People can be amused or interested or overjoyed for Halloween for different reasons. You’re a kid, you have a kid, you like dressing up, you’re morbid or goth - doesn’t matter. Enjoy! Likewise, you can be unamused or uninterested for a variety of defensible positions, and this doesn’t have to be a judgment on those who do like dressing up in elaborate costumes and then standing around at a party wearing the costume and perhaps explaining it to someone else who doesn’t get it. The last costume I wore consisted of a black overcoat with the letter M written in chalk on the back, near the shoulder. No one got it. I am so clever!

Anyway, enjoy, if you wish. I have been listening to the Sirius radio channel’s Halloween OTR channel, and while the ghost stories are starting to wear on me a bit - most of the “spooky” old shows weren’t very good at all - it's the echoey witches cackling in madness that grates after a week. What are they always laughing about? The evil done to others, the spells that rot faces and turn bones to gruel, the malefaction visited on the heads of the innocent? What a miserable demographic.

Anyway! Enjoy! And I'm just kidding, mostly. But we can't let the day go without . . .


Our annual round-up of orange-themed grocery items, without which Halloween would not be so much fun for the tots.

Note: it would be just as fun.

New this year, I think: black donuts. But the most important thing is two of the four necessary iconographical mainstays: pumpkins, dwelling, moon, bats.

Because that's about it these days.

Dry as a Dick Cavett joke, I'm sure.

Oh it is cleverly spelled I am shook to my marrow

Moon and bats: two out of four. Mr. Kool-Aid, or whatever the hell his name is, has the classic Middle-European royalty costume, indicating vampirism. Also blood is sloshing out of his head.

Uts goes four-for-four:

As I am obliged to note every year, there is nothing inherently scary about this architecture. It was quite stylish, but then it became archaic, and associated with abandonment. The same thing could happen to rambler homes and picket fences.

But it probably won't. We're stuck with the pointy-roof hauuuunted house cliche forever.

Four for four:

A closer look is merited:

Finn has fangs, so he can drain the blood of . . . other crackers? And recruit them to his army of the undead, so they may suffer for all eternity with a slakeless thirst and dread of the life-giving sun? What a jerk

This was his costume in 2017:

I don't think I saw any scarecrows this year.

Also: at Cub I didn't see any Halloween-themed breakfast cereal.

Not any. A check of some cereal websites indicates that Cap'n Crunch is all in, as usual, but overall this year I saw a steep drop-off in the Halloween themed goods.

Perhaps they realized it had no effect on sales at all.

The number of screaming skeletons and animated items at Target was smaller, too.

It's possible that we're past Peak Halloween. I think that's a good thing. From a month of Halloween and the pumpkinfication of everything. to a more subdued commercial profile that doesn't require the redesign of every got-danged package and a one-week holiday build-up?

Oh I'm fine with that.









Eighteen thousand souls. Its wikipedia page says "McAlester is the home of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, the former site of an'"inside the walls' prison rodeo that ESPN's SportsCenter once broadcast." Okay, I guess that's important. Also:

"McAlester is home to many of the employees of the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. This facility makes essentially all the bombs used by the United States military. In 1998 McAlester became the home of the Defense Ammunition Center."


Let’s start with a theater instead of stumbling upon it:

Cinema Treasures:

The Okla Theatre was built within the walls of the Palace Theatre which was destroyed by fire in December 1930. The Okla Theatre was opened July 10, 1931 with Robert Montgomery in “The Man in Possession”. The architect W. Scott Dunne designed a Moderne style partial Atmospheric style movie theatre, with $50,000. The side walls had stepped rectangular shapes and in between them were plant boxes containing imitation foliage.

Photos here. This one . . .hits me right in the sternum. I don’t know why. It’s such an impossibly futuristic style.


“Zeb, I’m afraid I’m going to have to buy you out.”

“You cain’t do it, Robert. At most I’ll sell you 90% of my business.”

“All right, then”

“You’re the new girl, right? When you answer the phone, whisper Z then say R with a strong, confident voice.”


“It’s just how it’s done, that’s all.

Another Moderne gem, done entirely in brick. This was built as the International Institute for Investigating Internal Indigenous Inquiries In Idaho (local branch)


Like a hand over its face:

J. J. McAlester. You’d think they would have given the building a bit more respect.

James Jackson McAlester (October 1, 1842 – September 21, 1920) was an American Confederate Army soldier and merchant. McAlester was the founder of McAlester, Oklahoma as well as a primary developer of the coal mining industry in eastern Oklahoma. He served as the United States Marshal for Indian Territory (1893–1897), one of three members of the first Oklahoma Corporation Commission (1907–1911) and the second Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma (1911–1915).

What the hell happened here

It’s hard to imagine what this was, ever, at any point - but surely there was a day when it was a modern note on the streetscape, and stood out with pride.

Not any more.

Looks like the caboose of the Buckaroo Express tried to back out of the front.


And now, a different part of downtown with quite an array of solid citizens:



The Order:

The Order of the Rainbow for Girls was founded in McAlester on April 6, 1922 by Rev. W. Mark Sexson. From the initial installation class of 86 girls, the Order grew to 50,000 members in 1940. In 1941, the Order began plans for a larger office building that would serve as a memorial to those who had made the Order possible, and a shrine for members worldwide. The building was designed by the Tulsa firm Black and West, and the funds for the building were approved at the 1950 Supreme Assembly session. The contract for the construction was granted to the Dewey Loveall Construction Company in August 1950, and the cornerstone was Masonically laid on May 2, 1951.

Masonically laid.


Oh to be young on a summer night and step out of the hot ballroom into the cool of the evening on that porch.



“Sorry. No, we have space available, but your function doesn’t sound sufficiently . . . how shall I put it?


These are all on the same street, by the way.


So . . . is this town mostly ceremonial classical structures?

That’s the courthouse.

You must know what this is.



Completed in 1930. Not a hotel today.


Any guesses what it is? Yes! SENIOR HOUSING

We all know what this is, too:

It’s a school, as you can tell just by looking at it. Also there is impressive coal:



Coal built most of this, I suspect.




That’s the Scottish Rite temple. “Many questions raised by the Blue Lodge Masons, but left unanswered, are answered in the Scottish Rite.”

I have no idea what the questions, answered or unanswered, may be.

Perhaps that's the first question: what are the questions?



Well, with all this wonderful architecture, surely the designers who came later were inspired to add to the soaring stock of historically resonant designs

If that thing landed in your public square in the 50s, they'd call out the army.


Surely that’s an aberration, and they tried to avoid the same mist -



That'll do - see you tomorrow. Oh and BOO I guess.





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