deface or damage the property like so many prior that vandalize the locations. Respect the location and the neighbors that may be adjacent to the location that you are exploring. Many locations that are visited have strict "No Trespassing" rules put in effect by the local police (or County Sheriff) due to many "troublemakers" flocking to the areas after hearing about it from popular magazines or TV shows, and sometimes that does ruin it for the investigators that are there simply to observe and document the place before it gets torn down by modern convenience.
 Our primary scope of location is Southern New Jersey since that is where we are based out of, but we have been invited and will also document other locations. We are not limited by geographical constraints.
 Chris Chaos of Axis Video/Pine Barren Films
 TOPICS and locations included in the book are:

Qualifications of an investigator
HOLY HOLY HOLY Altar” Mount Holly, NJ
The Fairview/Edgewater Abandoned Trail Tunnel” NJ
Gloucester City Ghost investigation” Gloucester City, NJ
THE HANGING TREE” Presidential Lakes, NJ
Paulinskill Viaduct” NJ
Walpack Center” Walpack, NJ
Shades of Death Road” NJ
Ghost Lake” NJ
The Fairy Hole” NJ
Jenny Jump” NJ
What is the deal with ghosts and doors?”
The 1754 Mount Holly Farmhouse Massacre” Mount Holly, NJ
A Word About EVPs”
Menantico Colony of Vineland” Vineland, NJ
The Devil’s Tower” Alpine, NJ
THE PURGATORY HOUSE/ROAD” Route 70 and Purgatory Road Vincentown, NJ
Palace of Depression”, Vineland NJ
Profanity House” Allamuchy, NJ
Lambertville High School”, Lambertville NJ
The Mary Ellis Grave” New Brunswick, NJ
Zurbrugg”, Riverside NJ
Leeds Point”, NJ
Atison” NJ
SKILLMAN Psych Center and grave yard NJ
WITCHCRAFT ROAD, Viginville, PA 3.06.13
Batsto Village, New Jersey (3.10.13)
Emilio Carranza Crash Monument Tabernacle NJ
"The Oaklyn Suicide Nazi Tree" Oaklyn, NJ
The Haddon Lake Curse” Haddon Heights, NJ
 If you would like to purchase the book here are the details:
 Cursed: An Explanation of the Unknown
Authored by Mr Chris Chaos, Contributions by Ms Chrissy McManis
 8.5" x 11" (21.59 x 27.94 cm)
Full Color on White paper
50 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1494233945 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1494233940
BISAC: Travel / United States / General
 Follow the books progress here:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

HOLY HOLY HOLY: The Altar of Judgment and THE WITCHES' WELL

This week we will explore 2 mystical locations, both based in Mount Holly, NJ

HOLY HOLY HOLY: The Altar of Judgment and THE WITCHES' WELL
Mount Holly, New Jersey

by Chris Chaos

 2013-05-13_14-36-24_510Does Holy Holy Holy hold the Jersey Devil? The Witches Well: There was a legend that the Jersey Devil is sealed inside a stone altar on top of a mountain. This mountain is known as THE MOUNT in Mount Holly New Jersey. We went to this location several times, the 1st time we scouted it out and took many photographs, the 2nd time we went back and filmed some video.
Legend has it that the New Jersey Devil was chained up here and if you put your ear up to the metal door you can hear him thrashing around. Another legend was that this site was the capstone that went all the way to Hell.

Yet another legend goes that one of the 1st (suspected) witches in the area was thrown down this well and she survived the drop and clawed and screamed for help and cursed all those that threw her into the well. Later on the shed was built over the Well to stop the haunting that was occurring. Recently the township put up a barbwire fence with stop motion cameras that actually yell at you when triggered. "Stop! You have been caught on camera and this will be used in your prosecution, turn around now!" it states when you venture too close. Why would they spend all this money for this security? What is really here? Without breaking the law and jumping the fence you currently cannot reach The Witches Well, but you can see it through the fence that was erected. If you go in the warm months be aware of the mosquitoes, they are plentiful and very hungry.

There is also a gravestone located in the cemetery right near this area and a woman is buried there. The grave reads: “Thus is the fate of all who turn from God, you are here because God hates you.” This lady, who was a suspected witch, supposedly summoned the Jersey Devil and he killed her. Afterwards JD was caught and chained up and cast into the Well.

The Holy Holy Holy Altar of Judgment
Mt. Holly, NJ

A few hundred feet from the Witches Well and up a somewhat steep hill is the Altar that was used to judge the witches many years ago. The altar is a white (painted grey) concrete table (4 feet by 8 feet by 4 feet), It has the words “Holy Holy Holy” inscribed across it. In front of the slab are old wooden benches, set in a square. Much graffiti has been marked onto the altar and tales of modern day sex magic and animal sacrifices have taken place here. Right next to the altar is the gallow that they used to hang the witches with, but it has been long knocked down and only the stump remains.

On October 22, 1730 over 300 people had gathered to witness the trial of two people, a man and a woman, who had been accused of witchcraft. The charges included "making their neighbors sheep dance in an uncommon manner, and with causing hogs to speak, and sing Psalms, to the great terror and amazement of the King's good and peaceable subjects in this province." This took place 40 years after the famous witch trials in Salem, Mass.
We took video and photos of both locations, but nothing out of the ordinary occurred while we were there. We hope to go back at night and see if we obtain different results.

