Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Politics, Halloween, And Yard Art: Experience Life In A Swing State (An Interactive Post!)

At this point in October in Ohio, I don't know what I grow more weary of, Halloween or The Politics.  Last night while trying to enjoy some television programming, Rick and I counted eight ads in a row during one break, and those were just for two races, senator and president.

My great distaste for Halloween has been well documented here at the Dept. in other posts before, so we won't go back over all that territory now.  Suffice it to say, my feelings haven't changed except to perhaps intensify.  So while on my walk today during an unseasonably warm and gloriously sunny day, I made it my Mission not to be irked by the Halloween yard art I knew I was going to witness. 

Because that just allows the Terrorists to Win.

Now, here's an example of a very subtle celebration of Halloween:
What does this home say to you?  "Oh, hello.  Autumnal Greetings.  And we are proud Americans, by the way. (Or, we got a free flag from our councilman on Independence Day and, unsure of how to dispose of the flag properly, we just left it here.)"  It wasn't until I got the photo home that I even saw that there was a teeny pumpkin tucked next to each pot of mums, so subtle is this decor.
A few blocks later, we have this:
What does this home say to you?  "Bwaaahaaaahaaa.  We have unpacked our crazy and have a ton of Peter Pan Issues to work through."
Here's another view without the tree branches:
Or, perhaps it says:  "We used to work at Discount Halloween Town.  We are the Fun Parents, and everyone in the neighborhood borrows our ladders."
But, at least this house has a Theme.  This is a focused, directed Decorating Job.  Which is more than I can say for this:
Okay...what, now?  Just what does the decor here say to you? Go ahead-- I'll let you have some fun in Comments.


  1. Ironically, just an hour ago I took a picture of the Tax Time Pig dressed as a ghost. I LOVE Halloween decorations - especially the giant tacky inflatable ones. I have no idea why, but it warms the cockles of my heart. I do NOT like blood & gore & such like that. I'm more of a Tigger dressed as a vampire type of a person.

    As for that last picture - my mind reels at the possibilities. Uppermost is some sort of slam on bag ladies, but the pumpkin pajama legs confuses me. I'll be interested to hear what other people think. And THEN I think you should go interview the people & find out what's really going on.

  2. The pictures show me how people like to have fun. They apparently don't take life too seriously.

    As to the last picture, it seems as if some kids were expressing some creativity by stuffing some old clothes to make fake people. Maybe you could knock on their door and tell them they should give up because they have no talent. While your there, you should pour water all over their blankets.

    Oh yeah, their parents have put out some thistle to feed the neighborhood finches.

  3. Spackler--Hi, and welcome to the Dept! Thanks for joining the discussion.

    The blankets you think you see in the last picture are actually ivy. We've had a good bit of rain lately here in our little corner of NEO, so no need to help it out. It's really flourishing.

    I do agree with you that the decorators aren't taking life very seriously, even the end of it, Death. They really seem to get a big kick out of it!

    Bug--You'd love the display that just went up today not too terribly far from my house: an inflatable haunted house that takes up the entire front yard. It is enormous, both height and breadth. I'll try to get a photo to send you. We are rife with inflatables for all seasons. One home on the north end of town has a different seasonal inflatable for each holiday right on its porch, along with lights and rail swags.

    It's all very festive.

  4. Down the block, at the neighbor realprof and I refer to as "Crazy Becky", there is one of those life-sized "broomstick-riding witch slammed into a tree" decorations. I don't know why this particular example of Halloween yard art irritates me so much, but I grind my teeth every time I see one.

    The one thing I can say for Halloween decor is that it usually gets removed more quickly than Christmas trimmings. I do a modest amount, myself, but it all comes down on January 2; anything left up after Twelfth Night is acutely depressing.

    As to that last picture you posted, I'm at a loss as to what it is supposed to represent. Disembodied headless corpses? Zombie victims? A protest against laundry day? Maybe they misunderstood how the Amvets folks want the donations packaged.

    realprof and I are giving beggar's night a miss this year and are going out for an elegant dinner. I'll dedicate a cocktail to you.

