Thursday, October 30, 2008

Final Halloween Post

Unless I unexpectedly get some spare time, these are the last of my Halloween offerings for this season. A few more of my favorite Monster Quotations. Beginning with. . . THE BLOB!

As the Blob ate his dinner he said,
  • "Ugh. Me glad Domino's delivers. . . burp. . . ahhh!"

  • "Oops! Me think me ate napkin!"

  • "Well, that was yummy. Maybe Friday me will eat Chicago."

  • "Me sure save plenty money not having to brush teeth or buy floss and toothbrush. And with no teeth, me never get no cavities!"

  • "Me love purple jello. Reminds me of Mama."

  • "Mmm. Me love to eat encyclopedias. Very nutritious and blob educational."

Freddie Krugar looked at his fingernails and said,

  • Two more inches and I can beat that guy in Zimbabwe for the Guinness Book of World Records."
  • "Just think how long they'd be if I had just stopped biting them when good ol' Mom said to."

  • "Let's see. . . it's Tuesday. Do I paint them State Red or Carolina Blue?"

  • "I wish that nail polish would hurry up and dry. I've got things to do."

  • "Maybe if I paint smiley faces on them people won't run away."

The Headless Horseman picked up his head and said,

  • "I didn't know I was growing a beard."

  • "You worthless thing! If you could just find our stupid horse we could go for our midnight ride!"

  • "What a headache. That's the last time I use you for a kickball."

  • "Why couldn't I have just lost a foot like everybody else?"

  • "Let's see, shall I wear it backwards and right-side up or forwards and upside-down today? Decisions, decisions."

  • "Ohhh-- now I remember where I hid my Halloween candy!"

Now to finish things off, click HERE, to go to a website with my favorite Halloween poem and suitable theme music. It's James Whitcomb Riley's "Little Orphan Annie," a morality tale of cautions for children with the classic line, "An' the goblins'll gitcha if you don't watch out." I used to love it when my Grandma Gaddis would say that to me.

Have your own safe, clean brand of Halloween fun in '08. And be sure to check my first November blog post soon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fall Colors and More

I'm taking a day off from my Halloween posts, but you're not off the hook. I have one more planned. But today I want to tell about our latest adventure.

Yesterday, Judy and I got to tag along with Tim and Thelma on a fall color tour of at least four counties just to our west (Stanley, Randolph, Montgomery, and Richmond). Once you get out of the "sand and pines" region you see more hardwoods, and that means more color. The leaves may not have peaked yet, but there were plenty of spots where they were glorious. A breezy, chilly day, we enjoyed most of the scenery from the confines of our vehicle.

This is looking down into a gorge at Jumpin' Off Rock near the Uwharrie Mountains.

Looking upstream from Jumpin' Off Rock.

Thelma, Judy, and me at Jumpin' Off Rock.
Judy, Thelma, and Tim gazing at me as I fell backward into the gorge while snapping their photo.
My view of the gorge just before landing at its bottom.Nah, I didn't really fall off Jumpin' Off Rock. I WAS PUSHED!!! :>)
Below, I get revenge on Tim.

Taken from the hilltop cemetery of Laurel Hill Baptist Church, a few miles west of Candor.

A beautiful spot on the Little River in Montgomery County. There is a boat launch ramp, but no one was there today. Judy mentioned it would be a nice picnic spot. Tim was especially glad we found it, having staked his reputation as a guide on this quest.

No, we weren't way down in Louisiana, just about a mile from Texarkana, but we saw several fields of cotton similar to this one.

In the small town of Richland, we chanced upon a fine little family restaurant called Judy's. All the food was good, from home-cooked veggies, to grilled chicken, to burgers, fries, and chili cheese dogs (guess who).

This photo of Judy's Restaurant is a little dark, but you see it's the typical small-town gathering place. Prices were exceptionally reasonable. This is the humble restaurant to look for if you're ever passing through Richland, NC on Highway 49.
This shot is from atop Morrow Mountain, which was bitterly cold and windy this day.

