A most peculiar Halloween

Math is everywhere

Ah, the peculiar Halloween of 2020. My wife and I mused on what we would do if we were to actually get a trick or treater at our door. I considered looking on YouTube for videos on building a candy catapult, but I opted against that.

I talked with a friend on the phone who was distraught during our previous discussion. He’s happier now.

At some point, I caught the news that Sean Connery had died. I was sad. Yet, here’s a confession: I’ve never seen ANY James Bond film. But I liked his advocacy for Scotland. He was a hoot in that third Indiana Jones film. I also enjoyed the movie Finding Forrester (2000). Here are 10 movie quotes.

I printed out three recipes for my wife. One was from Australia and had a reference to 160 Celsius. What’s that in Fahrenheit? I asked my phone, but it kept hearing “Once it.” Heck with that, I’m using pen and paper. I need to multiply the Celsius temp by 9/5, then add 32, which gets me 320°F. Hey, I still remember!

In the afternoon, a man in his 40s or 50s who I had never seen before rang the doorbell. He wanted to know if he could do some yard work. Immediately, I said “no thanks.” Then I thought about it. 1) He obviously needed the work. 2) I could afford to pay him.

And most importantly, 3) I HATE raking. It is what my economics teacher might call the “law of diminishing returns.” The more I do it, the less satisfying it is. I went to the front porch. The guy was already four houses up the street. I called, and he came back. He swept the porch and the sidewalk, as well as raking the lawn. Money well spent.

I did a couple of Venmo transaction for my wife so she could fund some teaching activities. I’ve yet to use it for my own needs.

The total was zero

Walking to the bank and back, I was struck by how few people were outside. It was a chilly day, but still. And I was reminded that it took a pandemic for my bank to dispense five- and ten-dollar bills, not just twenties.

I’d purchased about $30 of candy earlier in the week. NOBODY came to our door, compared to about 240 last year. Perhaps it was the fact that there were alternative activities.

From 3 pm to 5 pm the City of Albany will partner with a variety of sponsors and community organizations to host Halloween events in 11 City Parks.

“As per guidance published by New York State and the Centers for Disease Control, the City of Albany is calling on residents to avoid high-risk activities to help prevent the spread COVID-19, such as door-to-door trick-or-treating or trunk-or-treats, attending crowded costume parties held indoors, or going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together. “

I had missed the memo. On one hand, I was really happy not having to worry about opening the door. On the other hand, I missed seeing the costumes. No satisfying some people, I guess.

My wife and I went out about 9 p.m. to see the full moon. A little while later, we went to bed. But I could not sleep at all. It really wasn’t the noisy next-door neighbors in their backyard. Maybe it was the over 98,000 COVID cases the day before. Or my fear of what the body politic was going to do this week. A peculiar Halloween, indeed

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.

Classical

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

Popular

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

Halloween 1978 with Sid and Shirley

makeup debacle

I have no recollection of any Halloween costume I wore as a child. If there were pictures, I’ve not seen them for years, if at all.

Perhaps there were a couple of times I think I dressed up in college, but they’re lost on me as well. The year I turned 25, in 1978, I remember, perhaps because there was a picture.

My girlfriend Susan had a friend who was having “a Halloween costume party. I’m not sure that I had any costume ideas, but Susan did, and when she suggested, I embraced it. (Or so I remember.)

“I had a beard and a mustache at the time, so I shaved them. Then Susan and a couple of her friends made me up. We found a dress in a second-hand store, a wig and shoes from somewhere, and we went to the party, she as ‘Sid’ and me as ‘Shirley.’

“I affected a high pitched voice, but frankly, I figured that people would know it was me. After all, I was still a six-foot black person. Much to my shock and amazement, no one recognized me! Well, not until later in the evening, when my ‘five o’clock shadow’ starred to appear.

“The Halloween of 1978 inspired me to dress up for several years thereafter, though never again in drag.” I have pictures that I need to scan. My favorite was a skull mask, a wizard’s hat, and my college graduation robe. There’s a picture with me leaning on a car, reading the New York Daily News comics section.

Another involved a Frankenstein mask, beret, and a seersucker jacket. I’m sure I bought both masks from FantaCo, where I worked. Boy, were they warm.

My daughter did Halloween for a few years, often utilizing dance outfits she wore when she studied ballet. I was not inspired to dress up as I took her house to house.

SamuraiFrog

Still, I relate to the sentiment of my buddy SamuraiFrog: “This is my favorite time of year, but it always brings with it the disappointment of seeing some of my fellow Halloween lovers being total hypocrites.

“Seriously, if you’re a person who starts visibly celebrating Halloween in August, don’t turn around and attempt to dampen anyone else’s spirits just because they start getting excited about Christmas in November or October. Don’t try to make people feel bad about being excited about something you’re not, you selfish prick.”

Makeup debacle

I know it wasn’t for Halloween, but Justin Trudeau’s brownface debacle seems seasonably appropriate for discussion. TIME magazine obtained a photo of Canada’s prime minister at an ‘Arabian Nights’-themed party at a private school where he was teaching in 2001.

In response to the photo surfacing, Trudeau apologized for his actions, agreed that the photo is racist, and said it “was a dumb thing to do.”

There have been many debacles, for Halloween and otherwise, about blackface. Megyn Kelly, who’s only about 14 months older than Trudeau, ended up off her NBC News show for suggesting that blackface on October 31 was no big deal where she grew up in upstate New York. But Virginia governor Ralph Northam is still in office.

On a hopefully less problematic topic, here are Halloween costumes on Pinterest. Also, 29 Best Halloween Events Near You, From Festivals to Costume Contests.