  5. The Yard "Art" topic fascinates me because it was something that really struck me when I migrated back to the US several years ago. I came back expecting, unrealistically, that a 25-year time warp would have maintained the status quo that I was used to, which was pumpkins at Halloween and lights at Christmas. Not so. Driving through residential areas on the way to work, I noticed giant hearts in the yard during February, replaced by giant shamrocks during March, and on and on. It was as if the kindergarten classroom had exploded all over suburbia. With, of course, a dash of adult stuff thrown in at Halloween, including what you have mentioned in previous Halloween posts about adult women using the holiday as an excuse to dress up as sleazy porn tarts. But let's not even go there.

    Neighbour No. 1 at least gets points for discretion. (Are those pumpkins carved?)

    Neighbour No. 2: What you said as well. It is definitely the discount store Halloween party. And maybe, lit up at night, it is even somewhat spooky, but during the day it looks like somebody literally picked up one of everything at the five and dime (those were the days!), took it all home, and opened every package and tacked the contents onto the front façade of the house in totally random order. Really, it's too junky to be scary. Rather like horror films filled with blood and guts, which are far less frightening than a real thriller that gives you a chilling build up to the single knife stab.

    Neighbour No. 3: Someone here is truly mentally disturbed. If it were not for the little pumpkin patterned legs hanging from the tree (and even those are creepy, dangling as they do from the branches), I would not even have associated this with Halloween. It looks more like a slightly creative display of garbage. And what is that bizarre little bag hanging on the left and... what's IN it? Euw, euw, euw.

    You must be going nuts with the fight to the death with political ads in your coveted state. I saw today that Willard has made no fewer than 41 trips to Ohio. My least favorite ad is the one by that (billionaire) a**hat Thomas Peterffy who shows pictures of people going off to concentration camps and likens it to socialist governments where people don't stand a chance of taking advantage of free enterprise. And most people listening to it do not have a clue about what socialism is. I do. I lived in a socialist country for 25 years. I made an equivalent salary to what I make now, paid the same tax rate as here, and guess what? Socialized medicine meant that I never ever had to pay a dime to see a doctor. I got my SS card and never ever had to fill out a lick of paperwork, file forms, wait for approval, etc., etc. I got 5 hours of free plastic surgery with 5 of the best plastic surgeons in the country operating on me after an auto accident. I did not have social security at the time because my work permit was still being processed. I paid NOTHING.

    I hope Ohio comes through for my choice. I live in a state where my vote doesn't mean sh*t in terms of electoral votes because it is so red there is no hope of a blue sky here for the immediate future. But Mr. O. and I just did our early voting. On election day, we are signed up at different polling stations as bilingual clerks. Looking forward to it.

  6. Nance - I think Spackler is calling YOU a wet blanket :)

    Ortizzle - that's thistle seed in the sock - lots of people use that for finches (they LOVE thistle!).

  7. @Bug: Thank you for solving at least part of the mystery! Looks like the answer was actually in Spackler's comment, but I have never seen bird feed in a sock so I didn't make the connection. Such a sheltered life I lead, lol.


  8. Halloween is not my favorite holiday.

    I can't stand all those kids coming to my house and ringing the damned bell in the middle of Jeopardy.

    So, I do my very best to make them avoid my place. One year I decorated my porch just like the one you pictured with all the spiders because I heard my neighbor's kids were arachnophobes...That didn't work; they still came skulking around looking for candy.

    The next year I got a load of those pumpkins that look like they are throwing up and put them by my door, hoping it would turn their stomachs and they wouldn't want candy. But, NO, the little brats still begged for my peanut butter cups.

    I thought and thought about what I could put on my lawn that would be so repulsive and sickening that they would give my house a wide berth, and finally I came up with the answer.

    I have the very thing that should cause any person, adult or child, to run away so fast they will leave skid marks in my driveway.

    I have life sized statues of Mitt Romney,Paul Ryan,Richard Mourdock,
    Steve King and Todd Akin all set up on my lawn, just ready to scare the sh*t out of anybody foolish enough to approach my house looking for a hand-out..Just in case, I have a back-up Glenn Beck in my garage.

    One look at those creeps should send the kiddies hightailing it next door and leave me alone to eat all the peanut butter cups myself...

    "I'll take political losers for $1,200,Alex....

  9. Those stuffed dummies would stand up better if they had a stick shoved up their backsides.

    Do you people have any to spare? Sheesh!

    "I don't want any excited, fun-loving kids bothering me while I'm sitting in front of the idiot box by myself!"

