31 October 2009

Happy Halloween

30 October 2009

Trick Or Treat - A Little of Both

Repost from Two Years Ago

Never has there been such a treat about turning tricks as the musical about the Chicken Ranch, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.


It's just a little bitty pissant country place,
nothing much to see
No drinking allowed, we get a nice quiet crowd,
plain as it can be
It's just a piddly squatin no time country place,
nothing to hide at all
Just lots of good will, and maybe one small thrill,
but there's nothing dirty going on


Now, Miss Mona, I don't know her,
though I've heard the name, oh yes.
But, of course I've no close contact,
so what she is doing I can only guess.
And now, Miss Mona, she's a blemish
on the face of that good town.
I am taking certain steps here,
someone somewhere's gonna have to close her down.

Ooh I love to dance a little sidestep,
now they see me now they don't- I've come and gone and,
ooh I love to sweep around the wide step,
cut a little swathe and lead the people on.

29 October 2009

The Goblins Will Get You

I got on a jury and will be tied up most of next week. In the meantime, I may rehash a few old Halloween posts and make the rounds to anyone playing the spooky week of Take This Tune

Little Orphan Annie


James Whitcomb Riley

Little Orphan Annie's come to my house to stay.
To wash the cups and saucers up and brush the crumbs away.
To shoo the chickens from the porch and dust the hearth and sweep,
and make the fire and bake the bread to earn her board and keep.
While all us other children, when the supper things is done,
we sit around the kitchen fire and has the mostest fun,
a listening to the witch tales that Annie tells about
and the goblins will get ya if ya don't watch out!

Once there was a little boy who wouldn't say his prayers,
and when he went to bed at night away up stairs,
his mammy heard him holler and his daddy heard him bawl,
and when they turned the covers down, he wasn't there at all!
They searched him in the attic room and cubby hole and press
and even up the chimney flu and every wheres, I guess,
but all they ever found of him was just his pants and round-abouts
and the goblins will get ya if ya don't watch out!!

Once there was a little girl who always laughed and grinned
and made fun of everyone, of all her blood and kin,
and once when there was company and old folks was there,
she mocked them and she shocked them and said, she didn't care.
And just as she turned on her heels and to go and run and hide,
there was two great big black things a standing by her side.
They snatched her through the ceiling fore she knew what shes about,
and the goblins will get ya if ya don't watch out!!

When the night is dark and scary, and the moon is full and creatures are a flying and the wind goes Whoooooooooo,
you better mind your parents and your teachers fond and dear,
and cherish them that loves ya, and dry the orphans tears
and help the poor and needy ones that cluster all about,
or the goblins will get ya if ya don't watch out!!!

25 October 2009

Jury Duty

The County of Pierce in the great State of Washington has served notice that I must do my civic duty by being on call for Jury Duty for the next two weeks.  As a result I may not be able to do my contributions to the Spooky Halloween prompts from Take This Tune which still will post every day automatically as they have been preset.  I hope everyone else will take a peek and get in the mood for the great national scarefest.

The Unquiet Grave

Today's Take This Tune spooky song is "The Unquiet Grave" which is an old folk song. Now I've a fondness for mysteries and ghost stories, so it made sense to go hunting. Someone somewhere must have written a book by that title.

Well as they say in Space Camp, "whip me, beat me, take away my credit cards" the silly search on Amazon worked and there this description was:
If you find a locked room in a lonely inn, don't try to open it, even on a bright sunny day. If you find a strange whistle hidden among the stones of an old church, don't blow it. If a mysterious man gives you a piece of paper with strange writing on it, give it back to him at once. And if you call a dead man from his grave, don't expect to sleep peacefully ever again. Read these five ghost stories by daylight, and make sure your door is locked.
The author of "The Unquiet Grave" is M.R. James. This just gets better and better. Not only ghost stories, but British ghost stories.

M. R. James (1862-1936) was born in Kent, and became the provost of King's College, Cambridge, and later of Eton School. He is famous for his ghost stories, which have been popular since the day they were first written.

So there you are ... The Unquiet Grave a book written in the 1920s and famous enough to still be published today .. now that is really good haunting

24 October 2009


Today's Take This Tune prompt is "Gravedigger". Now this isn't specifically a "spooky" song in that it is only a request that he be buried in a shallow grave so that he can feel the rain. When it comes to those who pass on, some simply leave. Others hang in there for a period of time. In my family, they have been known to call out, warn, and depart. No long visitations, just bye bye and gone.

