Reuters blog archive
from The Great Debate:
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.
A school district in Pennsylvania killed the traditional October celebrations because of “controversy surrounding the religious connotations of Halloween.” A suburban Seattle elementary school stomped the hearts of its littlest goblins by canceling the usual Oct 31 costume day because unnamed religious groups were "offended by Halloween." From coast to coast, our nation’s biggest celebration is under attack by those who would strip it of ghosts and goblins.
In Skokie, Illinois, the schoolchildren of District 69 lost their Halloween festivities, supposedly because of “economic disparity” ‑ a real enough horror in America. The superintendent’s letter announcing the death of Halloween then makes clear the real cause: “We also have students who are unable to participate for religious or cultural reasons.”
from Oddly Enough Blog:
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?
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:
Do you believe this, Michelle?
I'm the president, and I'm pulling my own pumpkins!
Pulling your pumpkins from the patch to the plane?
Where's the presidential pumpkin puller?
In Pacific Palisades.
Presidential Pumpkin Puller Peter Piper is in Pacific Palisades?
Poop! That explains why I had to pick my own peck of pickled peppers!
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.
(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:
¶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:
You 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.
(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:
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.
from Fan Fare:
Vampires may be one of the most popular current themes in entertainment, but movies that feature exorcisms and Satan give audiences the biggest scare.
With Halloween fast approaching, a poll on website Movies.com found that vampires give moviegoers less of a fright than creepy kids or Zombies.
from Shop Talk:
Check out the spending boost planned by Americans for Halloween.
The National Retail Federation said spending by the 148 million Americans who partake in the "spooky" October holiday is expected to surge almost 18 percent this year as revelers look for any reason not to think about high unemployment and a shaky housing market.
“In recent years, Halloween has provided a welcome break from reality, allowing many Americans a chance to escape from the stress the economy has put on their family and incomes,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.