December 20, 2018

A Celebration For Everyone

I usually celebrate this special day by getting out into nature, in this case a long snowshoe in the woods.

Winter solstice is one of my favourite events of the year, perhaps because I was born on this day almost 6 decades ago (that was fast). If I had delusions of grandeur, I might have thought that the light returned because I came into the world. 

"Did I do that?" Even if I am not responsible for this wondrous photonic turn of events, it is still a time of year that I cherish.

First of all, solstice is a celebration that is based on observable facts, and I find that comforting in its solidity. One does not "believe" or "not believe" in this well established annual celestial occurrence.

It is a celebration based on science, which can also be just as magical and amazing as any fabrication of the imagination. The rational part of my brain likes that this event is as real as it gets. 

Best of all is the fact that this is a celebration for everyone, and in a world that is increasingly fractured along religious, political, and tribal lines, such an event is of infinite value. 

Today we celebrate something that is 100% inclusive, even if our Southern Hemisphere brothers and sisters are celebrating the longest day of the year while we celebrate the shortest. 

It is solstice everywhere on the planet, and the wonder of nature joins us all together in one great human family on the best home in the known universe. 

Now, the light returns, and I find that pretty amazing, even if I didn't do it. Happy solstice, my human family, wherever you happen to be. This is a celebration for everyone.

Note: In lieu of sending a birthday present, please donate to a charity of your choice. I don't need, or want, anything (although a cure for multiple sclerosis would be nice, and the permanent end of war would be brilliant).

December 14, 2018

Winter Solstice: Time For Being

As the northern hemisphere approaches winter solstice, it is once again time to honour natural rhythms, slow down, rest, and go within. Winter is the segment of the seasonal cycle for introspection, sharing, and spending quiet time simply being.

In western society, consumers are prepared for a life of having rather than being. It is "go, go, go", in defiance of our natural inclinations which are still tied to nature's cycles. 

Psychologist Erich Fromm assumed that humanity’s separation from the natural world has produced feelings of loneliness and isolation, a condition many feel, especially during our consumerized holidays. 

So it is, at this time of year when we should be resting, that we find ourselves busier than ever. 

So what is this "being" that we so desperately need in order to rebalance our society and our selves? Fromm explained it this way:

"By being I refer to the mode of existence in which one neither has anything nor craves to have something, but is joyous, employs one's faculties productively, is oned to the world." 

As we head indoors to escape the cold and snow, conditions are perfect to take time and centre our lives around persons, not things; around being, not having. 

As solstice approaches, our wish for you is that you are able to spend time enjoying the mode of simply being, oned to the world. 

Happy Winter Solstice.

December 12, 2018

You Can't Deny The Laws Of Physics

Another climate conference, another wasted opportunity. No doubt when COP24, taking place in the heart of Polish coal country, is over, it will still lack the commitments required. That is because what we really need is a system change.

Our current system is unsustainable, and we have known it for hundreds of years. It defies not only common sense, but also the laws of physics, to believe that infinite growth can happen in perpetuity in a closed system. Of course it can't, and therefore the denial found in all areas where the worst offenders live.

Today a small group of humans enjoy multi-planet lifestyles, while others are getting on a fraction of that, sometimes with a better quality of life. Our excessive lifestyles can only be supported by ecosystem degradation, the exploitation of the poorest among us, and by stealing resources from future generations. 

Consumer lifestyles not only defy any moral code, they also defy physics - you can't have 4.5 planet lifestyles for long when you only have one planet. 

The richest 10% of us (500 million people) are responsible for half of the climate-harming fossil fuel emissions. Those in the bottom 50% of wealth (about 3.5 billion people) contribute only about 10% of global emissions.

"Climate change and economic inequality are inextricably linked and together pose one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. 
Rich, high emitters should be held accountable for their emissions, no matter where they live.” 
- Tim Gore, Oxfam, head of food and climate policy

We need both local and global solidarity to avoid a climate catastrophe. However, the establishment is fighting hard to prevent such solidarity to form because it threatens profits and powerful individuals. 

Therefore, we can't wait for governments, or corporations, to save us. Individuals, especially those with high footprints, will have to take the lead on making the necessary changes that will make a significant difference right away. 

