Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rage Quit

I am ready to rage quit the entire effing human race.

For my friends who aren't gamers, the term "rage quit" (sometimes written as one word) means "To stop playing a game out of anger towards an event that transpired within the game," at least according to Urban Dictionary.  Anybody who has ever been tempted to throw their controller or their keyboard across the room knows exactly how I feel right now.

This past week's news was marked by both amazingly good news and tragically horrific news, and both were tainted by religion.  The good news came from nearby Mifflinburg, PA, when an 18-month old boy who had fallen into a river and was submerged for nearly two hours was revived by a skilled and dedicated team of doctors and nurses who basically refused to give up.  They were able to bring him back after 101 minutes of CPR.  Details of their brilliant achievement can be read here:


When interviewed on our local CBS news, the mother of the boy thanked "the Hand of God."  Not one word, not one thanks, not even a mention of the medical team who actually saved the boy.  And as for the dozens of others who did die from drowning this month, well, tough luck, folks.  I guess the Hand of God was busy elsewhere.  And the people who spout this nonsense never, ever seem to consider for a second how their remarks might affect people who are the victims of tragedy -- that it might make them feel abandoned or rejected or worse.

The horrific story came out of Brooklyn when seven children died in a house fire.  The fire was caused by a hot plate that had been left on.  Why was the hot plate left on?  Well, the family was Orthodox Jewish and God doesn't want them to flip a switch or turn a knob on the Sabbath.  So if you want a hot meal in one of the coldest winters on record, you need to turn on the hot plate before sundown at the beginning of the holy night.  Or a light if you don't want darkness, or the radio, or whatever other modern convenience one might require.  Further details on the tragedy can be found here:


Apparently the same God who saved the one little Pennsylvania boy let seven kids in Brookly die rather than, oh, BE ALLOWED TO TURN A F@$#!%G KNOB ON THE SABBATH.

So much misery in the world.  Warring sects within Islam.  Extremists destroying historical and archaeological treasures because they are thought to be "blasphemous."  Killings over cartoons.  Women attacked and killed for no real reason other than that they are women.  All of the back and forth in the Middle East and in all the other places where one side's God is deemed to be better, or more right, or the only truth, or whatever other inanity it might be couched in, than the other side's God.  Muslim vs. Muslim, Jew vs. Muslim, Jew vs. Christian, Buddhist vs. Who-bloody-ever.  The only people not killing each other over unprovable, unfathomable beliefs?  Atheists.

I despair of us as a race ever waking up to the truth of this misery.  I despair of us ever actually living according to the Golden Rule, treating others the way we ourselves would wish to be treated, with acceptance and tolerance for all faiths and genders -- this despite the fact that The Rule is a basic tenet of every single faith on the planet.  We are ignorant, tribal chimps.  And we are going to die as such.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Boring Stuff

This is an essay where I'm going to vent.  It won't be about politics, or popular culture, or anything that will mean anything to anyone who isn't local, so feel free to skip this one.  It's pure selfishness on my part, buttressed by a need to get some things out of my system.

As I have mentioned several times previously, I am a member of the local Unitarian Church.  Yes, despite being an atheist, I've kept membership in a church for the past 30-plus years.  Back when I joined my first Unitarian congregation, the Unitarian-Universalist church was very different from what it is now.  The one I joined, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, Unitarian-Universalist, in Charlottesville, Virginia, was primarily a congregation of atheists, agnostics and humanists.  As were many, many other Unitarian congregations.  We had a complement of pagans and Wiccans and some other folks who would normally be considered a fringe element in any other church, but Unitarians have always been a pretty welcoming bunch.  I used to liken them to Hindus in that there was always an element of "there are many, many paths to Truth and yours might be one of them, too."

The one thing you used to hear over and over again from people new to the church and to Unitarianism was that, when they first arrived, they felt like they had "come home."  There are (or used to be) entire Sunday services based on the theme of "Coming Home."  I frankly felt that way myself.  On my first visit I heard a sermon by retired-chemist-turned-minister Rev. Charles Howe that knocked my socks off.  It was all about how doing good work was more important than which version of the Bible you believed was "The Truth."  I got involved and soon thereafter signed the membership book, and I have considered myself a Unitarian ever since.