UPDATE: May 2013

We went back to this location in May 2013 and it really has changed. Someone redid the path leading from the street up to the HOLY HOLY HOLY ALTAR and it is now smooth and mulched and there are now park benches in front of the altar. The witch (that was buried outside of the cemetery) along with her grave and markers are still there. It seems that the community is tired of the kids going up there and “doing things they should not be”, so they are trying to make it a bit more touristy and to demystify the legends that surround this location. The area appears friendlier to the average person but is still mostly only known to the locals and those whom seek out and research these types of locations. In the Fall we plan to go back and gain more video and investigate a bit more to provide more updates. There are several trails spread out around The Mount that lead from The Mount itself, The Witches Well, The Holy Altar and the cemetery that we will also be investigating a bit deeper in depth.


(Chris Chaos is a long time resident of South Jersey who once again resides in and writes from Gloucester City, New Jersey. Chris can be reached at

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Self-Proclaimed Liberals and Conservatives

by Chris Chaos

Since the dawn of time mankind has labeled, secluded, excluded, separated and divided himself among many stratifications such as race, religion, class, sex, income etc. He does this to feel better about himself, to distinguish himself and to put down others. The various governments of the world do the same to take the attention off of themselves and allow the common folk to battle and quarrel amongst themselves. One of the backbones in the United States that was implemented in the “divide and conquer" scheme was the concept of the two party system, Democrats and Republicans, furthermore, Liberals and Conservatives. Obviously there are dozens of variations to this, but for the purpose of this short exercise we will be speaking strictly of Liberals and Conservatives.

It may seem that many people that feel the need to define themselves as a self-proclaimed "fill in the blank" are usually the worst ones within their selected category. They see it as a calling and a need to go above and beyond to stand apart from the others in their lot and to gain the attention that they so desperately crave.

The seven below points, from each side of the political belief spectrum, were pulled from the most common responses when liberals and conservatives were polled.
In living and experiencing life situations, I have had the dual purpose pleasure and displeasure of dealing with the gauntlet of just about every personality that exists and today we will discuss two of them. They will be comprised of the “Self-Proclaimed Liberal” and the “Self-Proclaimed Conservative”. Obviously, this is not a complete and exhaustive list.

Please do remember, these are the individuals that make it a point to tell you who or what they are, they interject their opinion whether it is wanted or not.

"Self-Proclaimed Liberals"
1. Possess an unrealistic or shallow view of the world, with the belief that the people running the businesses and governments are basically good people but are misunderstood.

2. Illogical when it comes to dealing with people, the world and how it works. Typically of the younger crowd, naïve, fresh out of college and lacking real world experience.

3. Typically they follow the herd and believe what they are told without further research, this population is the one of weekday afternoon television full of Jerry Springer, Court TV, daytime soaps and get rich schemes with little to no work involved.

4. The ones appearing in this category feel the need that they have to change things, the world or help people, whether they want this help or change is beyond their grasp. They take great delight in attempting to change the status quo, to upset culture and tradition in the name of “progress”.

5. The self-proclaimed Liberal is constantly in other people's business, telling them what they should think, believe and how to behave. They will tell you to not be racist, homophobic or whatever the case may be and then turn around and belittle or hate you for not agreeing with whatever the topic may be. They want it their way or no way.

6. Many times Liberals cannot comprehend the concept of “Life is not fair”; setting rules/laws to give an unfair advantage to any special interest group is within their scope to fit their own needs. What is fair to one group may be unfair to another.

7. Although this talking point can go under both categories many Liberals call themselves “people of tolerance”, but they can be some of the most intolerant people on earth. A large number of the COEXIST people that claim to love everyone and everyone is equal are the ones that simply cannot accept people that differ in belief outside of their own. The Theory of Mind escapes them. So for the Liberal view of tolerance it usually falls under hypocrite.

"Self-Proclaimed Conservatives"
1. Many in the self-proclaimed Conservative category are of the older generation and are entrenched with out dated ideals in comparison to the younger generation,

2. A vast majority are also of conspiracy theory mindset. They may be thinking and trying to comprehend the how and the why of why people do the things that they do. Things just never happen for a reason, there always has to be some major joint effort of why something happened. This is in stark comparison to the mid 90’s assentation by the liberals that a “vast right wing conspiracy is taking over the USA”.

3. Many of the people that fall into the self-proclaimed Conservative category are resistant to change of the familiar and stick to what they know, hence why many Liberals consider themselves to be progressive. They usually try to get others to join them in their older ways that they consider tradition because “it is the way that it has always been done”.

4. The vast majority of self-proclaimed conservatives are usually overly religious, Christian Right that is. Many of the people that disagree with what they are saying is because many of their opinions are cloaked in religious belief and thus are considered to not be a part of reality. Many opposers automatically discount what a religious partakers opinions are just based on the differences in religious viewpoint. A fault on the side of the Conservative is that you can’t agree “God’s Will” to a person that doesn’t believe in God.

5. One thing that some liberals have stated as their observation of Conservatives has been dubbed the “Angry Conservative”, which is when they assert that they know things which are beyond the human capacity to know: the truth about God, and the correct deeply personal decisions for other people.

6. Many Self-Proclaimed Conservatives are certain their personal beliefs are correct. They can be so sure about them, there is no need to listen to other points of view. There is no chance they will modify their positions in the future based on greater wisdom.

7. One tactic that Self-Proclaimed Conservatives will use to try to make you side with them is that no matter what they are stating, if you disagree you are un-Christian or un-American. On the flip side if you disagree with what a Self-Proclaimed Liberal you are a racist, a homophobe or a Nazi.

(Chris Chaos is a long time resident of South Jersey who once again resides in and writes from Gloucester City, New Jersey.  He is a filmmaker, a business owner, writer, urban explorer and investigator of the odd and weird, has a black cat named Jynx, two rats: Hopping Heather and Climbing Carol, a proud parent, happily taken and a connoisseur of hot wings.)