My mother was one of the most persistent, but that is often the way of those who die by violence. She knocked on her mother's door to visibly say farewell. She visited and appeared to a sister to inform her that she would be the next in the family to depart. She walked a hallway nightly to stop by my door until I married, and then she sang a song to her first grandchild, and then played with him for the first year of his life.  For Chris there was always something in the corner no one else could see that was amazingly entertaining.

I've written that mama could sing. Unfortunately, I got my father's vocal chords, so when I held Christopher for his first lullabye, I didn't expect much ... It wasn't my voice. Believe me or don't believe me, I don't care, but I opened my mouth and sang. My aunt from the other room ran in with a shocked expression and listened. We both knew I wasn't singing. Mama sang to her grandson using my mouth. I know the song. To this day, I can croak it, but that day mama was buried in a very shallow grave .......
Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and vale in slumber steeping,
I my loving vigil keeping
All through the night.

While the moon her watch is keeping
All through the night
While the weary world is sleeping
All through the night
O'er thy spirit gently stealing
Visions of delight revealing
Breathes a pure and holy feeling
All through the night.

In an alternate version, the second verse is substituted with:

Angels watching ever round thee
All through the night
In thy slumbers close surround thee
All through the night
They will of all fears disarm thee,
No forebodings should alarm thee,
They will let no peril harm thee
All through the night.

23 October 2009

The Whole World Calls Me Hank

First up on the Take This Tune ghost express is "The Ride" and "Midnight In Montgomery".  Both involve a ghostly encounter where a phantom haunts a road or piece of real estate well known for their presence.  In this case, Hank Williams.  Both are great songs and the first time I heard each, they gave me chills.  It helps that the songs have great lyrics and wonderful singers to bring the stories to life.

This type of story has a long history and is among the scariest because seemingly "real" people interact with those still living and when disclosed as ghosts are particularly chilling.

The format is pretty simple.  A driver traveling at night picks up a strange hitchhiker, drops him or her off at some destination, then somehow discovers that the hitchhiker had passed away months or years earlier – often on that very same date.   These stories usually evolve into local urban legends.  A selection of some of the best can be found here with "The Dancing Ghost", The Girl on the Side of the Road, and The Vanishing Hitchhiker among others.

In the mean time ... drive safely

Take This Tune - Halloween

Starting Friday, October and running through October 30, there will be a different "spooky" song published daily on Take This Tune. Your mission should you choose to accept it, it to take one or all as the subject for a blog post anytime from Friday through Halloween.

22 October 2009

Put Your Dreams Away

My beloved Dodgers did win the National League West, but couldn't quite turn that into the pennant against the formidable Phillies.  I shall pack away my pom poms, towels, and other cheer leading accouterments for another year. 

19 October 2009

The Blog Blast for Peace Meme - Be Part of the Movement

As many of you know, the "Blog Blast For Peace" will happen on November 5. To get ready for this day when the globes will literally fly around the globe, today is an open invitation for everyone to join in. It also gives me a chance to use my favorite quote:

"Words... They're innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they're no good any more... I don't think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little or make a poem which children will speak for you when you're dead."
— Tom Stoppard (The Real Thing)
Bloggers love words.  We send them out into empty air hoping someone will listen and respond.  On November 5, we will be sending out three words with one voice with one goal.  We will do it in pictures, songs, poems, and articles which at their heart say only one thing:  Dona Nobis Pacem:  LET THERE BE PEACE

BlogBlast For Peace Meme ~ Join The Revolution
(I'm officially tagging everyone in the universe)
Here are the rules and the story.
Copy this into a post and tag as many people as you'd like.
The Peace Globe project began in the fall of 2006 with a simple post from one blog, Mimi Writes. The post ignited a flame in the blogosphere. The flame became a passion. The passion became a movement. It amazingly traveled from blog to blog to blog across the globe. Bloggers wrote passionate articles on what peace means to them, along with the promise of three Latin words scribbled on a globe - Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant Us Peace) - branded with the integrity of their names or blog names. It was positively inspiring to watch. And it began to happen all over the world - from Singapore to China to Afghanistan to Brooklyn.

It was simple. And powerful.  We will speak with one voice. One subject. One day.  Won't you join us?

On 5 November 2009, DISPLAY YOUR GLOBE IN A POST. Title your post "Dona Nobis Pacem". This is important. The goal is for all blog post titles to say the same thing on the same day so that they register on all the media under one name. Write about peace that day or simply fly your globe.  Get your globe to design HERE as well as see some of the Peace globes that have already been designed.