Unitarians are the butts of a lot of jokes (thanks, Garrison Keillor!) but the targets of those jokes, the Unitarians who decide everything by committee; who, when threatened by the KKK, have a Question Mark burned on their lawns instead of a cross; who are terrible at singing hymns because they are too preoccupied with reading ahead to see if they agree with the next line...you get the idea.  Those Unitarians are pretty much extinct these days.  The church has, over the past couple of decades, returned more and more to its Protestant roots.  There is a lot more mention of God and Jesus these days, despite a fair number of diehard humanists and atheists still in attendance.  I think we all go mostly out of habit, and because the alternatives remain far worse.

I have no patience for God or Jesus in my Sunday mornings.  I can barely tolerate euphemisms for prayer ("meditation") and some sort of Almighty ("the Spirit of Life.")  I strongly believe that belief in any deity is misguided and is the source of the majority of the world's troubles, and I hate to see my church pay even the smallest lip service to the concept of a Higher Power.  As far as I am concerned, there isn't one.  As I have said many times, I can fully appreciate the beauty of the Universe as it is without feeling any need whatsoever to attribute its lovely structure to An Architect.

Again, if you've stuck with me this far, you've probably read previous words about my own church's acquisition of an old brick cathedral in one of the worst neighborhoods in my city.  You may also recall that I was one of those who disagreed with the acquisition of this property and voted against it in no uncertain terms.  Despite a divided congregation (the vote on whether or not to buy the building was something like 52% in favor and 48% against) the church went ahead with the acquisition.  The purchase ultimately irrevocably divided the church, cost us our minister, and caused the departure of a big percentage of our membership.  We went from being a rising star in the Unitarian universe to barely getting by with maybe 80 people in attendance on any given Sunday.  And that's on a good week.  The main problem is with the neighborhood and with its lack of convenient parking.  As to the neighborhood, there have been two murders on our property since we acquired the building, and many, many more in the immediate neighborhood.  It's mostly drug dealers killing other drug dealers.  So far nobody from our congregation has been involved in any violence bigger than having their hubcaps stolen.  At choir practice we are periodically reminded that when we are finished we should head directly to our cars and NOT congregate out front chatting, because it's not safe.  This is irksome, but a necessary practicality.  It bothers me, though, because the choir is pretty much the vast majority of my social circle.

Which finally gets me to the point of this tirade.  The church leadership has been trying to increase its appeal to the neighborhood by making its message more Christian-friendly.  We have Bible stories for the kids, frequent mentions of (and appeals to!) God from the pulpit, and generally a more theist slant to the message.  I have been told by those in authority that in order to appeal to the locals we have to couch our message in terms that they can identify with, or at least understand.

I find this at best to be disingenuous.  To be completely truthful, I find it dishonest as hell.  (A place I also do not believe in.)  We're behaving in a way that seems self-destructive to my mind.  You can't misrepresent your message in order to "get people through the doors" and then try to slip the actual message to them once they're in.  It's not right, and it's behavior that will kill your soul.  It's certainly killing mine.

We currently have a temporary minister, an "interim minister" assigned to us by the Unitarian Universalist Association whose job is to shepherd us  over a two year period to a place where we are ready to find a full-time, permanent minister of our own.  When some staff resignations freed up money in the budget, the interim minister took advantage of the way our charter is written to hire a second minister for the downtown church.  This is all perfectly legal and above-board, and when we do get a full-time minister, he or she will find themselves with a permanent Assistant Minister who is already in place.

Unfortunately, I have not connected with the new Assistant Minister at all.

She seems to subscribe fully to the idea that we have to be more "conventional" in our services in order to appeal to and draw in the locals.  She is the one who started the Bible story nonsense in the Children's Message.  Her services so far, at least for me, have been sloppy and ill-planned, since she often seems to work "without a net" so to speak -- no visible notes or script for a sermon, just talking off the top of her head.  For the life of me I could not tell you the theme or message of a single sermon she has delivered.  Services start late and run overtime, largely because of too many hymns and old-fashioned nonsense like an opening processional.  I have never been to a Unitarian service that felt so...Episcopalian.

So I find myself on the horns of a dilemma.  On the one hand, if I left the church I would have precious little social life left.  When the church essentially divided (we are technically one congregation with two locations, but there is very little crossover between the two) the vast majority of the people I love decided to stick with the downtown location.  Since for me, the most important aspect of any church is its community, I followed that community and sing downtown with my friends.  On the other hand, I get absolutely nothing from my time there on Sunday mornings.

