:::this is the way the world ends:::

Devil’s Backbone

Well, October has been a great month for me. 

This past weekend, you all know what we were up to. 

One weekend ago, some of my K-State friends congregated at our house for a reunion we have once a year, usually in the summer. 

Two weekends ago I got the to enjoy the Ozark autumn, with trees just at the cusp of their full fall colors.  I went camping with 3 guys from Kansas City I know through our church in the Mark Twain National Forest.  The end destination on our hike: the Devil’s Backbone.  Below is a photo my friend took while we were on the ridge (it was very backboney).

Click on the photo to see the full panorama….

While we were there, I thought about all things Devil’s Backbone and was reminded of a great movie by Guillermo Del Toro: The Devil’s Backbone.  Since this is Halloween night (I’m currently writing while waiting to hand out candy with Steph, the kids keep coming up to our door) I thought the movie buttressed up against my reflections of this October nicely.  I recommend this movie greatly.   It takes in Spain during the Spanish civil war in 1939.  I don’t normally watch horror films.  However, the horror from this film isn’t produced by the film’s ghost, but instead comes from the humans caught up in this war.  At least, that’s my take on it.  It’s a ghost story where the most terrifying element comes from the humans.  Watch it, if you’d like.  I’d love to hear your reactions on it.  The DVD cover stinks, by the way.

Oh, and catch Pan’s Labyrinth when it comes out, also by Guillermo Del Toro.  It looks fantastic too.  …of course, it has the right to be horrible and I’ll have to take my ringing endorsement (for a film I haven’t even seen) back.  I should be more careful.


  1. Shotts


    Sounds like a great trip, and sounds like you’re getting a good amount of meaningful time this fall. I’m sure it’s been good and much needed. Thanks again for hosting Peters and me that last weekend of October. It was definitely therapeutic and needed for me. Toby’s Kansas City continues to inspire great things and good times–from Guinness on top of O’Dowd’s to bocce up and down the Nelson lawns.

    Your trip to the Devil’s Backbone sounds great. As it gets colder, sadly I don’t take as much advantage of Minnesota’s many fabulous state parks. Jen and I went camping a couple of times during the summer months, but we tend to start locking in around this time in November. It’s amazing to me that in a state so well known for its outdoors, how much the city pulls one in and keeps you there.

    I haven’t seen Guillermo Del Toro’s films, but may have to check them out. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Sounds like you and Steph had a nice Halloween. Jen and I handed out to trick-or-treaters: we had about fifteen total, which is low for our neighborhood. But it was so cold that night, that I’m sure it kept many costumers in. We had one of the coldest Octobers I can recall.

    For me the fall has been highlighted by the weekend in Kansas City, my trip to New Jersey and New York for the Dodge Poetry Festival, and I just got back from another short trip to New York. Our fireplace has been a real highlight too, all through October and up to last night. And we had a fall party with wine, fire, and good pumpkin and fall treats a few weeks ago, with some good friends around these parts.

    Looking forward to the holidays now, and to seeing you and Steph and everyone around Christmas in McPherson….


  2. Shotts

    P.S.: And frankly one of the highlights of the fall for me has been this web site. Thanks again, Tob, for administering it.

  3. Pete

    Shotts- I am humored a little by your posting. I have this vision in my head created by the Dodge advertising campaign which does not seem to go well on first thought with my admittedly romanticized view of poetry. I realize poetry is much more multi-faceted than my mind’s eye version, but matching a poetry festival with cruchy sounding electric guitars, growling angry low notes after a man yells “hit it!” seems a little paradoxical in my thinking. For that matter poetry has always seemed just a little counter-culture versus commercial. Maybe there is room to change that to a degree. It is good if poetry is being sold as a product I reckon, at least to those selling it, but is there a notion of “selling out”. I wonder. When punk rock goes commercial it is often seen as suspect. What are your thoughts?

    By the way, I think I would like to nominate Toby for the 2006 “Best of us” award for starting up the website, hosting Octoberfest, and being just about as great a friend as a guy can have. Perhaps an honorable mention goes to Gannon for his on-going passionate efforts to affect change in the world by involving his friends. Both are clearly better than I.

  4. Ned

    Good to hear reflections on favorable falls for all. Shotts I have to apologize for neglecting to respond to the evite. We looked at it before we knew if we could make it, and then it got buried under a whole bunch of other emails. Please know (and convey to Jen) that we appreciate the invite, even when we don’t make it.

  5. Shotts

    Thanks, Peters and Ned.

    First off, to Peters: It’s the Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival. It is the largest poetry event in North America, held every other year in rural New Jersey. It’s sponsored by the Geraldine Dodge Foundation, not Dodge trucks or vehicles of any kind. So please keep your “counter cultural” vision of poetry alive. No selling out, at least in the way you mention.

    I agree about putting Toby up for “Best of Us.”

    To Ned, no worries about not responding to the evite. Jen and I figured you and Sara were unlikely, but want you to know you are certainly more than welcome. Let us know when you might next be in the Twin Cities. And when you might be in McPherson for the holidays…


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