The end of the middle

Witches of Eastwick. Fun bit of fluff but I don’t care for it. Yes, they’re all wonderful actors. Don’t care. Just not my cuppa. But it comes up as a witch movie so there ya go. Dropped it out of my top 1k this year but it still gets 8.8.

More witches? Practical Magic. Kim and I BOTH crush on Sandra Bullock. Nicole Kidman looks good too. Hell so does Stockard Channing for that matter. (Never a big Dianne Weist fan.) Haven’t seen this one in YEARS! Dropped it out of my top 500 but it still gets a 9.4.

The penultimate unseen flick of this season? Blood on Satan’s Claw. 1971. How in the HELL did this get ranked so high? What did I miss. Pedestrian Brit witchcraft fare. Limited teen nudity. Simulated forced sex. Just not good on any level. I’ll give it a 1.5

In addition there were three movies I skipped from the list. William Castle’s 1959 House on Haunted Hill. Saw it a few months back when Kim was craving good bad horror. It still scores a 9.1 but it’s dropping. Edward Woodward in 1973’s Wicker Man. No idea why I watched it this summer but we did. Maybe I shoulda plugged in the Nick Cage version? Britt Ekland’s dance alone merits the 6.9. And finally The Old Dark Houe from 1932. Great cast. Great use of light and shadow. 9.2.

Just over a dozen movies to go and you can probably guess the titles.

The Beginning of the Middle

Elvira: Mistress of te Dark from 1988. Believe it or not I’ve NEVER seen an Elvira product. Now I have. And I can be done. Some interesting folks in the cast … from the voice of Dot Warner, Taxi’s Bobby Wheeler and Mrs. Herb Tarlek. There’s enough obscure references to keep you busy for a bit. Anyway it is what it is. 3.8

More witchery? How about Hereditary? Nobody does crazy like Toni Collette. Nobody does put-upon spouse like Gabriel Byrne. Nobody does creepy kid sister like Milly Shapiro. And nobody hates the sight of Collette banging her head on the attic door like Kim. Dropped it a little this year, 7.5

The Witch – Robert Eggars’ 2015 effort. Really well made and well told if a bit …. difficult to access. Still a must see if you’re watching Witch movies. Bumped it up to 8.3 this season.

Got to steal a quick viewing of Lonesome Ghosts, a 1937 effort from Disney with Mickey, Donald and Goofy chasing three trouble-making spectres. Typical Ghostbusters stuff but well designed and animated. A fun inclusion for early October. We’ll give it a 7.5 but that’s the ceiling. Also managed to locate “Who’s Killing Who” on youtube. A great spoof on the haunted house mysteries of the 30’s and 40s with more cultural references than you can shake a stick. Another 7.5 but more of a floor.

The Blair Witch. Cutting edge in its day this found-footage feature still merits an occasional viewing although FOLLOWING THE CREEK DOWNSTREAM WOULDA SOLVED THE PROBLEM! Dropped it a couple hundred spots this year but it still merits 8.8

This Masqurade

Yes I’ve been waiting for over a year and a half to use that.

We’re told to ‘follow the science’ — yet some of it is just plain wrong.

SCIENCE: “[Seventy-eight percent] of hospitalizations due to COVID are Obese and Overweight people. Is there an underlying problem that perhaps we have not given enough attention to?”

There’s no graft money to be made in making people healthy and fit. If there were, the entire system wouldn’t be organized around the reverse.

Reported COVID Cases Surge In Vermont Despite Unmatched Vaccination Rates

The Top Reason I Hate Masks Is They Force Me To Live By Lies

ARIZONA SCHOOL SHOWS SHOT MANDATE ABOUT POWER, NOT THE KIDS: If it was about the kids, the building operations director wouldn’t have been demoted to being a (substitute) teacher in the classroom.

Trust the Science

Another COVID ‘Fact’ Turns Out To Be A Wild Exaggeration

Here’s Fauci Pre-Pandemic Laughing At The “Paranoid” Idea That Masking Is Effective Against Infectious Disease

INDIA’S BIGGEST STATE IS ALL BUT COVID-FREE: That’s the news from the Hindustan Times. As it happens, public health authorities in a state there that has as many people as the entire U.S. do not block use of Invermectin to treat Covid patients. Probably just coincidental, right?