"If the top 10% of high consumption carbon emitters cut their carbon footprint to the level of the average European citizen, that would be the equivalent of a one-third cut in global emissions, even if the other 90 percent did nothing. 
I mean, a one-third cut in global emissions just from that 10 percent reducing footprints to the level of the average European citizen." 
- Kevin Anderson, professor in climate change leadership 

So who are the most important climate leaders? Unfortunately, not the ones currently nursing their denial in Poland. It is up to us. And while we do this thing together, we will be building the better world we know is possible.

December 10, 2018

The Beet Abides

Fresh out of the fridge, and abiding already.

It is always wise to invest in things that abide, rather than fleeting trinkets and entertainments. But what abides?

I know of a bunch of things that don't abide, and that would be pretty much anything proposed by our throw-away, planned obsolescence, live-for-today, corporate, profit-driven ethos.

Then there are some of the solid things that do abide, including: Nature, the Earth, Hope, and Love.

And my beets. My beets abide.

Couple of weeks later and still going.

In October I pulled the remaining beets from our garden. In the beginning of November I took some out of the fridge to cook. Some of the tops still had small, green leaves hanging in there, despite the days and days of refrigerated winter they had endured.

I chose two and put them in water and set them in the kitchen window. I swear they started growing instantly. 

Since then, we have been watching the beet tops continue to unfold. Even after all they have been through, they have abibdden.

Several weeks later it is cold and snowy outside, and still the beets hang in there.

Will humanity be something that abides? Are we as good as the lowly beet? Will we carry on, despite the injustices we have perpetrated in the name of fulfilling fleeting desires and distractions? 

Or will we wilt and waste away?

We need to be like the beet, and keep on growing, despite being ripped from the soil of normality, enduring a perpetually cooling economy, all the while being cooked in a mess of global warming. 

We have to be the green shoots, the thriving, growing centres of creation where the magic happens.

Not only is it a wise time to invest in things that abide, now it is more important than ever to be something that abides. 

Like The Beet. The Beet abides. 

Be the beet.

December 8, 2018

Insectageddon Calls For Lifestyle Changes

“Our planet is now in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals — the sixth wave of extinctions in the past half-billion years. We’re currently experiencing the worst spate of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.  

Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural “background” rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day.”

Source: The Extinction Crisis, Center for Biological Diversity,

Without insects and other land-based arthropods, EO Wilson, the renowned Harvard entomologist, estimates that humanity would last all of a few months.

Even if this were the only problem facing us (it isn't), it would be enough to prompt some serious questions about where civilization is headed, and then consider some serious solutions, like radically changing the way we do everything.

You can't separate the way we live from the challenges we face, like Insectageddon. There are better ways of doing things that respect all life on Earth, and if we are to save ourselves, we will need to adopt them, and soon.

First insecticide, then ecocide, then humanicide. As they go, so go we.

December 5, 2018

Ursula Le Guin

American novelist Ursula Le Guin was my kind of person. It seems to me that she spoke the truth as she saw it. Perhaps that is why her thoughts and ideas aren't more well known.

Le Guin passed away at the beginning of the year, and The New York Times actually noted the solemn event in their obituary pages, possibly due to a Mother Jones story in 2013 that found that only about 21% of the Times' obituaries were for women.

Maybe things are getting better.

Her outlook on things make a lot of sense to me. The two most important things to her were

1. family, and 

2. being creative. 

She once said that she enjoyed housework. I think she probably enjoyed just about everything, and took nothing for granted.

Here are a few of my favourite quotes by this amazing writer:

“A decision worthy of the name is based on observation, factual information, intellectual and ethical judgment. Opinion—that darling of the press, the politician, and the poll—may be based on no information at all.” 

“I’d like a poster showing two old people with stooped backs and arthritic hands and time-worn faces sitting talking, deep, deep in conversation. And the slogan would be “Old Age Is Not for the Young.” 

“It goes right back to the idea of the Power of Positive Thinking, which is so strong in America because it fits in so well with the Power of Commercial Advertising and with the Power of Wishful Thinking, aka the American Dream.” 

“Spare time is the time not spent at your job or at otherwise keeping yourself.” 

“None of this is spare time. I can’t spare it.” 

“It appears that we've given up on the long-range view. That we've decided not to think about consequences—about cause and effect. Maybe that's why I feel that I live in exile. I used to live in a country that had a future.” 

