Archive for October, 2008

Music For a Darkened Room (2008 Edition)

Friday, October 31st, 2008

I reprint this article every year around Halloween. As I did last year, I’ve added a song to the list — so check out what’s new, and revisit what’s old, and most of all, enjoy. Happy Halloween!

I’ve got a lot of music in my ol’ iTunes Library — well approaching 3,000 songs — and in the spirit of Halloween, I have assembled a short playlist of the very, very best creepy songs I’ve ever come across (but you probably haven’t).

The Poor Clares - Resurrected LoverNext, we have “Lover’s Last Chance”, by a little-known Celtic group from New Orleans called The Poor Clares. It starts off sounding just a bit cheesy, as the singer goes on about Halloween night and “werewolves a-howlin'”, but it quickly takes a turn for the dark, moving to a haunting ghost story and… well, give it a listen and tell me if it doesn’t give you the creeps.

The album is called Resurrected Lover, and though it may be a bit hard to find, it seems they pop up on eBay and the like from time to time. Get going in time for next year! If you like good Celtic music, one of the singers, Beth Patterson, has released some other albums that are available as well.

Note: The Poor Clares’ rendition isn’t available online that I could find, but another singer’s version is on iTunes. I like the Clares’ version much better, as the haunting background vocals really make the song.

Kate Rusby - HourglassNext off is I Am Stretched On Your Grave, as performed by Kate Rusby.

Creepiest. Song. Evar.

No, really. If Edgar Allan Poe had been a songwriter, this would have topped his greatest hits. It’s a traditional Celtic song (what is it with those Irish makin’ wit’ the creepy, anyway?), and it has been performed by others before, but this rendition really takes the cake, with a minimal rhythmic drive carrying you along down a very dark road. The only thing a bit odd about this song is that it is a woman singing what is lyrically clearly a man’s “role” in the story, but that’s easily ignored. it’s from her album Hourglass. Go get it! (link is above)

Third in the list is yet another Celtic tune (funny, when I started this post I hadn’t realized the common source of these three songs — the sound of them is different enough that they are far from sounding alike!) called “She Moved Thro The Fair”. Finbar Wright - A Tribute to John McCormackThis one is performed by Finbar Wright (former member of Irish Tenors) on his album A Tribute to John McCormack. There are several versions of this song out there, but again, rendition means a lot when looking for the truly creepy song. The interesting thing about this one is that it can sneak up on you. It’s entirely possible to hear this one several times before it suddenly hits you what happens in it — the lyrics are clear but subtle, in a way sure to appeal to fans of ghost stories.

New for 2008 I present a song by “the Geeks’ Weird Al”*, Jonathan Coulton. A couple years ago he underwent a project he called “Thing a Week”, in which he created a new song every week for an entire year, and put them up on his web site. Some are hits, and some are misses; but when he’s good, he’s great. One of these productions was a song called “Creepy Doll“, and tells the story of a house, and a locked door, and (naturally) a doll. Heck, you can listen to it on his site, so rather than me describing it, head on over there and listen.

Sting - The Dream of the Blue TurtlesLet us not forget Sting’s “Moon Over Bourbon Street“. A song written by Sting, inspired by Interview With The Vampire. ‘Nuff Said.

Okay, okay, okay I’ve got a bonus song for you. You’ve all heard this one, you just didn’t realize how creepy it is.

First, it’s story time:

A man comes home late one night to find his wife murdered, lying in a spreading pool of her own blood. He actually catches the killer in the act! There is a struggle, during which he clearly sees the man’s face, but the man overpowers him and escapes into the night. The police never catch him.

Years pass. The man never really recovers from his wife’s horrible death, or the thought that he was so close to catching the bastard who did it. That face — those eyes — are seared into his memory.

Late one cold winter evening he is walking at night when he hears faint cries for help in the distance. He follows the voice, and comes to a frozen lake, where someone has broken through a thin patch in the ice. The man runs toward the lake, grabbing a fallen branch along the way that he can use to help the man trapped in the icy waters. He gets to the edge of the ice, and slowly starts to work his way out closer to the man struggling desperately for purchase on the slippery edge of the hole. Suddenly he stops.

He knows that face.

He knows intimately the face of the man in the water. He has seen it exactly once before and will never forget it. After standing there for a moment, watching the man reach out to him from the freezing water, he turns and makes his way back to the shore and drops the branch, then turns and sits down.

..and watches.

Now go listen to Phil Collin’s In the Air Tonight. It will never be the same song again.

Happy Halloween.

“the Geeks’ Weird Al”: Yeah, I know seems redundant, but it really isn’t. If you listen to Code Monkey or RE: Your Brains (also kind of Halloween-y) you’ll know what I mean.

