Happy seeing-people-in-silly-and-elaborate-costumes-do-mundane-things Day!

Why Halloween is great, plus Ellsworth Vines and a spooky fact

Est. Read Time: 5 minutes. Read Time brought to you once again by the Ashburton Energy + Hair Logistics Group, in association with the Bradley Hills Bureau of Corrections.

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Hello, Sternal Journalists!

I have another show at Hollywood fancy-place Mama Shelter on Tuesday. Feel free to come out if you’re for some reason hanging around the Walk of Fame and looking for something to do.

Here’s me from last week’s show, red-faced and crushing; especially for those guys to my right:

But seriously, folks! It was a good time, and at least I didn’t make the same mistake from the earlier show, wherein I asked a group of 20 yelling drunk people how hot I was 1-10, and somehow everyone was suddenly silent except for one 50-year-old woman who yelled “Six!”

So if you want to come to that, get your tix here!

Grab Bag!

It’s time once again for a good old Sternal Journal Grab Bag, where I just throw a few ideas or tidbits at you because it’s Halloween weekend, and this Trent Crimm of the Independent needs to get to bed early.

Speaking of Halloween: Somebody asked me last weekend whether I liked Christmas or Halloween more. I couldn’t answer, and I don’t think I should have to choose, BUT I was reminded today—especially after a year away from true Halloween—the silly magic of seeing people on their way to do things for Halloween.

Sure, trick-or-treating is amazing for kids and costume parties are a ton of fun; but then the costumes are part of a contained event. There’s something very special that tricks my brain into thinking the world is a little zanier than it is when I see a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Red Guy from Squid Game walking out of Trader Joes, having what looks to be a very boring chat about whether the T-Rex is going to get bumped up from coordinator at work.

Speaking of spooky things in general: I learned in this Wall Street Journal instagram post that over one million TikTok users have 50K+ followers on TikTok. As someone who once cared a lot more about measurable fame than he does now, but also sees the utility of social media as an amplifier of work and shiny thing to hang in front of potential employers… this is spooky!

Speaking of fame and the Walk of it (Fame): Every now and then, when walking around L.A.’s Echo Park neighborhood, I notice a plaque for some athlete I’ve often not heard of. One day, when I saw an especially absurd name—Ellsworth Vines, a tennis player—I had to know what these plaques were about.

It turns out these were laid in the 70s by photographer L. Andrew Castle, and dubbed The Avenue of Athletes. They were an attempt to bring foot traffic to the then relatively untrodden Echo Park, just as the Hollywood Walk of Fame had done for its neighborhood in the 60s.

This wonderful and quick Zocalo article highlights some of the athletes featured, and touches on Castle’s goals and legacies. As the article points out, while the Avenue of Athletes is largely forgotten, Echo Park still found other ways to become a very notable L.A. neighborhood. Next time you’re there, don’t forget to look down!

(It doesn’t talk about Ellsworth Vines, but his Wikipedia’s pretty wild.)

That’s everything in the grab bag this week!


“Trying to have a serious conversation at a Halloween party.” TikTok/IG Video. Really, really love this character from classic sketch performer and comedian, Kat Palardy.

Nice Try, Season 2: Interior Podcast. Avery Trufelman is back for Season 2 of this Curbed podcast about utopian striving. In Season 1, each episode focused around a different attempt at Utopia (Jamestown, Disney World, Biosphere 2). Season 2 centers each episode around a product of domesticity, the first examining the doorbell.

Trufelman is one of the best radio producers to don the headphones, and one of the things she’s very good at is crafting journeys of social discovery out of seemingly minute objects (see her 99PI miniseries, Articles of Interest). In other words, this is someone who is the best at what they do doing something they are very good at. Check it out.

Lonestar. Song. I’ve just had this Norah Jones song stuck in my head all day.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. Book. I know I recommended it last week, but I finished it today and really liked it all the way to the end. Read it so we can talk about it!

Alrighty, that’s all. I hope you’ve had a scary-but-only-in-a-good-way Halloween!

With spooky love,