Positive COVID Rates In Sweden Remarkably Low Minus Lockdowns, Vaccine Mandates

Let’s Check In With Australia & Its Endless COVID Lockdowns…Yep, Cases Are Up Big Time

Video Shows Hospital Staff Plotting to ‘Scare’ the Public on COVID-19.

Just trust us on this, peasant: WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION BUREAUCRATS: No, we won’t tell you how many of us are vaccinated.

It’s been 18 months and STILL nobody’s found it?! Scott Gottlieb: ‘Nobody Knows’ Where That Six-Foot Social Distancing Rule Came From

Running into Autumn

This summer’s running was NOT good. I’d hit a ceiling and wasn’t feeling good, mentally OR physically. Talked to a couple people and the solution came from an unlikely (?) source. Kim suggested that instead of kicking my mileage up so fast and running every other day I decrease the increment of increase but run more often. After a month of tinkering with THAT idea I’ve finally reduced it to a mechanic and made a leap in progress.

Here’s the deal. I resorted to my Fit-bit (duh!) I come home from school and open the dashboard. I’m told my daily seven day average. I increase THAT number by 10% (a reasonable weekly step up), subtract my distance covered that day and voila – there’s my training distance for that day (round up to next highest ¼.) Running almost daily. Legs feeling tired but not aching. Mentally sharp. The last three days I’ve run more than any given week in YEARS! Without pushing I breezed to my best 2 miles in over 17 months. Best mile in a year. Superior Cooper test results. Finally ready to start speed work again.

Or not. Using the guidelines for speed work I’ve used for decades of “successful” racing my first w/o SHOULD be 5-7 400m under 1:45, 2′ rest between. I can do ONE quarter under 1:45. Maybe two. But I’m not convinced I can do four or five. I’ll TRY it of course. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. But I’m not optimistic. And that’s not good. That means that if I’m struggling part way through the third, I’ll hang it up. Call it off. Which makes sense. But where do I go next? Back to LSD? Longer intervals to get my aerobic capacity up? More three-milers? And how much more? A week? A month?? Technically I need to shave 8 more seconds from my 2-mile time so if the 400’s bomb I’ll refocus on the 2-mile time and hit the October workouts again when I hit it.

It’s Pumpkin Time Again

This morning’s playlist started including my Halloween playlist. 343 Songs clocking in at just under 19 hours. It’ll take the whole month to hear them all. Tubular Bells was this morning’s drive time treat.

And now the movie list. If you’ve been here before you know the methodology: and a little witches brew. Changing up the lists this year. We watch a LOT of horror movies. Most of them these days just aren’t very good. So rather than using horror movies to generate the list – an overly broad subject on the best of days – I’m using a few specific categories this season: haunted houses, witches and ghosts. The first and third have a lot of overlap. Throw in a few “seasonal” movies and perennial faves and we have a full month of viewing.

Here’s what we get the first few days: in the “might as well get them out of the way” category we have Earnest: Scared Stupid, Garfield in Disguise and Scooby Doo and the Witches Ghost. Throw in a couple animated shorts (Who Killed Who from Tex Avery ’43 and Lonesome Ghosts from Burt Gillette ’37.) and Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters and we have a light opening weekend.

Garfield wasn’t as bad as his Christmas special, but was still drek. Couldn’t be saved by a Lou Rawls title number. Give it a 1. Out of 10. Although for SOME reason IMDB scores it an 8.3. No. Just no.

Ernest fared slightly better. Was a shame to see Ertha Kitt stoop to this. The opening sequence with spliced in classic horror scenes wass\ fun but not enough to raise this. I’ll give it a 2 out of 10. IMDB gives it 5.8. Just sayin’.

And finally Quackbusters. Actually not bad. Some classic WB ghost/haunted house/monster cartoons stitched together to make a fun hour plus. Worth it for the Mr. Hyde Tweety Bird and Gossimer appearences alone. And …. Mel Torme! 4.7/10

Incentives Matter

Seeing another sea-change in the substitute teacher world and felt like sharing. I started seven years ago. Back then $100 was kind of a ceiling. A FEW schools were over that but most were either there or lower. Over the last seven it has become the floor. Heck I can make better than that doing the ride-share thing. A few small rural schools are below that but it is no longer really the norm. And keep in mind we’re in demand. It’s the rare public district which has ENOUGH subs. So we can pick and choose where we go. I work EVERY DAY somewhere. There are districts to which I will not return. There are teachers in good districts I will not pick up. And still I work every day.