Red Handed (so to speak…)

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Guy Puts up McCain/ Palin yard signs.

Within the hour, someone steals McCain/Palin yard signs.

Guy puts up new yard signs, and electrifies the suckers.

Hilarity ensues:

Things to note:

  • The kid is holding an Obama/Biden sign in his other hand — the soft sign part, not the wire fame. Clearly he intends to swap signs.
  • The kid’s daddy called the cops, claiming the kid just wanted to see how the sign was put together. Rrriiiight. Most likely daddy put the kid up to it.
  • The police did not file any charges against the sign owner. Good for them.
  • Shame they didn’t file charges against the sign stealer. Then again, he’s probably had enough charges for the day. (heh. “charges”)

But remember the narrative, folks — it’s Republicans who stifle free speech.

Four Color Obama

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Got this via email:

Found these over at Treacher’s place:

Robin Hood Was Framed

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

In recent years I quite frequently hear references comparing Democrats to that hero of western folklore: Robin Hood. We’re told that so-and-so congressman, “like a modern day Robin Hood”, wants to “take from the rich and give to the poor”. It’s false comparison — a bum rap. Robin was framed.

Leftist (i.e. Democrat) policies frequently are targeted at the emotions — the arguments supporting them talk a lot about “fairness” and “caring”, and how they’re doing it “for the children”, or the poor, or for the victims of some Bad Thing. Then when anyone (e.g. Republicans) suggest that maybe that policy isn’t such a good idea, they obviously (or so the argument goes) don’t care about children, or fairness, or whatever “victim” group benefits from the great new social policy. The heroic comparison to the esteemed Mr. Hood plays directly into this model.

And as for Robin Hood? Go back and reread the story. He wasn’t robbing random rich people; he was stealing money from the tax collectors — the government.

Words to Govern By

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away people? s initiative and independence.
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.

William H. Beotchker, 1916

[Updated: Attribution was incorrect. This is commonly — but erroneously — attributed to Abraham Lincoln.]

Election Funnies

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Just got an interesting email. It’s one of those “pass this arround to everyone you know!!!1!” kind of things, but this one has the odd distinction of being, apparently, both timely and relevant.

Here’s the deal — in many parts of the country, the ballot has a box you can mark/punch that is “straight ticket” for whatever party — that is, you mark that box and you’re voting for that party for all offices on the ballot.

Simply put: Don’t use it. Your vote for President might not be counted.

It is perfectly okay to vote for all one party if you choose, but go down the ballot and vote for each office separately — do not mark the “straight ticket” box.

Why? In some states, marking “straight ticket” includes a vote for president, and in some states, it does not. To further confuse things, if “straight ticket” does include a vote for president, then separately marking a selection for president can be counted as a double vote, and thus invalidate your vote for that office.

Sigh.

So… feel free to copy this and email it to everyone you know. 😉

More info at Snopes.

The Biggest Issue of the Election

Monday, October 27th, 2008

As bad as I think Obama will be (if he SUCCEEDS in what he wants to do — that is, if he is “good” at being President…) I would probably be okay with him winning if it were not for the probability of multiple SCOTUS appointments — because if those turn out bad they don’t end in four (or even eight) years, they will significantly affect the country for at least a generation.

Obama has openly said that he will seek to appoint judges who rule according to their own sense of “fairness”, rather than what the Constitution says. Such judges place everyone else in the position of never truly knowing what the law is until they are told in the courtroom. The whole point of “rule of law” is that all cases are (in theory) treated similarly, AND that people can know what the law is, and base their decisions on that. If you get sued or arrested, and the judge is going to make up the law on the spot regardless of what the existing law says (because he doesn’t deem the written law “fair” enough) then you can never truly act without fear of criminal charges. It’s judicial tyranny, and it’s incredibly destructive to a free society.

A bit of overlooked legislation….

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I would like to draw your attention to Senate bill S-190, the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, sponsored by Sen. Charles Hagel [R-NE] on January 26, 2005, and co-sponsored by Senators Elizabeth Dole [R-NC], John Sununu [R-NH], and… John McCain [R-AZ].

Simply put, this was a law that would have put further oversight on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which might have averted, and certainly would have lessened the severity of, the financial crisis and the housing crash.

John McCain sponsored it. Bush supported it. Obama voted against it.

I’m just sayin’.

Now more sciencier.

Friday, October 24th, 2008

That sounds about right.

They vote on the issues.

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

This is amazing, hysterical, and frightening. Go give a listen to this excerpt from a radio show. Even if you dislike Howard Stern, keep listening. It’s a group of man-on-the-street interviews with Barack Obama supporters… with a twist.

Listen to the clip.