The three pictures below were taken when Judy and I visited Morrow Mountain on November 11 of last year--Veteran's Day, when school was out. I think you'll agree the colors were significantly more striking then. The good news is, if you haven't had a chance for a nice drive to enjoy the leaves, the best time is probably still a few days ahead.

Wow! Sixteen pictures on this post. That's my record. Hope you enjoyed it and can experience something similar soon on your own fall excursion.

Monday, October 27, 2008

More Halloween Funnies (I hope)

More quotation completions from my Halloween archives.

The skeleton rattled his bones and said, "With all this racket, how do you expect me to find my car keys?"
Invisible man replied,"Car keys? I can't even find my pocket!"

The skeleton rattled his bones and said,
  • "Now wait a minute. I know I counted 206 this morning. Where's my collarbone?"
  • "Now what good did it do me to drink all that milk?"
  • "Hey, I just played the first line of 'Chopsticks' on my ribcage!"
As the Mummy stood up to stretch he said,
  • "Well, I'd better get to that yard sale before all the old rags are gone."
  • "I'm so lonely. If I hadn't killed those archaeologists we could have played rummy."
  • "I better watch out or somebody might try to recycle me."
  • "Sometimes I just want to unwrap myself, but I'm scared my guts will fall out."

Dracula sat up in his coffin and said,
  • "That daylight saving time was murder!"
  • "Ugh! What a nightmare. I dreamed all the blood tasted like Elmer's glue."
  • "Hey, it's the weekend. I don't have to go to work!"

As Dracula drank his blood he said,
  • "Ah, this is just the thing to wash down that peanut butter and jugular sandwich."
  • "Urp. . . . That dadburn carbonated blood gives me heartburn."
  • "Hey! This is tomato juice! Who's the wise guy?"
  • "I should have kept this in the refrigerator. It's already starting to clot."

Frankenstein turned on the TV and said,
  • "Another Saturday night, and me without a date."
  • "Something's wrong with our satellite, Wolfman. Barney looks all yellow."
  • "Can't wait to see Oprah today-- 'Monsters with broken hearts.'"

I know they're awful, but Halloween's almost over. If you have five minutes (which I doubt) add your own monster quote to my comments section.

Friday, October 24, 2008

HALLOWEEN Word Histories

One of my favorite Halloween activities at school was “Halloween Word Histories.” Armed with my beloved American Heritage Dictionary, a high school graduation gift, I let students suggest a character or other word, then we delved into the word’s origin. Often, I was as surprised and delighted as the students. Here are a few abbreviated histories.

  • (also boogyman, boogeyman, bogyman, bogeyman)
  • a hobgoblin (which has its own history) or terrifying specter (ditto)
  • altered from booger, boggart, related to bogle.
  • In turn, BOGLE is from Scottish bogili, from Welsh bygel (ghost) or bwgwl (menace—try to say "bwgwl" five times fast)!
  • A nice twist—boogieman is also related to the Cornish word buccaboo (the devil) from which we get “bugaboo.”


  • from German poltern ~ “to make noises, rattle, knock”
  • from German geist ~ “ghost”

    Not like Casper ~ more like his brothers, the Ghostly Trio


  • variant of middle English bakke
  • from Scandinavian, middle Swedish bakka
  • deformation of Old Norse (we’re talking Vikings) blaka

    The coolest part is that in Old Norse, ledhrblaka meant “leather flapper.” That was shortened in the same way we get prom from promenade.


I liked sharing word histories with students because it heightened their awareness of where our English language came from, and in turn helped them understand our place in the history of the world. More about this in upcoming posts. More word histories too!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

HALLOWEEN HUMOR ~ Funny Epitaphs

The discovery of this Civil War era family cemetery in a brush-tangled suburban Atlanta backyard in 2007 unlocked one Loyd family mystery.

