Because Animals Matter

‘Tis the season for giving, sharing, and spreading goodwill to your fellow Man. There’s so much that you can do. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Give old clothes to the Salvation Army. Work a phone for a telethon. Heck, even dropping a little extra change into a homeless person’s cup makes a difference. The options for how you choose to make the world better are endless. You can donate to leukemia research, drive recovering addicts to their AA meetings, and on and on and on.

I commend and applaud you on whatever avenue of compassion you go down and hope that it fills your heart with joy, but I am also begging and pleading that you please not forget the abused and downtrodden animals in the world.

You could be asking yourself, why should I care about dogs and cats and horses and cows when there are so many humans out there in need? That’s a more than fair question. I can only really tell you from my own personal experience what giving to the world of animal advocacy has done. I care deeply and intensely about animals (anyone who’s even semi-regular to this blog just gave their computer screen a “no duh” look).  Animal cruelty is something I will fight against until my last breath — because for as many people as there are who treat animals humanely, there are an equal number of people (if not more) out there who have no qualms about spreading cruelty and pain.

I feel that to be able to call our society civilized, modern, and advanced, we should try to put a stop to all forms of barbarism to the beautiful and unique creatures we share a home with. Dog fighting, trophy hunting, safari adventures with tranquilized or tamed prey, fur farms, unregulated factory farming, canned hunting, etc., etc. I have to say, the list of ways man has invented to destroy other living beings just speaks volumes about how positively sophisticated our species has become, don’t you think? By allowing these forms of torture, we are teaching our children a gravely flawed principle that we, as humans, own the earth and everything on it, which is simply not true. We share this planet and should take a stand to stop those who are all too willing to simply exterminate anything and everything in order to assert this premise.

I already know what some of you are thinking. You may think it’s stupid to care about animals when we have other issues such as wars and murder that are depleting the numbers of our own species. You could be thinking my priorities are way out of line because I’m advocating for wild horses rather than abolishing the lethal injection. And that’s fine. You have your priorities and I have mine.  I actually have several varying priorities and opinions in fact, on a number of issues, like many people. Not all of them are always addressed here. But there’s no harm in using my blog to perhaps raise a little awareness in some of the things I find to be important, right?   

My feeling, as for so many advocates, is: if we don’t speak out for these creatures, who will? They have no voice of their own. Someone must speak out on their behalf. Someone must take a stand and say enough!

You don’t have to care about a wild horse or a deer as much as I do. You don’t have to denounce your own equally valid agenda in order to save an owl’s forest. Sadly, cruelty and injustice come in so many forms, be it directed at other people or animals. Unfortunately there’s more than enough to go around. How you choose to combat the evil is up to you, so long as you do something that says, “Hey, let’s try and not make things any worse, okay?”

MLK Animal Quote

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ghandi animal quote

Mahatma Gandhi

Rice Krispy Thanksgiving (Or, Death to Humor)

Put a fork in it, it’s done. No, I’m not talking about the “turkey” pictured below. I’m talking about humor. I’m seriously beginning to think that the concept of comedy—at least in some people—has officially become extinct. I understand that telling a joke on the internet has different parameters than when you’re face to face with someone. You can’t rely on cadence, inflection, and nuance in general. You essentially have to point and say “this is the joke, people” because sarcasm is difficult to type out effectively. That all being said, some things posted are so blatantly for comedy that it astounds me how they can be taken seriously. Either people can no longer determine what is a joke (if it’s not delivered by the hilarious Conan O’ Brien, say) or they’re so over-sensitized that they shouldn’t be allowed online anyways.

Where did this bitter conclusion, that humor is dead, come from you ask? Take a look at the “turkey” again. I stumbled across this over on Facebook. A radio station posted it. Here’s the caption: “If you’re looking for a Gluten Free, Vegetarian Turkey for next week, try this Rice Krispy Treat turkey stuffed with M&M’s. Everybody’s happy.”

