Friday, October 31, 2008


What are you most afraid of? I mean other than losing a loved one or financial catastrophe? My top three are:

  1. Being buried alive. Stories or films about someone being buried alive are the most terrifying to me. As a kid, just the ads for "House of Usher" promoting the character "Buried Alive!" sent me running from the room. Ooh! And that Emory coed who was kidnapped and buried alive for ransom money back in the late 1960's - brrr. Just kill me please. Don't bury me alive!

  2. Accidentally killing a loved one. Well, accidentally killing anyone, really, but killing a child or parent would be devastating. Lil Sis had a friend in junior high who was killed when his father ran over him. The boy was sunbathing in the driveway, and the dad didn't see him when he pulled out. How do you live with that? And a few years ago a friend I worked with in PTA at the elementary school was killed in a car wreck while her newly-licensed daughter was driving. So, yeah. That's a horrible, scary thing.

  3. Being falsely accused of a crime or mental illness, convicted, and locked away. It would be like being buried alive, sort of, with added humiliation and injustice. Lots of movies give this kind of thing a happy ending, with the truth finally coming out. But I suspect locking up the wrong person happens more often than we'd like to think.
What scares you most on this Happiest of Halloweens? Boo!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dead Inns

Would you spend the night in the hotel room where Janis Joplin died? What about the room in which Lizzie Borden's stepmother was hacked to death? Fancy 40 winks at the hotel that was home to Legionnaires' disease?

Yeah? Well, I've got good news for you. You have a veritable smorgasbord of choices when it comes to vacationing in haunted hotels, according to an MSNBC story. From New York's Hotel Chelsea, where Sid Vicious killed his Nancy and Dylan Thomas died (different dates and rooms, of course) to Raffles Hotel, Singapore, where 300 Japanese officers committed mass suicide after Japan's surrender in 1945, you can pay to stay in some of the creepiest places known to haints the world over.

Travel+Leisure is pushing haunted holidays, as well, listing some of the same spots but adding a few new ones to the roster. Seems Marilyn Monroe slinks around the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood and Cal Neva Resort at Lake Tahoe. She really gets around. And Elvis pops up now and then at - well, lots of places, actually, but also - the Las Vegas Hilton.

I like the choices. Do I choose to stay in a room where someone died or was brutally murdered? Or do I stay in a room that's just haunted now and then by a deceased star? Oh, the dilemma! So many dead celebrities and fabulous accommodations, so little time and money.

Still, that Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast is mighty tempting, I must say.

Monday, October 27, 2008

When bad things happen to taste real good

Yea! It's Halloween! Time for some of my favorite treats that are really, really bad for me (and bad for you, too, so don't look so smug). You can have high-priced chocolates and gourmet cookies year round, but only Halloween and autumn offer up seasonal yummies like:

  1. Popcorn balls. Popcorn + caramel all smooched into a ball. What's not to love?

  2. Caramel apples. Apples + caramel coating stuck on a popsicle stick. Sounds healthy to me.

  3. Candy apples. Apples + hard red candy coating, guaranteed to pull out at least one tooth per serving. I know because that's what happened to me when I was 6 and 7 years old. Another healthy treat (the apple, remember).

  4. Rice Krispies treats. Rice Krispies + melted butter + melted marshmallows. Shoot, just eat the gunk right outta the pot.

  5. Candy corn. Sugar + buttery flavoring + orange and yellow food coloring and shaped like little teeth of corn. Pass the bag, please. I'll finish 'em off for ya'.

All of these goodies are perfect munchies for slasher-teen movies and The Simpsons Halloween show, so I'd better stock up before watching my favorite Halloween flicks.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What it is is football

The weirdest thing has happened to me this year. I care about college football (American football, not soccer football). I'm sure it's just my little psychotic way of escaping all the wedding folderol, the world financial collapse, and the presidential election, but it seems to be working.

Andy Griffith (pre-Mayberry and Matlock) skyrocketed to fame in 1953 with his stand-up routine "What It Was Was Football," describing what the game looked like to someone without a football-clue. Here's the YouTube rendition, complete with illustrations that ran in Mad Magazine in the late 1950s. Big Orange, indeed.

