The Many Degrees of Spooky

There are so many degrees of spooky.  There is silly spooky fun, much of it tasteless.

Well, actually this one tasted pretty darn good!

So did these guys, but you know what I mean.

In the real world, mildly spooky is a vicious ATM that eats your cash card five minutes after landing in a foreign land, and then being forced to use your rusty high school Spanish to try to get it back over the phone from a bank where no one speaks English.  To no avail.  The machine can smell your fear, and the voice on the other end of the line really doesn’t care.  But you know you’ll survive.

Or how about when your staircase remodel is taking far too long, and every night you build a barricade of chairs and boxes around the gaping opening, and you realize you’re telling your children, “Don’t fall in the stair hole!” as often as you’re saying, “I love you!”

We visited a 16th c. chapel in Portugal made entirely of bones. Over the doorway a sign says,”We, the bones that are here, await yours.”  That’s kind of creepy.

But, hey, it’s the bones of monks long dead at the time of construction; they wouldn’t have minded anyway.  And it did happen a long time ago.

But how’s this for scary?  This memorial reminds us that not so long ago, in our parents’ lifetime, a Holocaust happened in which, not just six million Jews were systematically slain, but blacks, homosexuals, the disabled, the mentally ill, anyone without a protector, and anyone who spoke out for them.  Still we ask ourselves, “How could that have happened?”  Or even, “How could we have allowed that to happen?”

Our country was founded on the groundbreaking principle that all men are created equal.  Many have fought and bled and died to extend that right to include all humans.  But there are legislators and candidates trying, step by step, to demote and disenfranchise homosexuals, minorities, and women.  And talk about spooky!  In our wealthy country, they want to slash humane assistance and every kind of safety net, including social security and medicare, for widows and orphans, the disabled, the elderly, the ill, and others who have no voice, no resources, and no options.  Public school funding has been cut to the bone, undermining a poor child’s means of improving his life.  Even if they have declared that corporations are people, why does a multi-billion dollar corporation like General Electric make huge profits but pay zero taxes, while real people are scraping to pay 39 percent of their income?

I’m asking myself, “How did this happen?” and “How did we allow this to happen?”

Yeah, it’s spooky, and I’m scared.

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Creepy.

For other interpretations of Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Spooky, just click here.

All words and images copyright 2012 Naomi Baltuck



  1. megan hicks says:

    Thump! This post came to rest with the solid thud of a shot put. You’re right. Scary times. Unnerving images, too.

    1. Thanks for checking in, Megan.

  2. Georgia says:

    Great post Naomi, very thoughtful

    1. Thank you, Georgia.

  3. And about the environment,that we’ve allowed global warming to run wild so face these sorts of disasters that destroy the biggest US city, devastate a shoreline of the East coast…
    and allow people to buy guns whenever they want…
    and makes decisions about how women should maintain their health and so on. I’m just nervous that polls will be affected by the disasters and people won’t bother to vote.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      I hear you!

  4. Naomi says:

    Eloquent, brave, and absolutely true. I’m heartsick that we often talk in Canada of scrapping our healthcare, maternity, and pension systems, especially when people in my grandparents’ generation worked so hard to create a social safety net. This attitude says to me that we no longer believe that everyone deserves the basics of human life, and I find that spooky indeed.

    1. Hi Claire,
      Thank you. The philosophical difference between parties has never been so clear. Do we want to help each other, and take care of our own, or will we begrudge every penny spent that doesn’t line our own pockets?

      I am one of seven kids raised by a widowed mother. We could never have made ends meet if not for social security–which is something people pay into and earn back accordingly. It’s why I have never minded paying taxes–I like to give it forward. We have to pay taxes to be able to enjoy the roads, schools, infrastructure, police, fire fighters, and other services we all depend on. I don’t know when or why everyone decided they shouldn’t have to pay for anything.

      Some wise person said you can tell the values of a society by how they treat its weakest members.

  5. danajoward says:

    Very Scary indeed. Very well stated and illustrated! Thank you 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comment, and your visit.

