Archive | August, 2011

September / October 2011 Issue

September / October 2011 Issue

• Stay Safe at the Pharmacy

Errors in Prescription Medicine

• Shop Denton on Purpose

• Moving Families from Crisis to Confidence

Denton County Friends of the Family

• POINTBank Lines Up for Literacy

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Just Say Ahh…

Just Say Ahh…

by Taryn McColpin

Ahh, September…As this is written, it is still in the 100’s, and one can only hope that by press time the temperatures are less Hades-like.

Speaking of Hades, soon it will be October, and that means Halloween! Every fall, articles are trotted out on the old Pagan vs. Christian debate, including lots of false information about the true origins of Halloween. One of the statements that gets repeated so often that it is mistaken for truth is that its base is the ancient “Druid/Celtic festival of Samhain.” But it turns out that the roots of Halloween are in Catholicism and a coincidental date selection, and that its origins lie more with St. Patrick’s peeps than with Druids.

Samhain is a Gaelic word meaning the end of summer, and any festivals associated with it are specifically Irish in origin. In ancient Ireland, chieftains and warriors would gather at an assembly, and over seven days at summer’s end there would be meetings, games, entertainments, and feasting. One thing Samhain has in common with modern Halloween celebrations is the idea that the days around late October or early November are a good time for a party.

Centuries later, cue the Catholics: By that time, the Roman Church recognized so many martyred saints that there weren’t enough days in the year to commemorate them all, and the church began celebrating an All Saints Day to remember all the left-over saints that didn’t already have their own day. In the 11th century, All Soul’s Day was established to pray for all the dead souls, and added to All Saints (or Hallows, an archaic English word for saint) to make a two-day festival, which began on All Hallow’s Eve, October 31st. Evidence suggests that the Irish church changed the date of All Saints/All Souls to conform to the standard European date, which just happened to fall on the date of an ancient Irish festival.

Medieval Catholics believed that those who died somewhat sin-laden, but not so sinful as to be damned to Hell, would go to wait in Purgatory. Their living friends and relatives could help to get them into Heaven by collecting alms and doing good Christian deeds on their behalf. All Saints/All Souls was dedicated to this sort of activity. By the 14th century, a custom called “souling” had developed where the poor would go from house to house asking for soul-cakes, which morphed into today’s Trick-or-Treating. Customs attached to other celebrations were adopted as features of Halloween. Guising, the practice of wearing fancy dress or disguise, had been part of Christmas and New Year’s Eve customs in Britain and other parts of Europe since medieval times. By the 19th century, the practice was a feature of Halloween in Scotland and Ireland.

The 16th century Protestant Reformation drove these rituals underground, but could not stop people from being concerned for the fate of their dead relatives, and attaching their own customs to the holidays. It is not surprising that associations with the occult or demonic came about, given the strong link to the dead and the strong disapproval of the Church of England. The spookier aspects of Halloween were probably influenced by the time of year at which it occurs. Shorter days, colder nights, and dying vegetation provide a good atmosphere for tales of terror.

Since the origins of Halloween can be explained by research into Catholic All Souls Day and its Protestant prohibition, why do so many books and articles claim ancient pagan roots for the modern holiday? The answer is simple: In the popular imagination, Druids are a lot more interesting than Catholics! Have a safe and splendid Samhain!

Thanks to the “Heretical History of Halloween”, by A. Hunt-Anschütz

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Man Caves

by Bill Browning

I’ve lived in the same house for many years, but I couldn’t tell you which wall in my bedroom is painted Front Door Red. The only reason I even know one is painted that particular color is because of the fight that went down when I informed my wife that I a) didn’t see a real difference between it and the other sample she was holding in front in my face and b) she could paint it Tinky-Winky Purple for all I care because I spend most of my time in that room with my eyes closed.