Let me repeat that:  I get absolutely nothing out of the time I spend in church on Sunday mornings.

This was never the case until the past couple of years.  I could always find some nugget, some idea, some form of mental or even, dare I say it, spiritual fulfillment from my Sunday morning.  Now, though, if the choir isn't singing, I just stay home.

I still believe that my church has great potential.  I think that it experienced its near-meteoric growth a decade ago for two reasons:  a great minister, and great music.  I truly think that lightning could strike twice.  We still have, if I do say it myself, a kick-ass choir.  People do come for the music.  And I hope that we are well on our way to hiring a new minister who can pick up the pieces and put us back on track.  We were one of the great Unitarian church congregations once, and we could be again.  But not if we continue to water down our message in a misguided attempt to make it more palatable.  No good can come from misrepresentation or dishonesty, no matter how subtle or well-intentioned.

So, I'm not sure what the best way is to proceed.  I guess I could talk to the Interim Minister about my feelings, since he hired the new person.  Or I could wait until the new full-timer is hired.  Or I could hang in there, but withhold my financial support, telling the Powers That Be why I am no longer giving money to the church.  (That would certainly get somebody's attention; my family is one of the top donors.  Not bragging, just sadly commenting on how much financial support has eroded since the second building was acquired....)  I just don't know what to do.  I really don't want to give up my friends, but I also don't want to spend my Sunday morning resenting the fact that I have to be there and counting the minutes until I can safely leave the neighborhood.

I hope either I, or the church, finds our way, and soon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Sorry this is so late.  Things have been bat$#!+ crazy as we get ready for the holidays.  Practicing for an octet number for the Christmas Eve service; buying / wrapping /  mailing the presents; filling out the cards and getting them off in time; decorating the house, decorating the tree, etc., etc., etc.

It's been nuts.

I'm close to being done.  All that's left is putting together the fresh food items for Christmas dinner and it's still a touch early for all that just yet.  Soon, though.

All this trouble.  And me an unbeliever.

Happy Holidays, no matter what you celebrate.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Campus Rape at U.Va.

I am a graduate of the University of Virginia.  I graduated in 1976 after receiving Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Drama.  I was in the minority of students who did not participate in "Greek life."  I did not join a fraternity, but I'm ashamed to say that it was not for lack of trying.  See, when I first attended U.Va. they were in the process of transitioning from an all-male school to a coeducational institution.  There had never been enough dormitory space, and even off-campus apartments were at a premium.  The tradition was that most young men joined a fraternity during their first year at school, and lived at the frat house during their second year (sophomore year to everybody else, but at U.Va. there are no freshmen, sophomores, etc.  Students are First Year, Second Year and so on.)  By the third year, students would take over the lease of a graduating fraternity brother and live in that inherited apartment until graduation.

When I realized that there were very few options, I rushed one of the fraternities.  Most of them were located on one street near the main campus.  Purely through coincidence the fraternity that offered me a bid also offered bids to the majority of men on my dorm floor.  I should have seen the trouble coming right there.

I freely admit that I was not a popular guy in college, at least not at first.  I was a scholarship student and was about as poor as I could be.  I did not realize that, at least during my first year, the tradition was  that men wore a coat and tie to class.  I owned one sport jacket, and two ties.  I took a lot of grief for wearing the same clothes again and again.  Also, on the day I left for university my parents admitted to me that they had taken the money from my savings account and that I had almost no cash for school.  My father had also neglected to enroll me in the school meal plan, so I had no food, no means, and no money to enroll in it myself.  I took a part-time job as soon as I could find one and ate in the dorm.  I ate whatever I could afford -- it wasn't much -- and subsisting on care packages from my grandmother.  I also caught serious grief from my hallmates about that.

So it should have come as no surprise when one afternoon in May, just before the end of the school year, my Resident Adviser, my "big brother" (my sponsor at the fraternity) and the fraternity president all showed up at my room to inform me that in the final admissions vote of the year at the frat, I had been blackballed from joining.  I had the dubious honor of being the first pledge ever to do so.  The blackballer(?) was a graduating senior from my home state of New Jersey who did not know me, and would never have had to live with me or deal with me.  I sometimes wonder if he had been put up to it because there would be no way for me to pursue it.  That, or maybe he was just a douche.

