Category Archives: Halloween

Sports Questions and Samhain

The World Series continues into November. In the Northeast, no less. This really bugs me. With two rounds before the Series, somethings gotta give. Maybe a 154-game season, which Major League baseball used to have until the 1960s, when it went to 162 games. And while they’re at it, couldn’t they starts some games earlier, so I kids could watch past the third inning?

I suppose this is sacrilege, but I wish the Yankees, and some minor league teams, and maybe others, would get rid of “God Bless America” during the 7th-inning stretch. It started after 9/11/2001, but now it’s become a “new tradition”. And at the last Hall of Fame game I attended, “honored America” with a scratchy and warped Kate Smith recording. And some people are now getting bent out of shape if television doesn’t cover the singing of same, even when TV doesn’t cover Take Me Out To The Ballgame, which follows.

In the NFL, I was really happy that Denver beat New England a few weeks ago, but I found it unfair that the Patriots never touched the ball offensively in overtime. There’s got to be a better way than a coin flip. In the college game, each team at least gets a chance to score, not a perfect model, but clearly fairer.

So what’s bugging you about sports? Maybe it’s the relatively new scoring system in figure skating; I happen to like it better than the 6.0 standard. I read that some are advocating for more instant reply in baseball; not sure how that would work. The example is a ball, not a home run ball, that was judged as foul by the umpire but fair in the replay. Where would the batter, and even trickier, the runners, end up? I’m not opposed out of hand, but I can’t see how it would work.

Swiped from Uthaclena: In Druid tradition, Samhain is the time of the dead, when the veil between the worlds thins and spirits walk the land of the living. It is the feast of death and rebirth, and the New Year of the Celtic calendar with the fall of the last leaves, the heart of the Autumn, the beginning of the Darkened Days, and the Quiet Time to listen to the Wisdom of the Crone. At this time we celebrate and commemorate our ancestors and elders who have passed into the Otherworld. But, fear naught, for the Sun will be born anew, and Light and Life will return to the world!

Solemn Blessings to you all; hold fast to the seed of Hope, and dream of Better days!


Am I Going Bats Again?

Long-time readers of this page know that our house, the one that we moved into in May 2000, has had a live bat within its walls in 2002. And 2003. And 2004. And 2005. And 2006. And 2007,despite efforts in the last several years to patch the places on the roofline where we suspect the creatures are getting into the living quarters.

Well, it’s the end of October, it’s cold, and it’s already SNOWED in Albany this week, FCOL, so I can say with some degree of confidence: in 2008, we were bat-free! Hurray!

Since it’s Halloween, Lydia’s going trick-or-treating with some kids from church. (No, I don’t worry about these “pagan” rituals threatening my Christian faith or whatnot.) We DO have to make sure we go through what she gets to pick out those candies with nuts or peanuts, since she is allergic to the latter, and the former are often processed in the same place as the latter. This means that her poor mother, my poor wife, will have to eat all the Snickers bars and Reese’s Pieces.

Meanwhile, thanks to Noggin, this is Lydia’s and my favorite Halloween song this year, based on something Evanier hates, but which I actually like in small quantities; Lydia has never had them.

or here.

Coverville discovered this One-man Thriller A Cappella with a unique twist.

20 Horror Movie Clichés.

Haunted library

Why Orange and Black?


An autumnal meme

Happy Columbus Day! Happy Thanksgiving, Canadian colleagues!

Via Mr. Frog:

Have you ever been apple picking?
Why yes, though not recently.

Is there a dish you make/eat only during this time of the year?
Pumpkin pie. It’s not nearly my favorite pie, but if tradition demands, tradition demands.

Will you attend a tail gate party this season?
Have I EVER gone to a tailgate party? Maybe inadvertently – someone was tailgating and invited me to join, but I’d say no.

When do you turn on the heat?
The heat comes on automatically when my fingers turn blue while I’m inside the house. Actually, the heat turns on automatically when the house temp goes below some threshold; it’s been on at least one night already.

How many sweaters do you own?
Probably four, but I’m never sure. My wife put them away last spring and I have no idea where they are.

Are you fond of Nouveau Beaujolais wine?
Je ne comprends pas.

Do you get excited about Halloween?
I did even into my twenties, then not so much. I do now because my daughter is trick-or-treating, and since she’s allergic to peanuts, my wife and I can swipe her Sanheim swag.

How about Thanksgiving?
I feel real ambivalence about Thanksgiving. On the one hand I am thankful for what I have. On the other hand, it often feels like a real hassle, either going to the in-laws or, on a couple occasions, hosting my in-laws. No offense to my in-laws, many of whom live less than an hour and a quarter away, but it’s one of those times when my tiny birth family’s distance really bugs me. Also, I’ve had some really crummy Thanksgivings in the past, probably none worse than being invited to someone’s house, then having the invitation withdrawn – for reasons that were unclear – the day before; I sulked on takeout Chinese that year.

Is there an activity you do only in the autumn?
Well, rake leaves, which I add to the compost pile. I usually wait until Veterans Day.

Have you ever burned leaves?
Years ago.

Do you own any ‘scarecrow’ decorations?
I don’t believe so.

Do you plant bulbs?
A few years ago, we planted tulips on an extremely mild December 1. I think Carol still does, but I’ve lost my gardening mojo.

Your fondest autumn memory?
It was a party in 1987…well, that’s all you get.

When does fall begin for you?
When I need a warmer jacket. Sometimes it’s September 15, other years it’s more like November. It’s definitely fall now; I need gloves to ride my bike.

What is your favorite aspect of fall?
I love playoff baseball, football starting around Thanksgiving.

What do you like to drink in the fall?
Hot chocolate.