Banning teens from trick-or-treating is ridiculous

Margaret Hamilton in her first reprisal of her role as The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz.

Places to Spend Halloween[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

Why banning 13-year-olds from trick-or-treating on Halloween is ridiculous:

“The city of Chesapeake [, Virginia] has an ordinance that bans anyone 13 years and older from trick-or-treating. If teens are caught in costume with a sack full of free candy, they could be found ‘guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $100 or by confinement in jail for not more than six months or both.'”

Such laws are not anything new in the state. Rules with undoubtedly selective enforcement – officials say they won’t be actively looking to catch teenage trick-or-treaters in the act – make me nervous about its application.
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Here’s a plug for my old boss: If you missed the Monster Art of Basil Gogos campaign on Kickstarter or just want to order an extra book, please go to FantaCo.net to place your pre-order. This second chance offer ends on Halloween night!!! Do not miss your chance.
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The Paul Lynde Halloween Special is a Halloween-themed television special starring Paul Lynde broadcast October 29, 1976 on ABC. It featured guest stars Margaret Hamilton in her first reprisal of her role as The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz.

Also guest starring are Billie Hayes as Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf, Tim Conway, Roz Kelly, Florence Henderson, rock band KISS, Billy Barty, Betty White and, in an unbilled surprise appearance, Donny and Marie Osmond.
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The Best Horror Movies in One Boo-tiful List

From the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features. Dating back 2,000 years to the Celtic festival of Samhain, Halloween is an ancient tradition associated with images of witches, ghosts and vampires.

Haunted and Historic Pub Crawl of Ten Broeck Mansion

The Isle of the Dead by Sergei Rachmaninov

Halloween Safety poster

The Official “Trumpkin” Pre-carved Halloween Pumpkin

It takes a village to raise a giant pumpkin

Newly Discovered Goblin Spider Resembles ‘Predator’ Alien

Would you try this candy corn pizza? (NOPE)

5 Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

70 Best Homemade Halloween Costumes for Kids of All Ages

Macabre flower

Home Depot’s New Hauntingly Cool Halloween Decorations

October rambling: Twilight Zone & the Confederacy

We are living in a kakistocracy

Hands up, don’t shoot (Nah, that never happened…)

The Twilight Zone and the Confederacy.

In 1939, 20,000 Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism

How the Nazis Used Jim Crow Laws as the Model for Their Race Laws

Trevor Noah: Race and Identity (NY Times interview)

No longer a convicted murderer, Carl Dukes faces life after 20 years in prison

A Fire Story -Brian Fies

Journalists’ lament

Heather Fazio’s exodus from the Times Union blogfarm

John Oliver: Why The Equifax Breach Is A Big, Scary Problem

The lie that poverty is a moral failing was buried a century ago. Now it’s back

How the Elderly Lose Their Rights

Labour will lead NZ Government

LIGO Detects Fierce Collision of Neutron Stars for the First Time

The day the sky turned red in the UK – but what caused rare phenomenon?

The Story Behind the Chicago Newspaper That Bought a Bar

We are alienating each other with unrestrained callouts and unchecked self-righteousness

Chuck Miller: Crossing past my failures

Burger King ad: Bullying Jr.

Vikings Razed the Forests. Can Iceland Regrow Them?

Archaeology in Albany

How did people sleep in the Middle Ages

The shortest regularly scheduled airline route on earth

Swedish death cleaning is the morbid new way to de-clutter your life

28 Boring Words and What to Use Instead

Where do mansplainers get their water?
From a well, actually.

How to Pronounce Paraskavidekatriaphobia

5 Zombie Walks to do for Halloween

Magazine of the Living Dead: The bloody rise and frightful fall of Fangoria – at FantaCo in 1980-1988, we sold a ton of back issues; #9 was considered rare

A brief history of Bat-marriage

The Great Catnip Caper Of 1909

Now I Know: Why Things are Tawdry and When Baseball Players Left it on the Field and The Special Sound a Mercedes-Benz Makes Before a Crash

Steve

THE MADNESS OF DJT

We are living in a kakistocracy

Taking Hostages and The chaos grows

The Self-Dealing Presidency

Rigged: How Voter Suppression Threw Wisconsin to Trump

Grief, compassion -advice ignored

George W. Bush: Bigotry in any form is blasphemy

Lawrence O’Donnell: ‘Stunned’ by John Kelly’s attack on Rep. Wilson and video of her 2015 speech at new FBI building

How Badly Is Neil Gorsuch Annoying the Other Supreme Court Justices?

MUSIC

We Will All Go Together When We Go – Tom Lehrer

Almost like Praying – Lin-Manuel Miranda and friends sing for Puerto Rico support

Since I Don’t Have You – Skyliners

What goes on – Beatles (Lennon vocal)

Coverville 1190: Indie Hodgepodge & Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute

K-Chuck Radio: But they’re not doing the Time Warp…

Hey Ya! – Walk off the Earth (Outkast Cover)

Up In A Puff Of Smoke – Polly Brown

You’re Still A Young Man -Tower Of Power (1972)

Go Go Shoes / Go Go Place- Lonnie Youngblood with Jimi Hendrix, May 1966.

Shocking Omissions: Joan Armatrading’s ‘Walk Under Ladders’

Female-female songwriting teams

Joni Mitchell: Fear of a Female Genius

Hallelujah! The Songs We Should Retire?

Why we really really really like repetition in music

Who first said, “Writing About Music is Like Dancing About Architecture”?

CAREER IN MUSIC IS DAMAGING TO MENTAL HEALTH