I’ve been to my buddy Nate’s Man Cave three times. It has a refrigerator, drinking fountain, gun and fishing pole racks, a workbench, two La-Z-boys and surround sound stereo. I can also tell you the wall on which his 42” plasma TV. is mounted is painted Dark Kettle Black. How can I remember that and not remember a wall in my own house in my own bedroom? Because there are only two words in the entire English language that will get a man excited about interior design: Man Cave.

For those unfamiliar with the term man cave, it’s formally defined as “a room or other area in a home that is primarily a male sanctuary, designed and furnished to accommodate the man’s recreational activities, hobbies, etc.”  In man terms, it’s the one place in (or out) of the house that’s totally ours to do with as we wish. We can have dead animal heads on the wall along with our Big Mouth Billy Bass who has been rescued from the garage sale pile more than once. We can have as many neon beer signs as we want; we never have to use a coaster and if we put our shoes on the sofa, no one is going to yell. In a nutshell, the man cave is the modern man’s refuge.

In ancient times (based on my kids’ definition, which is before everyone who could talk had a cell phone) these man spaces were known as garages. We were pretty much allowed to decorate however we wanted as long as the family wouldn’t be humiliated by anything on the wall when the door was raised and the neighbors could look in. The Man Cave is like a garage on steroids.

The sky is pretty much the limit on these man caves if you have the space and they are such a hot trend, there are websites, TV. shows and magazine articles devoted entirely to ideas for decorating your space. The website,, hosts a yearly contest for the best one and last year’s winner had a fully stocked bar (with barstools), a booth, jukebox, darts and video games. It actually looked like your favorite neighborhood tavern. The only difference is if you drink too much at this bar, you can just walk across the yard and you’re home. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of women who are onboard with their man having a man cave. Some of them say it’s just as beneficial for them as it is for their husband’s because it gives him a place to put all the things from his bachelor pad he can’t seem to part with but don’t really blend with the décor of the family home and she never has to listen to another sporting event ever again. When you look at it like that, it really is a win/win for everyone.

Unfortunately, my wife isn’t one of these women. After my last visit to Nate’s man cave, I asked my wife if maybe we could do something similar at our house. She rolled her eyes at me and walked out of the room before I could even get to the part where I’d really be doing it for her.

I guess I’ll be discouraging the opening of the garage door for the foreseeable future.

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Nine to Five

Nine to Five

by Lauren McKelvey

Corporate women are in luck this season since the working-girl dress is one of the most popular looks for the upcoming season.  This dress should be mid-length with longer, puffy sleeves.  The fabric is typically very 70s-inspired with large floral prints or smaller repeating patterns on gauzy material.

Once the weather starts to cool down, these dresses can be paired with military blazers or rust colored coats.  Maxi skirts are also popular as a more casual option when paired with a chunky oversized sweater. As far as shoes go, a nice pair of loafers or a simple pair of classic tuxedo flats will do the trick.  If you are comfortable in heels for the whole day, a pair of dressy wedges or something with a chunky heel and plenty of buckles will do.

For the less fashion daring, a 70’s-inspired, wide leg pant can definitely add some trendy flare to the office.  Dress up these usual boring black pants with a skinny bright colored belt to bring some color to the typical corporate setting.

Every season has its hottest colors, and this year it’s all about jade green, mustard yellow, and rusty orange. Expect to see these colors splashed across everything from handbags to flats. Consider purchasing a few accessories in these hues for an inexpensive way to try the trend.

Some corporate fashion don’ts for this season include leggings as pants, glitter, fur, excessive camouflage print, and pointy patent leather boots.  Avoid these items when shopping for your closet staple pieces to achieve success not only in the workplace, but also in the fashion world.

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Lost in Translation

Texting vs. Talking

by Debra K. Owens

Over the past decade, texting has become a communicative phenomenon. The multiple abbreviations and icons have turned texting into its own linguistic style. More text messages are sent by phone than an actual phone call taking place.  Over 2.5 billion text messages are sent each day in the US and most of those are sent by 13-17 year olds.  I, myself, am a new student to the technology. Aside from having to pull out the bifocals, I find texting convenient, quick, and I actually have time to ponder my response before pressing the send button. I’m surprised that texting hasn’t become a new Olympic sport with some typists clicking out their messages at light speed. I’m afraid I still manage my keyboard at a snail’s pace, but I’m making progress.