How do I choose? Three elements: cash, culture and commute. I don’t travel more than about 20 minutes away. That trims quite a few central Ohio schools off my list. Cash is what it is. Those sub $100 schools only get me when I need a break from the urban setting. And then there’s culture. Faculty, staff, admin, building and student body. That’s a biggie and often over-rides cash. A few examples.

My FAVORITE school pays $100, is close to home and scores tops in culture. But that $100 won’t crack my nut on a daily basis. School B is quite similar but a few miles further away. School C pays 20% more but doesn’t quite have the culture consideration. School D is identical to C but a little further away. School E has a BEAUTIFUL new building, pays $150/day …. and the culture is absolutely toxic. There are actually two of these districts nearby. So school C & D got me a lot and A &B filled in.

And then COVID hit. School demand for subs has gone UP since teachers are occasionally quarantined and many have children who get sick, over and above the usual level of absence. And the supply of subs has gone down. Most of us are in the high-risk demographic and have quit the gig. So supply went down, demand went up and something’s gotta give. Four schools on my list have offered “Full Time Sub gigs.” Nice. Except. Same building every day. If they don’t need you they shift you to administrative duties or lower grades. And the pay stays the same. No. Just no. Two schools have upped the pay for these situations, appreciating that the ability to choose is one of the benefits of subbing and we’d be giving that up. School E is offering $200/day. STILL not going there. But school B? They get it. Offered $130/day with a bonus for every 45 days I keep the gig, which should push it to $150 by the end of the year. And I jumped at the chance.

The Delta variant has led Ohio to re-implement a mask mandate. Before the state acted many school districts were acting on their own. And as a district passed a mandate I informed the staff I would not be returning. And yet I worked every day. These school boards didn’t realize the issue they were causing on a daily basis at most schools. All they wanted was to be seen by their constituency as DOING something. Leaving the hapless staffs, faculty and students to take the brunt of the damage from their decision. I was prepared to go back to driving to supplement the missing schools when a) the state mandate was issued and b) this gig appeared.

Incentives motivated my daily school choice. Incentives nearly drove me from subbing. And incentives offered by School B kept me in their classrooms and helped them deal with a shortage. But apparently some high placed elected folks don’t seem to realize that incentives DO matter and that we respond to them.

Howsabout a little football?

Wanted to wait until the collegians got a few games under the belt before I started to opine. But first – a little on Ohio HS.

Congrats to Coach Boescher who broke the school record for coaching wins previoulsy set by OHSAA Hall of Famer Gene Keel. Dad went to school with Keel and I played under him. Roughriders are 6-0 with an average score of 42-9. Quality wins agains 5-1 SSC and 4-2 Northeastern. Second in the region. This year 16 teams per region make the playoffs. Playoffs started 47 years ago. There were three class divided into four regions and only the top team made it. A total of 12. That’s right – more teams PER REGION make it now than the TOTAL back in ’73! Quick rundown of the top of Region 23: Fort Frye is legit. Win over DIII Zanesville their best win but they have several others. Fairland Dragons beat Columbus South last week for their signature win but Portsmouth looms in two weeks. Northmor opened with a slim win over Seneca East and have had an easy road since. East Knox and Sparta Highland still on the schedule. Africentric is interesting. Playing a slate of crappy big schools. Lots of 1st level points but almost no second levels. East and South are signature wins and nobody left on the schedule. They’ll hafta win on the road in December. Barnesville has NO wins against a winning opponent so we’ll stop there. Five teams who deserve a bid. One or two teams might pick up good wins in October but the top four are the class.

My Polar Bears thumped once-decent Otterbein by 50 points. Cross country finished second in their own invitational by four seconds. That’s NOTHING! But I know what you’re thinking – what about the DI playoffs.

  1. Georgia. Yes, you read that right. Georgia. 2. Alabama. Unless they beat Georgia, which I don’t think they do. Then it gets goofy. 3. WOULD be Oklahoma but they haven’t played a DI schedule yet. So we’ll give it to the school up north. There. I’ve said it. And I do NOT feel good about it. The Game in Anne Arbor will break the streak unless OSU solves its QB issues and comes together on defense. 4. Clemson? Not with two losses. Buckeyes? Not with one on the books and another coming late November. Florida? Nope. Iowa? Nope. They’ll lose the Big? Title game. That leaves the Golden Domers.

Buckeyes CAN make it but need to upset the blue AND beat Iowa in the title game. Iowa CAN make it but need to take Michigan’s spot

Now that the recall’s over

we can go back to other electons.

