Halloween music 2020

It’s the pelvic thrust That really drives you insane

Now that my daughter doesn’t do Halloween anymore, it’s difficult for me to get worked up over it. Yet I do like to see the costumes of the little kids and not so little kids coming to my door.

Still, some of the teenagers REALLY need to make even a modicum of effort to at least feign the idea that they’re doing some sort of outfit. Many’s the time I’ve said, “What are YOU supposed to be?” The response was an inaudible mumble.

And I have this Halloween music CD I like to play. It has generic spooky tunes, interlaced with screams, groans, and other presumably horrifying sounds. The atmosphere is everything.

I decided to pick some vaguely Halloween/spooky/scary/sinister/weird songs for the post. If you Google, you’ll find tons of similar lists. For instance, 66 killer songs for your Halloween playlist and 50 Spooky Halloween Songs You Need to Play at Your Costume Party. There is, inevitably, some overlap with each other.

But there’s only one song on my list that’s on either, or in this case, both lists. That’s Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which I love more than is justifiable. In part, I think it’s Susan Sarandon, who later became a Serious Actor, as Janet.


Toccata and Fugue in D Minor – Bach

Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary – Purcell

Pictures at an Exhibition – Gnomus – Mussorgsky

Pictures at an Exhibition – Catacombs – Mussorgsky

Night On Bald Mountain – Mussorgsky

The Isle of the Dead, Symphonic poem Op. 29 – Rachmaninov

Requiem – Gy Ligeti from 2001


Evil– Howlin’ Wolf

Celtic Rock – Donovan

Your Long White Fingers – The Gothic Archies

The Dead Only Quickly– The Gothic Archies

The Top Ten Horror Movie Themes

Paint It, Black – The Rolling Stones

Voodoo – the Neville Brothers

I Put a Spell on You – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Everyday Is Halloween – Ministry

Zombie Jamboree – Rockapella

Time Warp – Rocky Horror

Spiders and Snakes – Jim Stafford

Wastepaper-Basket Fire– Brian Dewan

Frankenstein – The Edgar Winter Group

Journalist Jane Pauley turns 70

She’s hosted CBS Sunday Morning since October 9, 2016

Jane PauleyJane Pauley noted on the August 16, 2020 episode of CBS Sunday Morning the 20th anniversary of her bipolar depression. Her acknowledgment of the condition was unsurprising. She’d written about it, and other facets of her life, in a book called Skywriting. The diagnosis came “out of the blue,” part of the subtitle of the book.

On October 23, 2019, Jane had appeared on CBS This Morning’s special “Stop the Stigma” broadcast to discuss when she was first diagnosed in 2001. Incidentally, she hated the term “stigma.”

Like most people, I first saw Jane on the TODAY show on NBC. In fact, I swear that I watched her appearance in 1976, introduced by then co-anchor Tom Brokaw. After Brokaw left to anchor NBC Nightly News, she was paired with Bryant Gumbel from the beginning of 1982 to the end of 1989.

I regularly watched at least the first hour of the program. She also had other assignments, such as anchoring the Sunday edition of the Nightly News from 1980 to 1982.

NBC launched Dateline on March 31, 1992, Jane co-anchored the newsmagazine from the beginning to 2003 along with Stone Phillips. I viewed it occasionally, depending on the topic. Then I largely lost track of her.

The Eye

“On April 27, 2014, following an appearance during a ‘where are they now’ segment and interview on CBS Sunday Morning, Pauley began contributing to the show as a correspondent and occasional substitute host. Pauley has been a guest host on CBS This Morning and has also filled in for Scott Pelley on the CBS Evening News.”

I’ve been watching Sunday Morning since it first aired on January 28, 1979, with original host Charles Kuralt. When I first got a VCR, it and JEOPARDY! were the first programs I would record; ditto on the DVR. Charles Osgood was the host of the 90-minute program for 22 years, taking over from Kuralt on April 10, 1994.

When I heard Osgood was retiring, I knew there was only one logical replacement. Apparently, I wasn’t alone. “‘We first got to know Jane when we did a story about her on Sunday Morning,’ said Rand Morrison, the show’s executive producer, in a statement.

“‘Our viewers immediately responded by suggesting she belonged on Sunday Morning permanently. And – as is so often the case, they were right. She’s a dedicated, experienced broadcast journalist. But – every bit as important – she’s a delight to work with. A worthy successor – and a perfect fit.'”