  6. I can’t believe we’ve all come this far and are now going BACKwards. That boggles the mind even more. Great idea for a post and well thought out.

    1. Hi Tess, it is scary, isn’t it? Rights that I have taken for granted can be made to go away with one wave of a political wand. It made me uncomfortable to talk politics on my blog–I usually avoid it, or veil my politics with a much broader message, but I am so stressed out by the coming election that it just happened. Thanks for your kind response.

  7. Would you consider running for office? I’d support you!

    1. Dear Mary! Talk about the job from Hell! But thank you for that! YOu are so sweet!

  8. Pat Bailey says:

    Great post, Naomi. I, too, am scared that there are so many people who aren’t thinking about the very scary implications of only voting for what works best for them. We can only be as happy and healthy as the least of those among us but we don’t here many people who are brave enough to speak up for making decisions for the “common good”. Thank you for doing so. I can accept differing political viewpoints, but none of us should tolerate our huge disparity of income equality.

    1. Hi Pat,

      I absolutely agree with you. And I too can accept differing political opinions, but no man in a three piece suit way off in D.C. should be legislating that a sixteen year old girl must bear her rapist father’s child and then award him visiting rights to the baby he has forced upon her. I generally avoid blatant political discussion, but on this I had to speak out. I will be so glad when the election is over.

  9. I’ve had the same spooky feeling about the state of affairs here too. At first, I laughed because I just couldn’t take the crazy talk seriously. It is no longer funny. I’m left shaking my head in disbelief every time another old white man with a $2 haircut spouts some new revelation about women or global warming or almost anything else. Are there enough of us to prevail? I hope so… 🙂 I enjoyed this post very much. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for weighing in, George. I know just how you feel. How does someone who feels carrying a cruel rapist’s baby is a gift from God get elected to a senate seat? The mindset revealed regarding women and the right to control their own bodies has been so backwards and ignorant and cruelly dismissive of a woman’s rights that it is shocking. How can this kind of thinking actually exist in this day and age in this country at all, let alone by elected politicians who want to go on to run the country? Scary, indeed!

  10. adinparadise says:

    A very sobering ending to your spooky post, Naomi.

    1. Oh, my gosh, ad. This is such a scary time. I will be so glad when the election is over!

  11. TheOthers1 says:

    Your situated that message well. From spooky to downright scary. People just have to make the right choices. Hopefully.

    1. Dear C.C., fingers crossed!

  12. There in lies the rub Naomi, as TheOthers1 said… have to make the right choices…. but what are they? they all lie so much to get where “they” want to be and then rule in their own ‘self interest’ terrifying from my perspective. thank you for standing up and out with this sobering commentary.

    1. Dear Len,
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I appreciate your visit.

  13. Madhu says:

    An eloquent commentary on the state of affairs, not just in your country, but the entire world Naomi. We just don’t realise how spooky the situation really is!

    1. Thank you, Madhu. It is sad, and it does seem to be the way of the world. But for a while, under the Clintons, we had balanced our budget and could pay down the GROSS national debt, we were setting aside parkland for future generations, creating standards to take better care of the environment, investing in alternative forms of clean energy, developing programs to help kids pay for college. In spite of blind malicious opposition, Obama has brought Healthcare to millions of people. It was a bold progressive accomplishment that has saved many lives already. I believe that if anyone can lead us to a better, kinder future, it is him.

      1. Madhu says:

        I do too 😀

  14. First, that was one delicious, spooky, unique treats. How creative. I love how you and your family celebrate this event. As for the skull and cadaver, that looks scary. I might have some nightmares with that. I dissected a real cadaver in college and to be honest, I had a lot of disturbing sleep for a few weeks. One of my classmate had a dream where she was visited by the cadaver. It was scary. Have a great weekend!

    1. Dear Island Traveler,
      Thank you for your visit. We do enjoy Halloween at our house!
      I would have trouble sleeping, and nightmares too, if I had to dissect a cadaver! Thanks so much sharing your story.

  15. scillagrace says:

    I completely agree! Great post.

