Monday, October 31, 2016

All Hallows Eve 2016

It's a Catholic Thing

One of the more persistent mythologies surrounding Halloween is that it was "stolen" from ancient pagan celebrations, but in fact the holiday is firmly rooted in Catholic faith and tradition.

In the United States, Halloween evolved into its current form when the various observances of European immigrants got blended together over time. And, of course, entrepreneurs with an eye for a commercial opportunity had a lot to do with the holiday's evolution into its present form.

But when someone tries to tell you that Halloween is all about pagan beliefs and rituals, tell 'em they're full of brown stuff.

The Golden Age of Treats

When I was a young boy, hardly any of the Halloween treats in my neighborhood were pre-packaged candy (although every kid knew which houses gave out full-size Hershey bars or Milky Ways!).
It was mostly baked goods like cookies and cupcakes, plus seasonal treats like caramel apples and popcorn balls.

My mom used to put candy corn and Spanish peanuts together in a large paper bag, shake it vigorously, then parcel out the salty/sweet contents into small packages of tissue paper with ribbons holding them closed. There was always a large bowl of that mixture to snack on while answering the door.

"I think I'll stick with ants, thanks."

That's because you don't know what's good...

A Kick in the Head

My beloved Kansas City Chiefs won their third straight game yesterday in Indianapolis, beating the Colts 30-14 to improve their season record to 5-2, just a half game off the lead in the AFC West. It was tough to enjoy the win, though, since Chiefs starting QB Alex Smith was removed from the game twice, the second time for good after suffering a concussion. It is unclear whether he'll be able to play in next Sunday's game.

"Don't sweat it. I got this."

Backup QB Nick Foles played well enough, completing 16 of 22 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns, but the Colts defense is dreadful and in the long run the Chiefs will need their No. 1 guy back under center, the sooner the better.

"No big comebacks today, Andrew!"

The defense played extremely well, holding the Colts to just 277 total yards, forcing two turnovers, and sacking QB Andrew Luck six times.

"Say, didn't Spencer Ware get knocked out of the game as well?"

Don't remind me...the turf in Indianapolis is notoriously hard, and there's no telling when Spencer will be able to play again...

No Brooms Needed

Meanwhile, in the World Series the Chicago Cubs avoided getting swept at Wrigley Field last night, beating the Indians 3-2 to force a Game Six in Cleveland on Tuesday. While the Indians still lead the series three games to two, the Cubs should have a pitching edge for the remainder of the series.

"You're NOT sweeping us at Wrigley. No way!"

Cubs starter Jon Lester did his job, holding the Indians to two runs on just four hits in his six innings of work. He struck out five and didn't walk a batter.

Closer Aroldis Chapman was asked to get the game's final eight outs, and he did so, recording four of those outs on strikeouts.

The Indians pitchers weren't terrible, allowing just three runs on seven hits while recording 14 strikeouts, but it wasn't quite good enough.


Trailing 1-0 entering the bottom of the 4th inning, the Cubs rallied for three runs off of Indians starter Trevor Bauer, starting with a solo home run by 3B Kris Bryant to lead off the inning.

The Indians bullpen allowed only one hit over the final four innings, but the Cubs held on to give their fans a home win to savor.

"Admit think the Indians are going to blow it, don't you?"

Well, "blow it" is a trifle harsh...but I don't see them beating Arrieta or Hendricks,
so yeah, I don't think they're going to win the Series...

More Like ObamaScare, Amirite?

From the insightful pen of Michael Ramirez, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

One of my least favorite things about Halloween is all of the cheesy music that gets played on the radio just because of this holiday. I could go the rest of my life without hearing Bobby Pickett's "Monster Mash" or the Edgar Winter Group's "Frankenstein"
or Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" (which is actually pretty good) and be perfectly content.

My own preference for dark, macabre music that perfectly suits this holiday is the canon of  Blue Öyster Cult, the hard rock/metal outfit out of Long Island, New York.

I'll spend a good bit of time today listening to the band's second album, Tyranny and Mutation.

Released a week before my 20th birthday in 1973, it is their best studio recording in my opinion,
and it is chock full of the sort of spooky themes and creepy lyrics that make it perfect for Halloween.

It also features a number of songs which became staples of the band's live shows for the rest of their performing career, including "The Red and The Black," "Hot Rails to Hell," and "7 Screaming Diz-Busters."

Today's send off is the 2001 remastered version of the album's closing track, from the band's YouTube channel. Enjoy...

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