Please consider passing this meme through the blogosphere.

18 October 2009

Down In The Depths

This week's Take This Tune is Cole Porter's Down In The Depths. I hope you will join in on the meme.

Before we get into the whole of this effort, if you have not seen "De-Lovely", run don't walk to Amazon to buy or your nearest film rental and watch it.  The critics should just take a cold shower or something.  The music saves everything.

Confession. I have always wanted to be one of those tall, slender women who were born to be clothes hangers for long, white silk dresses cut on the bias. Unfortunately, my hour glass, earth mother figure was more acclimated to hoop skirts and decolletage. The only way to mesh the desire with the reality was to stay away from mirrors and become a regular at a piano bar -- Not for the alcohol, but for the music.  

Somewhere in another life there were witty conversations, brilliant repartee and Cole Porter. Cole is essential simply because no one else wrote greater music for the cocktail set while possessing so much heart. In the midst of being witty and charming there are these kernels of truth that you can't quite ignore no matter how much the kernels make you twitch.

On my bookshelf are the complete works of the Gershwin Brothers, Rodgers with both Hart and Hammerstein, and Cole Porter who never understood why it took two men to write one song. I love them all, but there is a real soft spot for Cole. About thirty years ago I saw a show in Westwood: Red, Hot, and Cole. The premise is simple. It is one of those terribly chi chi cocktail parties where everyone who drops in is famous, and they all sing signature Cole Porter songs. The production I saw was wonderful. Over the years it has gotten less than stellar reviews on off Broadway, and has descended to the level of being a Dinner Theater stalwart.  If you get a chance and your local singers have decent voices go see it. The ambiance of dining while Porter song after Porter song is performed is a time travel ticket to another era and place where people actually dressed for dinner and the gentleman owned their own dinner jackets rather than getting them from Rent A Tux.

Now if you go to the Cole Porter Web, you can find a list of every song he ever wrote. Good luck trying to pick out just one favorite. If pressed, I always come back to Begin the Beguine (1935) and then dump it for "It Was Just One of Those Things" (1935).   You may note that both are about loves that didn't quite go as originally planned.  Been there, done that, bought the T-Shirt and tossed a few tears of je suis au regret in my champagne.

With all the contemplation of Cole, I was pleased to find out that his boyhood home has been restored and you can actually trek to Peru, Indiana to sleep in a room that knew him when at the Cole Porter Inn

Just to end on a slightly happier note ... well it is still about being dumped, but definitely taking it well with more than a little Porter joi de vivre. 

Well Did You Ever  (1939 and then 1956 movie):

16 October 2009

Listen Up Mr. President

If you are interested in politics and enjoy giving a tweak or two to the powers that be, this is the book for you. Helen Thomas has been around since WW II and Craig Crawford is one of the pundits who actually tells the truth.

Together, these two have produced a little book of "How To" instructions for the man who has the responsibility for the hardest job in the world.

Take This Tune Prompt

The new Take This Tune prompt is now up. For this coming week we are doing Cole Porter, just click on the link to sign up and join in.

The week before Halloween will be slightly different as there will be ghosts, and ghoulies, and things that go bump in the night every day leading up to Halloween.

14 October 2009

Blood On The Sand

Allan Chapman and The Original Backup Band

By now, you all know I'm addicted to history.  When you can combine history with a great ballad ... well, draw the blinds, lock the doors, turn off the TV and phone cause I'm doing me some listening and hunting.  Because a internet friend recommended the above song, I have some work cut out for me.  We know about Pancho Villa or at least have seen some good movies and books about him, but how about a lone visitor named Thomas Holmes to a group of graves?  What is the story there?

The short story is contained here in Wikipedia, though I would recommend the whole saga of the Mexican campaign under Black Jack Pershing who would go on to even greater fame in World War I with tales that echo down the well of history to modern conflicts still happening today.  You can follow along in the wake of a new obsession, or just listen to a great song.  In the meantime, flowers for 17 men.

Murry Anderson
Andy Couch
Bob Coy
Joe Enders
Tim Evans
Alex Hall
Henry Hase
Tom Johnson
Bob McHatton
George Newman
Bill Pease
Charles Pringle
Ed Robinson
Robert Simmons
Chuck Wadleigh
Jed Wallace
Charlie Watson

13 October 2009

Apple Pan Dowdy

It is getting to that cooking time of year and all the wonderful things you can do with apples and pumpkins.  Here is one of the oldest and simplest recipes that every one just loves.