    1. Thank you, Scilla. I appreciate your visit. What a big week we have coming up.

  16. Amy says:

    Great post, Naomi! Why…, while real people are scraping to pay 39 percent of their income? I ask someone that why they think the elderlys, orphans, disabled, and poor people don’t deserve health insurance when she and her husband call themselves “conservative”…

    1. And you ask a very good question, Amy! There can only be one answer, and that is that the poor, the sick, the elderly, the orpahans DO deserve health insurance, and we CAN afford it, especially if we ask rich people and big businesses to pay their fair share.

      1. Amy says:

        I agree, agree!!! Thank you for posting your insight!

  17. Tom Siewert/深思 says:

    Beautifully crafted email, Naomi, and hits at the center of so many issues. In China, people did have that safety net, yet as the country becomes more developed/Westernized, the safety net unravels and people are left wondering what happened. Of course, there are many more issues here as well, both positive and negative, but that’s for a much longer conversation. The main thing is, you’ve given us a lovely, and meaningful poem and I thank you.

    1. Dear Tom,
      I appreciate your insight into the workings of China’s social security system. It is interesting that the more Westernized China becomes, the less willing it is to provide for the well-being of its own people. One of the dangers of capitalism seems to be that it is so profit-oriented, so geared toward individual progress, that the common good is forgotten or disregarded. We have a country that is wealthy and has provided the means and infrastructure to help individuals become ridiculously wealthy, yet individuals are going hungry and being put out of their homes.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  18. Elyse says:

    Sorry I didn’t get here till now. Great Post, Naomi. An important message.

  19. Really great post and you are so right! And they call it progress

    1. Thank you so much for your visit, and for sharing your comment.

  20. Carol says:

    You make me want to weep. Our government makes me want to weep, to scream, to lash out. We cut dollars to programs that are essential, I believe, and then our lawmakers give themselves a raise. Yes, that makes so much sense to me. We need to become more isolationist for awhile, long enough to get ourselves back on track. We need to stop trying to solve the woes of other countries and realize that we are in dire need of being fixed. We need to find people whose primary motive for being in office is not the power and the greed. What happened to wanting to serve? Tears flow.

    1. Dear Carol,

      It is very frustrating, and you do feel so helpless.

      But over the last four years, in spite of having to dig ourselves out of the holes created in the previous eight years, some progress was made. Who ever thought we would get health care for millions more Americans? My niece came down with a life-threatening kidney infection that hit so fiercely and suddenly she couldn’t get out of bed by herself. She was in her early 20s and is still struggling to make it through nursing school, but was too old to be covered by her parents’ insurance. Obamacare saved her life. But we still have so far to go.

      It is sad to think that we used to want to take care of our citizens–that serving the population was our goal. It wasn’t handouts, either, because citizens were paying into social security, and paying their taxes. Now everyone wants the services, but no one wants to pay taxes, especially the rich, who can most afford to. I am feeling hopeful, though, about the coming election. Fingers crossed!

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments.

  21. t2van says:

    A bit late in reading your latest post, which went from spooky to downright scary. It’s so hard, as a Canadian, to watch what is happening in the United States, to listen to the incredible lies and propaganda and not be in a position to do anything. (Of course, we have our own Harper to “do something” about)

    What you are fighting against truly came home in a very visceral way last July while I was stranded in the Newark airport waiting to rebook a cancelled flight. The elderly gentleman in front turned to me and started a conversation. What began as an innocuous exchange of pleasantries took a sharp turn to the dark side.

    Out of the blue he informed me of the lack of the President’s birth certificate, how Obama lied and falsified records to gain admittance to Harvard, how the vast majority of Americans have health insurance…and on and on, regurgitating lie after lie after lie. And this man was educated; a retired pharmacist. The cold chill of shock spread like ice water down my spine. And I felt complete, overwhelming fear.

    I politely rebutted his false assertions until he began to attack the Canadian health care system with blatant lies and assumptions. I very, very, very firmly set the record straight and closed the door on any further conversation. I felt very, very unsafe…and almost like I was living in an alternate dimension….