Funny, right? I had a good chuckle. And I figured other people would as well because it’s pretty witty. So I start perusing the comments and, good lord, the villagers came out with their pitchforks over this silly, silly turkey recipe! There were roughly 1,000 comments and an overwhelming amount of them were blasting the radio station for their audacious nutrition suggestion. The commenters were going off about how the turkey can’t possibly be gluten-free because Rice Krispies have barley malt as an ingredient. They condemned the post because marshmallows have gelatin and that’s not vegetarian. Then there were those who thought it was insensitive to suggest such a recipe because it will spread diabetes across the nation like wildfire.

First and foremost, let’s address the fact that: 1) There ARE gluten-free Rice Krispies. Go to the grocery store and check. They’re there. How do I know? My friend buys them for her gluten-free son. 2) Gelatin-free marshmallows DO exist. How do I know? I buy them! Plus, you can use Marshmallow Fluff as a substitute. It doesn’t contain gelatin either.

But the x’s and o’s of the recipe aren’t my chief concern. What’s really got me shaking my damn head is how so many people seem to have missed the obvious humor of it all. Neglecting facts is one thing. Not “getting” a joke is another. But the real kicker is how flippin’ obnoxious the commenters were in their remonstrations!

Have we really gotten to the point where we have to put disclaimers before any puny article we post? A big banner at the start that says, “Warning: The following piece contains a JOKE! Please do not read any further if you do not want to participate in humor.”

Me? I got the joke. But that’s not stopping me from taking the recipe at least a little seriously. Don’t worry, I’m not mad at the station. I’m just over here trying to figure out how the hell I can form those legs as perfectly as they did because I just figured out what I’m serving for Thanksgiving.

turkey rice krispies

Destroying Beauty

I figured what better way to come back than with a rant?

If you’ve seen or read “Fight Club” you may remember a standout line where, in the movie, Edward Norton’s character says to Brad Pitt’s character, “I wanted to destroy something beautiful” after he had bludgeoned angelic Jared Leto’s face into a puddle of blood and broken teeth. The line is shocking because it’s a ludicrous notion that’s meant to give the audience a glimpse into the depths of which the demented, angry, and twisted psyche Norton’s character had plummeted to. The amount of hate one must feel to see something so beautiful that you feel the need to bring upon its annihilation must be immeasurable. But, surely that’s just entertainment. It’s just an emotion presented in a book and in a movie for sensationalism, right? Right??

Wrong. It just happened in real life and the perpetrator (the Edward Norton) of the story, sadly, is an 11-year-old kid. Read the story here.

The deer he killed was not for the family’s survival. Hell it wasn’t even for their love of venison. This child and his father sought out this specific deer especially for his looks. This was an act of brutality purely for the sake of sport and in my honest opinion, trophy hunting is for Neanderthals. Though that’s sort of unfairly insulting to Neanderthals since all they really hunted for was meat…hmm…I’ll have to rethink that insult. Hunting for meat is one thing; hunting for sport is another thing entirely.

The saddest part for me is that this kid is being told by his family that what he did was a good thing. They’re proud of him for destroying such beauty. He’s being praised for taking the life of an extremely rare animal. What possesses someone to want to do that? To see something that only comes about once in 20,000 (some biologist claim as rare as 1 in 100,000) births and decide that the greatest thing to do would be to wipe it from the earth? And, perhaps even more disturbing, what does this say about our society if the entire community has rallied behind him? Well, maybe not the entire community, but certainly a good portion of them.  The hunting community anyway.

Of course the family is going to “honor” the deer by having the whole damn thing stuffed and mounted instead of just the head. I mean, it is albino so a little respect please! Imagine if this were not a game animal but anything else. For example, say someone stumbles across a very, very rare species of redwood that hasn’t been seen in god knows how many years. They take a chainsaw, cut it down, and burn it so they can save the ash “forever.” What if a miner uncovered a precious piece of dark green jade that no one has seen in a thousand years and then just smashed it to dust with a sledgehammer? How would these people be perceived? They’d probably be condemned rather harshly for treating our planet so poorly. Or at least be called idiots for their selfish destruction of such rare objects. So why isn’t it the same with this boy? Why is he a hero for what he did?

