Beautiful Halloween

All my life, I have loved Halloween. I’m calling it now:
Halloween, with all its tacky, kitschy goulishness, is the
best holiday. It’s a legit time for just  having some ol’ fashion
fun with pranks and mischief-making. Halloween is the only
time kids AND adults can be silly, juvenile idiots and get
away with it. And for those who are into a little history
here is an abbreviated version:

Today is All Hallows’ Eve, or Halloween. The modern
holiday comes from an age-old tradition honoring the
supernatural blending of the world of the living and the
world of the dead. Halloween is based on a Celtic holiday
called Samhain. The festival marked the start of winter
and the last stage of the harvest, the slaughtering of
animals. It was believed that the dark of winter allowed
the spirits of the dead to transgress the borders of death
and haunt the living.

Eventually, Christian holidays developed at around the
same time. During the Middle Ages, November 1 became
known as All Saints’ Day, or All Hallows’ Day. The holiday
honored all of the Christian saints and martyrs. Medieval
religion taught that dead saints regularly interceded in the
affairs of the living. On All Saints’ Day, churches held masses
for the dead and put bones of the saints on display. The night
before this celebration of the holy dead became known as
All Hallows’ Eve. People baked soul cakes, which they would
set outside their house for the poor. They also lit bonfires and
set out lanterns carved out of turnips to keep the ghosts of
the dead away.
Credit: The Writer’s Almanac

I drove by this display of Halloween silliness yesterday and
made me stop and smile.
Happy Halloween, fall has officially begun.
hallo1 hallo2 hallo3

Beautiful Autumn

Fall has arrived, oh how I already miss summer.
boots
fall
Beneath a yellow fading tree,
As red suns light thee, Autumn-morn,
In wildest rapture let me see
The sweets that most thy charms adorn.

O while my eye the landscape views,
What countless beauties are display’d;
What varied tints of nameless hues, —
Shades endless melting into shade.

A russet red the hazels gain,
As suited to their drear decline;
While maples brightest dress retain,
And in the gayest yellows shine.


From Autumn by John Clare
(from The Village Minstrel, 1821)

Beautiful Orange

History of Chrome orange:

Chromium was the chameleon-like fruit of a Siberian mineral, called crocoite and discovered in the eighteenth century. The mineral is deep orange, a natural form of lead chromate. It was analysed in the late 1790s by the eminent French chemist Nicolas Louis Vauquelin, who identified the new element chromium as the source of the color. Vauquelin studied the compounds of chromium, and found that he could make bright yellow and rich orange versions of lead chromate, both of which he proposed as potential pigments. Chrome orange became the first pure orange pigment since the medieval use of realgar, a highly toxic compound of arsenic. The chromium colors did not become widespread, however, until the discovery of chromium-containing mineral deposits in France, USA and Britain. By replacing the lead in chrome yellow with other metals, such as zinc and strontium, the color could be tuned to paler or more acidic hues, such as ‘lemon yellow’.  Chrome orange was introduced as a pigment in 1809. The world production of chrome orange ceased few years ago.

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