    May equality prevail.


  22. Oh, Terri, that is creepy, creepy, creepy! It is shocking, the ugly lies and propaganda people cling to when evidence clearly shows it to be untrue. Sort of like those who deny climate change, in spite of the fact that every scientist believes in it, and every study shows it to exist and be worsening dramatically. I’m glad you recognized it as such.

    I take comfort in knowing that at least half the people in this country believe in the common good and equal rights and caring for our environment, and I hope that a few more than half will back their beliefs when they vote next week.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  23. Amy says:

    Hi Naomi, I couldn’t get to your site by clicking your image, just wonder ifyou want to link your image to your URL. 🙂

    1. HI Amy,
      Thank you for your message. I tried to find a way to link it, but couldn’t. So my son tried, and he couldn’t figure out how. I know it is probably just a matter of knowing which button to click. As you can see, I am not much good with the technical side. It is a MIRACLE that I have managed to learn how to publish a post at all!

  24. eof737 says:

    You went all out for this one. WoW! 🙂
    Thank you for checking in during the Hurricane… your kind wishes were appreciated!

    1. Dear Elizabeth,
      We on the West Coast are still following your story, and the progress you are making, and sending wishes and good thoughts your way.

  25. Kourtney Heintz says:

    I went to a bone church in Rome. It was really beautiful and eerie. But I never realized how much a hip bone looks like a butterfly. Love the spooky pics. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Kourtney. Interesting observation on butterfly bones!

  26. 4amWriter says:

    A great range of spooky things to think about. I appreciate the time you took to put this post together, Naomi, because it’s perfect timing with presidential elections coming up. You did a nice job of being subtle, yet effective. 🙂

    1. Probably not subtle enough! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  27. Screeech! That was so scary! 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Susan!

  28. i mayfly says:

    I’m right beside you with alarm bells going off in this political climate. I really do worry about the future and how my children will navigate it. What opportunities will there be for them? Hopefully, in the next few days we will see a return to sanity. Fingers crossed. -Nikki

    1. Fingers and toes! Thanks for the visit, Nikki!

    1. Hi Rara,
      Thank you for this lovely surprise. You do me great honor.

  29. sue says:

    I don’t know how I managed to survive the campaign intact. I thought I might be on the brink of a nervous break down so many times- listening to friends and relatives who had drunk the cool-ade and believed the ugly propaganda and spins. The worst part were the ones who claimed to be “Christian” and yet were the first ones to accuse and condemn and throw stones at those unlike themselves. Even putting religious beliefs aside, could they not just look at the statue of Liberty and know they were wrong about what America stands for? “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning……” Thank goodness it is over and I do cling to the hope that we will be able to act as a nation who- as Spiderman’s uncle told him, “To whom much is given, much is expected” and start taking better care of one another.

    1. Dear Sue,

      I’m glad I was in Turkey for three weeks of it, but at least I never had to spar with folks over it. Your eloquent words ring true. So wisely and beautifully said. And the analogy to this great nation, “To whom much is given, much is expected,” is perfect.

  30. However tasty those food offerings might have been, I have a most visual imagination when it comes to eating, so would have chosen to go hungry rather than join that spooky feast.

    That chapel–very creepy, but probably a 16th century idea of recycling, with a hint of mysticism thrown in.

    1. It was morbidly fascinating!

  31. Jamie Dedes says:

    Noami having her say. This is perfectly wonderful call to conscience… May I reblog it on “Into the Bardo” … I start it back up soon.

    The church built of bones: something powerful in that actually. I will be mulling it over all day. 🙂

    Happy weekend, Noami.

  32. Ruth says:

    Thorough and astute. We are in deep %#*!. I can’t see how things will improve in the world after the election. I used to be an optimist.
    Strong images and words to make us think!
    “To whom much is given, much is required” may have been spoken by Spiderman’s uncle but he lifted it directly from the Bible.
    Is that a tomato aspic brain?

