Hallowe’en Muppet-style!

Photo borrowed from Flickr

Sadly, all the embed codes for Muppets with the King of Classic Horror, Vincent Price have been removed from YouTube. However, there’s a little loophole when you reach the end of this video. If you click on the photo at the bottom (in the replay screen) you can see Vincent and Kermit the Frog having an interesting chat.

First, watch this cute little song and dance routine with Muppet-ghosts to the tune of the Beatles’ little-known number: “I’m Looking Through You”.

*You may need to pause my Hallowe’en music Playlist at the bottom of the page.

Happy Hallowe’en!


Hallowe’en Horror on Film – My Picks

Photo from Flickr

I’m not a big fan of Hallowe’en. I don’t go out trick or treating anymore, I haven’t been to a Hallowe’en party since I dressed up as Miss Havisham in my mom’s wedding dress in 1982 (unless you count the church dance where I went as trailer trash in my pajamas and slippers with a curler-laden wig and ciggie hanging out of my mouth (that’s candy ciggie, in case you’re wondering).

The cats get all jumpy when the doorbell starts going on Hallowe’en night and it just isn’t worth the hassle to keep opening up the door when we’ve got precarious front stone steps and little kiddies could fall and hurt themselves. We let the neighbours with their tots do the whole Hallowe’en thing – decorating their houses with giant spiders and goblins, headstones in the front yard (we’ve got enough of the real ones in the cemetery out back) and costuming their kids in the latest cartoon character or big-screen superhero, or cutesy little pumpkins, princesses etc.

I and my husband hop in the car and head out first for a slap-up meal somewhere and then to the moviehouse for a night of escapism Mortensen-style. It doesn’t have to be a scary movie. We’ve seen anything from “Three Kings” one year, to “Shark Tale” another. I even watched a Pacino/McConaghey movie called “Two For the Money” with one eye closed because I was overcome with a case of Central Serous Retinopathy This wasn’t such a bad thing (if you’ve seen the flick, you’ll know what I mean).

So, maybe we don’t go to a horror movie necessarily on Hallowe’en, but we do love classic horror films and own a goodly number of them. Over on my memoir blog, you can view a selection of trailers from our top 10 horror films. Some you will certainly be aware of, but others may be new to you. Some are more creepy/eerie than downright horrifying, but they do get under your skin.
I defy you to watch, “The Woman in Black” and get a good night’s sleep afterward.
I saw the original “Black Christmas” on a black and white t.v. and I can still see those shrink-wrapped faces rocking away…
“Don’t Look Now” will make you look twice if you ever see a shiny, red raincoat and some of you may be tempted (if you’re looking to spice things up) to reenact Britt Eklund’s wall-dance from “The Wicker Man”. (not the Nic Cage version, puh-lease!)
“Picnic at Hanging Rock” is one of those eerie, unforgettable movies. There’s no gore, it’s more a weird, unsettling feeling that you get. It’s a mystery, but the question is, was there some sort of foul play, or something even more bizarre at work?
Kubrick’s vision of Stephen King’s “The Shining” is one of those movies that, if you catch a glimpse of it on t.v. on a Sunday afternoon, you will be compelled to stop whatever you’re doing and see the thing through. It’s that good.
The t.v. version of “Salem’s Lot” was a miniseries in 1979 and it had most of us riveted to our sets. I had to move my bed away from the window and get a pair of very heavy drapes before I was able to sleep well again. Jane King of “Burnt Offerings” infamy used to like to scratch on my window, just for fun. She really WAS twisted.
“The Omen” is creepy from start to finish and if you don’t believe in the Devil before watching it, you may very well be convinced by the time it’s over.
“The Ring”, a somewhat mediocre remake of a Japanese terror-fest, has a few things going for it that made me add it to my list: creepy woman in long black dress, creepy child with long hair in front of her face and creepy well. Worth a look.
No list of mine could be complete without a nod to Hitchcock. So many of his films are brilliant, “Rebecca”, “Strangers on a Train”, “Notorious”, “The Birds”–the list goes on and on, but no other film has me ALWAYS checking behind the shower-curtain before I get in and checking outside again before I get out. That’s skill with a camera.
If you’ve only ever seen the Heche/Vaughan version of “Psycho”, what the heck are you thinking! Get yourself to a video store this weekend and watch the REAL THING!

So, take your pick, pop some corn, grab a glass of your beverage of choice (for me, it’s got to be hot chocolate–with maybe a little Bailey’s) since we’ve just had our first snowfall) turn down the lights and huddle up close to someone cuz it’s going to be verrry scaaaary!

Happy Hallowe’en!!!

