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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Sandy Aftermath in Jersey

Kick's hubby Scott is a handy fella. He's hooked things up to the generator and they're all okay for the time being. Kick is a resourceful woman and is just fine with cooking over a fire. They'll be carrying on as well as can be expected til things get restored.

Meanwhile...


The residents walk around the neighborhood, some decide to leave on foot...

Boats are everywhere but in the water.

Patrick found a bundle of letters in the debris.

                     It's so sad to see all these beautiful boats wrecked and strewn around the land .

                             Patrick dried all the letters by carefully laying them out by the fire.
Kick tells the story:
"The most amazing thing did happen.  we were wandering around like everyone else...must have walked 20 miles.  We walked all the way down to highlands and back.  Patrick found a stack of old love letters dated 1942 to some guy in Troy Vermont!!!  he took them home and dried everyone of them by the fire.  We read them in the dark.  They are addressed to a Mr. Lynn Farnham all the envelopes say is North Troy Vermont...no zip or anything.

"Something so beautiful in the midst of all this destruction.  Reminded us all that love conquers all."

And destruction it is. Photos and vids are everywhere on the intertubes. Kick took this of "the small gas line" as she and Scott drove around the area this afternoon:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNqAJk_JVb8
"fist fights at the gas stations. one of his buddies had to threaten someone with a baseball bat. guy tried taking gas cans out of his truck."

And my dear Kick says, "We are so lucky Laura.   I walk 10 feet down the street and I want to cry. people with huge trees on their houses.  walls blown out from the water rushing through.  found a 50 savings bond from Highlands, gonna look for the addressee some day.  I feel guilty taking pictures.  I make sure no one is looking." 
And so closes the second day after Sandy, Halloween 2012.

The Story Unfolding

Kick and her family stayed in their house. Atlantic Highlands is the highest point on the Jersey shore and she says her house is fine. They have 50 gallons of water stored and she's been able to cook in the fireplace with the new crane that her husband just put in before the flood. Amazing, that. However, there is no water, no power and the area looks "like a war zone."

Kick and Patrick (my godson) have gotten some shots near their house









She writes:
"Phone died. We have a generator bit verry little gas for it. Gas lines r 10 miles long. Is help coming? Christi say nething?"
I've told her what a mess it is and that they're getting to them. The roads are all blocked with trees and debris. I'm just telling them to hang on.
And I'm so relieved they're okay I'm crying.
Now Billy and Mac and co. need to turn up.

A Scary Halloween

Halloween is supposed to be spooky. For the last two, it's been downright scary. But not in a good way.

So let's remember some happier spooky days

Herman Slater as Laurie Cabot, Witches Ball, 1991, the Limelight, NYC


Stevil Twiss as himself and Phoebe Ungerer as Morticia, Halloween 2001, Brattleboro
The Boys


The Wizard's Well, Alderley Edge, Cheshire, UK
(https://sites.google.com/site/themysticmasque/mystic-sites/the-wizard-s-well)

And for genuine creeps...
http://ghoststudy.com/galla2012/sep2012/fin101.htm

Now for the fabulous news that just came in, An email from Kick:
"Complete n utter devastation here. R house is ok
No power no water. Ships washed up on 1st ave!"

They're okay. Still no word from my brother, but they're okay.
I'll be back...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's Like Olden Days. But Worse.

Power and phones are out in the NY-NJ area. We who are on the outside are still in 2012, but they're back in time. It could be a couple days before we hear anything of their existence. That part is like the olden days. All we can do is worry until we get word.

Except back then the news was important and so they reported it straight up and you knew what you came to learn from it. Today the news media stinks, as if it were produced by a bunch of 8th graders, or the forebears of "Idiocracy". A string of cherrypicked stories, no overall real news with facts and numbers. Lots of commentary about feelings, no information on who was taken where or how to find anyone missing.

I've checked the Red Cross Register several times. But that's dependent on someone being able to get online to register. If for any reason one can't get online, they aren't there. You can't get any line in. No matter where or who you call, New Jersey is uncallable.

There really is nothing to be done. And so my stomach roils, and I hang here, hoping for an email. Or trawl youtube to find video of Matawan or Atlantic Highlands NJ. 

Some Good Coverage

I watch the Weather Channel (the Panic Channel) but their coverage isn't very deep. I watch CNN and they center on NYC and politicians bloviating and acting for the cameras. So I found a Philly NBC affiliate and they're good and streaming, covering Jersey and the Jersey Shore as well as Philly

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Unthinkable-Damage-From-Sandy-Across-Region-176436431.html

Still no word from anyone down there, except for Armando in Brooklyn, who's fine. There are millions without power though, and with all the downed power lines and cell towers, who knows when there'll be communication.

Apres Le Deluge 2012 Version

Well it's a very nice day weather-wise in Bratt. The storm's blown over for the most part and it's windy and bright. There are lots of people sans power because of downed trees but that's being worked on and it looks like we've gotten through another storm, this time pretty unscathed. We'll probably get some rain off and on, but nothing out of the ordinary for plain old rainy weather.

However, all my New Jerseyans are missing in action. I still haven't heard from Kick and co. and now my brother is AWOL too. Strider said there were airlift rescues far inland from where they all live. There are news reports of people still being airlifted there. And some deaths even. Millions of people have no power. The footage is varied, from the 2-feet of sand washed into towns burying parking meters and cars in Jersey and Long Island to receding water draining off downtown NYC. Last night there was 13 feet of water in lower Manhattan at high tide. Everything but the Stock Exchange was under water (curious, that). The subways are still full. It'll be weeks before things are back to normal. Hard to imagine.