What is fall weather like where you live?
It seems so variable. It usually gets gradually, or occasionally suddenly cooler. Often, there is a temperature recovery for a few days, before it gets colder and windy I associate November with a dance of the dead leaves.

What color is fall?

Do you have a favorite fall chore?
I believe “favorite” and “chore” don’t belong in the same sentence.

What is your least favorite thing about fall?
That impending feeling of death. One fall about four years ago, a friend of mine, the husband of another friend of mine, and the mother of still another friend of mine all died, and I ended up at all of those funerals. And there were others for which I did not attend the service because of distance.

What is your favorite fall holiday?
It used to be Columbus Day because Lydia’s day care was open, Carol and I had it off from work, and we could go on a date (lunch and/or movie), but her day care’s closed this year. So, I pick Veterans Day: the notion of a war to end all wars is so appealing, if ultimately unreachable.

What’s your favorite kind of pie?
Almost any fruit pie: strawberry-rhubarb, apple, blueberry, cherry.

Do you have a favorite fall book?
No. Winter, yes, spring, yes.
What I’m recording tonight:
Koppel: The Last Lynching
TV-14 (LV)
Ted Koppel speaks with three Democratic delegates whose journeys to nominate Barack Obama took them through thornier moments in American racial history.
Discovery Channel, 10 pm, EDT (also early tomorrow morning at 2 am EDT).


The Lydster, Part 45: All in Good Time

I was watching “Grey’s Anatomy” a couple months ago (yeah, OK, whatever). Dr. Bailey, who is the only reasonably sane character on the show, was being berated on her cell phone by her husband for missing their less-than-one-year-old son’s first Halloween. Then she, talking to intern George, bewailed missing it too, even though she was helping with a surgery to make some cute kid’s life better.

Oh, please.

This year was Lydia’s first Halloween that we went out and celebrated. And her mother took her to a limited number of houses. I mean, how much candy does she really need? (Answer: quite a bit, actually, after eliminating the candies that might have peanuts.)

Likewise, we haven’t had a Christmas tree until this year. This is Lydia’s fourth Christmas. The first year, we were too tired and disorganized. The second year, we were afraid she’d accidentally pull it down on herself unless we had a moat around it. The third year, we weren’t home long enough, as we were at the grandparents’ house; they had a tree. This year, however, we went up to the attic, found the tree stand, negotiated which Christmas bulbs made it on the tree (Carol and I each have our own sets), figured out the lights (we were on the same page on that one), and decided that it would be important to help Lydia, and us, to have some Christmas traditions of our own.

So, I don’t think we’ve psychologically damaged Lydia by having foregone the rituals until now. Or if we have, she can send us the shrink’s bill.

More details anon.

Happy 3 3/4, Lydia.

Scary meme

Yeah, I know Halloween is over; I don’t care. From Jaquandor via Tosy.

1. What is your favorite work of horror fiction?

I have no idea. I’ve never read any horror novels, though I’ve seen movie adaptations of some of Stephen King’s work.
I was talking just recently to someone about Rolf Stark. He was an artist published for a time by FantaCo. His work, some of which was more like horror fact than fiction, was quite disturbing.

2. Who is your favorite monster?

The monster of Frankenstein. Or Grover.

3. What horror movie gives you the most chills?

I still don’t remember the title. I was nine or ten at the time. The story involved this woman who was old and/or homely but became lovely through this potion. Men found her irresistible, but if they kissed her, she’d revert to her former self. She had to kill them, using some ring to the jugular, and blow some powder to return to her beautiful self. I was about 10 or 11, so this movie came out before 1964. The thing gave me nightmares for MONTHS. It was, quite literally, a pain in the neck.

4. Freddy versus Jason?

I ODed on Freddy. FantaCo sold Freddy gloves, Freddy masks. That said, Jason seemed like a doofus in a hockey mask. Probably Freddy, barely.

5. Ghosts or goblins?

Friendly ghosts like Casper.

6. What is your scariest encounter with the paranormal?

I don’t know that it was “paranormal” but I spoke in tongues once.

7. Do you believe in ghosts?

I consider the thought that people from beyond watching over me undisturbing.

8. Favorite Halloween costume?

This one.

9. If you had an unlimited budget, what would your fantasy costume be for this Halloween?

Chuck Berry.

10. When was the last time you went trick or treating?

Seventh or eighth grade.

11. What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Mark Evanier is convinced that nobody likes candy corn, and even posted a Lewis Black video from YouTube (alas, no longer available) to prove his point. He’s wrong, though this season I probably only had about a half dozen.

12. Tell us about a scary nightmare you had.

I had a recurring nightmare of being in the back of a large automobile, it crashing through the railings of a bridge, crashing into the river, and sinking to the bottom. The level of intensity depended on how open the windows were; it was usually a slow leak into the vehicle.

13. What is your supernatural fear?

I don’t have any.

14. What is your creepy-crawlie fear?

Snakes. don’t matter that there are probably none of the venomous variety around here. Oh, and rats.

15. Would you ever stay in a real haunted house overnight?

Sure, why not?

16. Are you a traditionalist (just a face) Jack O’Lantern carver, or do you get really creative with your pumpkins?

Well, this year’ pumpkin, carved by my wife, had two faces – a smiling face and a scary face.

17. How much do you decorate your home for Halloween?

Not at all.

18. Do you think Halloween is too commercial these days?

No, but I don’t want to think about it in August.
More scary things:
The New England Patriots are now 9-0, after their 24-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
The Writers’ Guild strike is underway. Or is it Writers’ Guilds, since there’s a WGA East and a WGA West. Most of what I know about this comes from Evanier, but it seems reasonable that writers should benefit from the newer technologies such as DVD and video streaming.