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.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fixing Facebook

A while back I complained about the way Facebook was forcing its Messenger app on all of us who used to like to check Facebook on our mobile devices.  The only alternative to the Facebook/Messenger one-two punch and its concomitant invasion of privacy was to use the browser on your device to see and use the full version of Facebook.  It is buggy as hell and frequently dies even on my iPad...but it's better than giving Facebook the right to send texts and calls on my phone, along with all the other nasty little hidden surprises and tricks that are used by the marketing tool which Facebook has become.

For about ten minutes it looked like something called Ello would actually have a chance at replacing Facebook, but that appears to have fizzled out for now, leaving us stuck with Facebook the way we were stuck with VHS and Blu-ray even though Betamax and HD were better.

So I guess we need to try to fix Facebook "from within," as it were.  Here's how I would want to begin if this were my private universe:

• I don't want to see any more photos of your restaurant food.  I'm glad you are enjoying your meal but I don't need to see it.  Now, if the lasagne you just made yourself looks like it should be in a cookbook, that I do want to see.  But if you like the look of the soufflĂ© you were just served at Le Bon Pain, just eat the damned thing.

• Please, no more reposts of other peoples' cat pictures or funny videos or whatever.  If it's not your own experience, keep it to yourself.  Everybody already sees what George Takei has posted.  Pretty sure we all see Upworthy and all the others too.

• No more pictures of your tattoos.  Please.  It's way too much information, especially those still-inflamed close-up shots.

• Please post nothing that starts along the lines of, "98% people won't repost this...."  You're right.  We won't.  I personally resent the hell out of feeling bullied even when it's to agree with a cause that I already support.  Post your own impassioned plea for vaccinating children, rescuing pit bulls, or sympathizing with those who suffer from depression.  It means so much more.

• Please do share your important life events.  I want to know what happened with your life and your family.  I want to know when your kids achieve something or say something cute.  Hell, I want to know when your cat achieves something or does something cute.  As long as it's YOUR cat, not some bloody generic Internet cat.

• If you are posting for a site or cause that I support, DON'T SPAM.  I used to be a big fan of pages like "Being Liberal" and "Doctor Who" until they began posting ten freaking times every hour, twenty-four hours a day.  It's enough to send you screaming into the arms of Fox News.  It's too much.  [EDIT: As I write this addendum early on a Sunday morning, 12 of the 20 most recent notifications posted to my Facebook wall are from Being Liberal.  TWELVE.  It's exhausting.]

I could go on, but this is already starting to spam you.  You get the idea.  Keep it about you and let the rest of us decide for ourselves which of the big, popular sites we want to look at.  It's you that I love.  It's you with whom I want to keep in contact.  When I want an "Ohh myyy" I'm perfectly capable of checking out George Takei all by myself.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

31 Days of Hallowe'en

One film for every night in October.  Go nuts.

(I remember seeing this turkey on the Million Dollar Movie as a kid in NJ.  Enjoy!)

(Another personal favorite.  You can't beat Bruce Campbell and his Boom Stick!)

(Fritz Lang's silent classic, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.")

(A lovely old film with an unexpected cast.)

(Absolutely my favorite movie on this list!)

(And we cap things off with the obligatory 1950's Giant Insect Fear Film!)

Have a Happy Hallowe'en!!!