Only three days to get ready for Halloween. I don’t know how I’ll do it. But I must. Without my efforts, for example, there will be no music about which everyone can complain. It’s better if everyone complains, I think; it bonds people together, creates an environment of shared strife. Most Halloween music is bad, I’m afraid; there’s the Monster Mash, which everyone expects to hear, but there’s a vast amount of krep from the 50s and 60s that recycles the same basic concept: the Monsters Are Engaging in Outward Manifestations of Teen Culture. I was walking by the haunted house one scary night / and I looked through the window at a horrible sight! / It gave me such a chill and I felt great fright / to see Dracula dancing in the pale moonlight! / There was the Mummy and the Werewolf from the Isle of Wight/ and Robert Moses talking about Urban Blight! / I knew that that something here was not quite right / as a German might have said this was the geist of the zeit! THEY DID THE ZOMBIE BONGO LIMBO it was something to see THEY DID THE ZOMBIE BONGO LIMBO they were doing it with glee THEY DID THE ZOMBIE BONGO LIMBO it was a rockin’ old time THEY DID THE ZOMBIE BONGO LIMBO the winner was Frankenstein!

It’s all like that, more or less. To think how frightening Frankenstein was at first, and how quickly he becames an Abbott and Costello gimmick. It’s as if the fourth Alien movie was a comedy featuring Chris Rock and Jackie Chan.

Anyway. They’re not scary, they’re not funny, and they’re usually in genres that no one likes much anymore. But if you polled everyone at the party you’d get fourteen different preferences – Billy Joel! Tasteful jazz! Blues! Zydeco! Serbian Vengeance Opera! Chinese Reeducation Songs Played on a Zither! I’d oblige, but it’s Halloween. So I’ll dump it all on the iPod, including the two Bert Convy novelty songs, if only so I can stroll around and say “That’s Bert Convy, believe it or not” and realize that half the people don’t remember him at all. I barely do. One of those guys who shows up on six “Love, American Style” episodes, then had a game show, then was a game show contestant, then suddenly vanished when the periodic species-extinction seemed to wipe the slate clean. (Jeez: he’s been dead for 16 years.)

I also have to get a meat and cheese platter from Costco. I like to pretend that they’re my caterer. I call them up an hour before I go, say that I’d like a big meat and cheese platter. The meat must be pre-rolled and secured with small wooden pins – tapered on both ends -  and I require that the cheese be cut into triangles and stacked in a fanned-out semicircle. I also expect some of the cheese to have at least one edge cut in the serrated style.

Uh – whatever, we have a lot of pre-made plat-

I shall be there in an hour. Good day to you sir.

Good weekend with a poor start. (G)Nat fell ill Friday afternoon in the middle of piano. She rarely complains about feeling poor, and she wanted to leave early. We did. She did not want pizza, as is the custom for post-Piano Friday, so I knew she wasn’t good. Put her to bed when we got home. 101 Fever when she got up. A little medicine took the edge off the fever, and she was bouncing around by Saturday. Right now she’s giddy with excitement from the evening – which will be related on – and a few sips of that awful, awful Jones Cola Candy Corn soda, which I dole out in two-tablespoon portions. She loves it. It’s one of those things that says Halloween, and we’re finally at the point of the month where everything says Halloween. She’s in a state of perpetual delight.

We took the Haunted Streetcar tonight, for example. (That’s the entry.) The streetcar is the last of the breed, a restored car that trundles from Lake Harriett to Lake Calhoun. The cars have a selection of 1940s ads that make my mouth water:

You wonder if his agent pressed him to go by Richard, but he couldn’t understand why.

Most of the weekend was spent lashed to the machinery – big, big site projects unfurled this week in preparation for the book release. Should be up by Thursday. I half-watched a movie while playing around with the new Mac OS Friday night; the movie was “The Wicker Man,” a ridiculous thing built around a terrifying bee-worshipping matriarchy. I’ll never look at bee-worshipping matriarchs the same way. From now on I will assume they’re up to something. Possibly using small children in secret bee-related rituals. I’ll be damned if I’ll fly up to their remote island to investigate a crime. Saturday I went to the antique store to get some matchbooks for the Mpls/St.Paul gig, and discovered, to my delight, that the proprietor had come across a collection from someone who lived in Fargo. Whoa, squared. For a buck, I bought a 1941 children’s coloring book. Why? For the cover:

Nothing in the book looks like this, alas. But the cover was worth a buck. The children’s stuff always gives me the pangs, though. Blocks, games, books – they suggest a time of happiness and contentment that never comes again in the same form. I also get heebies from adult-oriented things that hail from the late 60s and early 70s, which must have been a lousy time to be middle-aged.  Then again, everything seems haunted, if you’re in the mood. I entered one small booth in the basement, and heard a low BONGGG  . . . turned around, and saw this:

A Minnesota National Guard uniform. I’d bumped it, and the hanger hit the big metal tray. Two items that had never met before they were hung in this basement, and they made a sound together.

I wondered if there was anything in the pockets of the jacket, but had the decency not to look.

Somehow, I don't think the original occupant of the uniform might have chosen that ribbon.

Well, we’re off on another week. A new addition: the Bleatchat box. Type and send and I’ll see it. I’ll have a window open most of the day, unless I’m under the gun and working on something. Even so – messages sent will be seen later. It doesn’t require registration, although you can register and have your own screen name. I’ll be adding this to as soon as I can, but I thought I’d put it up for a day and see if anyone cares. Unlike my demon adversary E-MAILIUS, this is something I will see right away. Don’t expect a lot of chatting from your host, but I will drop by from time to time. If you just want to say hi, that’s great! See you there, and all day at Oh – new Matchbook. Constipation cured by the most unusual means.