Friday Free-for-All: October 29

Good morning! In honor of the silliness that will be descending upon us this weekend with the arrival of Halloween, today’s wrap-up is completely devoid of any valuable news content. Consider it candy for your brain.

  • Virtually no child has ever been harmed by the ol’ “poisoned Halloween candy” trick. So why are we still so afraid of it? “The Halloween sadist legends are part of a larger movement in American culture away from our sense that we can do it ourselves. The factory does it better, tastier, safer. In the anonymous Halloween exchange, when we don’t personally know that person dropping candy bars in little Petal’s bag, it is as though the brand name is the only thing we can really trust.”
  • Meanwhile, a food item that will literally kill you dead: pumpple cake. “Pumpkin and apple pies baked in chocolate and vanilla cake, fused together and surrounded by buttercream icing.” Now only 1,800 calories a slice! (H/t Danielle Bean)
  • What it’s like to own your own ghost town: “It’s more like a town inhabited by hermits . . . . Feuding might be too strong a word for what they do, but there are only 12 of them (officially), and you never see two together. Ever. For all I know, it’s one guy with a lot of costumes.”
  • Ever had a hard time hearing the rhymes in Shakespeare? Try listening to it in its original pronunciation.
  • This one’s for Todd: The great “I could care less” debate, and other language disputes through the ages.
  • Explaining the internet to a 19th-century street urchin, in flow chart. “You pull out your iPad and try to hop on the Internet, but for some reason, you can’t pick up a wifi signal. ‘Is there a coffee shop nearby?’ you ask the waif.” –> “Moments later you are stabbed from behind, and your possession is snatched from your hands by a gang of dancing chimney sweeps.”
  • Finally, a Pontiac vs. a 1,200-pound pumpkin. I love this time of year.
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Margaret Cabaniss


Margaret Cabaniss is the former managing editor of Crisis Magazine. She joined Crisis in 2002 after graduating from the University of the South with a degree in English Literature and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She now blogs at

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