Anyway, in addition to thinking the Griffith routine was funny when I was little, I enjoyed going to football games in junior high and high school. But really only for social aspect of it and the after-game meals or slumber parties afterwards. Fortunately, somewhere along the line I took in the rules of the game, so I understood what was going on. And I graduated from the University of Alabama when Bear Bryant was still the head football coach. 'Nuff said there.

But for the past 35 years I've pretty much ignored college football (and I never followed the pros - no heart in it). I never cared whether Alabama was in the Top 10 or bottom 5, or whether Tennessee was up or down. I guess I haven't needed the college football pacifier for three decades, but this year? Yeah. I need it.

Alabama's ranked No. 2 right now. Tomorrow's the Alabama-Tennessee game, which I've always considered a win-win for me, since I'm a fan of both. I'd like to see Bama win tomorrow (and Texas lose) to keep them ranked. Whatever happens, college football will keep my mind off of all the other weird world events that keep popping up.

But if all this wrestlin' over a punkin' keeps me sane right now, I'm all for it, whoever wins.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How to stay sane. And/or happy.

The Times (London, not New York) reported today that scientists have come up with five simple things you can do to maintain your sanity throughout your life. Well, at least that what the paper called the article. The actual list, however, was "Steps to Happiness:"

Developing relationships with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours will enrich your life and bring you support

Be active
Sports, hobbies such as gardening or dancing, or just a daily stroll will make you feel good and maintain mobility and fitness

Be curious
Noting the beauty of everyday moments as well as the unusual and reflecting on them helps you to appreciate what matters to you

Fixing a bike, learning an instrument, cooking – the challenge and satisfaction brings fun and confidence

Helping friends and strangers links your happiness to a wider community and is very rewarding

I have no qualms with this list, except for the "fixing a bike" part, which I believe would send me over the edge. However, I do find a couple of interesting points. First, the apparent equating of "sane" with "happy." Perhaps the reporter just got a little carried away in these times of financial insanity and hoped that the reference to "sane" would draw people in faster than "happy" or "fulfillment." (Hey, it worked on me, right?) The second thing I find interesting in reading the reader comments are the discussions about God (mostly from U.S. readers) and the bigger question of happiness being the be-all/end-all.

Staying connected, active, and curious (boy, am I curious), giving to others, and life-long learning are surely ways to live a happy, even sane, life. Each of these is subject to interpretation, of course (my unhappiness with bike-fixing, for example). For those of us who do believe in God/Allah/Supreme Being, that belief threads itself through each of the five categories, just as non-belief doesn't threaten any of the steps listed. In other words, that the study didn't mention a belief in God specifically doesn't trouble me - I get what's being said and can work my own belief system into it. No conflict.

Here are my questions for you:
1. Does sanity = happiness/happiness = sanity?
2. Is being "happy" (not slappy/sappy/happy, just mostly contented with a good dash of "joy") what we ultimately strive for?
3. Would you add something to the list? Take something out?

OK, OK. A few more wedding pictures.

Thanks for all your kind comments about Kate's wedding photos. Here are a few more. The real scoop lives on The MoBster Diaries.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The day after the Big Day: a day of rest

After all the wonderful wedding hoopla, today has been a day of rest. While I only have the few pictures I managed to snap yesterday (all the really good ones will start rolling in any day now), here are a couple just to let you know that everything went off without a hitch - er, except that the couple did get hitched. I return to NYC tomorrow. Snappy, sassy Shorty PJs will return to the regular blogging world very soon!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I've voted, so stop yammerin' at me

Before I left New York for Atlanta and the upcoming wedding, I sent in my absentee ballot for the presidential election. I'll be in England on Election Day (then on to Egypt and Israel), so I got to vote early. I'm done. Vote cast. Done my duty.

I'll miss voting the New York way - going into a big booth, flipping levers, then turning the big crank to register the vote. When you vote in New York, it's a physical experience - you know you've voted! (Maybe it's for Boss Tweed, but you know you've voted.)

Now I wish I could filter out all the election news until the final results come through.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Closed for the Season

As I am slowly sinking deeper into whelm, what with the wedding and my work load, Shorty's going to have to take a little mental health break from blogging. Everything was going so smoothly with the wedding until the last few days, when all hell has broken loose. I've tried to keep up with the wedding trauma on my MoBster Diaries blog, so you'll have to go there to read all about it.

Just for a little while, Shorty PJs is closed for the season. Feel free to visit October blogs of the past if you need a Halloween fix. And now, I think it's time to pop another Xanax.