1. The Woman in Black
2. Psycho
3. The Omen
4. The Shining
5. The Wicker Man
6. Don’t Look Now
7. Salem’s Lot
8. Black Christmas
9. The Ring
10. Picnic at Hanging Rock


Cheap Trick 1977-My First Concert

The criteria for popularity at an all girls’ high school in the Seventies went something like this:

long, shiny hair
flawless skin
20/20 vision
perfect teeth
up-to-date with fashion (even school uniforms could be modified)
ability to play sports or cheerlead
possession of a boyfriend

I had:

mousy brown, oily hair
Clearasil called them “blemishes”; I had “zits”
corrective coke-bottle glasses
two broken front teeth and braces
a mother who dressed me with a strict adherence to the standard for the school uniform, i.e. at least knee-length, v-necked, royal blue, polyester, side-zip tunic with white polyester, ribbed turtleneck
Zero aptitude for any sport and even less co-ordination for cheerleading (see here: Class Action)
Surprise, surprise! No boyfriend. Nada.

What I did have, was a keen brain and a good memory. Each week, I used to listen to the Top 40 Countdown on CKOC radio (out of Hamilton, Ontario) and painstakingly write down every song by number. I also jotted down lyrics of songs that I liked. I knew every line of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, could sing every note and even drew a picture of the band as they appeared on “The Midnight Special”.
Music was my thing.

So, when a heavy rock band out of Rockford, Illinois appeared on the scene and got my attention, I was “all ears”.

Cheap Trick was loud, irreverent and just the ticket for a Catholic-school girl with a reputation as a goody-goody who got top marks and was often favoured by the teacher in the classroom.

Cheap Trick was also the ideal fantasy band for an innocent, pubescent teen with no boyfriend. For you see, Cheap Trick had a couple of goofy performers in the shape of drummer, Bun. E. Carlos and Rick Nielssen (lead guitar and backing vocals), but it also had the likes of sexy, blond Robin Zander singing lead and playing rhythm guitar and very fine, shaggy-haired Tom Petersson on bass and backing him up.

When Cheap Trick was booked at Maple Leaf Gardens for a performance, I begged my parents on my hands and knees to let me go. Of course this meant a bit of a compromise; I would have to be driven door-t0-door since the concert was in the big, bad city of Toronto (about 30 minutes east of us).

I honestly don’t remember who I went with – it must have been some girlfriend. I know we were in the nosebleed section and Robin Zander was about the size of Ken doll as he belted out songs like “Auf Wiedersehen”, “Surrender”, “Oh Caroline” etc., but it didn’t matter to me, I was in a throng of like-minded music-lovers and for once, I was part of the in-crowd. In fact, I had kind of transcended the “in-crowd” because most of them had never heard of Cheap Trick and wouldn’t do until the “Live at Budokan” album came out a couple of years later.

As for me, I escaped the Catholic school in Grade 12 – leaving behind some of the popular girls to eke out two more years in their royal blues, ga ga over Seventeen Magazines and waiting with bated breath for those dreamy dances where they imported the opposite sex from the Catholic boys’ schools in the city.

Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against the time I spent at private school. I had some great times, made some good friends (at my own level of the hierarchy) and I did quite well on the learning end as well. I just really needed to make the break and find myself in the real world of boys and girls.

At the public high school, I had pen and ink drawings of the band inside my locker door. I played the Cheap Trick Fanto the hilt – sporting high-top runners, skin-tight jeans, a black velvet blazer over my dad’s shirts and my prized possession: a Cheap Trick bowtie that a kid in Grade Nine bestowed upon me because I guess he had a crush on me. You see, the braces came off that year too and then I peroxided and crimped my newly grown hair and as someone said to me years later, “You were pretty neat! I always admired you!”

You just never know.

Kathleen Mortensen©2009

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Here’s a montage of some Cheap Trick. Man. That takes me back.

Coffee Talk (This is my brain on caffeine)

* Warning: This post has a tendency to wander all over the place with no regard for consistency of thought or interest of its viewers.

***N.B. I must reveal (lest some folks’ noses get out of joint) that there are not only two, but four! ( what am I, mad?) felines in this household. Although they have not been mentioned in this post, Daisy and Red have their own stories (and poems).

(The writer)

I’m finally getting ’round to something for which I was tagged a little while back.
Blicky Kitty (oh, if you’ve never visited her blog, you simply MUST!) tagged me for a strange photo meme called the Fourth of the Fourth. I admit, it took me a while to work out what she meant, but then I can be logic-challenged at times, but I got the fact that it meant a 4th picture from a 4th album. Now, I thought that was from your good, old-fashioned photo albums, you know, the kind that weigh a ton and take up room on your shelves (or in my case) hidden away in a drawer somewhere. In actual fact, she meant something on your computer, in your documents files or on an online photo album or some such. Now, I use Picasa2, but I generally refer to my own docs when I want to access those photos.

Here’s my problem: I am without a scanner, so (as you may have noticed) a good deal of my photos come from the likes of Flickr (or even E-bay). I have got to get myself a scanner, for sure.

Anyway, I took a photo from one of my smaller albums with accordion-style plastic sleeves. I did grab the 4th album and the 4th picture, so I stuck to the rules.

