The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: October 31, 2020
It’s Halloween 2020! Over the years, Internet Monk has been known to post articles about this celebration in response to various examples of hysteria and circus-like behavior on the part of some Christians. Here’s a list of those posts:
- The Great Pumpkin Proposes a Toast
- My Annual Halloween Rant
- Writers’ Roundtable — Halloween Edition
- Michael Spencer’s Favorite Article on Halloween
- In Preparation for Halloween
- Randy Thompson on Halloween
- Luther: Living in a “Halloween” World
- Halloween Classic Edition
- A Halloween Open Mic
- It’s Official: Halloween Now Sucks
“So I propose a toast: to every little boy who goes to sleep dreaming of Hogwarts. To every mother who reads Narnia to her children. To every teenager devouring The Lord of the Rings. To every grandmother who reads her granddaughter a ghost story. To every parent who shares their favorite scary movie with their child. To every young writer who writes the stories in which we live. To those who know to life, to jump and to delight at Sleepy Hollow. To all who give us this one night of frightful fun and remain little boys and girls, A TOAST!!” (Michael Spencer)
Lon Chaney walks with the Queen to this Halloween tune…
The Backstory of Jack O’Lantern
Read this fascinating post at National Geographic detailing various threads of the history of using pumpkins as the pervasive symbol of Halloween. Here’s one of the threads:
Then there’s the 18th-century Irish folktale of Stingy Jack, an unsavory fellow often said to be a blacksmith who had a fondness for mischief and booze. Dozens of versions abound, but one recurring storyline is that Stingy Jack tricked the devil twice. When Jack died, he found himself barred from heaven—and from hell. But the devil took some pity on Jack, giving him an ember of coal to light his turnip lantern as he wandered between both places for eternity—again inspiring the nickname Jack-of-the-Lantern, or jack-o’-lantern.
The Art of the Scream
What’s more fundamental to scary movies than the bone-chilling shriek? But delivering a terrifying wail isn’t easy. It’s an entire art with a history and a world of its own.
…The image of vocal terror is among our most universal and elemental, from Edvard Munch to Janet Leigh. But translating that into sound on film involves more than a microphone on set. Bloodcurdling from an A-lister is uncommon: Often, the screams we hear in movies and TV are created by doubles and voice actors, in Burbank studios, with specialists standing by to ghoul them up. It’s physically taxing and emotionally draining. And bizarro as a job.
…How do you know when a scream is right? Sound professionals don’t just depend on goose bumps — though they still get them, even as they dispassionately discuss murder methods.
…Sound designers like Gates have a stable of vocal performers to “loop” audio, the term for taping sounds or lines, and even creating background dialogue. That din of a restaurant when havoc strikes? Loopers.
They’re guided by a “loop group” leader, like a casting director for macabre whispers and guttural squeals. Audition tapes pour in; it’s not unusual for a loop group leader like Susan Boyajian to listen to 15 screams a day, she said. “There’s gradual screams, a buildup scream, kind of hyperventilating — say someone’s chasing you with a knife, and then you go into a scream,” she said brightly. “Is someone choking, the blood going into your throat?”
She chooses a handful for the sound crew and director to sift through, and then recording sessions begin, syncing to the performer onscreen. “You’re watching their mouth, you have to physically be that person and then give me what she or he is doing,” said Boyajian, a vocal teacher and actor.
It’s a Halloween Full Moon
Moonrise on Halloween night will be just a little more spooktacular than usual this year. The sky will be illuminated by a full moon — a rare Hallows’ Eve treat that happens only about once every 19 years.
Something else makes this full moon, known as a “Hunter’s Moon,” even more special: It’s the second one to occur in October. That means it’s a “Blue Moon,” and the only double-full-moon event in 2020, according to NASA.
However, as the full moon comes at a time when the moon is at its farthest from Earth, it will also be a “Micro Moon,” the opposite of a “Super Moon,” meaning it looks a little smaller than the usual full moon. And if that still isn’t enough names for you, its status as the second full moon of autumn makes it a “Beaver Moon,” according to NASA.
This will be the first time since 1944 that a Halloween full moon will be visible at night (weather permitting) in all time zones in the United States, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.
Serious Active Covid Cases around the World as of Oct. 29…
Other VERY Scary Things…
Photo of the Week…
Classic Toys Are Making a Comeback in these Pandemic Days
Questions for Election Week…
“As a journalist, I wanted to explore what motivates voters to go to the polls – issue by issue, person by person. Media often treats large national issues like the people who vote on them — all believe the same things, but the truth is that most of us are not just bricks in a wall. We vote based on what affects us and our families.”
Biden’s campaign has a seven-point plan to beat COVID-19 and other proposals for health care and economic recovery that support that vision. NPR asked his advisers for details on his approach, which includes some familiar elements, as well as some less-expected ones.
This year, [Arie Kapteyn and Robert Cahaly] believe that polls could again be undercounting Trump’s support. The reason is “shy” Trump voters—people reluctant to share their opinions for fear of being judged. Though the “shy voter” idea is thrown around a lot by both Trump supporters and Democratic skeptics, Kapteyn and Cahaly have specific insights into why, and how, Trump support might be going undetected.
Election law is decided by state legislatures and varies from state to state, which means that the dominant political parties in each state and local politics often determine election laws. On the positive side, state-based election laws keep the voting process diffused among the states and largely out of the hands of Washington. This diffusion of power is a feature of our country’s federalism, in which the nation’s founders believed so strongly. It is up to a state’s secretary of state to ensure, to the best of his or her ability, that the voting process is fair and open, often in spite of the politics of the state legislature and dominant political party.
Here’s how the recent Supreme Court rulings could affect voting in the closely contested battleground states of Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
While some religious traditions abstain from voting because they do not take part in politics at all (think Jehovah’s Witnesses) or because they separate themselves from broader society (the Amish), evangelical nonvoters say they can be politically engaged beyond the ballot box.
Finally, a Jesus-shaped Reminder…