Ursula Le Guin passed on at the beginning of this year, January 22, 2018. She was 88.

December 2, 2018

The Tiny Home of Maud Lewis

The home of Canadian painter Maud Lewis.

Maud and Everett Lewis' house, in rural southwest Nova Scotia, was small. I have seen estimates ranging from 90 to 170 square feet, a tiny, tiny home by any measure. 

To make things more challenging, the home had no running water, no power, and was far from neighbours. They lived in the house (cottage? cabin? hut? shed?) from 1938 to 1970.

Wait, there's more. Maud Lewis was affected by rheumatoid arthritis, and her hands eventually became bent and crippled. 

Mr. Lewis grew a small garden behind the house, dug for clams, and caught fish in tide pools, which he peddled in the area. He also cared for his wife as she was unable to assist with chores. She could barely hold her paint brushes.

Not only did they live without most everything we take for granted today, they lived without many of the things people back then possessed.

And yet, Maud created classic Canadian folk art that was whimsical and full of joy and colour. People that knew her, said she was a happy person, but was most happy while painting.

Three Black Cats - one of my favourite Maud Lewis paintings.

What the Lewis home lacked in size and amenities it made up for in sheer artistic delight. Every surface was covered with splashes of bright paint depicting flowers and animals, birds and trees.

While the artist never ventured any farther afield than her immediate locality, she lived a vital life, produced much beloved art, and contributed to her community in a way that put it on the art lover's map.

All in 90 to 170 square feet.

November 29, 2018

All Wound Up About Christmas?

How to Have A Buy Nothing Christmas

Step 1: Take a risk - don’t conform to those in the spending spree.

Step 2: The best gifts come in no packages. The Christmas story is all about flipping the system on its lid.

Step 3: Image is everything? Well, don’t get pegged as a mindless consumer - be a rebel this Christmas, and buy nothing.

November 26, 2018

There Is A Book For Everyone

Illustration from: eye, The International Review of Graphic Design.

At one time, not that long ago, books were only attainable by monasteries, educational institutions, and extremely rich people. Painstakingly produced by hand in 'scriptoriums', books were luxury items of the highest order. 

Today, by comparison, it's Bookapalooza. Books for everyone!

It was the invention of the printing press in the late 1430s that launched this reading and learning revolution with impacts that continue to this day.

I think it can be safely said that there is an apt book for everyone - something to think about in situations where gift giving is appropriate. 

Some say that people don't read books these days (the kind with a spine and paper pages that you hold in your hand). Sigh.

That may be true, but they are less likely to enjoy reading a book if they don't have easy access to books around them. Therefore, if you want to give a gift, consider giving a book. 

What a treasure they are, each and every one of them. Just like those of the handwritten variety were in the Dark and Middle Ages.

Note: a trip to the library to get a library card is a good gift, too. Or, if you wish to buy a book, consider a trip to a local used book store to see what you can find.

Happy reading.

November 24, 2018

There Is Nothing To Buy In Nature

Definitely not shopping.

Breaking News: 'Not Buying Anything' Blogger Seen Shopping On Buy Nothing Day

Hey, I just fake news-ed myself.

In reality, I did not go shopping on Buy Nothing Day. I went for a hike instead, and what could be better than that on this special day? In nature, even though there is infinite value all around, there is nothing to buy here. 

I took advantage of a recent snowfall to enjoy my first snowshoe of the season. Conditions were generally excellent for an early season excursion.

My usual route traverses an old mixed forest along an old logging track, and then drops down to the brook at the bottom of the valley.

It is very quiet alongside the brook, the loudest thing being the water gushing and gurgling to the sea, which is about 4 km away as the raven flies. 

When the water is high after big rains or heavy snow melts, you can hear large rocks and boulders being swept along the brook bottom; rock drums tumbling out an irregular beat.

From the brook it is up all the way to home. This time of year I am often racing the sunset to get back before dark. It has a way of motivating me to a swift ascent up the forest cloaked slope.

But I never move so fast that I can't stop for neat stuff. I pause to listen to a trickle of water coming down the hillside. The sound is trance inducing, and focuses me into a spontaneous nature meditation. 

I press on, moving through puffy, deep snow. It is very forgiving, and the hiking is easy. I always use hiking poles, so I feel like a four-legged forest creature, sure-footed and comfortable in this environment.