    1. Hi Ruth, Thanks for stopping by. It’s hard to see how we can mend something so badly broken as our system of government. I do remember a time when I had high hopes that we were becoming a kinder more responsible nation–taking better care of our environment and of our people.
      I love the quote, and that you credit both of its sources. The brain was made of jello and evaporated milk. Couldn’t bring myself to taste it, but the kids enjoyed it. Hope your summer is going well.

  33. You have so many detailed and wise comments here, beyond what you’ve written, that I feel there’s not much left got me to say other than, “Yes!”

    It heartens me to see that there are others who feel as I do.

    1. Hi Renae,

      What a lift to read your kind and thought response to this post. I too am heartened to know that others feel the same as I. Fingers crossed for the next election!

  34. Reblogged this on Writing Between the Lines and commented:

    Something to think about this scary time of year, and I’m not talking about Halloween.

  35. Indeed. Scary times even for us Canadians. The world, in fact. o_O

    1. Yes, Tess, the whole world should be afraid. I cannot comprehend such ignorance and selfishness–not of the sick and spoiled and racist misogynistic sociopathic Trump-child; that I get. But how can so many Americans display such willful ignorance and selfishness that they would put nuclear codes into the hands of a vulgar impulsive creature who can’t even refrain from getting into bitchy twitter wars. I will be so glad when this is over.

  36. another good one, Naomi. We do live in a scary time. Hopefuly, kindness and open hearts will soon prevail again. The answer to your good question: ‘How did this happen?’ is complex. It happened over time. We can change the tone and tenor of coarseness and bigotry in this society. Civility can reappear if more people stand up against the forces of hate. More love of thy neighbors is needed.

    1. Fingers crossed, Richard. We can’t go on like this.

  37. Judith Black says:

    Love all the responses you have gotten. As long as corporations, and their profits are the MIT (most important thing), humans, our failing environment, our democracy will all find themselves, the poor relatives. How do we collect the will to turn this around? Politically, we must deep six Citizens United, and humanly, let’s dance! Thanks Naomi.

    1. “Politically, we must deep six Citizens United, and humanly, let’s dance!” A perfect response, Judith. Thank you so much for sharing your always sharp and unique perspective!

  38. socialbridge says:

    Brilliant post, Naomi, and you have certainly made your political point very well. With you in spirit!

    1. Thanks so much, Jean. I know whatever happens here on Election Day affects the whole world. I have never been so ashamed of my country. Whatever happens, at least the elections will be over soon and, depending upon the results, start to pick up the pieces or look for property in Canada.

      1. socialbridge says:

        Be not ashamed, Naomi. It certainly isn’t your fault. And, yes, it does affect the whole world and as ‘world people,’ I think we are all obligated to work towards ensuring that those who lead are honest, compassionate and bright amongst other things.

      2. Well said, Jean. Thank you for that. I will try to keep it mind during these next few days.

  39. Maureen Kay says:

    A fitting title! From nauseating party appetizers to historic tragedies to very real immediate terrors.

    1. Fingers crossed, Maureen! Although the election is only going to be the first step to taking back our country, now that so much damage has already been done.

  40. Carol says:

    Brilliant post. Never thought the day would come in this country that I would find an election fearsome. We have become far too reactionary, I think, far too deaf – we no longer hear each other or anything other than what we want to hear. Very spooky.

    1. Dear Carol, it is no wonder that you’re scared! I never thought I’d see the day when a sociopathic narcissistic racist, rapist, misogynistic ignorant thin-skinned man-child who cannot refrain from bitchy waging twitter wars would be allowed to run for the highest office in country, possibly the world, where he would be put in charge of nuclear codes. I am completely baffled. Even if he loses, it will be a challenge to find our way back to the minimal degree of cooperation and civility that we had before this election. But at least soon the election will be over, and we will know what we have to work with, and what we have to deal with. Give the girls a hug for me.

      1. Carol says:

        This is all beyond imagination, isn’t it?

      2. Beyond beyond beyond comprehension. I will be with you in spirit tomorrow night, Carol, on the edge of my seat with a glass of wine in my hand!

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