Friday, October 30, 2015


 Courtesy of NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day,
 this is Arp 272, some 450 million light-years away. 

Pictures like this are usually trotted out for Halloween. It’s kind of scary, ghostly even. But it is not the stuff of a good scare. I recently wrote a scary piece for our community magazine. It is scheduled for next year sometime, to be run under the title “Do You Remember… A Good Scare?” remembering scary movies. I thought I’d run part of it by you now.  I began the piece talking about “itchy” things like spiders and roaches and ants - oh, my! -  in the movies, but then I went on to this:

 ---    For a really good scare there is nothing like a classics, new or old: Nosferatu, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Nightmare on Elm Street, Dracula, Scream, Frankenstein, The Shining, or Silence of the Lambs. In many, it’s the musical clues make us nervous: it builds and builds and screams, and then!  But Hitchcock was the master of the art of visual clues. In The Birds, you notice the massing of the crows, or a guy lighting a cigar while gasoline runs from a broken pump and surrounds him. You know what’s going to happen, but it’s still a jolt. In Psycho you see the form of a figure approaching in the bathroom, a knife in its raised hand, and, though there is nothing at all gruesome to see, the unsuspecting Janet Leigh is offed while taking a shower. We see the blood running down the drain. Holey socks! What was that? What’s next? Whew!
      At one time or another, we’ve all had real scares, but the un-real movie scares are better for us. A good movie scare can be cathartic, providing a strong physical and emotional reaction that seems to do us good. Like a really good laugh, a really good scare can be therapeutic. It can take us, even for a short while, away from our sorrows and worries. In some instances it can even provide a sense of closure, a sense of “Whew! Well, I feel better now.” ---

Yes, a good movie scare can be therapeutic, but for me the effect goes on longer than the momentary jolt. I tell you, I can no longer go to a scary movie or even read a scary book. Authors like H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King? I used to absolutely love them. I still love them, but only as far as what I remember of their stories. I will never re-read them. The last scary movie I saw, years ago, was a rerun of Horror Express. I dreamt about it all night it seemed, and for several nights. That was it for me and scary movies. Same thing with the last horror novel I read – I don’t need dreams like the ones they produce.

Scaredy cat? Oh, yes! That would be me! 

The Witch Head Nebula - from today's APOD
- not scary at all

Friday, October 23, 2015


AAARrrggg!  I know you won't be able to see the picture above too well, but it is a screen-shot-turned-jpg that I finagled with to show you what I've been going through this last week or so. I thought I had all the duplicate files discarded, sent to the Recycle Bin, gone form the earth. Noooo - they're back!

If you look closely, you'll see that every file has a duplicate - the same title, followed by (1) to indicate that it is a copy. I want to know who told the system to duplicate all this stuff. Not only does it duplicate files, it brings back documents and pictures I discarded weeks ago. This morning I went to my blog files to see what I had on hand for a quickie blog - otherwise I had a dandy topic for the day - but I discovered the #%^&*! blankety-blank system had done its multiplication dance again. I've been discarding for at least the last hour. I'm giving up for now, throwing in the towel for the day.

Friday, October 16, 2015


October in the larder at Historic Brattonsville

Octo – eight – as in octopus. But this is the tenth month. Well, in the old Roman calendar it was the eighth month and the year had 304 days. They must have played around with the leftover 61 days. Calendars have been messed with and corrected over the millennia. When they adjusted the months they should have shifted the names to reflect the new positions, but even then they didn’t get things right. Few of us even think about this these days. Well, I did, but I’m different and I had to come up with an essay for today’s posting.

When I lived further north, September was the time for getting out the fall decorations and starting to make soup - not with the fall decorations, of course.  Living down here in South Carolina I’m feeling decorative and soupy only now in the middle of October. Heck, I’ve gotten out the long slacks and a light jacket, but I’m still wearing sandals. I suppose I’ll begin to wear socks and shoes once the daytime temperatures stay in the 60’s (that’s the high teens for you Celsius folks.)

This cooler weather has me thinking about cooking and baking. Yesterday I made a batch of delicious apple sauce and a huge pot of my spaghetti sauce. Then I made a big pan of lasagna with some of the sauce. I’ve frozen six more portions for the weeks to come. I should have made the spaghetti sauce first. For a while the house smelled just like fall – apples and cinnamon and spices. This morning I can still detect the aroma of my meat sauce with basil and oregano and other herbs. Close, but not really a morning aroma. So now I will bake up some corn muffins and get the house smelling like breakfast.

A bit too brown on the bottoms, but eminently edible!
And the house smells delicious.

Friday, October 9, 2015


Don’t look at my window sills or in the tub in the guestroom – or behind my sofa or the bedroom dresser. I’m collecting dust and cobwebs there to go along with my dryer fluff and belly button lint. I'm saving up nest material for next year’s baby birds.           That’s my excuse reason, and I’m sticking to it.

 You doubt the veracity of my statement?

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! October 1st is here and I can post another poem. I just love this poem - always have, ever since I can remember. The poem makes me chortle. You can bet your slithy toves that my Spellcheck hates this poem. The poem is basically utter nonsense, made up of nonsense words, many of which are now in fairly frequent usage among questionable persons like myself: brillig! gyre! frumious! beamish! galumphing! (I do galumph frequently.)  And did you know that some people have named their daughters Mimsy?  This is a truism!

Lewis Carroll

(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.