Just before I get home, near the top of the hillside, I pass through a spruce forest. It is the proverbial "deep, dark forest" found in all kinds of scary stories. But the only tracks I see were left by bunnies and squirrels. 

In here, most of the snow is in the canopy above, not on the ground below. There is just enough to get me and my snowshoes through successfully... before a troll (not the Internet kind) gets me.

While making my way through the spruce labyrinth, I hear two ravens conversing in the distance. Some believe that ravens guide travellers to their destination. 

Indeed, I can see through the trees that I am just about home. 

My hike yielded plenty of value, but I didn't have to buy anything. That is the real news.

November 22, 2018

Black Friday - The Great Shopocalypse

Warning. Do not venture into the marketplace. Lock your doors. Stay inside. Freeze your credit card in a container of water in the deep freeze. Check your infinite desires at the door. The biggest shopocalypse of the year is upon us.

Yes, tomorrow is that consumiest of consumer days, Black Friday. Shopping zombies will be everywhere, tearing each other limb from limb to grab the latest consumer item from the grasping hands of competing "shombies".

Good thing they are dead inside already, as such a scene is surely fatal to one's soul.

Today, however, is a nicer day in America. Thanksgiving is a holiday that is not political, nor is it religious. You don't have to buy anything, except good food to share. It is a day of being grateful for what we already have.

So happy day of thanks to all our wonderful American readers.

That isn't tomorrow's story. What a difference 24 hours can make.

Stay tuned for the alternative - Buy Nothing Day.

November 20, 2018

Can Buying Things Change Your Life?

Can buying things change your life? For the better?

I can't think of many things that I have bought that have changed mine. I know that is the promise made by advertisers far and wide for decades, but in the real world this usually fails to pan out.

Can I think of anything I have bought that has changed my life? And if so, has that change been an overall positive one?

I can think of experiences, like going to school, that qualify as having changed my life. And there are many people in this category as well, and I am who I am today because of them. But stuff?

I am hard pressed to think of any material possessions I have purchased that changed me in anywhere close to the same way. We have all spent a lot of money in our lives buying material possessions. Why is it so hard to think of even a handful of worthy ones?

I will try.

My guitar is the first possession that I can think of that has had a meaningful impact on my life. Some of the best money I have ever spent, although I initially learned to play on guitars that were given or borrowed to me.

And I guess my leather hiking boots would make the cut, too, although the pair I am using now were sourced for free.

I enjoy cooking, and the tools and supplies in my kitchen help me make nutritional magic. That mojo could make the difference between sickness and health, so is potentially life changing.

Owning a motor vehicle certainly changed my life, but considering the impact of the internal combustion engine, not to mention the complete hassle of car ownership, I am not sure the overall effect has been positive. I can't say the same of all the bicycles I have owned over the past 50-some years - they have all been life changing possessions.

Finally, I would have to include any art supplies in the life-enhancing category. Paint, brushes, watercolour paper, an easel; all have yielded positive benefits. 

Some people like the rush that results from the process of buying things. I'm not immune to this effect, but I have never let that become the driving force in acquiring material objects. 

Far from being addicted to shopping, I am more like phobic. Therefore I avoid the buyers' remorse that often follows many (most) purchases for a lot of people. It is that moment when we realize that the object we just paid for is unlikely to change our lives, and we would probably be better off without it altogether. 

My personal solution is to not have a lot of things. When I do acquire something, I make every effort to source it for free. It is amazing, if one is willing to be patient, how often this is possible. It may provide a fraction of the initial rush, but in the long term it is the object itself, and not how it was acquired, that makes a difference.

So before forfeiting your hard earned cash, ask yourself, 

"Will buying this item change my life?" 

"Will I still think this is a potential life changing item if I wait a day? A week? A month?"

And lastly, "Can I source it for free?

If a possession helps us reach a goal, or otherwise makes our lives more beautiful and enjoyable, then it might be worth owning; it might change your life. 

Otherwise, save your money, and look to have an experience, or to help someone or something else. That is where the real life changing events take place.

November 18, 2018

Truth Is Not Advertised

I would love to see a few billboards with quotes about truth, like those below. 

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” 

― Henry David Thoreau

“Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.” 

