halloween hodgepodge

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006
I had vague but ambitious plans for my halloween post. Last year it was The Raven, but that was last year and I don't quite feel up to the tintinabulation of The Bells. (despite the gush of euphony that so voluminously wells, which is normally something I find irresistible.)

Then I thought I could do an Edward Gorey post, but that sort of fell apart when I couldn't get the scanner to do what I wanted it to do, nor could I find the specific images I wanted. (I did find this image online, which isn't particularly creepy or scary but I do think it captures the essence of his oddness. I looked up the word Armoracia, because it seems like it might somehow be related to amour which makes sense since the young lady seems discombobulated in a manner not unfitting to that condition, but it turns out that armoracia is HORSERADISH, which just makes me love this picture even more.) At any rate, even though this does not feature Basil being eaten by bears or similar, it has the moody sky and straight-faced sturdy weirdness that I appreciate so much about his work.

I'll be keeping the Gorey post in mind for the future, but it's not going to happen today. (although in my brief research, I did find links here and here for free Gorey fonts.)

After Gorey didn't pan out, I remembered this really cute picture I have of myself at age 4 in a witch costume, which would be an acceptable holiday post. However I can't find it, so we're all spared that little trip down memory lane (for now -- when I find it, look out).

But these few random bits aren't enough to qualify for a true hodgepodge, so let's consider Karen Elizabeth Gordon. She is the author of the most fun/halloween appropriate grammar book ever written. It is called The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed. It is entertaining in addition to helpful. Who can resist a reference book that states the following in its introduction? "This is a dangerous game I'm playing, smuggling the injunctions of grammar into your cognizance through a melange of revolving lunatics kidnapped into this book. Their stories are digressions toward understanding, a pantomime of raucous intentions in the linguistic labyrinth. By following them through this rough and twisting terrain you will be beguiled into compliance with the rules, however confounding those rules may appear to be. Learning is less a curse than a distraction."

Revolving lunatics!? I'm there!

She has also written Torn Wings and Faux Pas: A Flashbook of Style, a Beastly Guide Through the Writer's Labyrinth and The Disheveled Dictionary: A Curious Caper Through Our Sumptuous Lexicon among other helpful guides. I'm not going to lie -- if you want straight- ahead-devoid-of-whimsy advice, Strunk & White's The Elements of Style is probably the way to go. If you feel that your usage needs are better met by lovelorn robot or gargoyle examples, do please consider Karen Elizabeth Gordon. Or better yet, have both.

What kitchen sink halloween post would be complete without a picture of Jack Skellington?

6 comments on "halloween hodgepodge"
  1. "tintabulation"

    Oh Jensect, I do love you and your large vocabulary!

  2. that would be "tintintabulation"

    I hate my spelling!

  3. Hee hee! It's not me, it's Poe! (and I had to look it up too -- it's "tintinnabulation," which means I spelled it wrong in my post, which means I had better fix it lest Poe rise up from the dead and hit me on the head with a giant bell.)

  4. although I just looked it up in the poem, and it would seem Poe and dictionary.com are not in agreement, so I'll leave it. I tell you, it's spelling MAYHEM out there. Your way and my way should be just as viable, don't you agree?

  5. Not being able to find your witch costume pics just made me realize that, to my knowledge, there are NO extant Halloween pictures from my childhood. I'm not sure if there ever were any. I know I dressed up, and I know I trick-or-treated, but no pictures. It amkes me wonder if all my memories of the holiday were created, like in that Twilight Zone episode, where the girl is really a robot and upset to learn that all her childhood memories were programmed into her! I bet that's it! My mother, especially, is just shifty enough to engage in that kind of thing!

  6. poor little robot girl! (was that one of your costumes?)

    We had a lot of pictures of certain years of my childhood because my dad was big into photography -- down to developing his own film and pictures. Some of my fondest memories are of when we'd have to make the kitchen/dining room DARK enough for a darkroom (because of course we didn't have another room suitable.) The whole process was magic! (and chemical laden. maybe that added to the magic, I don't know.)

    what were some of the costumes that you remember? Did you ask your mom? Knowing her she's got a whole album of halloween pictures, but if you don't ask specifically she won't tell you. (she is shifty, after all!)

    I remember being a witch (due only to photos, I'm sure) and I think i was a clown one year, a flower (with an elaborate wire and fabric headdress), and I can't remember what else. My mom really liked making costumes, though.


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