    "Those decorations are cheap and tacky. Btw, I can't stand rich snobby Republicans."

    The world would be a better place if there were more happy, laid-back, open-minded people like yourselves.

    p.s. Bug, please ignore the above comments.

  10. Aw Spackler don't be a hater - I love these guys. You know that their tongues are firmly in their cheeks most of the time, right?

  11. Bug--Sigh. I know. I was being deliberately obtuse in my quest to be pleasant and kind and welcoming in Comments. It's so difficult when New Readers stop by and don't Get Me. (Or my Regulars.)
    Life is hard.

    Spackler--Oh, my. This is not really a very controversial post, but okay. Fire away. Bless your heart, Halloween decor is something you feel strongly about. Me, not so much. I'm a big fan of the real tree at Christmas. What about you?

    Nancy--LOL. I am giving you DoN Bonus points for the following Vocab Words: skulking and arachnophobes. Also a Bonus for Stereotype Loading in the Crabby Old Wrinkly Category. If you had used Wheel of Fortune instead of Jeopardy, you might have gotten double Bonus points. Too much!

    Ortizzle--The little pj legs in the tree are actually a little stuffed baby with a small head made of something, I'm not sure what, lounging on a branch. Very strange. I think the whole display is supposed to be like scarecrows or something, but the blue bagheads make it sad and not even vaguely cute. Maybe hats would have helped?

    I went to the Obama rally in Cleveland yesterday at Burke Lakefront Airport. It was an all-day timesuck, but the day was warm and sunny. 12,000 people were there of all ages, races, genders, walks of life. He flew in on Air Force 1, ran out to the podium and gave a speech in a very hoarse, damaged voice. Ohio, of course, is pivotal. AND--due to the huge number of early voters and absentee ballots, if the absentee ballots don't go out/get returned in time and people come in to the polling places due to the substantial lag (thanks to the idiot Husted), there could be a vast number of provisional ballots which are, by law, not permitted to be counted until after Nov. 17th. This means that Ohio could, conceivably, hold up the results of the election, a la Florida. Let's hope not.

    In the meantime, we suffer with so damned many ads that we almost cannot stand it. They have infiltrated the cable stations as well.

    fauxprof--you make a good point as to the limited time of halloween decor. even in stores! already it's being replaced by xmas decorations and candies. and i love the idea of you toasting me at your halloween dinner, even mutely. how nice of you to think of me. cheers!

  12. Ohhhh, its a comedy thing! Well, in that case...

    Snow White

    The seven dwarfs always left to go work in the mine early each morning. As always, Snow White stayed home doing her domestic chores. As lunchtime approached she would prepare their lunch and carry it to the mine.

    One day as she arrived at the mine with the lunch, she saw that there had been a terrible cave in. Tearfully, and fearing the worst, Snow White began calling out, hoping against hope that the dwarfs had somehow survived. 'Hello?!...Hello?!' she shouted. 'Can anyone hear me? Hello!' For a long while, there was no answer. Losing hope, Show White again shouted, 'Hello? Is anyone down there?'

    Just as she was about to give up all hope, she heard a faint voice fromm deep within the mine singing....'Vote for Barack Obama! Vote for Barack Obama!'

    Snow White fell to her knees, crossed herself and prayed, 'Oh, thank you God! At least Dopey is still alive!'

  13. Due to the fact that I watch and read WAY too much about murder and serial killers, that last picture looks like a killer's staged dump site to me. Are we sure those bags aren't filled with REAL body parts...?

    As for Spackler, if it's obvious from reading this blog and its comments that you don't agree with the majority of opinions and observations stated by everyone here, why do you bother with jokes or comments that only make you look like an idiot to the rest of us? You're certainly not changing anyone's opinions about politics or any other subject with your off-putting remarks disguised as Halloween observations or spiteful political jokes. How tasteless and tedious...


  14. Spackler,

    I don't think Dopey is the only dwarf alive.

    Somebody wrote your comment..Could it have been Grumpy? Or did he just sign your X ?

  15. Dear me, Spackler, you have invited yourself to Nance's Halloween party, and are trying to put something unpleasant in the punch bowl. That's OK, I guess, but read the archives and the commentary, and you'll see that most of us, above all our hostess, try to be original and creative with our snark. You don't have to agree, just come up with your own stuff.