― Edward Abbey

“The only truth is music.” 

― Jack Kerouac

“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” 

― Wallace Stevens

Or how about billboards that contain truths, such as 

"Your lifestyle is killing the planet", or 

"Bicycles are still the most efficient form of transportation in the Universe", or 

"Race is a myth - there is only one race, and that is the human race", or

"We don't give a shit about the planet, we just want your money."

What if the truth were advertised? What truths would you like to see on a billboard?

November 16, 2018


Doesn't anyone tell the truth any more? Is integrity an old fashioned concept that is good in theory, but not practical (or profitable) in commerce? 

For example, in 2010 thousands of "green" consumer products sold in North America were surveyed. 95% of those products were found to be guilty of greenwashing. Green is the new black. That is because greenwashing gets you greenbacks.

Greenwashing is defined as "disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image". Unsurprisingly, such disinformation began shortly after environmentalism did.

However, advertisers are using fewer "facts" about their products all the time, because they know that outright lies might get them in trouble. If they are caught. And they are rarely caught, or can operate for years before they are held to task.

Knowing that, advertisers have moved on to the even more subversive task of targeting your subconscious. Neuromarketers have discovered that a large part of consumer's decisions to buy stuff happens at a level we are not even aware of. 

An example of subconscious greenwashing would be something as simple as using green packaging. Those of us that feel deeply about the state of the environment are particularly prone to falling for this simple and subtle trick.

Because we associate green with the environment, our subconscious leads us to decide that something that comes in green packaging is likely good for the Earth. Pictures of trees and flowers work, too. 

Sometimes our subconscious is wrong.Because they just can't resist the easy profits that result, advertisers still resort to straight out, old fashioned lies to trick us into buying their green dipped products. 

 Here are just a couple of examples:
- car manufacturers, such as Volkswagen or Mercedes-Benz advertising their cars as "clean diesel" and "Earth-friendly". The Mercedes diesel cars emit 65 times the green house gas as allowed by the EPA. 
- the "Rainforest Alliance Certified" sticker you may see on products like bananas, coffee, tea and others, may not get any better than the green colour of the label.

Spot checks reveal that some certified farms spray crops near schools and waterways with toxic chemicals. They have also been sued for their misleading claims. 
Assume that any ad you see or hear is an outright lie, and proceed with extreme caution. online before believing any advertising claim.    
Think about any claims that are being made, and ask yourself if they seem reasonable. A eco-friendly cigarette, or car, or chemical? Not likely. 
Even better, make it a habit to not buy anything that is advertised. 
Support local producers and small businesses that have small or non-existent advertising budgets. They are more likely to pay more than lip service to truth and integrity while dealing with their customers.

November 11, 2018

Consumerism Is War

"Selfie" by Joe Webb.

Consumerism is war. 

War on the environment.

War on community.

War on values.

War on each other.

War on human survival.

War causes consumption of weapons of mass delusion and destruction. 

Consumption of weapons of mass delusion and destruction causes war.

In the end, conspicuous consumption wages war on the happiness of consumers themselves. That is because it is a war on all that is good in life.

We make peace when we are dedicated to doing no harm, while reducing our consumption to a reasonable and sustainable level

Consumerism is war. 

Living better with less is an olive branch.

November 10, 2018

Mushroom Mandala

Attention: This is a sacred space.

A mandala is a symbol or diagram that represents the Universe. The word mandala is Sanskrit for "circle". I thought of that when I saw the large mushroom cap, shown above, while out for one of my ritual forest baths. 

When I saw the mushroom I immediately thought of mandalas, which are often circular. The way the leaves fell around it in an intricate supporting pattern formed the larger part of a greater mushroom mandala. 

One thing about mandalas is their impermanence, reflecting the impermanence found in the larger Universe for which it stands. Sand mandalas are literally blown apart not long after they are completed.

A mandala can also be seen as a portal to the self, something that psychologist Carl Jung used in his work. Today, Jungian therapists use mandalas 

"to access progressively deeper levels of the unconscious, ultimately assisting the meditator to experience a mystical sense of oneness with the ultimate unity from which the cosmos in all its manifold forms arises."

Whenever one encounters a mandala, whether one someone else has made, or one you have made, or a natural mandala like the mushroom mandala I found, there is an opportunity for personal growth and integration.