The show has been hosted by Jane Pauley since October 9, 2016. Notably, she has interviewed fellow Indianians such as David Letterman and John Mellencamp. She also got an exclusive with Garry Trudeau, the creator of the newspaper comic strip Doonesbury on its 50th anniversary in 2018. It was an easy “get” since they’ve been married since June 14, 1980. They have three children and two grandchildren.

Still, though the topic of that personal piece she did a couple of months ago she’d discussed before, it was amazingly affecting. Jane Pauley turns 70 on October 31, the same birthday as the late John Candy.

John Candy would have been 70


Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is my favorite John Candy movie. It’s also my favorite John Hughes film.

James Kendrick described it as “a road comedy about two men trying desperately to get home for Thanksgiving and having every obstacle imaginable thrown in their way. The men are played, in a feat of pitch-perfect casting, by Steve Martin and John Candy as complete opposites who, at the beginning of the film, don’t know each other, but by the end have found that they have more in common than they thought.”

Candy himself was quoted about the script. “I just cried with laughter when I read it. It’s like it was written with me in mind, which makes a big difference. I could see just see the movie in my mind.”

Back in 1972, John was accepted in the Second City comedy troupe’s Chicago group. For two years, he worked with folks such as John Belushi and Gilda Radner. He then returned to Toronto in 1974, working with Second City’s Toronto group.


John “helped bring the troupe’s skits and sketches to Canadian television in 1977 as SCTV. The series also featured Martin Short, Eugene Levy, and Harold Ramis. That’s where I first him. “John Candy’s Johnny LaRue, Josh Shmenge and Gil Fisher (“The Fishin’ Musician”) were about as different from each other and Candy himself as you could possibly get.”

He reportedly turned down offers to be in the SNL cast. Interesting, then that he ended up in ten movies with SNL alums.

Among the movies I saw, he appeared in The Blues Brothers, Stripes, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Splash, and Home Alone. One of his best performances was in a more serious role. “During his screen-time as Dean Andrews in JFK (1991), the nervous sweat seen on his face is real, as the thought of acting in a dramatic film opposite such heavyweight actors as Donald Sutherland and Gary Oldman made him very scared.” He was very good.

Another solid role was as the title character in Uncle Buck (1989). He said, “In the movie, Uncle Buck doesn’t talk down to these kids. And I think that’s why they like him. He treats them as an equal.”

A sad demise

I’ve learned that John Candy lost his father Sidney to a heart attack when John was only five years old. Sidney was 35; HIS father also died of a heart attack. “John was a heavy smoker for most of his adult life. He officially quit smoking cigarettes a few months before he passed away.” And the large man was sensitive about his weight and periodically tried to shed some pounds.

Still, he too died of a heart attack, on March 4, 1994 at the age of 43. He was in Durango, Mexico filming the western spoof Wagons East. According to fellow SCTV alum Catherine O’Hara, “just before going to Mexico, Candy talked to her on the phone and told her that he feared going to Mexico because he felt that ‘something bad is going to happen there.'”

Sadly, John Candy, who was born 31 October 1950 in Toronto, Ontario, was only 43 when he died. He was well-loved by his compatriots.

Health report: blood pressure

Emergency surgery for the baby sister

blood pressure

One of the things my cardiologist – I have a cardiologist?! – wanted me to do is to track my blood pressure. I’m not sure why. My BP has usually been pretty consistent over the years.

Still, all month, I’ve been religiously waiting for 8:20 a.m. I don’t eat beforehand. After opening the device and attaching this tool to my left wrist, I sit on the sofa with my left arm elevated by the davenport’s arm.

The idea is that I sit quietly for five minutes before pushing the button to start the reading. Why do 300 seconds of doing nothing seem so long? I hear the second hand of the analog clock in the kitchen ticking.

What have I learned? Other than the tracking of this information has become an obsession? Not a whole lot.

According to the current standards, a systolic reading of less than 120 mm Hg, and a diastolic score of less than 80 mm Hg is considered normal. If it’s 120–139 systolic/80–89 diastolic, it’s considered At Risk (prehypertension), and higher than that is considered High Blood Pressure (hypertension).