At any rate, I found myself with no place to live and with less than two weeks to find something before I had to leave town for the summer.  Somehow I found a vacant rathole apartment in a former rooming house that had been built in 1854.  The rooming house was nicknamed "Roach Haven" by its residents and for $55 per month I got to live in a slant-floored bedroom and to share a single toilet and shower with six other residents who found themselves in similar straights.

And it was the best thing that could have happened to me.

Greek culture at U.Va. by then was abhorrent to me.  I had gone along with it because I needed a place to live but I was not then and am not now the kind of guy who hangs out with his "brothers" and drinks beer and watches sports.  I learned later that some of the other brothers were pretty pissed off at the guy who blackballed me, because they desperately wanted my 4.0 grades to boost the House average.  But for some reason he would not be moved, and I am grateful to him.

During my pledge year I was never privy to any sexual misconduct at my own fraternity, but I heard stories.  U.Va. even then had a reputation as a party school and as a school with a lot of alcohol abuse.  So I was unsurprised to learn that the following article was recently published in Rolling StoneA Rape On Campus

I am deeply saddened to learn that not much has changed since I graduated.  I believe that the University then as well as now has an attraction for a certain kind of person.  Fraternity life at the university then suited this type of sexist, entitled personality to a T.  I say this because my one indirect experience with date rape occurred, not at a fraternity, but in a neighboring dorm.  During my first year I was visited by a high school classmate who was attending Mary Washington College.  At that time, Mary Washington was an all-female college and was considered a sister school to the recently-all-male U.Va.  It was a surprise visit and I had prior plans that I could not change, so my friend went off with her roommate, who had come with her to Charlottesville.  The two of them visited a friend of the roommate, whose entire floor in a neighboring dorm was having a party.  At that party, the roommate and her U.Va. friend lost track of my classmate.  My friend was drugged and raped in the dorm.  I did not learn of this until the following Sunday morning.  It was reported to the authorities but to my knowledge nothing was done about it.  My friend left Mary Washington after that semester and shortly afterwards severed ties with me because the memory was too painful for her.  To the best of my knowledge, the guilty party was not punished.  In fact, when I sought advice from my Resident Advisor, I was told that this young man came from an old and wealthy Virginia family and that no good would come of pursuing charges.  The man was confronted by several of his hallmates, though, and he ultimately elected to leave the University "under a cloud," as the expression went.  While I was glad to see the back of him, I regret not doing more to see that he was punished for his crime.  That the culture of rape and alcohol in Greek life and at U.Va. in general has not changed much in the last 38 years is a source of great personal pain.

Even greater is the pain that I still have from my failure to change my plans that night so I could stay with my friend.  It's the one thing in my past that I truly wish I could change.  It is a regret that has colored a great deal of my life, and continues to do so by the mere fact that how this incident affected me is NOTHING compared to how it affected the life of my one-time friend.

She and I briefly spoke after 20 years at a high school reunion.  My friend indicated that she had no hard feelings or blame for me, but neither did she spend any time with me after those few exchanged sentences.  I expect the association was still too painful.  

I have never seen or spoken with her again.  

And it kills me to learn that absolutely nothing has changed at the University of Virginia.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Guys: "No" means NO!!!

So.  Last night, my daughter finally came out of her shell long enough to come with her mother and me to a fundraiser at our church.  The annual Auction.  Instead of just spending the evening with her old fart parents, she reconnected with some friends her age whom she had not seen in a few years.  All was going well.

Then some asshole, not someone in her circle of friends, came over with his phone.  He asked if any of the girls wanted to see a baby animal.  Of course, they said "yes" and he showed them some cute picture.  Then in a creepy sort of voice, according to my daughter, he asked if they wanted "to see where it came from?"  My daughter, who is no dummy, saw what was probably coming and said, "No."

He grabbed her and shoved the phone at her so she could see his stupid video of animals mating.

Now my daughter is a pretty modest kid.  She always has been.  And church for her, even though she's an atheist like her old man, has always been a place where she could feel safe.  That all changed last night.