I did notice a few texting drawbacks.  Firstly, I found at times that the tone of my response wasn’t always received in the manner that I conveyed. It’s been rather embarrassing at times.  Eventually the misunderstanding is worked out, but usually requires an actual phone call. Go figure. Does that mean I should have just called in the first place?

Secondly, I haven’t quite mastered the “Emotioncons.” You know, the silly little faces inserted at the end of a message.  Can anyone tell me if my smiley face should point left or right? This probably could have saved me a load of shame on the first drawback listed above.

Thirdly, I’ve noticed that the abbreviated words, misspellings, and incorrect punctuation have seeped over into school work, the workplace, emails, and daily correspondence.  Do we really want our future communications to evolve into something like this?  “Bro, sup? Idk much dude btw r u going 2 the lake? ttyl  lol :) .”

Fourthly, texting overdosing can limit a person’s social interaction with other human beings on a face-to-face basis.  It can also lead to a decline in one’s verbal communication skills, a necessary component in the real world.  As with any thing, moderation is better.

I’m not totally knocking texting. It has its benefits, but keep in mind that tone of voice, facial expressions and body language can never be adequately conveyed in a text message. Sooner or later something will get lost in translation.  Better yet, why not put the phone down for an hour or two and go meet a friend for lunch. I’m sure the personal one-on-one time will be more rewarding than receiving a text message.

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National Candy Corn Day

National Candy Corn Day

October 30th

For those of us over the age of 25, when you think of Halloween candy you think of candy corn, those sugary little spikes of Halloween cheer. They’ve been around for as long as you can remember, but did you know that they were invented in the 1880’s? Wunderle Candy Company of Philadelphia was the first to go into commercial production with the sugar treat, however, the company most closely associated is the Goelitz Confectionery Company. Founder Gustav Goelitz, a German immigrant, began commercial production of the treat in 1898 in Cincinnati and is today the oldest manufacturer of the Halloween icon.

At the turn of the last century, candy was manufactured seasonally from March through November. Large kettles were used to cook the basic ingredients of candy corn: sugar, water, and corn syrup. Fondant for smooth texture and marshmallow for a soft bite would be whipped in. When the right consistency was reached the hot candy would be poured into hand-held buckets called runners. Each runner held 45 pounds of the hot mixture. Next, men called stringers would walk backward pouring the steaming candy into trays of cornstarch imprinted with kernel-shaped molds. Three passes were made, one for each white, orange, and yellow color.

All this strenuous labor wasn’t lost on the tiny candy. It’s tricolor design was considered revolutionary for its time and people flocked to buy them. So popular was candy corn that companies tried other vegetable shapes including turnips, and the Goelitz Candy Company even had to turn orders down for lack of production capacity.

During WWI, Herman Goelitz, son of Gustav, moved to Fairfield, California to start his own company, the Herman Goelitz Candy Company. Their product? Candy Corn! The fortune of the Halloween treat would rise and fall many times as recession and boom, war and peace, affected the humble confection. Throughout the hard times it was the sale of candy corn that kept the companies afloat. In the sugar crisis of the mid 1970’s, when the price of raw sugar skyrocketed, the company had to borrow heavily to buy sugar to keep production up. After the crisis the market plummeted, and many companies went out of business. It was demand for the candy corn that kept Goelitz from bankruptcy.

Today you won’t have to look very hard to find candy corn. Computer and machine aided production have made them a plentiful staple no matter what time of year. Halloween accounts for 75% of the annual candy corn production, but it isn’t just for Halloween there is also: Reindeer Corn for Christmas (red, green, and white), Cupid Corn for Valentine’s Day (red, pink, and white), and Bunny Corn for Easter (pastel-colored). Very impressive for a product that has remained virtually unchanged for well over 100 years.

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