West Virginia has a mini-blizzard going on, still. Maryland had a lot of flooding, but they've built-in flood mitigation and it seems their problem was more the wind damage...

Looking out my front window, you'd never know anything happened.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Outsized and Inappropriate Happiness

I don't know what snapped in me but ducking this last bullet has turned me into a regular Mary Sunshine. The wind's picking up here, the rain falls for a while and then stops. I love this weather. You're close to a miniscus that broken would be troubles but you don't have the problems and get to see beauty.

Tonight I'll wrap myself in a blanket, go out in the weather and look up at the sky, stand in the wind, offer thanks for the break to whomever was waiting for them.

Last night I saw a vid that Tego (Theresa Maggio, Bratt photog) shot of some woodland waterways in June. Exquisite. Just friggin exquisite
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huX-a7F33yU

Captain Beefheart/ "Moonlight in Vermont"
  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjZDhPqdcdA

And in the spirit of Halloween, Eddie Money and Lita Ford make dinner and then sing on "Rock Star Dinner"
http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/watch/Rock-Star-Kitchen/5221141938277745112/2236641137/Eddie-Money%3A-Roast-Beef-and-Mashed-Potatoes/videos

Live from New Jersey Shore

Kick (aka Kathie of Chaney's Cherubs and Confections) has elected to stay in her home with hubby Scott and my godson Patrick. As she can, she sends photos and video of Sandy creeping up the coast. Here's this morning's situation, from a now-nonexistent beach.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA84LzH8HWs

ETA: footage, 3 hours later, showing the same walkway she'd been standing on in the first vid

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAS4w44XgSY

I've emailed her but no responses. They may have lost power by now.

ETA: Just got an email: 3:50
"We re good  not takin on water yet. No power ; using Patrick s  cell!  Winds r picking up now."
and another:
"Trees down everywhere.  Waves slamming now. Sea wall holding. All the sailboats r gone down to Davie s locker "
ETA 5:50
"Still holding  Cant c the hook.  Still not a lot of rain. U can feel the pressure in ur head. Ears popping
Were such Weenies we put the  car in the garage.  Lost the automatic opener long ago. Didn't even think that once the power went out . Its in there for good.  Scott is looking for an emergency release in the dark. Lol gotta keep the. Boys busy somehow  love u"

<ed comment: Leave it to Kick to turn it into an "I Love:Lucy" episode.>

ETA: 7:02
"Holy crap it's dark here. I think it's gonna pass tho still not much rain
Cannot c ne thing we'll c how high tide goes
Xoxo"

ETA: 7:45
"All the roads r closed
Only emergency vehicles r allowed "

ETA: 7:56
"Cant c ne thing except the next doors house lit up like pen station flood lights n all. Built his house right on top of us last year.......We have a cake i baked gonna put it in the middle of his driveway..
the other neighbors just had a wedding two days ago.  Want to take a picture of that"

ETA 9:03 things are getting hairy...
"10 foot waves @ least!!!  Holy shit not touching r home.... "
....at which I advised her to get the boat and go inland.


I'm Still Here!

Sometime around 3 a.m. I fell asleep and when I woke up at 9 it was at an instant run. That is it was, until I read email and listened to phone messages. WE'RE NOT EVACUATING! Not at the moment, anyway. Since this is a wind more than rain event, and since we're in a gully it probably won't be much wind either, we're staying put. Drawing a bathtub of water to flush the toilet in case the power dies, brewing coffee to stock up on it in the fridge, filling every available container with water. That's it. Just prepare for a power failure.

I've got a beside myself sorta happy going on. I won't completely unpack, because Jeanette said not to, but for now I'm all good with it being a somewhat normal day in the Shire. Days like this are when normal is a wondrous thing. I'll be back later.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Larry Bloch

Brattleboro just got a bit dimmer. I just received word that Larry Bloch, force to be reckoned with, has left the building.

Larry was one of those people who wore a thousand hats in his lifetime. In NYC he owned Wetlands Preserve, a club that promoted social causes. He moved here in 1996 and opened a hemp clothing store which operated until early this year. He was one of the founders of Radio Free Brattleboro, and later WVEW, our local non-commercial radio station. He volunteered his time and money to many committees, projects and people in this town, often anonymously. He was an active, involved, passionate person, full of argument and humor. He leaves his wife and son, many friends, coworkers and neighbors.

He will be sorely missed.

ETA: an article from just a couple weeks ago, when Larry was given an award for doing all he's done
http://www.reformer.com/localeditorials/ci_21685137/passionate-advocate-downtown-brattleboro

It Smells Like Sleet

That distinctive icy edge that settles in one's sinuses is in the air. I don't know what that will mean. It's so quiet. Beest-o doesn't seem to care about anything, as usual. If animals do sense disaster, there's no disaster coming.

School's been cancelled for tomorrow and probably will be for Tuesday. Events are being postponed. Blahblahblah... you know. Time drags when you're waiting.

So here's a few things to read and think about

Every move you make...
 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/technology/do-not-track-movement-is-drawing-advertisers-fire.html

A Cambrian moment?
http://bigthink.com/rewire/why-small-moves-smartly-made-can-change-the-world?

Oh sure, let's polish the planet off altogether
http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/energy/renewables/a-new-idea-for-green-energy-deep-ocean-current-power

Compounding Pharmacies"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/critics-charge-that-drug-compounding-pharmacies-require-government-oversight/2012/10/18/7b726132-17d8-11e2-9855-71f2b202721b_story.html

I like a firm handshake!
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/critics-charge-that-drug-compounding-pharmacies-require-government-oversight/2012/10/18/7b726132-17d8-11e2-9855-71f2b202721b_story.html

Think, Jane, think!
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/10/books-growing-brain/all/1?

