Blogs > In The Mix

Reporter Shaun Byron and Video Editor Andrew DuPont sound-off on whatever is on their minds, from politics to pop-culture, from movies to the main stream media. Local, national, world-wide? If it's in the media mix, these two are sure to have an opinion on it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Five Worst Halloween Costumes 2008

Welcome to the first installment of what I hope will become a weekly entry in this blog. I was going to call it the Friday Five, but since I am posting this one on a Wednesday, that will have to wait until next time perhaps.

Halloween is almost here, and both children and adults have literally hundred of options when it comes to store-bought costumes. Fly-by-night costume shops pop up all over the place, and there are numerous quality websites making it easier than ever to find the perfect costume for a party or trick-or-treating.

Not all costumes are created equally however, and I'm not talking about the quality of material used. It would seem in an effort to fill more shelves, some costume makers will mass produce any idea suggested to them.

After spending some time looking at several costume vendor websites and visiting a few stores, I have found a few of the worst mass-produced costume ideas out there. Yes, there are certainly worse, more offensive, tasteless, or downright poor quality costumes out there, but many I have come across are home-made or one-of-a-kind and not likely to be available at a Halloween USA.

There are certainly other costumes that could be on this list, but in keeping with a top five, I had to pick only one from each of the follow categories: adult male, adult female, youth male, youth female, infant.

Adult Male: A Fork
What's the joke here? You're a kitchen utensil. Sure, there is a matching spoon costume, but how is that any better? I can't image anyone going into a costume store, walking along the many aisles and stopping in front of this and saying "Okay, this is it, I found my costume. I am being a fork this year!" Besides a Broadway musical about the magic that happens on the dinner table every night, I can't picture a scenario that would call on anyone to don this costume without becoming an instant punchline. I don't know if there is a medical condition that causes people to develop an unnatural attraction to generic-looking cutlery, but if there is, the person who made this costume may suffer from it and should probably get themselves checked out.

Adult Female: Sarah Palin
Yeah, this is probably the only year this costume will even be slightly relevant, but Tina Fey already has the market cornered on this one. To make matters worse, somebody thought it would be hilarious to make a wig with miniature versions of the Alaska Governor's most repeated talking points spread throughout. Yeah, that'll be really funny to have to constantly sit still while people examine your hair up close and ask you to explain what each piece means, that is, if they're held on by anything stronger than cheap glue and don't sporadically fall off throughout the party. Mark my words, you wear this thing and two months from now you're going to wonder why there's a tiny moose under your couch.

Youth male: "Tighty Whitey"
I'm not sure who is supposed to be offended the most by this one, but if your son doesn't get mocked enough at school this might help. Of course, what does it say about you if you buy a "costume" that consists of baggy pants and an oversized t-shirt? Is it really funny to see a kid walking around with his underwear showing? No, it's not. This is the costume that inspired me to make this list, as it fails on all fronts.

Youth female: "Pop Stars"
Are we even paying attention anymore? Who wants their daughter to grow up and be like Britney Spears? Is it the two failed marriages before age 30 or the circus of a child custody battle that followed? How about the random headshaving, car attacking, underwearless partying, or drastic weight shifts? While adult females are bombarded with nothing but "sexy occupation" costumes anymore, it's really disturbing to see how costume makers are marketing risque clothing to kids these days. The costume pictured is just one of many examples out there today. Costume stores should be required to contact child protective services whenever someone purchases one of these.

Infant: Pizza Slice
Nothing says Halloween like wrapping your baby in a giant slice of pizza. Wait... what? How are you supposed to carry them around with this thing on? I guess they won't mind having their arms and legs stuck inside the costume all night either. When it comes to baby costumes, there are a lot of absolutely adorbale ones available that don't constict your child's abilty to move on their own.

So that's it. Hope everyone enjoys Halloween, just with better costumes!

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The Purple States of America

I'm writing this now because I don't want anyone to think I am doing this because "my guy" won.