Behold the tombstone of my great-great grandfather, Jabez M. Loyd. I wish he could come back for a brief visit this Halloween and help solve some more of our family mysteries. I've always loved old cemeteries, even before I got into genealogy. There's no place like a graveyard for a PICNIC, for example.
Below are some of my favorite funny epitaphs. My school classes used to draw a variety of tombstones on large drawing paper, then write their own funny epitaphs. I've seen some of these at Ripley's museums, in books, and so on. Some of them have become universally known, and a few of them are authentic (not many)!
I told you I was sick.
Owen Moore
Gone away,
Owin’ more
Than he could pay.
Here lies the body
Of Fearsome Frank,
Who often bet
He could rob any bank,
And bragged he had
Never lost a bet. . .
Here lies Lester Moore
Took three slugs from a .44
No Les
No more.
Here lies the body
Of Jonathan Pound
Who was lost at sea
And never found.
Here lies
Shirley Schiff,
Chased a frisbee
Off a cliff.
(This one is reserved for my tombstone—but not right away!)

Writing funny epitaphs is as easy as writing "Roses are red, Violets are blue" rhymes. Just think of an unusual way to meet one's demise, then supply a rhyming name. Let me know what you come up with.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Early Bird Gets the . . . METEORS?

Renee has notified me that there were spectacular meteors to be seen in the pre-dawn hours the last few days. I confirmed for her that the Orionid meteor shower peaked Monday, but these showers can cover a period of several days. For details about observing meteor showers in comfort, go to my August post about the Perseid meteor shower.

Now is a good time for me to share dates of the 13 (my lucky number) meteor showers recognized by international astronomers. Remember that these dates tell you the peak for viewing, but they can be observed before and after that date.

  • January 3 ~ Quadrantids
  • February 9 ~ Aurigids
  • April 21 ~ Lyrids
  • May 4 ~ Eta Aquarids
  • June 28 ~ Draconids
  • July 29 ~ Delta Aquarids
  • August 12 ~ Perseids
  • October 20 ~ Orionids
  • October 31 ~ Taurids
  • November 12 ~ Arietids
  • November 16 ~ Leonids
  • December 13 ~ Geminids
  • December 22 ~ Ursids

As you can see, now through January 3 is a very active period, so try it at least once and let me know if you see anything!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I won't need to elaborate much for those of you who are veteran fair-goers. Here is the famed Waterfall Wall, with Dorton Arena in the background, flanked by Old Glory and the North Carolina state flag.
A little fuzzy, but this mural in one of the restaurants attempts to capture the scope of this grand event.
You can't tell relative size of these pumpkins because they're all humongous, but the largest one could easily have been Cinderella's coach!
Examples of really imaginative art and creative decors were everywhere.
What's this? Obviously, the all-American hot dog.
We were able to get just a few feet from the kiddie coaster for this shot.
Don't know what they called this ride, but Bumper Boats would be appropriate.
Tar Heel prizes adorned all the game booths.

Apparently I was the only person in the entire crowd that noticed some of these flags were printed backwards. Hmmm. . . .
They could not lure me in to see these supposed freaks of nature. It's hard to impress a school teacher after 33 years.
Judy's sentimental favorite ride is the Tilt-a-Whirl.
No, I didn't ride this. I was paying attention to the TALL LADDER, wondering how recently they had to go up and rescue someone. I also felt sorry for the ride inspectors. I realized that in the last month I've been on the roofs of four different houses clearing debris, making repairs, or cleaning out stovepipes. I still don't like heights!
It was my first State Fair in over 30 years and I loved every minute! The weather was picture perfect, traffic was light, the midway was pleasant and uplifting, and the exhibits were superb. I highly recommend it!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yard Saling minus the yards

I cannot describe the joys of yard saling more eloquently than Amanda did in her post today, so I won't try. Check out her finds here. Judy and I got plenty of good stuff ourselves. Some of my book bargains were 50 Classic Motion Pictures--the Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of, Now Showing--unforgettable moments from the movies (a $30 book with DVD for 50 cents), Century by Peter Jennings ($60 book for 50 cents), and Norman Rockwell's America for a quarter.