Pay what you want?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/oct/23/pay-what-you-want-ebooks

More real news about fake sweeteners
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121023172210.htm

So what about big belly laughs?
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/laughter-as-a-form-of-exercise/?ref=health

I've Never Loved My Bed So Much

Waking up this morning I realized tonight could be the last night in my own bed, again, for who knows how long. The weather folks here say it'll be the winds that we should be worried about, and power failure. In any event I'm sure we'll be evacuated (we're "at risk population"- old and disabled) so off we'll go without knowing when or if we'll return. Again. Poor Beest will have to deal, I can't do anything about it. Someone will be by every day to feed and check on her. The guilt is killing me but there's no place better than her own home. At least it's familiar. I don't have money or a car to take her somewhere we can both shelter.

New Jersey is already evacuating. I called my brother to wish him Happy Birthday and they say nothing's a big deal there yet. Kick sent me pix of the coast near her house. The beach is gone. They haven't had rain yet but they're signing the waiver and staying in their house. She has to go to work tonight or be fired. I'm worried for everyone down there. Mandatory evacs are happening in NYC now. Oy.

I'm extremely lucky that I have so many friends offering help. The Princess will give me a ride to Cam's house, Cam and I will hunker down for the storm, Paul has offered whatever help I'll need. Stevil is sending me funnies. I have great friends.

Well, time to get stuff together for the bug out. It's busy in the Shire today, kids coming to take Moms to their houses. I hope everyone stays safe and dry. Especially Kick and Arleen. I'm thinking of you all.
Here's the predicted pattern:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

It's Halloween, Just the Same

The outdoors stuff is in. I had a nice bitch session with some of the neighbors, all of whom were evacuated last year. Finally got to meet Dave Rabideau's Mom, which was nice. She thanked me for causing such tsuris last year. :) It's looking more and more like this will stay well south of us and we'll just get some rain. But I bet we'll be evac'd anyway. Here's what Ally sent me this morning, showing where landfall is expected and how much rain Sandy will entail.
http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/zoom/Rainfall_Days_1-5.gif

Halloween's coming, come hell or high water
So where was I before we were so rudely interrupted?
Ah, yes. Ghosts.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/oct/26/natural-history-of-ghosts-roger-clarke-review

And what's Halloween without a laugh?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/gallery/2012/oct/25/worst-typos-pictures#/?

Or a prank or two?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYgS7pI8Ed0

Here's some special effects to do yourself
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aFLYNiHitI

Some gruesome goodies
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/gallery/2012/oct/24/worlds-most-revolting-cakes-in-pictures

And a ghastly look at Gilverton Cove...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2vdwRKI4D0

Specially for Niecely, "Most Haunted" at Mary King's Close
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBy7QMfo02Y

Sandy is a Bitch

After bitching to Cam, Plague and Stella, all of whom called me as I was making the to-do list, I calmed down enough to get over myself and get on with it. Evacuation is pretty much inevitable, even if no storm hits us. The gummit will want us out of here even just to prove their point.

Oh, do I want a cigarette. Not a pinch of organic in a pipe, either. I want the full harsh pollution of a Marlboro, saltpeter burning my esophagus, tar and nicotine filling my blood..

I've stuffed the back door. The grand list is going. Things are ready to cook. I've got a plan. It always makes you feel better to have a plan. Saturday, cook and fix the house. Sunday, pack for leaving, make last minute arrangements. Call and wish Beery a Happy Birthday and see if they're still on dry ground. Monday, let everyone know when and where I'm outta here and headed toward. I think I'll stay with Cam, at least until the storm's over.

The weatherbees are riding this story for all it's worth. They just said there'll be 4 feet of snow in the western mountains of VA. Meanwhile, if their radar is accurate, Sandy still hasn't left Florida's eastern coast. Who to even believe anymore?

Well. I'll get back on here, get a bit more of Halloweenie stuff posted, and once I'm traveling incognito I'll post when I can. Life is an adventure, right? That's what they tell me, anyway.

Friday, October 26, 2012

S#!t Got Real

So we were billeted, with instructions to bring all our stuff indoors by noon tomorrow and to stand by for evacuation on Monday morning. Pack your essentials, be prepared for 3-5 days outta the house, the usual. Jeanette still hasn't come by, so I don't know what with her. The first page of the 6 pages + doorknob hanger said there was a town/FEMA/BHA meeting this afternoon.. Then we got phone calls following up and with the further determination that once again, we'll be on cots at the HS if we're evacuated. Our cats will have to stay here and someone will come in to feed and check on them every day we're not here.

So it seems that the gummint has determined we won't know anything for sure about the storm until Monday morning. And our jobs, as public housing Hobbits, is to do as told.

And this weekend I'm sealing off this house. This time it's gonna be bulletproof.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQdC7h609k8

Riders on the Storm

I only woke up an hour ago, since I didn't get to sleep til nearly 5 a.m. Plans are being laid. Senator Jeanette White will be by to see me this afternoon. Here we go.

It's looking like it's going to hit land well south of us, and now I'm worried about everyone down there. The forecast for around here is rain but not like the band that will presumedly go across NJ and PA and head toward the Great Lakes. The radar looks like it's breaking up, though it's still a great big storm. And until it actually happens, nobody knows. Weatherbees are disagreeing over where it'll land, anywhere from the Carolinas to NYC. Some say that the rain will be the worst in the south, and up here we'll have winds for the worst part. That would be fine, too, as the leaves are pretty much gone. But what about everyone in Jersey, PA and everywhere else? The undependable GFS is calling for the center to hit anywhere from Norfolk, VA to Ocean City, NJ.

