President Washington Declines Salary


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“When I was first honored with a call into the service of my country, then on the eve of an arduous struggle for its liberties, the light in which I contemplated my duty required that I should renounce every pecuniary compensation. From this resolution I have in no instance departed; and being still under the impressions which produced it, I must decline as inapplicable to myself any share in the personal emoluments which may be indispensably included in a permanent provision for the executive department, and must accordingly pray that the pecuniary estimates for the station in which I am placed may during my continuance in it be limited to such actual expenditures as the public good may be thought to require.”

-United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States. Presidents.

Halloween Classic: Ghost


The traditional ghost costume in the United States consists of an old bed-sheet thrown over a person’s head with a few holes cut out for the eyes.Most decorative ghosts and ghost props are based on the bed-sheet look.

The cartoon Casper the Friendly Ghost is similar to the bed-sheet look, but with a human head and hands and the ability to move from being invisible to visible at will.

Ghostly Images

All easily recognizable ghost costumes are white or grey and most are ragged and flowing. Since ghosts are supposed to represent dead people coming back to haunt the living, the makeup tends to imitate a dead body and the clothes are either what the dead person wore in life, or what the person was buried in. Ragged and torn clothes create a crawled-out-of the grave look and pristine (but white) clothes represent a dead person who believes he or she is still alive – or is simply aware enough to purposely return to the living and, therefore, dressed for the occasion.

Multipurpose Costume

An interesting costuming tidbit – the addition of blood to the mouth area of death-white face makeup, combined with a ghost costume will transform the look into something leaning more toward either a zombie or a vampire.

Also, the difference between a ghost and an angel or a fairy is the lack of a pair of wings and/or a halo, and the make-up. The face makeup of angels and fairies represent a vibrancy that is the exact opposite of the death-face. In the case of fairies, the most common make-up includes a large amount of color and glitter, highly inspired by flowers and raindrops (not clowns). Angels, on the other hand, tend to lean toward the rosy faces of cherubs, or a paleness that leans more toward something drawn from starlight and snow.

For those who are adverse to wearing any makeup at all, a ghost mask or a veil can be used instead. Be sure the veil is well worn and spooky looking, or the costume will take on a wedding dress look.

If you are looking for a costume that can be re-purposed into something that can be used during the annual Holiday/Christmas play, then consider using a ghost costume that can be transformed into a winter Angel.

Family of Ghosts

If you are looking for an easy costume idea for the entire family, then ghosts may be the perfect option. Here are several costumes that provide examples of the variety of ways tan easily recognizable ghost costume can be created:


Understanding Leads to Coexisting


Urban Bestiary on

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“The more we understand the wild animals that share our home places, the better we can coexist in safety, wisdom, conviviality, and delight.”

-The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

From the introduction: “My intent was not to be all-inclusive, but rather to treat species that are common in most urban places and those that have a particular lesson for coexisting with wildlife that can be extrapolated to other species, including the many that are not directly considered here...nearly everyone reading this book will be able to say, “I wish she’d written about __________.” But my goal, my dream, actually, is that this is just the start of a huge, earthen bestiary, an invitation to wild intimacy, written daily by all of us, through attention to the creatures in our midst.

Textbook Death




She’s rushing away from her school toward the bus stop on the corner. I can tell she wants to run, but I understand why she won’t. Running would draw unwanted attention. The hunted quickly learn that it’s better to blend in whenever possible...She has her face buried in a geometry textbook. It’s a useless shield. I’ve studied the same book, and I’m pretty sure it has killed far more people than it’s saved.

Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance edited by Rhoda Belleza

From the introduction: “But bullying starts with adults. It starts with controlling parents who will do almost anything to maintain that control, and teachers who don’t tolerate kids finding their ways through natural developmental stages…Back before language we absorb through all our senses. If we grow up experiencing domestic violence, even if it isn’t aimed at us, we learn the ways of violence…It’s too easy to look for bullying kids and try to stop them from being bullies. That usually results in making them more devious. Let’s call it meanness. Let’s call it indecency. And let’s understand that it never starts with the kid.

Anti-bullying Benefits


Sticks and Stones

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If we can tackle this issue wisely and well, the benefits to our kids will be real: bullying has been linked with depression, substance abuse, poor health, delinquency, and suicide—among both victims and the bullies themselves. And if we beat it back, even incrementally, perhaps we can begin to tame some of those bigger monsters, too.

-Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Emily Bazelon

Economic Vice


End of Ethics

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“Main Street” expects its CEOs, Fortune 500 companies, and private equity firms to hit “home runs” on a daily basis. Unfortunately, no matter how much quantitative acumen and market awareness an investment manager may retain, no Wall Street all-star can consistently hit the ball over the fence for investors and shareholders. Sometimes, they strike out. Inevitable losses are part and parcel of a capitalist economy. However, to appease investors and shareholders, executives have turned to the proverbial performance-enhancing drugs: what we will call economic vice. Economic vice produces artificial home runs for shareholders and creates unrealistic market expectations.”

-The End of Ethics and A Way Back: How To Fix A Fundamentally Broken Global Financial System by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, Jordan D. Mamorsky

Halloween Statements – Profiling

While working on the astronauts posting for last Sunday, it occurred to me that the orange jumpsuits used by astronauts looked a lot like prison uniforms. Then I realized the blue astronaut costumes and the green pilot costumes looked like the work clothes worn by construction workers, farmers, factory workers and auto mechanics. Looking at prison uniform costumes, I also noticed that the shape of the uniforms is very similar to standard nursing and medical clothes.

All of these design similarities got me to thinking about the protests in St. Louis and issues surrounding both racial profiling and workers rights.

On Halloween, people of all ages dress up in costumes and go door to door, trick-or-treating. Often the festivities spill out into other neighborhoods. It’s probably the only time of year when people will welcome a stranger wearing a mask who rings the doorbell and asks for food (well, OK, candy).

If you are an activist or protestor, you can use this as a fun way to spread your cause by dressing up in costumes that illustrate your statement. For example, a person in a police costume accompanied by a collection of individuals in orange jumpsuits used by many professions can illustrate racial profiling. A collection of people dressed up in workers uniforms, wearing zombie make-up and carrying protest signs that suggest the lack of health care and decent wages resulted in a devastating zombie epidemic – and the bosses STILL expect the workers to show up on time and pretend they love their jobs. On the other end, a business suit with a red (or blue) tie and zombie make-up could make a statement about the nature of politics and politicians.

Halloween is a lot of fun, but it’s also an opportunity to get a message out there in a friendly and non-invasive manner. So, whatever your cause or your passion, consider using those creative costume ideas to develop something that might actually force people to stop and think.

By way of illustration, here are a series of costumes that could be used in a statement about police arresting the wrong person:


Orange Prison Uniform

Orange Prison Uniform

Brown Prison Uniform


Green Jumpsuit – Pilot

Nursing Uniform

Brown Jumpsuit – Pilot

Orange Jumpsuit – Star Wars Pilot

Orange Jumpsuit – Astronaut