Didn’t make it down to the Haunted Triangle this year, because it was cold and I didn’t want to stand around shivering and eating chili and shivering and wondering whose kids these are. We are now at the state of our tenure in the neighborhood where we wonder whose kids these are. The new people, obviously. In the old Johnson place. Doesn’t really narrow it down in Minnesota; everything was the Johnson place at one point.

There’s always excitement on Halloween, though - getting home, setting up, grabbing something to eat, running to the door. Festive and fun . . . until it all drains away. No one comes around any more UNTIL SOMEONE DOES and then you’re thinking, is this the start of the Teen Bracket? Then no one. Then it’s ten and you’re looking at a bucket of sugar you have to take to the office - after you picked out the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, of course. Those go in the freezer.

Oh heck, same with the Kit Kats.

Annnnd maybe set these 100 Grands aside as well.

Daughter upbraided me for getting Kit Kats, and not Twixes, the latter being evidently superior. I disagree. I was around when Twix were introduced, and we thought they were spectacular, but over the years that caramel layer has seems like too, too much. It’s the consistency of road tar, for one thing.The cookie is bland. The chocolate is rote. It’s a caramel delivery system, and its primary innovation was the addition of the crunch factor to the caramel experience.

A Kit-Kat, on the other hand, is light and delicious, and reminds you of a Weimar era cabaret.

I was convinced as ever that there we would run out of candy, so we went to Walgreens. They had nothing but unpopular choices, like Mary Jane chews and Paydays. One big empty shelf had just one bag of this variety:

That's right: they put out Christmas candy, and it was gone. More on that in a bit.

In case you're wondering what possibly "more" there can be, well, not much.

There was a controversy last week over whether non-Polynesian children should dress up as Moana. Short answer: no. Long answer: shame on you for even thinking this was acceptable, because it reflects on you as a parent, and by “parent”we mean “A mother,” who should be steering your whitey-white child away from admiring strong, nervy Polynesian females.

Dress them all like Elsa from Frozen, so some Salon on Cosmo writer can blather out something that gets a headline like “I Opened My Door on Halloween and All I Saw Was White Supremacy.” It’s unutterably tiresome.

Here’s the picture that usually accompanied the scolding Tweet:




Okay great; two big thumbs up for self-confidence, providing it’s based on actual abilities and an appreciation of one’s limits, be they physiological or chronological. And yes hurrah for strong capable do-anything girls and so on. But the character is . . . how old, again? Sixteen, I guess.

If you met a kid who had that posture you would think he or she had been told since birth that they were the most special specialist specially person on earth, and could not do wrong.

It's still preferable to the Dreamworks Face of Amused Determination, which has the eyebrows down and the face depicted in a slightly sinister smile.


This style has infected Disney animation as well:

If you met people with this expression in your office you would think they had taken leave of their senses.

Why, in my day, the characters were happy! Look at this:



I had this book on my shelves growing up, reminding of the proper posture as an American Youth: stand up straight, wear similiar hair, vary your attire to suggest a slight difference between you and your peers, but not so different as to indicate anti-social behaviour. Be grateful and gee-shucks awed when a Officer R. K. Type shakes your had in front of a generic legislative assembly.

You may be smart, but you're still a kid, so pretend like you know your place.

Anyway. Wife and Daughter did most of the door duty; I kept the dog away, but could see the costumes - and the behavior of the supplicants - through the doorbell camera. Worst costume: teen in street clothes with a plastic knife. It might be one of those slasher movies they make once a year, tying to make a franchise. If that worked all the time we'd be on Jeepers Creepers 6: the Jeepening now.

No one showed up in Addams Family costumes; disappointing. I watched the movie the other night for the first time in a very, very long time - and was delighted, because they got so much right. Gomez is a man of unbridled joy; that’s the key. Tradition, family, savoir faire, devotion, all wrapped up into something charmingly insane. John Astin gave the character a quirky, distracted diffidence; Raoul Julia makes him magnificent.

But all that scary stuff is DONE NOW, right? Because we’re moving right along as fast as possible into Red and Green season. Here’s what showed up in the stores five days before Halloween:


Stock up now because GOD KNOWS there won’t be anything like this in a month.

Lucky’s getting an early start as well:

You cannot feed your kid this before Halloween. So parents would buy it to spring on the breakfast table . . . when? November 1? No one’s in Christmas mode yet. This is post-thanksgiving cereal, but here it is. Reminds me that Thanksgiving is cruelly ignored during November; no turkey-shaped marshmallows, no Cap’n Crunch in a Pilgrim hat.

Back off, Santa. That’s all I’ll say and I’m just going to say it once.



More rescued photos from the antique store.

Don't stare to long at her eyes.



I told you not to stare at her eyes. Well, maybe ask her a pertinent question, like "is there anyone coming behind me over my shoulder?"



We're currently enjoying . . .


One of the reasons I like this serial: when something blows up . . .




it blows up and everyone caught in the blast. They don’t jump out a window before it goes up. It throws them around, and they’re bruised and hurting, but there’s no cliffhanger trickery of the usual sort.

Kato takes the worst of it, but:



The Unseen Crime Boss, who speaks through a loudspeaker - sorry, speaks by REMOTE CONTROL! That was the big thing then - puts a $100 grand bounty on the Hornet’s head. That’s necessary because the Syndicate is planning a new move that takes them beyond insurance and car theft:

They’re going to muscle a bus company.

The Whippet Bus Line, in fact. Here’s what their busses look like.


Rings a bell, but can’t quite place it. Anyway, our intrepid newspaper publisher has been alerted to the Syndicate’s attempts to . . . take over a bus company, so he’s on a bus that happens to suffer mechanical failure. It loses it brakes. And wouldn’t you know it:


That use to happen.

Bridges were OUT.

That would seem to be a bad thing if there was anything close to a road, or water, or a ravine ahead, but never mind.

And then Reed saves everyone. The driver, previously shown to be conscientious and capable, overestimates both his ability and the quantity of flour in previously unvisited warehouses.


Well, Mike the Oirish reporter gets scooped up by the bad guys, and manages to alert the Newspaper that he’s a failure at his job and consequently has been tied to a chair. Once he’s saved, he gets a gun and points it at the Hornet, unaware that the Hornet’s his boss, and not a gangster. But he drops his guard and is sent packing, so the Hornet . . . can pretend to be a gangster, and convince the bad guy that he wants in on the oh-so-lucrative bus business.

It’s complicated, the ending, so let’s just say that the Big Syndicate boys come in and see the Hornet, and figure: here’s an easy 100K. And so:



We conclude our study of the brochure for the California today. Heave to me hearties etc., and I'll see you around.



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