Why the midterms matter: HR4 IS SO MUCH WORSE THAN YOU KNEW: Attorney Cleta Mitchell has been in the front lines of election …

Pennsylvania Republicans subpoena detailed voter info in 2020 election probe.

Biden FEC Claims Fraudulent Pro-Democrat Electioneering By Corrupt Big Tech Companies Is Totally Legal

FLASHBACK: “Nothing says, ‘This was a perfectly normal election, and now it’s time to come together as a united nation,’ like having your swearing-in behind 12-foot-high razor wire surrounded by 25,000 troops whose loyalty you doubt. That’s what we witnessed at President Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday: a grim testament to the fundamental insecurity and fragility of the re-ascendant liberal elite.”

6 am 9/24: DEVELOPING…: Maricopa County 2020 Election Audit Will Be Presented to Arizona Senate Friday.

10am 9/24: BREAKING: Ignore the MSM: Here’s What the 2020 Maricopa County Election Audit Actually Says.

Still giggin’

Just not as much. And fwiw I consider subbing as gig work. Early September several school boards voted to impose mask mandates. I informed those schools I would not be working there until that was lifted. Keep in mind NONE of these schools have ENOUGH subs. They’re shuttling kids into study halls when they’re understaffed. Teachers aren’t happy. Kids aren’t happy. Administrators aren’t happy. And the school boards don’t care because they’ve staved off the Evil Virus. Then the COUNTY implemented one. So I no longer go to those schools in Franklin County. And I’m still working every day. In Fairfield and Licking County. And they are HAPPY about it. So there’s that.

Not driving as much of course. An hour here or there after school. Even though it pays better! And Lyft has been throwing some HUGE streak bonuses. And lots of them. Of course they have their hands full as well. Prop. 22, the gig worker exemption for Uber and Lyft, is ruled unconstitutional by Alameda County Superior Court judge.

California’s ‘Landmark’ Labor Law Is Still Wreaking Economic Havoc


AWESOME trip, all things considered (post Ida, pre-Nicholas and during Biden, and a Monday/Tuesday trip.) Drove down Sunday. Roughly 13 hours. Love the gas prices in Alabama and Mississippi. HATE the Lake Pontchartrain Bridge.

B&B was nice. Room was cute, bathroom was clean and the location (corner of Bourbon and Dumaine) was darned near perfect. Breakfast at Cafe DuMonde. TONS of walking around in the Quarter – VERY hot and humid and I didn’t hydrate enough. Lesson learned. Ghost tour Monday night was fun and we were exhausted. Rain from Nicholas rolled in Tuesday morning so we did a lot of stuff between the raindrops. Breakfast at Pere Antoine’s. Best omelettes EVER! Kim did her souvenir buying. Armstrong Park? Closed. St. Louis Cemetery #1 (Marie LeVoux and Nick Cage)? Closed. Mardi Gras World? Closed. VooDoo Museum? Caught fire day before we got there! Closed.

Lots of top-end restaurants close Mon/Tues anyway but Ida resulted in more closings than usual. Same for a lot of stores. No sense paying to open the doors if nobody’s gonna walk in the door. Bourbon Street had maybe a hundred people at the peak in Monday and Tuesday night. Hint: that’s almost NONE. But the places that WERE open LOVED us. Great service, traditional friendly people. Was awesome to walk into a store on Tuesday where we’d shopped on Monday and be recognized! The folks who depend/rely on tourist business to survive were glad to have what they had.

Rumor was that the hotels were filled with first responders and FEMA working in “outlying areas.” The Quarter was in reasonably good shape. A lot of trash piled on the side of the streets but most of it was plant life and roofing slate. As usual the residentialy challenged were present and the low number of tourists made them MUCH more visible but no more aggressive than usual. What else was missing? Zydeco music. Virtually none! Buskers. Only a few and they weren’t as good as usual. No talk of MArdi Gras (although this WAS 6 months away in both directions.) And there’s the Pandemic Theater. A quarter of businesses don’t take credit and another quarter don’t take cash – and it’s for the same reason – SCIENCE! Mask silliness in place. We can walk around the Quarter without a mask, licking all the doorknobs we’d like, but we MUST wear a mask while taking the five steps from a restaurant door to our table. No. Just no. NO!

Drive home was pleasant once we got out of the rain (halfway across Alabama.) We’re already looking forward to our return. Maybe next October?