38 people have been killed by this storm in the Caribbean.

Well, all we can do is wait and see what happens. I have everything crossed for us all.

No, Really, I Can't.

As hours go by and sleep won't come (is 3:55 a.m. too late to start drinking?) the updates on the unknown trajectory of the potentially hazardous Sandy remain scary and indecisive. Sandy may do anything. It may do exactly what Irene did last year, it may become a foot of snow, it may be a huge wintry mess.

So far The Shire folk have been yukking it up with bleak humor but it's fading quickly, at least among those of us who were here then. The newcomers are bumming but there's a look in the eyes of us who've seen this all before. If it comes to bugging out again, I'm sandbagging the back door.

And so we begin talking about plans. Advice is given to the noobs. If this place floods again, we won't be coming back. And guess what? They never dredged the riverbeds clear from last year's flood so everything's even shallower. Worse flooding! And just in time for the holidays! Yippee!

No, it's out to sea or snow it be. A foot of snow would be good. Long as we have power all would be fine.

Still, I'm cooking off those 2 pork roasts I have in the freezer. Everything was lost last time. I'd rather see it used and given to neighbors if need be. So Sunday's gonna be a big cook-off. Food will be replaced anyway and it may come in handy to have it ready. A huge snow will slow everything and even stop some things. It's all just being prepared. I'm not worried. Nope, not a bit.

If we get evacuated, it'll be much like last time. Except there won't be a Battle for The Shire because it'd be pointless. And I'll be going to a motel, and taking Beest. And we'll be homeless for the holidays. It's so damn Dickensian I can barely stand it. Then if Romney steals the election, I'll really look forward to December 21st.

Should I blood the door? What the hell, man? Once wasn't enough? I don't want to deal with this shit again. And the final indignity, no Halloween in my own house, again here. Followed by no holidays with belongings. No. Just no. Out to sea or snow it be, damn it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Real Horrors

Amid the happy hooha about holidays and celebrations and the fearmongering over next week's storm, a couple of real and grave issues have crossed my eyes.

While meandering around the intertube sites I haunt I came across this guy's website and this posting that so touched me that I have to share it:
 http://butchrenfroe.com/the-scars-of-youth/
I hope people pay attention to what he says.

And this, too, caught my attention. Though I don't know how much we can do about it. But it's not only in Britain that things are this way. I've seen plenty of it. People don't talk about it much, and the unfortunates who must depend are expected to be grateful for anything they get and not complain.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/oct/23/struggle-decent-care-home-stroke

I think the number of us who weren't bullied is about the same as those who won't need some form of home healthcare as we age. The majority were and will. These horrors need to be stopped.

Close To the Edge

Today is Jon Anderson's birthday. You remember Jon, lead singer/composer of Yes. Here he is last February, talking about his life before music took him away and made him start speaking like a Liverpuddlian


And here he was at the Kessler, singing "And You and I", still in that fine alto



Today Jon turns 68. The very happiest and healthiest of years to you, Jon. I hope to hear you singing for years and years yet.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Just Can't.

That's all there is to it. I cannot even suffer the thought of this. Nope. Not happening. Lalalalalalala.

http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20121024174448484

The Announcement of Gabriel

Well, today Greg finally got around to formally announcing his grandson's birth:

http://www.greglake.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1351085869

And by coincidence, Kathie sent me a shot of this little cherub today:


Kinda perfect together. May all the gods and fates bless little Gabriel.

ETA:
And let me add that webmistress to the stars, Eileen Craddock, has used Kathie's cherub for the announcement on Ladies of the Lake.
http://ladiesofthelake.com/wp/

Can fame and fortune be far behind for our Kathie? ;)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My New Favorite Thing! and Other Things Too

One song I loved as a kid, and nearly fifty years later, still applies. Especially in this election.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMxtbAP2cyU

I'm baaaa-ack! So several other things have gone on. Strider has a radioactive gall bladder for at least another 14 hours. We won't know what it all means until Monday. Most of the leaves (which made a really poor showing this year) have fallen at once in the windy weekend days we've had. I was really cold-like sick for 2 days, nasty throat, headache, way too much toilet time (glad I bought the new nun book), aches, fevers, yada yada and woke up today tired but otherwise well. Pushed it last week with five days of busyness. Won't be pushing myself like that again. The change of seasons is bothering people this year more than usual. Those who generally have a good stride are in various states of gimpage. On the windy days we've gotten expanses of October's bright blue weather. If it all blows up in December, I'll remember how nice the Fall was.

Gal Friday and I are still sorting out how and where things were packed. Soon we'll be through the first year back and things mispacked, repacked (yes, some boxes were repacked for no apparent reason) or lost should have surfaced. We are in search of Halloween decorations right now. Found the ceramic pumpkin and some of the desk doodads. Still looking for all the hangy and door thingies.

Also still hunting for a way to eat that is economical, proper yin/yang, Nordic and won't have me crawling the walls after 4 months. High protein- low carb is much too high energy for me. It worked when I could walk and run. On a walker? No. I think I'm leaning toward Paul Gardner's Norwegian Grandmother's Diet. Bread, jam, fish pasty stuff, cheeses. Add some vegetable soup to that and I'm good. I think I could handle that long term. There's enough variety. At four months of meat I hated bacon. Nobody should ever hate bacon. It's not normal.

There are squabbles upon squabbles in our town. The skatepark. The $14mil renovations to the police and fire stations. The resulting land tax increase. The coop union drive is still on, with all that entails. The town bus was cut to our area but increased going to NH, where the superWaldemort was built. I smell $$$. I smell a rat. I smell doo doo.

