Birthday wishes are in order!
Yesterday, Jon Downes - Director of the Center for Fortean Zoology and monster-hunter extraordinaire - celebrated his 50th birthday!
I first met Jon back in 1997, when the CFZ was a relatively small body, comprised of Jon, Graham Inglis, Richard Freeman, and a few correspondents dotted around the British Isles, and which operated out of Jon's then-cramped little abode on the fringes of the city of Exeter, Devonshire, England.
Today, the situation is very different: the CFZ is now truly an international body, with countless, dedicated people undertaking work, research and investigations on behalf of the group. Not only that: from its humble beginnings, the CFZ today undertakes expeditions across the world in search of all manner of cryptids; publishes an excellent, glossy-covered journal highlighting the very latest in the world of cryptozoology; and puts on a truly superb yearly conference - the Weird Weekend.
And, somewhat appropriately, the CFZ today has its base of operations in a sprawling, centuries-old abode cast out of ancient stone, situated in an old and picturesque English village, and of a type that Sir Henry Baskerville himself would be proud to call home.
On his special day, I am proud to call Jon my friend. Jon has overcome obstacles, fought against the nay-sayers, worked hard to make the CFZ the organization that it is today, and found love with his beloved Corinna.
So, as Jon (or, as I have decided to call him from now on, "Ye Great Olde One") celebrates his half-a-century, I raise my glass to a man who has overcome the odds to follow his heart, to do something on his own terms and no-one else's, and to further our knowledge as it relates to the fascinating world of cryptozoology.