It’s Halloween. Do you know where your costume is?
I wasn’t much in the Halloween spirit this week—Libby’s too young to really trick or treat, and I don’t need to eat eight pounds of fun-size Snickers. That changed when we watched an excellent episode of Paranormal State this week. For those of you who haven’t seen it, Paranormal State is like The Real World meets Poltergeist. Find out what happens when the dead stop being polite and start being real scary. It’s cheesy, but really good cheese, like the kind they sell over by the deli department instead of in the cheese case. There's also just enough freaky stuff to keep me hooked week after did-you-hear-something week.
Anyway, they had a special hour-long episode this week involving a woman possessed by a demon. The episode progressed in standard fashion: the girl was experiencing weird, violent episodes, including writing on her flesh. The Paranormal State team suspected demonic activity, so they called in a priest. An Episcopal priest.
“Way to bring a knife to a gun fight,” I said to TLB.
They performed the exorcism and the woman eventually seemed fine. Except, at the end when they show an update of how a client is doing, it said she had another possession episode a couple weeks later.
Well, duh! The lesson, kids, is when you suspect you have the black soul of one of Lucifer’s minions nestled between your heart and what’s left of the Taco Bell meal you ate, call a Catholic priest. Because if there's one thing Catholic priests know, it's how to use their hands to expunge inner demons.
1) “Sara’s Angel,” Steve Earle. A nice bit of old-timey instrumental work that wouldn’t sound out of place during a montage from O Brother, Where Art Thou? Even funnier considering the GOP Republican candidate likely believes she has an angel watching over her.
Which brings up a conversation I had a while ago with my oldest friend. He was on the fence about who to vote for: he’s one of those economic/foreign policy conservatives who’s also pretty liberal on social policy. I suspect he was probably leaning toward McCain until the Palin announcement. We talked about her, and we discussed how we really don’t want Tribulation believers near nukes. (BTW, welcome to a special religious bigotry edition of the Random 11!) It’s not hard for me to picture Palin believing, as Bush does, that God speaks to her, and that her meteoric rise is part of God’s plan. And then, should the awful happen and she assume the presidency, that God “tells” her to start a war that ends with nukes going off. Although, since I’ve been playing Fallout 3 this week, I at least feel more prepared if that does happens.
2) “Thick as Thieves,” The Jam. I believe this was the theme song at the last AIG sales meeting.
3) “Are We the Waiting,” Green Day. It’s odd how dated I find American Idiot. I loved it in 2004. It was perfect for the election that year, and one of the first major-label albums to take a direct shot at the political chicanery gripping the country. However, it sounds completely out of step with this election. Maybe it’s because things feel like they are finally going to change, at least a little. Dare I say it: I have a little bit of hope during an election season.
4) “Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round to Be a Millionaire),” AC/DC. I’ll bet Joe the Plumber likes him some AC/DC. This song has a line I’ve always loved: I’ve got patches on the patches of my old blue jeans / Well they used to be blue, when they used to be new, when they used to be clean. Bon Scott wasn’t all sex and Satanism, ladies and gentlemen.
One funny AC/DC tidbit: I heard a song from their new album, Black Ice, on the radio the other day. When the song ended, the DJ came on and said, “That’s a track from AC/DC’s new album, Black Ice, and one of four songs on the album with the word ‘rock’ in the title.” No hint of irony in his voice, as if it should be no surprise that AC/DC would have an album featuring four songs with “rock” in the title. I cracked up. In fact, I wish they had put “rock” in the title of every song on the album.
5) “Blues Before and After,” The Smithereens. I was in college when they were in their heyday, driving a beat-up Datsun (!) that looked like it had survived a Sarah Palin apocalypse. This is the car that, the first time I drove it, the glass on the passenger side mirror fell off as I pulled away from the curb. It also broke down the day I had to take the GRE. It was, in short, a metallic pile of dog shit. But, it had the most kicking set of factory speakers ever. Big, booming speakers that probably were responsible for shaking loose all the moving parts on the car.
I loved when The Smithereens would come on the radio when I was in that car. I worked as a pizza delivery guy at the time, so I was in my car a lot, and I would crank this song and every other Smithereens song I heard. So, despite that car giving me about 18 months of pure grief, I enjoyed driving it because of those speakers and the kind of music that got played on the radio. Sadly, no video for this rocking tune on the YouTubes.
Funny ending: this was the easiest car I ever sold. My father and I dropped it off at a vacant lot where a lot of people put their cars up for sale. My dad put a sign up in the window: $500 OBO. Why walk? We went home to have lunch, and we had a call within 30 minutes. We went back to the lot and sold it to a woman for $427—she literally gave us every dollar she had on her. So I guess every burned-out clutch has a silver lining.
6) “One Little Victory,” Rush. My favorite music moment of the last ten years was the first time I heard this song. I’ve obviously been completely unabashed in my Rush fandom. At the start of the 2000s, though, that fandom had waned quite a bit. The band had been rather hit-or-miss during the 90s, and on top of that, the double-tragedy suffered by drummer Neil Peart (losing his only daughter in a car accident and his wife to cancer within one year) made it seem like they were probably done. Finally, after a five-year gap, they released Vapor Trails. I heard this song on my way home one night and felt completely kicked in the ass (in the good way). I know it’s geeky to be that much of a fan, but I was so happy to see them not only back, but rocking like every song on their album should have "rock" in the title.
7) “My Dirty Life and Times,” Warren Zevon. I am a death baby. I’m somebody that will need to go quickly and obliviously, because if I have time to think about it, it’s not going to be pretty. At the same time, I have always loved the artistic epitaph—the work where the artist knows he or she is producing the last thing they will ever produce. Zevon’s The Wind is one of those, a sad yet uplifting album of a man knowing he’s going to soon, so he wants to make one final lasting impression.
8) “A Nigga Witta Gun,” Dr. Dre. The new Chris Rock HBO special was just okay, but he had a very funny routine about listening to rap songs with his white friend. He talked about how, if the white friends were with him, they always skipped over the n-word in rap songs, mumbling something or just saying nothing. Yet he knows when they are by themselves, they not only sing it, they shout it. Like a smart man once said, it’s funny cause it’s true. Also: funny cat video set to this song.
9) “Don’t Steal Our Sun,” The Thrills. No kidding. It snowed her Monday, enough to put a pretty decent dusting on the surrounding rooftops for a few hours. I went into season-affective disorder mode (also known as “being a baby”). Well, lo and behold, it was almost 60 here yesterday, warm enough that we took Libby for a walk after work for the first time in probably a month. So I’m hanging onto that sun as long as I can. This is also a great, great song.
10) “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” The Pretenders. Bouncy. Seriously, it’s impossible for me to not tap a toe or finger to this song. This also gives me a chance to link to the pretty sweet MTV video site. You can find lots of actual--gasp!--videos on it.
11) “Royal Gregory,” Holy Fuck. What better group to lead into an election weekend where a young black senator looks poised to beat an established white war veteran for the presidency than one named “Holy Fuck”?
And it’s catchy, too.
Happy Halloween, and get out and vote if you haven’t already. Although I know it’s tempting to abstain from the process in the hope that not voting will kill P-Diddy.