Apple Pandowdy is fruit baked with a sweet biscuit or cake dough top.  Its appearance may be "dowdy", but looks can be deceiving, apple pandowdy is delicious, especially topped with a bit of ice cream or whipped cream.


1 1/4 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup milk

2 1/2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoons salt

4 cup peeled, sliced apples

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoons nutmeg

whipped cream or ice cream for garnish


Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
Butter a 9" square baking dish. Place sliced apples in buttered baking dish and sprinkle with a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in egg. Add flour mixture, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture to make a stiff batter. Spread batter evenly over apples (see photo) and bake for about 50 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for at least ten minutes before serving.

You can serve this dish right out of the pan, or invert it onto a serving plate like an upside-down cake, warm or at room temperature. Top with whipped cream or ice cream.

CSI Goes To Italy?

A fingerprint identifies the artist of the above painting as DaVinci. 


In case you are feeling at all elderly and decrepit for any reason, take heart!!! At least you didn't receive the email below in your mail:

Our 50th Reunion is right around the corner!
It's that time again, time to start planning our BIGGEST REUNION YET!

After the last reunion (the picnic at Doheny State Park), many of you wrote to me and mentioned that you thought it was the best reunion yet! So before I start planning this reunion, I thought I would take a survey where the majority of responses would determine what type of reunion we will have - Picnic or Dinner Dance - or both! Since this will be our 50th, and rather a special occasion, perhaps a big, 2-day event would be nice, but I'll leave it up to all of you. If we do a 2-day, picnic and dinner dance, you would have the opportunity to come to both or just one or the other.

I am also planning to incorporate another cruise, possibly right before the reunion, depending on the departure and return date. This time it would be the roundtrip from Los Angeles to Hawaii, a 14-day cruise. Some who are interested in cruising have voiced their opinion that they do not want to fly to a destination for a cruise. So I thought Hawaii would be nice. From just a brief investigation of fares, I've come up with approximately $1500 to $2000 per person, depending on the cabin type you choose. Please indicate your interest below. Although many have been to Hawaii already, it would still be a nice cruise, and more time to spend with friends! Previous cruises have been wonderful and all who have participated, I'm sure, will tell you the same thing. Don't miss this one!!
I haven't been to a reunion since the 20th in 1981.  Going back 30 years later feels very, very weird.  I mean if you manage to live to your 50th, you probably should do it, right?  Now do I really want those folks who last saw me at either 17 or 37 get a gander of me at 67?  The shock could be fatal.  Oh well, 2011 is still more than a year away and there is plenty of time to make the decision ... time goes so slow these days.  Right? To Diet or not to diet?

Number One Song in May/June 1961
Travelin' Man by Ricky Nelson

11 October 2009

Coming and Coen

When the Coen Brothers make a movie, you know there is going to be a twist.  Only they would come up with a pregnant sheriff tracking down a used car salesman feeding his victims into a wood chipper in Fargo.  Then there is the Hudsucker proxy mixing suicide, stock scams, and hula hoops.  Barton Fink takes you to the hell known as writing screen plays in Hollywood.  Raising Arizona has an infertile ex-con and his ex-cop wife kidnapping a more trouble than he's worth baby. 

This week's Take This Tune is the principal theme song from the Coens', "O Brother, Where Art Thou".  Set in depression era Mississippi, on the surface this is a jailbreak movie, with the main character trying to get back to his family.  Somewhere around minute 30 or so, something starts to feel familiar.  If you have read the classics, you start to suspect (Oh they didn't, did they?)  Characters named Penny and Ulysses (Say What? HUH?) and it all starts to fall into place.  Homer has moved to Mississippi.  Now this Penny isn't quite as faithful as the Greek Penelope, but the washing women temptresses have their Siren arms shoulder deep in suds, the lotus eaters are marching numbly into riverside baptisms, while John Goodman's one-eyed character makes a darn good cyclops.  There are a lot more references, but you will have to read the above link to get the full flavor.  If nothing else, it will give you a good reason to rent the movie again.

Throughout the whole movie there is the wonderful blue grass music and the Soggy Mountain Boys who probably stole their name from the Foggy Mountain Boys with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.  That in turn gives me an excuse to visit You Tube ONE MORE TIME because there is no better way to spend time than, listening to Foggy Mountain Breakdown.

10 October 2009

Zombies In Training

Linda and Amanda have been indulging in zombiedom of late, so the rest of us need to catch up on all things undead and spooky in time for the great national scarefest.