But good things are around, too. Wendy's head is above water in her new cheese shop. Stevil gets to retire in 2 1/2 weeks. Greatniece is happy-hap-happy about getting married, while her parents are on a scouting vacation for where they want to move next. And it's Halloween season. For me this goes on til November 13th, and I'm loving it.
So yeah, new, favorite and other are the October Categories.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Free Willies in Black & White

Youtube is about the best thing to have happened in the last 25 years. Youtubians have uploaded things from around the world. I've made a couple of friends through YT. And some of the best things from the past that you thought you'd never see again pop up on YT.

Back in the early 60s there was a little weird show called "One Step Beyond". It was a favorite in our house. Not only did they tell eerie stories, the producer claimed the stories were true. To this day when I hear the opening music and John Newland's voice, my guts gird themselves. In the sidebar are many more episodes, but this is one story I remember well:

In an entirely different league are the following movies. Each has stayed with me for many years.

"Carnival of Souls"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exUFpSFblaw

"The Last Man on Earth"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vcWlUn6B9w

"Dementia 13"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQWBy8oACLE

I really don't recommend these for late night, just-before-bed watching. I last watched "Carnival of Souls" in 1979. I'm still not ready to see it again.
But don't let fear stop you..... mwahahahahahaha....


Sunday, October 21, 2012

An Ode to Green-Wood

I love cemeteries, especially the old ones. We have lots of old small family and church graveyards in New England. So sad to read the tombstones and see whole families of children buried one after another from a single sickness that would kill so many. And in the 19th and early 20th century, the beautiful and meaningful sculptures atop a grave or outside a private mausoleum in the grand new cemeteries of the time.

My family is mostly buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. It's the graveyard I grew up going to, and where I reference what a Victorian cemetery is supposed to look like. The statues spooked me- great weeping angels, goddesses and gods overlook NY harbor, some classical statues reproduced on private graves, even a pyramid complete with sphinxes. There's one of a young bride, the aisle she'd have walked down now her gravebed, very near my family's plot. I don't remember her name, but I remember the eyes on the statue of her. I looked up at her as a child, eye-to-eye as a young teen, and then down to her as an adult, realizing what a small woman she must've been. 

Over the decades, now centuries, tales of haunts at Green-Wood, of Satanists meeting there, of supernatural happenings and ghosts even in broad daylight, attracted many to the historic site. Some vandalism went on in the 1970s and 80s, but that seems to have stopped. It still attracts tourists and ghosthunters. With family laid to rest there it will always be part of my life and I love it. 

The Green-Wood caretaker talks about his job
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ROiM4p5-p8

Spoon River Anthology about Green-Wood
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGZCSWGYl3o

A very pretty seasonal day tour that is hosted by an oddly theatrical character
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVi-uLAjsj8

Green-Wood is open to visitors. You can see their schedule of events and tours at
http://www.green-wood.com/

Mrs. Chaney's Cherubs & Confections

My old friend Kathie Chaney (also mother of my godson) has always been amazingly talented. She's a natural cook without any formal training (oh god, her doughnuts!) and is fabulous at any bit of artistic creation. Now she's combining these super abilities into Chaney's Cherubs and Confection. Below are some of her caketoppers- flowers that look like they're fresh from the garden, little babies that are fairylike in their tiny perfection...



See? I told you she's amazing. Kathie makes all of these by hand, molding and decorating in excruciating detail. Everything is edible (if you can bear to destroy them) and should stay shelf-stable if cared for correctly for several months if you want to keep it. I once had a sugar rose that lasted 7 years until it was dropped!
This is the economical way to dress up your cake without having to spend hundreds at a bakery.
The confectionery babies are $10 plus shipping. Flowers are by arrangement with her. You can contact her at  chaneyscherubs@gmail.com

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saw a Spook!

There's no shortage of spookfests to watch on the tv these days. This season is one of the reasons I even have a television. On several nights and on most days you can catch any of a number of shivery fun shows. One of the shows I avidly watched when it was first run was "The Scariest Places on Earth" back in the early-noughts. Narrated by the late Zelda Rubinstein (the medium in "Poltergeist") and featuring regular people volunteering to do questionable "investigations", it was a hoot to watch. Grab some popcorn, turn down the lights...

Waverly Hills Sanitarium, Louisville, KY (Hi Frankie!)
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhJuJSvJAYU

The Goldfield Hotel, NV, the Mummies of Mexico, Hotlake Hotel and Ireland's Hellfire Club
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AQ3CWdTi48

And my favorite ep, Poveglia Island, in 2 parts
1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJMzVi15jxU
2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kOSPA1-8Rk

Birth, Death, Infinity...

Some of us will remember that as part of the opening to "Ben Casey". Right now, it's more about what's going on in my purview.

Yesterday, it was announced that Greg Lake's daughter, who held the doors for me in April, gave birth to a little boy, Gabriel on 9/27. Greg hasn't made formal announcement, but reports are that all's well. He's Greg and Regina's first grandchild. Congrats to the whole Lake family.

My garden, such as it was, is officially dead for the year. I really have to get around to decorating for Halloween, or Samhain (pronounced sow'en) as we call it. The wheel of the year keeps turning.

My Greatniece is getting married in December. I'm at various moments, happy for her, scared for her, surprised, proud, flipped out and sad. She'll be moving away permanently to BC, Canada. I wish them the best of luck. And boy do I feel old now.