The mushroom mandala reminded me of that. With its support, I meditated for a magical moment. 

"One. One. One."

I am glad I stopped to ponder this sacred circular setup, because next time I pass this way, it will be gone. 

November 6, 2018

A Quiet, Uneventful, and Simple Life

I have always aspired to a quiet, uneventful, and simple life. Some told me that was lazy. However, I was undeterred, and continued to work toward my unambitious and unassuming goal.

Philosopher Tim Maudlin shares a story along this line. “In Book X of Republic, he says, "Plato tells the myth of Er." 

Er was a warrior who was thought to have been killed in a battle and went down to the underworld and saw the afterlife.  
In the afterlife people are rewarded or punished for the life they have just led and then, at the end, get to freely choose their next life. 
Most change to a new sort of life: 
Odysseus, for example, was last to choose among the available lives, but searched and searched and found a quiet and uneventful life, completely unlike his own. 
He said he would have chosen it all the same if he had chosen first.

Hey, if it is good enough for the legendary Greek king of Ithaca, and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey, it's good enough for me. 

Or anyone.

May we all enjoy quiet, uneventful, and simple lives. 

October 31, 2018

An All-Too Convenient Truth

Humans are killing the planet, and we seem unable to stop. But hey, nobody's perfect.

A recent report shows that since the 1970s our actions have caused the deaths of 60% of invertebrates. And the news is not good for insects, either. 

Humanity is facing the most extreme challenges in 200,000 years, and no one seems worried enough to take any kind of meaningful and collective evasive action. 

“We have known for many, many years that we are driving the planet to the very brink. This is not a doom and gloom story; it is reality. 

Our day-to-day life, health and livelihoods depend on a healthy planet. There cannot be a healthy, happy and prosperous future for people on a planet with a destabilized climate, depleted oceans and rivers, degraded land and empty forests, all stripped of biodiversity, the web of life.” 

- Marco Lambertini, director general of the WWF

The majority reaction is that "nobody's perfect", and that we will just have to ride this thing out and see what happens. Too bad about all the extinctions.

That is the all-too convenient truth, and it overrides all the inconvenient truths confronting us.

We are far from perfect, but approaching perfection is a goal we should continually strive toward. If we did, we could tackle all our challenges with creative, life-enhancing solutions. For a dumb species, we can be pretty smart when we want to, or when faced with imminent death.

We CAN do better, and we will have to. If we fail to act, and soon, before long it will be human populations crashing. 

There is nothing convenient about that.

October 30, 2018

Kill Halloween, Or Maybe Just The Candy

300,000 tons of candy is a lot of tooth decay, obesity and diabetes.

Our household is not mainstream. We don't think mainstream thoughts, or do mainstream things. It won't be surprising, then, when I tell you that we do not do Halloween. No dress up, no candy.

As a matter of fact, I would not be upset if we, as a society, decided to kill Halloween. Is that too scary? Are we horrifying blood-drenched buzz kills? Or party-pooping people promoting the destruction of our culture's "values"? 

I don't think so.

What, exactly, are the values being supported on Halloween? Greed? Gluttony? Deception, as in pretending to be something we are not? How about competitiveness, as in who has the best costume? Or wastefulness, as represented by individually plastic wrapped candy pieces? 

And it is a big pile of candy that goes down this time of year.

The average mainstream American is slated to spend $185.50 on Halloween candy in 2018. Most likely that is $92.75 to buy candy, then another $92.75 to replace it after it is eaten up before the 31st.

Collectively, that is 300,000 tons of candy, and the spending amounts to almost 3 Billion dollars. On candy. Sugar. Just for Halloween.

Maybe killing Halloween outright is a bit much (or maybe not), but we definitely think it is time to say NO to all that candy. Now is the time to also say no to the associated health hazards of heavy sugar consumption such as obesity, tooth decay, and diabetes. 

It may not be mainstream yet, but rethinking all that sugar consumption is probably a good thing to do. Don't be afraid to reject it altogether, or if it happens to invade your life, feel free to throw it out - giving it away just passes the problems on to someone else.

Perhaps we could keep the fun parts of Halloween while promoting some more appropriate values, such as thrift, self-control, and rational thinking. Or is that just a sweet idea that is too fringe for mainstream ghosts and goblins?