Category Archives: General

Halloween Playlist

Whether you’re handing out treats or partying down at a monster-mash bash of your own, here are a few songs for your listening pleasure. These are five of my favorites. What are some of yours? (recognize that zombie to the left?)

5. Rocky Horror Cast, “Time Warp”

With a jump to the left and then a step to the right. Richard O’Brien’s timeless “Time Warp” is the most fun one can have in Frankenfurter’s abode. There was a theater in St. Louis that played this show continuously for years.

4. Nina Simone, “I Put a Spell on You”

Nina Simone gives the most haunting, venomous reading. John Lennon once said that her inflections here inspired his and Paul McCartney’s vocal approach to “Michelle.”

3. Johnny Cash, “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky”

This campfire spook story was a hit twice — in 1961 for the Ramrods and in 1981 for the Outlaws — but I prefer the Man in Black’s take on demon-cows who foretell an apocalyptic horsemen’s ride.

2. Mike Oldfield, “Tubular Bells”

When The Exorcist was released in 1973 I was a cocky 15-year-old who wasn’t afraid of movies. This film changed my mind. Several publications have regarded it one of the best horror films in history. For example, it was named the scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly in 1999, by Movies.com in 2010, by viewers of AMC in 2006, and by the editors of Time Out in 2014.

1. Michael Jackson, “Thriller”

We close with the finest Halloween song ever concocted. What more needs to be said about one of MJ’s most enduring moments both visually and musically? The Churchill dance team performed their own rendition at one of the football games each fall.

Big Bend Adventure Day One – Wind and Stars

Desert sky wind farm

Industrial wind turbines dominated the horizon as far as the eye could see. Our journey to Big Bend began with this man-made scenery. These turbines are part of the Desert Sky Wind Farm, a wind power generation facility located near the far West Texas town of Iraan, in Pecos County. The site includes 107 turbines, spread over a 15-square-mile area on Indian Mesa. 100% of the electricity generated by these wind turbines is used by CPS energy, the power utility that provides electric service to San Antonio.

McDonald Observatory

Six hours after we left San Antonio we arrived at our hotel in Alpine. Next stop: McDonald Observatory, where we attended a Twilight Program and Star Party. The Twilight Program is an educational program that takes place 1.5 hours before the Star Party. At the Star Party we enjoyed night sky constellation tours and views of celestial objects through a handicap accessible telescope. My favorite was Saturn with the unmistakable rings. Even without a telescope the moon and stars that night were big and bright.

Deep in the Heart of Texas is an American popular song about the U.S. state of Texas.

Orvon Grover “Gene” Autry (September 29, 1907 – October 2, 1998) was an American performer who gained fame as a singing cowboy on the radio, in movies, and on television for more than three decades beginning in the early 1930s. Orvon Grover Autry was born September 29, 1907 near Tioga in Grayson County in north Texas, the grandson of a Methodist preacher.

Coming Soon–Brad and Juan’s Excellent Adventure to the Big Bend

There is a place in Far West Texas where night skies are dark as coal and rivers carve temple-like canyons in ancient limestone. Here, at the end of the road, hundreds of bird species take refuge in a solitary mountain range surrounded by weather-beaten desert. Tenacious cactus bloom in sublime southwestern sun, and diversity of species is the best in the country. This magical place is Big Bend.

Recently I had the opportunity to spend some time in the Big Bend. Over the next three weeks I will share our adventure. Music will be provided by Texas musicians.

In memory of Tom Petty today’s musical selection is “Saving Grace” from his last album Highway Companion.