There's so much going on in the world that I can't even face it all. If you can, here's the lowdown:
 http://www.guardiannews.com/uk-home

Kateri Tekakwitha is on track to be the first Native American saint. My HS English teacher, Fr, Kevin Kenney, must be thrilled, as he runs her shrine in Fonda, NY. Another place I've been meaning to go.
http://www.katerishrine.com/index.html

And because this is a happy day, here are some funny cats with tales to tell
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHddRct4S_o

Thrills and chills to come later...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Careful What You Like

The ongoing theme of this week's conversations has been, "You are what you like." Which gets into some deep areas. Likes that turn into habits and addictions. Likes that limit one's options and even whole life. And that maybe the story of getting down and straightening out our baggage in life is looking at what we like and why we like it. Because habits, good or bad, are things we like. We're big creatures of habit. We'll pick our priorities by our likes. And if our priorities are bad for us, there'll be trouble. Whether that habit/priority/addiction/like is drugs or spending money, eating like Henry the 8th or ducking responsibilty, it will come back and bite you.

For instance, I like to stretch a dollar until you can read through it. Since I'm poor this works for me. When I wasn't poor this same trait irritated my husband to no end. But I like being a tightwad. I get to do a lot more in the long run if I count the pennies, do the work instead of the easy way, use my head instead of my wallet. But, what's necessary in one situation is not appropriate in another. It caused conflict in my marriage. If it causes trouble, living like you're dirt poor when you aren't can be as wrong as living like you've got money when you don't. I have physical reactions to spending any chunk of money, while my husband could walk out the door and back in an hour later having spent several hundreds of dollars. Eventually I learned to pry the pursestrings open more but thankfully I kept my living poor skills in a jar.

Whatever you like you will do and create. If you like chaos, you will create it. If you like drama, you will create it. Likes can work as motivations you aren't even aware of having or acting on. But whatever you do a lot, it's what you like. Whether that's whining, bitching, laughing, getting in the middle of things you don't have to be in, staying away from people, overextending yourself, whatever. Examine what you do and you'll find what you really do like. If any of that doesn't work or causes trouble, you can change. But you'll have to learn to dislike the bad likings in order to change or it won't last.

This is probably all obvious stuff to a lot of people, it's just common sense. But among the folks I've been conversing with this week, it's pretty new to us. Our parents didn't tell us these things. Who stops to think about these things? Life is busy. But it's good to stop and do some reality checks on yourself. And you could grow to like it. ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Man Oh Manischewitz!

How did it get to be 5 p.m. Thursday? I had a 3 1/2 hour meeting and a couple of phone calls (I can't believe there are people who still haven't gotten the funding help from FEMA, but Bernie's office is in it now) and one person drop by and the day's gone. Am totally pissy over $40,000 of our taxes going to every little town in the US for new machines to read license plates. You wonder where the money goes? Stupidity like that, that's where. Thanks for nothing, "Homeland Security". When some rat bastid comes along and cuts our Social Security can we cash that shit in to stay in housing? I thought not.

Anyway, I have some ghostly goodness today.
Here is a site that's been around for a few years. It publishes ghost photos that the public sends in and generally does a good job of pointing out the BS from the unexplainable. It's got an immense gallery to peruse for free and if you're feeling solvent, has an extended site for a fee. I've never seen it but I'm told it's great. The free gallery is more than enough for me. Some of it is amazing.

http://ghoststudy.com/gallery.html

And here's a news clip that nobody's been able to explain yet:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDIAGjfhC-Q

Off to assemble lasagna. Have fun ghosting!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Too Much Coffee!!!?

I'm turning out thing after thing today. Must be the caffeine. The jambalaya's cooked and put together for tomorrow, I just started Thursday's soup, next is dyeing the grey hair (it's getting sooooo grey!) and doing those girly chores that annoy me. Then getting to bed at a decent hour so I'm ready for the radio show scramble in the morning. I'll make tomato gravy for Friday's lasagna tomorrow night, and that'll mean enough leftovers in the fridge for Boomer Saturday. Then Wendy and her honey will be here for Sunday dinner and I'll sleep all day Monday. Woohoo!

Heading into 8 weeks of not smoking. I haven't reined in the eating yet, so this is the last week of foodfest. Then it's a serious asskicking on myself to drop what I've gained in the last weeks. And yes, I feel it, I gained it, I don't like it. Smoking crosses my mind now and then but not to a distraction. So, time to kick the food. I've been very self-indulgent and concerned with "what I like" instead of my health during the quitting. It quickly got out of hand with french fries and soda and snacks. No no no. Which is why I'm cramming cooking for everyone into this week; the regular menu around here's gonna suck in comparison starting next week and until Thanksgiving.

And I'm contemplating Thanksgiving. Will I make pate a choux and do cream puffs? Filo dough and make struedel? Just plain old pies? I have such little space here, and no place to cool things properly. I don't want soggy bottoms. Who wants soggy bottoms?

Well, while I've still got steam off I go.

Shiver Me Timbers

It's a chilly windy October day. Big masses of clouds push around in a bright blue sky. I love this weather. Trees are swaying, flouncing what's left of their leaves. The groundcover greenery is dead. Halloween decorations are going up. That's one of my goals today, make the place look a little spookish.

Last night I finished "Something Wicked This Way Comes". This is at least the 5th time I've read it, but the first time I noticed how very Stephen King-like it is. Which of course is backwards, because Bradbury wrote it in 1962. Actually, Stephen King is very Bradbury-horror-like. Next will be The Haunting of Hill House, the Jackson story that creeps me right out. I haven't decided whether it'll be Her Fearful Symmetry or Heart-shaped Box after that. Or maybe I'll take up The Best Ghost Stories of MR James.