Thriller Dance - Start Practicing

Now Do It

09 October 2009

A Little Something On The Side

While wandering around some favorite blogs, I'm always sort of nosey about what they have chosen to picture, link and advertise as constant features.  There are causes, charities, favored blogs, usually something from Google or Amazon, but it is very individual. 

Queen Mimi over at Mimi Writes has Bloggingham Castle and her grand piano, not to mention all those lovely Peace Globes floating around getting ready for November 5.  Don't get left out, be sure to get your own globe for the big day.

Now Travis over at Trav's Thoughts keeps it simple.  His sidebar is filled with everything he supports and loves:  Charities, his sports teams, dancing, and the blogs of all the friends this delightful man has made over the years.  If you start getting aquainted with all his friends, you may need a few clones to get it all done.

Mary at Work of the Poet is a true computer artist and teacher.  You never know what will show up as the seasons change.  There are always some wonderful quotes and links to memes you may want to play.  

A life in Doodles drawn by Claire on A Little Piece of Me always ease even the most serious topics.  Her banner is a great pair of legs and a puzzle piece which is very appropriate for someone trying to help others understand life and having a good time doing it.  She has discovered Twitter and Twitpics as well, so prowl around.

Shelly at This Eclectic Life has perfectly manicured hands tip tapping away on a computer.  The articles are surrounded by quotes, favorite blogs, charities and there's always a little something about Texas.  What do you mean there are 49 other states?

Linda at Are We There Yet has Amanda and Amanda can really draw.  They both love Doctor Who, so we get treated to the TARDIS flying through time and space.  Armed with her trusty camera, Linda with Amanda, Jamie, and assorted friends in tow seem to have a mission to photograph every historical and spooky spot on the east coast, so be prepared for the the grisly evidence mixed in with the causes and companions.

So pay attention to the sidelines as you traverse the blogosphere.  It might tell you a little more about the person than just their "About Me" bio.

07 October 2009

Great Ghosts !!!

My buddy Shelly Tucker of This Eclectic Life is holding a contest to give away five of her ghost story CDs.

Now you should be reading Shelly regularly anyway, but just in case you are among the uninitiated, she tells the best stories ever on her blog. Why? Because that is what she does even away from her blog: Spinning yarns while spinning yarns for the delight of children of all ages.

Now hop on over using the link above and get your entry in for some good spookieness of the season.

05 October 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

In 1969 " the BBC's head of light entertainment said, "I'll give you 13 shows, but that's all," and Monty Python's Flying Circus aired to a perplexed, but eventually grateful, British audience on Monday 5 October that same year. Over the subsequent 45 shows, the rules of television comedy were rewritten as John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam created lunatic characters and sketches, as funny today as they were 40 years ago.  Read all about it in today's Guardian or just watch one of the funniest bits one more time:  The Ministry of Silly Walks.

After decades of hilarity and several successful motion pictures, Monty Python finally made its way to Broadway with SPAMALOT. First the originals, followed by the Broadway cast

One Month and Counting Down

04 October 2009

A Room With A View

This week's "Take This Tune" is O Mio Babbino Caro, the lovely aria from Gianni Schicci.  The opera is about the slap stick comedy that can result when the kinfolk are looking for a will before the body is barely cold.  Throughout it all there runs the theme of young love and feuding relatives.  Perhaps this is why the aria is used as the theme music in the movie adaptation for an equally overheated story of young love, E. M. Forster's "A Room With a View"

This Edwardian social comedy is about love and  propriety among an eccentric group staying at the same Italian pensione and in a corner of Surrey, England. A young English woman, Lucy Honeychurch, while on the requisite tour of the continent in the company of an elderly spinster aunt, manages to faint into the arms of a handsome man when she witnesses a murder. Attracted to George Emerson, who is entirely unsuitable and whose father just may be a Socialist, Lucy is soon at war with the snobbery of her class and her own conflicting desires.

Back in England she is courted by a more acceptable, if dull, suitor, and realizes she must choose between propriety and passion. This delightful tale of young love is based in Forster's quirky but recognizable characters of the period, including outrageous spinsters and pompous clergymen. Written in 1908, A Room With A View is one of E.M. Forster's earliest works.   I won't spoil the ending and Lucy's choice for you as you can get the book anywhere and the movie is available on DVD or just watch the whole thing on line starting below or here.

Thanks to the aria, this is probably one of the most enjoyable sets of credits you will get to see.