When I gave blood regularly – 176 times, thank you very much – my BP was never over 130/80, and usually far less. Only on two occasions has it ever been over 140 systolic. One was for my physical in anticipation of my hernia operation in 2015 when it was 163. The other time was when the cardio surgeon started talking to me about having a procedure in August 2020, and it was about 155 the first time, 142 the second.

The numbers bounced around this month, but it hasn’t been over 120 systolic since the 17th. It’s never exceeded 76 diastolic. But I’ll keep doing it for the foreseeable future.

The baby sister

My sister Marcia called me Friday night at ten minutes before ten. This is NOT my best hour, as I was heading for bed. I hear on my answering machine, “Er. Call [my daughter], maybe in the morning. I’m having surgery.” Wha?

I rushed over to the phone. Marcia had been having digestive problems all week and ended up in the emergency room at about 6 p.m. By 9 p.m., the doctors determined she needed surgery. THAT night. Without getting too specific, her digestive tract was out of alignment, probably due to surgery from 30 years earlier. Think of a garden hose that gets twisted and needed to be unkinked.

I called her daughter Saturday. My sisters, and their daughters(!) and we had our Zoom chat on Sunday. we’re hoping she’ll get out of the hospital later in the week.

Voting for the incumbent, save one

Paul Tonko v. Liz Joy

Paul Tonko
Paul Tonko

I voted yesterday, in person, at one of the six polling places in  Albany County, and the only one in the city of Albany. I voted by mail in the June primary. Now my fear of being disenfranchised is greater than the threat of COVID.

If you don’t know who I voted for in the Presidential race, I’ve been far too subtle. There are three Congressional races in this television market. Only one, of course, is for my district.


South of here is the 19th Congressional district. The incumbent is Anthony Delgado (D), who won the nomination in a very crowded primary field in 2018. In that general election, he knocked off one-term Congressman John Faso, plus two other candidates, including Diane Neal, formerly on the TV show Law and Order: SVU.

In 2020, Delgado is running against Kyle Van De Water (R), as well as Steven Greenfield (Green) and Victoria Alexander (Libertarian). But I’ve only seen Delgado commercials here, mostly him touting how he keeps in touch with his constituents, even during a pandemic.


The most contentious race in the area is in the 21st district, north of here, between incumbent Elise Stefanik (R) and Tedra Cobb (D). This is a rematch of their 2018 race, which the Republican won by 13.7 percentage points. Stefanik had replaced retiring incumbent Bill Owens (D), beating Aaron Woolf (D) handily back in 2014.

Both campaigns use a combination of inspirational and negative ads. Stefanik touts helping small businesses in her district, sort of helping to make pizza. She’s with a group of police officers when she, and they, note they “back the blue”; she’s even wearing blue jeans, perhaps to emphasize the point. She paints Cobb as a tax-and-spend liberal.

Cobb portrays Stefanik, who appeared at the 2020 Republican National convention, as a Trump clone. Her best ad shows her and her adult daughter discussing the fragility of having health coverage.


In my district, the 20th, Paul Tonko (D) was first elected in 2012. He had been a long-time member of the New York State Assembly. I could name none of his opponents prior to this year.

In August, I saw a couple of lawn signs, not far from my house, for Liz Joy. I have no recollection of lawn signs from any of Tonko’s previous opponents.

Then she ran this damn TV ad. She’s leading a bunch of women down the streets and spouting some law-and-order blather. She suggesting Paul Tonko and the Democrats are seeking to destroy the police and the country. I was appalled with the Sarah Palinesque tactic. If I saw her, I’d say, “Oh, come ON, Liz! Tonko as a wide-eyed radical?”

I met Liz Joy once. She was a blogger for the Times Union, though her blog is down for the duration of the campaign. Mike Huber, who was the blogmeister at the time, wanted to find some more conservative voices, and she qualified.

One of the other TU bloggers had a small gathering – six or eight of us – at their apartment, perhaps in the late autumn of 2016, and she was invited. There’s a photo somewhere. She was very pleasant. We DIDN’T talk politics at all.

The one ad I saw of Tonko’s was a fairly boring one about him serving his constituents. I don’t know him, but I’ve run into him several times. He’d be at an Underground Railroad event, an economic development session, the 50th anniversary of FOCUS churches celebration, and the like. If he’s in town, and not in DC, he’s meeting the citizens.

Liz Joy would not be unsurprised that I am voting for Paul Tonko.

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