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from Full Focus:

Images of October

Our top photos from the month including images from the Russian Olympic city Sochi and revelers enjoying Halloween festivities.

from Photographers' Blog:

Everyone has a dark side

Bottrop, Germany

By Ina Fassbender

I really don’t like splatter films, not even the films of ‘Saw’. But for this job I had to look at a sequence from Saw 1 on YouTube and after six minutes of this, I was curious about my performer Yvonne Nagel who wanted to perform as the Amanda Young character, who wakes up in a room with a "reverse bear trap" around her mouth and the key to her escape is in the stomach of her dead cellmate. Nice. Movie Park Germany engages every year some hundreds of people who run through the park to frighten visitors during the Halloween season.

So I met Yvonne, or ‘Amanda’, in person at the Movie Park.  It is her fourth season as a Halloween performer there. She was excited about my idea to picture her out of character, so we decided that I could visit her, at her office where she works as project manager, at Lenovo-Medion AG in Essen. When I arrived at the entrance of her company, I looked around and couldn’t see her. Then from a distance a business woman with somber black suit and high heels called my name. It was Yvonne. What a change. She looked like you and me. Dressed casually. Flowing long hair and very likeable.

from The Great Debate:

The war on Halloween is a war on capitalism

America's second-favorite holiday is upon us, and once again the forces of intolerance are demanding that hardworking people give up their most hallowed traditions.

In the cities, urban elitists at the finer preschool programs issue bans on fun costumes because of anti-corporate and gender-neutral policies. Around the rest of the country, religious zealots turn Halloween parties into bloodless "fall festivals" where even our ancient rituals of harvest are prohibited.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

It’s a black day for candy lovers…

Okay, take that black stuff out of your mouth, put it on the floor, and back away.

That's just me helping the government warn folks about the danger of eating too much licorice.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Taking Siri out for a spin?

Blog Guy, I gather from your recent posts that you're a big fan of Siri, the personal assistant on the new iPhone 4S who carries on conversations with users?

I am. I'm pretty dazzled, I must say.

So, have you gotten to know her personally?

Well, I don't like to boast, but as you can see from this screen grab, yes. Siri sent me her personal, private phone number.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Mr. President!

Do you believe this, Michelle?

What's that, Barack?

I'm the president, and I'm pulling my own pumpkins!

Pulling your pumpkins from the patch to the plane?

Precisely.

Where's the presidential pumpkin puller?

In Pacific Palisades.

Presidential Pumpkin Puller Peter Piper is in Pacific Palisades?

Positively.

Poop! That explains why I had to pick my own peck of pickled peppers!

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Top and right: President Barack Obama pulls a cart loaded with pumpkins that he and first lady Michelle Obama picked for Halloween at Wood's Orchard in Hampton, Virginia October 19, 2011.

Bottom right: Michelle Obama looks at red pepper she pulled from the White House Kitchen Garden during the fall season harvest  in Washington, October 5, 2011.

from FaithWorld:

Saudi king, religious police, Islam and donkeys – via WikiLeaks

mutaween 1 (Photo: Religious police perform dusk prayers with Saudi youth outside a Riyadh cafe on June 27, 2010 during half-time of the Germany-England World Cup soccer match. The police ensured that people watching matches in cafes said their prayers during the tournament/Fahad Shadeed)

WikiLeaks has come up with an interesting insight into the way King Abdullah views his own kingdom's religious police, the mutaween who enforce Islamic behaviour in public. A cable from the Riyadh embassy entitled IDEOLOGICAL AND OWNERSHIP TRENDS IN THE SAUDI MEDIA and dated 11 May 2009 mentions what appears to be a U.S. diplomat's visit to a Saudi newspaper editor whose name is XXXed out. The Saudi says the king had visited the office and complained about how ignorant the religious police were about Islam and how they  treated people like donkeys:

//Okaz//
18. (S) In a meeting with Jeddah CG and XXXXXXXXXXXX, XXXXXXXXXXXX was blunt when asked about SAG efforts in countering extremist thinking. “King Abdallah was here,” he said, pointing around his well-appointed office XXXXXXXXXXXX in Jeddah. “He told us that conservative elements in Saudi society do not understand true Islam, and that people needed to be educated” on the subject. King Abdallah, he said, used a metaphor of a donkey to explain how the religious police use the wrong approach. “They take a stick and hit you with it, saying ‘Come donkey, it’s time to pray.’ How does that help people behave like good Muslims?” XXXXXXXXXXXX quoted the king as saying.

from Tales from the Trail:

Steven Chu: Energy Secretary, Nobel Laureate, Zombie

67613_449706237290_79707582290_5525360_4352855_aYou sort of have to like a U.S. cabinet secretary and Nobel Prize winner who knows how to have a little fun while getting out a message.

That would be Steven Chu, who posted a picture of himself as a green-faced, blood-dripping zombie on his Facebook page. Just in time for Washington's scrupulously-observed Halloween weekend, Chu used his own zombification as a platform to point out power-sucking appliances -- energy vampires, he called them.

from FaithWorld:

Ghosts, goblins? Many Americans are believers

halloween (Photo: Halloween in Shanghai October 29, 2010/Aly Song)

Ghosts and goblins are more than Halloween decorations or costumes for many Americans who confessed they believe in the supernatural and returning from the grave.

Thirty-seven percent of 2,100 adults questioned in a Zogby Interactive poll said they think ghosts are real, and 23 percent believe they have been visited by a deceased relative or friend.

from Fan Fare:

Helena Bonham Carter, queen of Halloween frights

This item is both good, and perhaps not so good, for director Tim Burton. His long-term companion, Helena Bonham Carter, has had the distinct honor (some might say dubious distinction) of making it on a list -- twice -- of top movie-themed Halloween costumes. The first time, she is a queen (good) and the second, a witch (not so good, although given Burton's taste in characters  -- Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd -- he might think it's cool).

Online movie ticket seller Fandango.com polled some  2,200 people on its website, asking them about the upcoming ghoulish holiday where people dress like goblins or werewolves and play tricks or get treats. Fifty-five percent said they would dress up and of those, 58 percent said they'd pick a movie-themed costume.

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