Her reaction to this incident was somewhat out of proportion to the circumstances, but not unreasonable, especially not when you consider that in her freshman year of college she had what in polite society used to be called a "bad sexual experience."  Her first serious boyfriend at college turned out to be an abusive, controlling, possessive thug.  So grabbing her and forcing something on her to which she had already said "no" triggered all of her insecurities and anxieties.  When I finally realized that something was wrong, I got her out of there and took her home.  She was tearful, and shaking, and clearly very, very upset.  She settled down almost immediately when we were in the car and was almost normal by time I got her home.

But now a place where she always felt safe has been crossed off of that list for her, perhaps forever.

Men, I cannot stress this strongly enough:  When a woman says "no" to you, you cannot ignore her.  Period.  You don't know what her story might be, and frankly, you don't need to know.  The "no" is enough for you to stop.  Always.  Add to that the basic fact of the Golden Rule and damn it, you just have to treat her the way you yourself would want to be treated.  Or your mother to be treated.  Or your sister.  Or your grandmother.

I don't know who did this to her.  She won't spill, and I hope for her sake that I never find out.  Because  he and I will have words.

And I don't know that I will listen to him when he says "no."

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Time Change: An Encore

The following is an encore of my rant against the switch to Daylight Saving Time last spring.  I equally hate switching back.  WE NEED TO PICK ONE TIME SET, AND STICK WITH IT.  We're not idiots.  It's time to prove it.

The more you know about why we change our clocks twice each year...the more you'll hate it.

I'm usually set off into a major rant by this thanks to the switch back and forth with Daylight Saving Time (and yes, it's "Saving," not "Savings.")  I've always hated it and thought it was a stupid idea.  Sadly, we humans are essentially sheep who keep doing the same dumb thing over and over again because it has become habit.  Nowhere is this more true than with the semiannual switch between standards of time.

As a kid growing up, I heard all the reasons for it; reasons which all turned out to be wrong.  That the switch was to accommodate farm schedules and give farmers "an extra hour of daylight" in which to tend crops.  That it was to create energy savings in time of oil crises.  And every single reason I ever heard as to why we had to do this idiotic thing to ourselves twice a year is complete bull.

(Yeah, I'll get my hoe ready.  So I can shove it up your....)

I will spare you all the Wikipedia entry -- you can go read that for yourselves -- but the short version is that Daylight Saving Time was instituted in the 19th Century because of the independent efforts of two men.  One was an entomologist in New Zealand who wanted the extra daylight to hunt bugs for his collection after his workday was over.  The other was a builder in London who wanted more time for golf after work since dusk came too soon to suit him.

That's it.  That's why millions of people blindly put up with this crap every year.  Bugs and golf.

Bugs.  And.  Golf.

Early studies showing substantial energy savings turn out to be flawed.  If there are any savings at all -- and studies disagree even on that point -- those savings are in the neighborhood of less than one percent.  In fact, in 2000, parts of Australia began DST in late winter and promptly found that overall electricity consumption did not decrease.  Instead, the morning peak load and electricity prices both increased.  And it turns out that the majority of those farmers in whose name we do this stupidity hate it.  Absolutely hate it.

Just to be absolutely clear on a purely scientific point -- changing the clocks does not give us an "extra hour of daylight."  Our changing a clock does not make the sun stay in the sky for an extra hour.  The sun shines when the sun shines.  Which is why farmers are not fans of DST.  Farmers were never responsible for it.  No other profession works more with the sun itself -- not some arbitrary number on a dial -- than farmers.  They go out when there's light and work until it gets dark.  Period.  The time change has nothing to do with harvests or crop tending or anything else.  And changing their clocks and their schedule to deal with the rest of us who do change our clocks is a huge inconvenience for these selfsame farmers.  It's a big ol' nuisance for them.

Bugs and golf.

I never thought I'd admire the state of Arizona for anything.  I find their laws concerning immigration, and their statewide reluctance to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s holiday, and just their overall conservatism offensive.  But I have to admire them for getting rid of DST over 40 years ago.  And the way they did it was genius.  They countered stupid reasons with their own stupid reason:  that DST gave them, not an extra hour of light, but an extra hour of DESERT HEAT, which was burdensome to their population.  So the federal government granted them an exemption.  Genius.

So while I can't believe this sentence is coming out of me -- we can all learn a lot from Arizona.  Get rid of the time change.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Oh, For C#®!$+'s Sake!

This is going to be a very politically incorrect rant.  You have been warned.