Also found our first book based on the Monk series on USA, which Judy and I love. I got an old NC geography book (hint: it was copyrighted in the year of my birth). Throw in a couple of cat humor books (not the dead cat variety), and a couple of history collectibles, and I'm suddenly well-stocked for fall and winter reading (until 2018, actually).

In the video department I got two old Honeymooners tapes, a children's version of the Trojan War, and The Babe, starring John Goodman as Babe Ruth. I got three audio tapes billed as "Too Hot for Radio." Maybe when they originally aired, but not now.

Can't leave out the 50 cent Vivitar camera tripod in perfect condition. Will it stop my blurred pictures and shaky videos? I doubt it. Tripods are not for spontaneous photo ops, which most of mine are. But I'm gonna try to get some shots of birds at our dining room window feeder and bird bath (Judy says the latter is rude).

I'll echo Amanda's sentiment that the good company is what makes yard saling so much fun, and topping it off with lunch at 195 in Southern Pines is priceless.

So maybe none of our yard sales were actually in yards, but almost everything except lunch was half-price. I'll settle for that anytime.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Halloween 1 (No, not Jason)

Halloween!!! I love it and always have. Aside from my own great childhood memories and those of taking Jennifer and Amanda trick-or-treating, some of my best memories were in my own classroom. The month of October was a perfect time to integrate something kids were interested in--Halloween-- into math, reading, writing, art, music, and even PE.

We wrote Monster sentence completions, gross recipes, Monster Math, Spooky Faded Messages, and so much more. We read The Ghost Rock Mystery, The Thing at the Foot of the Bed, The Empty Grave, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (yes, 1,2, and 3). We played Old Mother Witch and Blob. We wrote The Haunting of Farm Life School and Baby Monsters Go to School.
Here's one of my favorite activites, which I always did along with my students: Monster sentence completions. I'll include a sampling of my responses from over the years. I'll probably do this again, and I'd love to see some of your responses.

  • "Now where did I put that No More Tangles? This is a mess!"
  • "Pretty slick. Now if I could just get rid of these fleas maybe I could get a date."
  • "Wow, using that blow dryer was a great idea! I am one cool dude!"
  • "I just hate 'Picture Day' at Monster School."
  • "Good golly, I'm getting bald-headed, just like dear old Dad."
  • "It would be easier if I had feathers. Hmmm. . . Duckman?"
  • "I'm seriously thinking about trying that Michael Jordan look. Think I'll shave my head."
  • "Nah, too much like David Letterman" (This is my 2008 addition to the list)
More Halloween stuff in the upcoming days. (Is that a promise or a threat?)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Perfect Ten

By special request, here are the words to "The Perfect Ten," which our children and youth sang last Sunday.

The Perfect Ten

In a cloud of fire and smoke
A mighty voice of thunder spoke
As God descended to the mountaintop;
High above Mt. Sinai
He gave the rules we should live by
As God gave out the “shalts” and the “shalt nots.”

Number one, we’ve just begun,
God should be first in your life;
Number two’s the idol rule,
Those graven images aren’t nice;
Number three, God’s name should be
Never spoken in jest;
Number four, the sabbath’s for
Our worship and for rest.
Number five, we all should strive
To honor father and mother;
Number six, don’t get your kicks
From killing one another.
Number seven, life is heaven
When you’re true to your mate;
Number eight, don’t steal and break
This rule for goodness’s sake.
Number nine, don’t be the kind
Who goes around telling lies;
Number ten, don’t covet when
You see your neighbor’s house or wife.
That’s the list and God insists
You stay away from these sins;
That is why we memorize
Commandments one through ten.

The perfect ten, the perfect ten,
They’re just as true as they were
Way back when God gave
the perfect ten, the perfect ten;
God gave the perfect ten.
The perfect ten!
Sorry I don't have audio or video. Call me and I'll sing it for you!