Now for some background on the photo: This is not my child, or my grandchild (of which I have neither), nor is it my niece (of which I have one), nor is it my neighbour or even me, as a kid. Nope. This is me, circa 2001, shortly after we bought our beloved Hyggehus. We bought this house in May of 2001 and we moved in on July 26th. I remember we packed everything we owned from our townhouse on Brandy Crescent into a rented van and we were ready to move in by oh, 11:00 a.m. on that Friday. Well, the previous owners (whose credit card mail we still receive) failed to relinquish the keys until about 7:00 p.m. and they left so much junk in the basement (including an ancient, deep-freezer that could hold a moose and which will not go through the basement door or up the stairs unless we hire someone to come and surgically remove it!) that we’re still finding it.

But I digress (big time, I know, but I’m a Cancer on the Gemini-cusp and I tend to do that a good deal as a result, plus, I’ve just had 2 cups of coffee and that’s never good).

See the little black head rising above the blades of grass in the left corner of the photo? That’s my boy, Gilbert. He’s a gentle soul who’s had more than his fair share of urinary tract ailments, constipation issues (we just got through one this week – here’s a tip: canned pumpkin, who knew?) and seasonal sniffles. In this photo, he was recovering from a urinary bout that nearly took his life. We have nursed him back to health many times after vets have gouged us for hundreds of dollars, only to leave us high and dry with only the prospect of more tests and NO answers. I now refer at all times to my bible: Prevention Magazine’s “The Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats“. Invaluable!

And then there’s Blanche.

Blanche is the antithesis of Gilbert. She’s a feisty, snarky puss when she wants to be and she’s only been sick once in all her 15+ years, although she is prone to hotspots and we once christened her the “English Patient” when I fashioned a mask out of a sock to cover her face and prevent her from scratching herself.
Blanche is also a catnip addict! When we were first married, we lived in a basement apartment in a house with a huge paved backyard. The house was surrounded by all sorts of plants growing up the fence and we made the HUGE error of taking Blanche out on a lead for a little stroll one evening. Well! She got wind of some catnip plants and the rest of our stay in that apartment was a living, H-E-double hockey-sticks because she spent the majority of it wailing to get outside! Being apartment dwellers, we did not want to have outdoor cats as they might be at risk of all sorts, so we just kept Blanche well stocked up with a fresh supply of the bagged stuff until she eventually lost interest.

Our first apartment was in a building in the north end of Toronto. It had the romantic name of Heathwood Manor. No doubt the original area had been a forest of sorts and not a series of dingy lowrise apartments flanking the surging Highway 401, as it was when we lived there.

At the time we merged into, what my dad liked to call “marital harness”, we also merged the lives of Blanche and Gilbert. “G” was the runt of a litter birthed from a stray cat my work-mate had taken in from the Grimsby area. “B” was a lucky gal who won us over at the Newmarket Humane Society when she caught my sweater with her claw and gave me the “look”. Cat-people know what I’m talking about – I need not explain.

The merger was testy in the beginning, but Blanche and Gilbert became not just mates, but co-conspirators in the effort to a) get as much food as possible as often as possible and b) keep us awake at night with scratching at the bedroom door and yowling in the wee hours of the morning (to further the prospects of plan “a”).

Nothing we did would thwart their schemes. Even smears of Tiger Balm and orange peels at the foot of the bedroom door would not keep them at bay! In the end, we did what all smart cat-owners do: we gave up. Bring a cat into your life and it’s rather like a prenup; you sign it all over to them – all the rights you have get tossed out the window in favour of the sweet, furry face or that cute habit they have of grinding you down with their interminable wailing. (Did I mention Gilbert has Siamese in him?)

Now, where was I? If you’ve persisted this far, I commend you and thank you. You really are my loyal readers! Now for a little reward for your efforts: Here’s a poem I wrote at Heathwood Manor that will better put you in the picture.

Gilbert and Blanche (written in the winter of 1994 at Heathwood Manor)

Black as night,
Whiter than white,
Gilbert and Blanche
Stay up despite
All my pleas
To quell their noise,
Gilbert howls
While Blanche destroys
Doormat, bathmat,
Countless mice
An eight-hour sleep
Would be so nice,
But as the light
Creeps through the blind
Gilbert wails,
My teeth I grind
“It’s only 4 a.m.!” I shout
“Away wee beasties
Fore I gi’ ye a clout!”
Then I grab for my bottle
And douse him with spray
‘Til poor ol’ Gilbey
Runs away
With Blanche in tow–
His little spy
And trundle back to
Bed do I
Where Kev lies sleeping,
And leaves the dirty
Jobs to me!

Kathleen Mortensen © 1994
(written in the winter at Heathwood Manor)

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Autumn Reflection

Photo borrowed from Flickr

The Fall

Imagine all the leaves on trees
Are persons waving in the breeze
Of Spring and Summer–soon to Fall;
They live in harmony with all.
Through sun and rain they float on air,
Extend to others, kindness–care,
Opening themselves, to shelter wings
Without complaint or any strings.

Come Autumn and our dear ones drop;
The wild-eyed winds each stripling, strop;
Then we step up to rake them in–
Souls of the Dead, removed from sin,
And toss them on their funeral pyre,
To watch their flames dance ever higher;
Float up to Heaven’s Gate, unbarred,
And rightly claim their just reward.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2008