No matter who wins on Nov. 4, this country needs to get behind them. The last two elections have deeply polarized this country, so much so that terms like "blue state" and "red state" may as well mean Mars and Venus. No matter who our President is, we are all part of this country and need to work together for the good of all of us. No doubt there will some gloating from whatever side wins while the others wring their hands in protest, but it has to stop there.

The politics of late do nothing to help solve our nation's problems, it creates new ones. The idea that if "your candidate" wins, everything will be perfect, but if "the other guy" wins, the world will end seems to be permeating so many aspects of this election it's disgusting. Despite what some of the attacks ads may imply, I have no doubt both Obama and McCain want good things for the people of this nation, they just disagree on how to achieve those things.

Regardless of who wins, we have to stop looking at people who voted for someone else as the enemy and be the United States we once were.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Palin's GOP funded shopping spree

I don't think I'd be very happy right now if I was one of the people who donated to John McCain's presidential campaign.

Like most average folks, I work hard for my money and the announcement of $150,000 being spent on clothing, hair styling, makeup and other "campaign accessories" in September after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin hopped on the GOP ticket seems, well, idiotic.

Fifteen years ago, McCain was the dude complaining that restrictions on political contributions for personal use were too broad. I guess his tune has changed what with his most successful attempt to date at capturing the spot of commander in chief.

In Palin's defense, our culture places far too much importance on what a person is dressed like or how they look.

I'm sure more people would be screaming about physical appearance rather than qualifications had McCain and the GOP trucked out Martha Wash of the 1980s music group The Weather Girls instead of a former beauty queen.

All someone has to do is look at a magazine rack and they'll see nothing but beautiful people on the covers. I wouldn't be surprised if even the editors at American Woodworker are pressured to sex it up once in a while.

Still, they should be the ones setting the example. But, once again, our supposed leaders are falling prey to the superficial trends and spending money that isn't their own.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Christmas in October

Well, we're not even half-way through October yet, and already you can go to department stores and see their Christmas decorations filling aisles, some more than their Halloween supplies. Christmas music being playing way too early on the radio can't be far behind.

Seems like every year, the start of the Christmas season is moved up a little. Last year, local station WNIC 100.3 FM went "all Christmas, all the time" on Halloween. I remember how irritating it was to hear that because prior to this, Halloween seemed like a big enough holiday to keep the Christmas season contained to the months of November and December only. Apparently that is no longer the case, as stations like WNIC seem to think you would rather listen to "Frosty the Snowman" instead of "Monster Mash" on Halloween.

For the record, WNIC has not switched formats yet this year, but they are already asking about it on their homepage. WMVN 101.1 FM in St. Louis, MO, however, has already made the switch, which means we can't be far behind. Now that a precedent has been set for Halloween as an afterthought, when we will start hearing Jingle Bell Rock? I'm guessing we'll see WNIC go all-Christmas no later than the 31st for the second year in the row.

This has gone well beyond the point of absurdity now and despite the large irritant this seems to be to a lot of people, it only gets worse every year. I don't get it.

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New Blog

In a world where everyone has their own blog, what's one more?

Well, with a majority of the blogs from The Oakland Press focusing on sports, I thought it would be nice to have one that focused on... well, everything else. The plan is for this blog to run the gamut of topics with a local spin. Shaun and I are both big movie buffs, so don't be surprised to see some film references in blogs that are not even about a particular movie.

Truth is I have an opinion on almost everything, and I'm never shy about voicing it, but what I'm hoping to do besides having the usual soapbox most blogs are, is shine a spotlight on the local angles to stories that might not otherwise be featured.

I also like lists, so every Friday I plan to to post the "Friday Five," which is pretty self-explanatory. Every Friday, my entry will be "Five things that..."

Hopefully, once people actually read this, I'll be able to get some feedback from readers. with blogs being a place to showcse opinions, I'm hoping readers will be willing to share theirs as well.