If you've never read any James ghost stories, here are a couple to start you up:
"A Warning to the Curious"
http://www.litgothic.com/Texts/warning.html

"Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad"
http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/owhistle.htm

And here's more than you'll ever need to know about M.R. James, himself.
http://www.thin-ghost.org/
Most of his stories are also available on that site, and I highly recommend "The Scrapbook of Canon Alberic". Talk about shivers.

And for those who like the real classics, here's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
http://www.pagebypagebooks.com/Washington_Irving/The_Legend_of_Sleepy_Hollow/The_Legend_Of_Sleepy_Hollow_p1.html

Enjoy a nice spooky read tonight. Pleasant dreams...

Worst Trends of the 20th Century #42

#42- Mucho Machismo
The hard sell of machismo which coincided with honoring bad guys and criminals, a trend that began in the gangster films of the 20s and is still with us- awful. Glamourizing the testosterone overloads in media and general culture hit several high waves in the 20th century. And while I myself have a healthy education in violence I don't like it being promoted as a good thing. That's what machismo is, at heart. Violence. Violence may feel good but that doesn't make it right. In fact, it's dangerous. Who'da figured? So why are we glamourizing and deifying what's bad?

I have a personal deep and abiding hatred of John Travolta. To such a point that I gave away a Warhol- signed "Interview" magazine because it was his mug on the cover. And he sums up, for me, so much of what's stupid and wrong with the US. The Guidos were the idiots then, they're the idiots now. Violent-drunk vapid ignorant narcissists. But we televise them and make them cultural heroes now. In fact, the only thing that matters at all to many of the generations behind is what they own and what they look like.

Have you seen "Idiocracy"? It's looking pretty prophetic.

So yes, I damn all machismo-ness. From that stupidass song "Macho Man" to Huk-a-Poo shirts (I had one disco boyfriend. It happens.) to the plethora of "action" films and war games, real and video. Fie to the indulgence of fantasy violence. We are what we like. And we should like better. We shouldn't be emulating stereotypical bad guys.

And yes I realize the complete irony knowing my loves of fantasy and horror. But it's not the same. No, really, it's not.

I just had to get that off my chest. I'll have Halloweenie stuff later. It's gonna be busy here until Monday but I'll be posting. The days are shortening. Time to go back to the blog, to write (maybe finish one of these books) and settle in.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Beyond the Door

My whole life has been a braid of things that just keep reappearing. I may walk away from a part but somehow it'll be reintroduced and weave its way back into my life. One part of that braid has been the paranormal. I have a love of mystery and what we don't know, and paranormal things are good like that. I can't say I'm a skeptic but I can't say I'm a believer. I know what I've experienced and that there is no known reason for those things to have happened. People aren't good with standing question marks. It worries them. I like leaving the big ? right in the middle of the room and then pointing at it and saying, "See? You don't know, I don't know, nobody knows. If somebody says they know, they're lying." Intellectual cowardice makes me impatient.
With the advent of new whirlygigs in the psi investigation field, and the disenchanting parade of submorons pursuing careers on tv doing it, the field has changed. Contraptions that took up a whole room are now cool little portable whatsits and things are being measured. Bully for them. But if you're talking to someone who died, why aren't you asking them what it's like to die and be dead?
Here's a very good bit of conversation with a ghost. It's a shame they didn't hear her responses in real time.
The Princess EVP
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-yFKfkczDk

Another thing I love is the classic legend ghost story. And for my money, graveyard ghost stories are the chocolate of ghost stories. There's a lot around about Greyfriars. Here's a fun bit.
Greyfriars
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6f8O8yn3as

This one is very close, because I lived there for almost a year and it's not just haunted, it's a house Shirley Jackson would have loved. Whatever walks at the Sawyer Mansion does not walk alone. There are too many of them.
The Sawyer Mansion
http://www.berkshireparanormal.com/investigation007.html

The psychic in this program from the UK is just like the classic mediums my Mother was friends with and I grew up around. Filled my heart to see him; they're few and far between these days.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUaS-y2-VDg

Fair warning: for much of the next 2 weeks when I post it'll probably have some Halloween flavour to it. There just isn't enough spookiness in the world to take our minds off of terrifying reality. I'm aiming to correct that.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It's Weird, and What the Hell?

Blogger has erased my views. None of you have ever been here before or read anything I've ever posted. Even I have never been here before. I am, right now, the first viewer of this blog.

Whatever. Who cares.

I've been completely neglectful in posting news of any kind. And so, in a willy-nilly fashion, here are some things going on.

Why two parties are not company and three is not a crowd
 http://bigthink.com/action-in-action/bipolar-politics-the-origins-and-end-of-the-two-party-system?

The Lucasmobile? Model THX1138?
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/11/technology/start-ups/for-some-drivers-electric-motorcycle-could-be-the-best-of-both-worlds.html?_r=0

Use the Tricorder, Bones
http://www.technologyreview.com/view/429583/needle-free-injections-perfected-using-supersonic/

It's the voices of the nuns...
http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2012/10/11/to-find-an-honest-person-assess-guilt-proneness/?

I'm not being a spaceshot, I'm being ultra-intelligent
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121011162148.htm

Just sickening
http://www.readthehorn.com/news/campus/66426/bleach_bomb_incidents_ignite_anti_racist_demonstrations

This is news? The nuns were right, again!
http://bodyodd.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/09/14320347-boredom-has-more-to-do-with-you-than-the-situation?lite

I've got a weird feeling about this
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20121012-combating-cancers-conversations
How do I love Bernie? Lemme count the ways
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/10/breaking-the-cycle-of-prescription-drug-costs/263370/

And complementary to the above story
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/sep/21/drugs-industry-scandal-ben-goldacre

If you're looking for Halloween tv programs in the states
http://classic-tv.com/holiday-guide/2012-halloween-tv-schedule.html#startOfPageId11174

Now that's all done, tomorrow starts the observation of my favorite time of the year...Halloween. Yes, there will be much Halloween coverage this year, whether anyone reads it or not. :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Okay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Strider got a call from the doc's office, it's not a malignancy.
She'll have more info after seeing the doc herself later.
I'm so relieved I could plotz.
Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are You Freakin Kidding Me?