    BTW, the current version of Snow White is a bad**s woman warrior, who can really rock a broadsword.

  16. This comment is from Mikey G, who is having issues with his Blogger Identity:

    This is where we are very different people. I love Halloween. Dressing up in costume is a blast, handing out candy to little kids is cute, carving pumpkins is fun (once every three or four years), and the movie Hocus Pocus is a classic. I also really enjoy scary movies, though I prefer the ones that use psychological elements to the ones that are basically gore porn (gorn, I think they call it?).

    One year at EHS I had four costumes that I changed throughout the day. I was Mr. Ashkettle and Mr. Secaur in their classes, I was Austin Powers for a while, and the last one was one I made up: I was "Sperm Ninja". Dressed in all white with cardboard abs and a long, white, dangling tail, I would pretend to karate chop people and shout out, "You've been fertilized!" It didn't make sense at all, but somehow that didn't matter.

    Ooh, and another year I dressed up as Mary Katherine Gallagher. For some reason we were having an assembly that day with one of the state senators or something (why would they do something like that on Halloween???). I remember starting to talk to Ryan Downey afterward, and after a few minutes he said, "Wait, Greenberg? Is that you? I was wondering why some ugly girl was talking to me!" Some strangers actually had to ask me, "Boy or girl?" I don't know if I should be insulted or take that as a compliment.

    And now that I'm looking at your sidebar, I'm getting a bit excited for world nutella day. I just wish it wasn't so far away.

  17. @Spackler: I apologize if opening the political can of worms offended your views. I have been commenting here since 2007, though, so I figure most people know how wont I am to go off on a tangent, and since Nance lives in what is currently a political hot spot, that was something of an impetus.

    I would like to throw this thought out there, however: I believe that we DoN commenters ARE a "happy, laid-back, open-minded (group of) people." Being laid back does not preclude the ability to be satirical. Being open-minded does not mean that we should not be allowed to express our views. I, for one, respect your right to concoct the little Snow White story, and would not dream of insulting you because I do not agree with it, or even because it smacks of Ann Coulter calling the president a retard. To each his own. But if we are all going to be well-behaved grown-ups playing nicely in the sandbox, I think we need to maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect and just agree to disagree without sniping at each other.

  18. Mikey--Thanks for hanging in there. I'm trying valiantly to remember the last time I dressed up for Halloween, and I think it was when the English department agreed to participate for a Spirit Week activity and each come as a literary character. I chose Montresor from The Cask of Amontillado. I carried around a sherry bottle with coloured water and a trowel as props for part of the costume. Ages and ages ago! One year, I did have a student dress as me, as you did impersonating your teachers. She even borrowed my reading glasses. All in all, however, I'd rather celebrate Nutella Day.

    Laff--It's so good to see you back in comments! Now that you mention it, the last pic does look a little like that Body Farm I once saw a news segment or documentary about. Definitely eerie and Halloween-y! I'm super-impressed by the decor now.

    Spackler--I thought the coal miners were supporting The Other Guy...?

  19. LOL! Thanks, Nance. You know I love you, you know I love President Barack Obama, and you know I LOVE your main crush, Sherrod Brown. I also love Halloween, for some reason, though not so much the gore. More Charlie Brown-stle. Maybe I just love redistribution of wealth, in general...except for Stalin's, not so much, anymore than I like Hitler, etc., who beat down their opposition. Thank you for being you, and for keeping NEO on the right track :-)

  20. Carolina Linthead--XXOO, Professor. Nice to see you here, as usual. Thanks for bringing back one of my fave memories of Halloween, that of the Peanuts cartoon. The repetition of poor Charlie Brown's mantra during trick-or-treat, "I got a rock" is priceless. As if any adult would give a kid a rock! Too much. I will say, however, that some of the old-timey candies, like BB Bats and Mary Janes were, to me, as bad as rocks. We all loved the houses that gave out full-sized Hershey Bars and 3 Musketeers. The dreaded apples and pennies, not so much!

    Went to the Cleveland Obama rally on Thursday. Gorgeous weather and a great experience all around. Esp. seeing him arrive in Air Force 1, taxiing right up to the platform! But so ready to be free of the ads and stress of this election. Please help deliver Hamilton County, id'ed as pivotal for OH. NEO is already blue. Hug the Bug for me.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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