It's no secret that more and more I really, really, really dislike Facebook.  One reason I dislike it so much is one I haven't shared yet:  it's the soapbox platform that Facebook gives to people that otherwise I like and respect.  This is what set me off today:

There is an assumption here that "of course all of my friends will agree with this" that I absolutely and viscerally resent.  It's right up there with those obnoxious "98% of the people reading this won't have the guts to repost it" messages.  It's bullying, and presumptuous.  Even when I agree with the message, I won't repost it, and it has nothing to do with how gutsy I might or might not be.

This one, the Halloween one, just rubs me the wrong way.  Not the overall sentiment, no; just the "holier than thou" attitude it reeks of between the lines.

Let me put it as simply as I can:  If your kid has any of the problems listed, you need to BE WITH him or her at Trick or Treat.  Please don't dump your political correctness into my lap.  THE KIDS RINGING MY DOORBELL ARE NOT MY PROBLEM.  It's the parents' job to deal with this, not the person handing out the candy.  A person, I might add, who could have just turned off the porch light and made you buy your own damned candy.

There.  I said it.  Yes, I'm an awful person.

Yeah, the kid grabbing a handful of candy may have poor fine motor skills.  He may also be a greedy little s.o.b. in sore need of some polite, gentle correction.  I will surely be nice about it, but I don't have to let it slide.  Then if Mom or Dad steps in and says, "I'm so sorry, but Timmy has poor fine motor skills," I can sympathize with them while I nicely ask them to give back a portion of the giant wad of Kit-Kats Timmy just seized.  After all, IT'S EVERYONE'S HALLOWEEN, right? So let's save a few Kit-Kats for the other kids, okay?

"Motor planning issues?"  I have no idea what in Hell those are.  I'm happy to choose for Timmy if too much of my home's heat is leaching out into the cold Halloween night.  Again, if Timmy is that limited, Mom or Dad needs to be there to tell me that Timmy prefers M&M's.  Same goes double for the allergy problem.  If all I have left is PayDays and Timmy has an anaphylactic peanut reaction just thinking about elephants, Mom or Dad needs to be there to spot for him.  IT'S NOT MY FREAKING PROBLEM!  But if Mom or Dad is polite enough to explain the situation to me, I'll gladly drop a few bucks into Timmy's goody sack instead.  At our house we actually make sure that we have a few bucks set aside for just such a situation.  Just because I don't have the "right" treat is no excuse for a kid to pull a face.  That's just rude.  And Mom and Dad should have dealt with teaching what is polite long before they all arrived at my door.

I'm also not some a-hole who snidely asks kids, "What do you say?" when I pass out candy.  (No, I saved that for my own kid when I took her trick-or-treating. You know, to teach her proper manners.)  Silence is just fine.  Ringing a stranger's doorbell to ask for a handout is terrifying enough.  And I don't give a flying jump at the Moon whether or not your kid has a costume.  I've been so poor as a kid that I couldn't swing a costume.  You ring my bell on Trick or Treat Night, you get candy.  Period.  That's how I do it, and that's how my friends and neighbors do it.  In my neighborhood, it wouldn't be Halloween if we didn't get a passel of uncostumed teens ringing the bell for a candy handout.  Half of 'em only barely mumble "Trick or treat," and maybe as many mutter a thank-you.  I don't care!  It's Halloween!  I choose to give out treats to whoever comes to my door.  For me, that's what it's all about.  In other words, if I had a problem with passing out candy, I wouldn't answer the door.

Yes, "it's everyone's Halloween."  So could we please not PC all of the fun out of an already besieged holiday?  The religious nuts who are convinced that it's Satan's Birthday (because they apparently don't realize that "Halloween" is an archaic form of "Hallowed (as in "holy") Evening," but that's another column for another day) already make celebrating Halloween enough of a pain.  But I digress.  My point is, I'm already "nice" and "patient" when I answer the door, and I don't need a smug, superior-attitude reminder to behave that way.  I don't think anybody does.  The folks who do aren't the type who answer the door on trick-or-treat night.  They leave the porch light off and go to the movies, and good riddance.

What it all boils down to is, yes, I need to treat the kids who ring my doorbell with the respect and kindness I would want shown to my own children.  But it's not all on me.  The people trick-or-treating have just as much of a responsibility to treat me in accordance with the Golden Rule as well.

Because it's everyone's Halloween.