Switching Comments

I am trying Haloscan for a while to see if it will be more a bit more reliable than enetation for my commenting system. And quietly I’m making plans for the rehosting of this blog which I can see is now inevitable. I don’t want nothin’ fancy. Just something that is reliable and not so crowded it runs slowly.

Problem is finding time to do it. Of course that’s the problem with most of my project list.

What I tell my kids about Halloween

Halloween is a lot like the Christmas season.

There are a number of different groups of people celebrating around the same time for different reasons. Just like at Christmas time, there are a number of different religious holidays and observances that take place around Christmas time and it’s important to know what you are and are not celebrating.

Today is, for us Catholics, All Souls’ Day. It’s a day when we remember and pray for the dead. Tomorrow is All Saints’ Day, when we go to Mass and celebrate the Communion of Saints. Pagan sects such as Wiccans also observe this day, but for other reasons. Satanists, or so I’m told because I have not researched this, also observe this day for their own reasons. Our observance of this day is not an endorsement of their observances nor are theirs an endorsement of ours.

****** Update: All Souls’ Day is November 2nd. Oops.

Just like around Christmas time, the majority of regular people partake in the fun of the Halloween season that surrounds the observances and traditions, some of them pagan, some of them Christian in origin. Most people who observe Christmas observe it this way — it’s not a particularly religious holiday for them, but they enjoy the fun and tradition associated with the season.

Halloween is like that for us — we enjoy some of the fun of trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, and dressing up in costumes but do not subscribe to any of the religious belief that originated the traditions.

Halloween should be fun and, as long as you know which things you are actually celebrating and which things are just secularized fun, it is not “against our religion” like some kids at school will tell you.

But there is one real gift of Halloween to give praise for. A long time ago, people were in real fear of their lives on All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween. Today is is mostly just fun.

The fact that we can scare ourselves for fun, the fact that we can confront demons and ghosts and laugh at them, the fact that we don’t *really worry* that a disembodied soul will take our body on All Hallow’s Eve, is a testament to the reassurance and protection our faith gives us. We know that as long as God is real, these things hold no power over us. We have the luxury of laughing at death for one night a year.

So it’s okay to dress up on Halloween as someone or something else — as long as we are firm in the knowledge of who and what we really are.


I went looking for Rosalinda this afternoon to give my hair and beard the favorite aunt treatment, but she doesn’t work on Tuesdays. I need to remember that. So I walked down the strip to see if Mr. James could fit me in. Mr. James is the guy who cuts Mr. Freshpants’ hair so well.

Mr James does not give haircuts; Mr. James cuts heads. Mr. James does not wear a nametag. Mr. James’ shop does not have “ambiance.” Mr James does not sell designer hair products. Mr. James cuts heads, that’s all

Mr. James looks like he stepped out of a Spike Lee movie. Mr. James listens to Jazz as he cuts. Mr. James likes to talk about basketball and the weather. Mr. James wears a baseball cap, two earrings in each ear, and four or five gold chains around his neck. And he was on my head for about thirty minutes this afternoon.

Mr. James is not gentle. He doesn’t come close to the favorite aunt style. He cuts you more like I imagine my old football coach might if his hands were more nimble and if he were painstakingly meticulous. Mr. James will give you a good haircut, but there’ll be a certain amount of pain involved. Mr. James knows you’re a man and you can take it.

Mr. James knows what will make you look good. He’s been cutting hair for over twenty years and he *knows*. He doesn’t ask what size guard you want your beard trimmed with. He doesn’t ask whether you want a round or square back. And of course you want hair gel.

Mr. James takes charge. He left me feeling high and tight, but a bit shorn. If there is a hair on my head above my collar, it’s because Mr. James allowed it to remain. My head feels disciplined.

If we could splice genes from him and Rosalinda, we’d have the perfect barber. The next best thing, I guess, is to have them cutting in shops a few doors down from each other. I’ll never go to Supercuts again.

Tubular, dude.

I was just reminded of an old favorite recording of mine that did not make the format conversion from cassette tape to CD. I haven’t heard Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells in forever, but it’s one of my all-time favorite instrumentals.

This time of year is the season for Tubular Bells, or at least the first few minutes of it. It’s better known as the theme from “The Exorcist” and is associated with Horror. But if you listen for the entire twenty-something minutes, you’ll hear a work that is inventive and at times humorous and a bit bizzare in spots.

Hmmm, I wonder what else in my album and cassette collection did not make the format jump. This, I feel, is a legitimate use for P2P music downloading. I have already bought the music, but don’t have the equipment to go from cassette to CD. I’m hitting my P2P source to see who has Tubular Bells.

Come to think of it, most of my Kronos Quartet is on cassette too…


There are nicknames you choose, nicknames that are chosen for you, and the ones that just emerge as endearments used in daily life with those who love you. I noticed that all of my kids have endearment nicknames in my mind. Girlzilla is “Kiddo”, Mr. Freshpants is “Buddy”, and Petunia has become “Girly Girl.” I have no idea why.

Angels and Tears

Last night’s game seven was the first baseball game in years that I actually sat down and watched with interest in years. Maybe since the last time the Astros had a chance. Anyway, I was very glad when the Angels won.

But then they cut away to the Giants’ dugout and there was this little black kid, couldn’t have been more than four years old, crying his eyes out. Looked just like Mr. Freshpants in a baseball outfit. That took a lot of the joy away from it for me.

Saint Lloyd Dobler

I’m sitting here listening to Peter Gabriel sing “In Your Eyes” and that song always reminds me of the scene in “Say Anything” where Lloyd Dobler is standing in front of his car holding up his boom box playing that song, trying to get his girlfriend back.

And then I think of my favorite line from that movie, where Lloyd is talking to Diane’s father and he says, “What I really want to do with my life – what I want to do for a living – is I want to be with your daughter. I’m good at it.”

I couldn’t appreciate that line when I first heard it, but being married fifteen years now, it’s modern day Gospel. Lloyd Dobler is my hero. A patron saint of dedicated husbands everywhere. I want to be the world’s foremost expert in how to love my wife.

And I’m thinking this as I sit here listening to music at my computer, reading email. Sometimes prayers come from left field.

Friday Fun

You know it’s going to be a fun day when you’re accosted the minute you walk in the door, before you have a chance to put down your things, by a coworker who says, “Oh, so *there* you are!”

Critical problem on a Sim for a Shuttle Mission coming up in 17 days, a critical processor hung and had to be killed and restarted. My processor. Managers wringing hands, wanting status before I had my morning coffee.

With help from some coworkers, I managed to come up with enough of the answer to:

1) Convince them it wasn’t a critical problem.
2) Show it’s not my fault. At least so far.
3) Allow me to go home instead of working the weekend.

Things are looking up. Have a nice weekend.