I can't sleep. Aside from the carousel and calliope of assbutt playing in my head, I made split pea soup with mega onion and am a human jet stream. A one-person global warming problem. So no, there's no sleep in here tonight.

So, I take the time to go over the holiday presents list and see what I have put aside already, and turn on the tv for background noise. And what do I hear? A Christmas commercial. Those rat bastids at Target starting the season on October damn 12th with a guilt trip ad! Jingle Bells on October 12th? No. Damn you and that Bill Sykes dog.

The earliest I ever heard them start the Capitalist Christmas Campaign was October 16th in 2001. I only remember that because it was my parents' anniversary. And 2001. This is wrong wrong wrong. There are 2 1/2 months to go, with 2 other major holidays not to mention things in real life meantime, before we have to face that.

These manipulations of public emotion all the damn time are really pissing me off. Oh it's raining, be afraid! Oh it's gonna be windy, watch out and tie down your children! Christmas is coming, are you going to ruin it?  Will it be your fault that Little Jimmy cries? Jesus!

I want to know, Is advertising as manipulative, shaming, guilting and fear-inducing everywhere? Or are we the only country abused by those who want our money?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Leaves? The Whole Tree's Gone!

Today the tree service peep came and took down the trees that were killed by the flood. Who knows why those 3 bit it and the others are fine, but the team made short efficient work of them. A giant crane thingie held the trees up while the workers cut the trunk, then laid it down in the street where they chainsawed them into bits and fed them into the chipper.

I already miss the red maple across the way. It was like a friend. Ah well. Valar morghulis.

Tomorrow afternoon will be pins n needles time, as Strider goes for the results of her CT scan. I didn't post anything before but an ultrasound she had revealed nodules on her liver. She had a CT scan yesterday and tomorrow she'll get the results. I wouldn't mind if you could spare a good thought for her. She probably won't be thrilled I've shared this on a blog but that's what we bloggers do, tell each other what's up. And that's the most important thing going on by far.

It's very much Autumn here, though The Shire isn't getting much in the way of colour from it. It's one of those Falls where the leaves just go anemic and drop off. But you can always find some lovely shots online, and when they're set to music, even better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsCdlX-5UjE

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

They Turned the Gravity Up for Lennon's Birthday

Getting through this week is like carrying several of those x-ray pads around. It's all very heavy, man. Not without reason; there's a lot of heavy shit going down. And today John Lennon would've been 72 if he hadn't been murdered 32 years ago. 40 seems so very young to me now.

Tonight Steve West is hosting his and Freddy's radio show and playing a lot of Lennon music. Music is good when things are heavy. Even if it doesn't lighten things it somehow makes it all bearable.

When gravity rises exponentially I do 2 things- lose interest in just about everything and become cold and logical (known as "bitchy" when you're a girl). Today I did a lot of pretending to care about all the happy horseshit that makes up my Tuesday life, and for the most part pulled it off. My tongue's been sharpening since the weekend so today was an exercise in mouth-control. I think I'm actually fugueing here and there because there are empty spaces in my days. And I can't bear to read anything serious. I may throw everything aside after I finish Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes and not read at all for a while. Clearly my head is full and needs to de-frag.

Tomorrow's been cancelled. Not in the big sense, just in what I had lined up to do. That's fine by me. Food is already frozen for when that's needed, and I didn't want to sit through the meeting either. I'll just hack around and try to find the knob to turn the gravity down.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Curl Up and Dye

When I was small, all the old ladies had short hair, usually "done" once a week at a "beauty parlour". There was a small variety of styles, some teased and boufed up, some small curls close to the head, some blue rinsed, or lilac. Some dyed it back to the color they had, or wished they had, in youth. They were mocked. It was all styled to within an inch of death and sprayed with hair lacquer to a helmet that would hold its shape until next week.

Three years ago I had a fit and cut my long hair off. Of course the hairdresser styled it perfectly in a way I couldn't recreate and about two weeks passed before I began waiting for it to grow out. It has. It's close to the length I've kept it for most of my life. Recently, though, I've heard the old bitties around here carp about "old women with long hair". Like it's an abomination, or a moral failure. There's an older woman here with pink streaks in her short hair but I haven't heard them grouse about her. Even Special K makes cracks that I should cut my hair, curl it and dye it dark brown. Which would result in my looking like Ernest Borgnine in drag. I won't do a Curl Up and Dye.

First of all, I'm not that old. Especially considering the dames doing the carping are at least 20 years older than me. Secondly, I like my hair. I have thick, healthy, wild hippie hair. It keeps my neck and shoulders warm in the Winter and I can do all sorts of braidy things in the Summer. And mostly, because I like long hair. Not just on me but on everyone. Well, maybe not on some people, like Obama. But long hair looks good on most people. If it's kept clean it's beautiful. And it's less maintenance than having to style it all the damn time. Short hair is unforgiving and I'm just not prepared to face so many bad hair days.

This hair is gonna grow til it doesn't anymore. I've never let it grow past my waist so we'll see. They say as you age your hair won't grow past a certain length but I can't see how that's possible. Maybe by the time I croak I'll have hair to my ankles. That'll piss em off but good. :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012