Sure, sure, I understand the argument that perhaps the deer population was overflowing and hunting them would actually help the local ecosystem. Valid enough…although this method has been argued and proven scientifically to be somewhat counter-productive. But even if that were the case, I would think the town would give this special, rare animal a pass. Instead of gunning for it (literally), they’d let it live its unique life to the fullest while they fire rounds at the more common-looking whitetails grazing in their backyards (if venison is what they were after). You’d think the town would want to be known for something special, something unique (since, again, albino deer are so very rare) – “the town with the white deer,” or some such thing.

To me, this gives hunting a bad name. Trophy hunting. And how sad that this boy is learning at a young age that when you see something rare and beautiful, the first thing you should do is kill it.

As Ellen DeGeneres said “I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it’s such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.”

Photo: Daily Press & Argus)

(Photo: Daily Press & Argus)

With Deepest Apologies to Susan B. Anthony

Let’s play a game of Guess Who. Here are the clues:

This person recently suggested that young female voters should stay away from the voting booths because they’re not properly informed of the issues on the ballot. This person justified this claim by saying the reason they’re not informed is because “They’re like healthy and hot and running around without a care in the world.” This mysterious figure tied this healthy dose of sexism by suggesting that not only should they not vote, but that these women should instead “go back on Tinder and Match.com.”

So, knowing all that, who do you think made these comments? Rush Limbaugh? No. Donald Trump? Nope, wrong again. Now, you’re starting to rack your brain a little. It’s not Rush and not Donald. What pig-headed man would possibly be so out of touch with the opposite sex, so deeply entrenched in his rampant misogyny, so disconnected with the reality of the youthful voting population that he could say things so grossly improper on national television as if it were good advice?

Answer: No man. It wasn’t a man who made these remarks at all (Ha! You gender biased people you!) but rather Fox News’ own Kimberly Guilfoyle. The full article on her sexist rant (sexist against her own gender, mind you) can be found HERE.

Well, I for one am glad Ms. Guilfoyle has her finger on the pulse of the nation’s youth. These women, nay, girls who think they should, like, maybe vote or something are nothing more than airheads and idiots addicted to their smart phones on their hunt for online love from a man who can tell them how to vote correctly. Don’t leave it up to the girls themselves. Which is fine. It’s not like they really matter. What’s that? Young women show up to the polls and vote in larger numbers than their male counterparts?  Really?  How interesting. Well, they can’t possibly be informed on the issues though unless they’re about fashion tips or lip gloss, so best for them to stay away. Wait, what? Young female voters are primarily interested in issues ranging from health care to pay inequality all the way to gender discrimination? Well, that’s like, a lot of important sectors.  Girls are really interested in those things? Wow. Go figure.

I don’t know where Ms. Guilfoyle is getting her information from, but how terribly off target she is about the mentality of young American women is waayyy past the point of offensive.

To assume that 1) girls across the board are skipping through life dreaming of cocktail dresses and who they’ll let buy their drinks at happy hour so much that 2) their brains are too packed with superficial information to try to learn about voting issues and 3) there’s a good chance they wouldn’t care about the issues even if they did find an extra crevice of grey matter not occupied by OKCupid messages is utterly absurd and she should be ashamed of herself.

Of course she issued a half-assed apology that sounds like it was written by an intern at Fox’s PR firm just to save the station a little face. It did little to redeem her in my eyes. Good luck with keeping her on the payroll, Fox. The fact she wasn’t fired immediately astounds me. But then that’s Fox News for you. The longer she stays at the desk, the more confident I am that this world is going to hell in a hand basket.

Trying to discourage women to vote, especially at this very crucial point when serious change can be made that will further the fight for equality for women across the country, is appalling and should the likes of Ms. Guilfoyle continue pushing for selective voting they’ll have only themselves to blame when they end up with no rights and no laws on their side.  Unfortunately they’re taking the rest of us women down with them.

 

Bullies Forever

When I was very young—I won’t say exactly when, thereby aging myself—the first books I read were mysteries with kids my age as the protagonists. I started with The Bobbsey Twins and Trixie Belden, eventually moving up to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew as I got a little bit older.

They were great and I liked the fun mysteries the plucky little kids were tasked with cracking. But one thing about them always annoyed me: the bully. There was always some terrible bully who would make things difficult for the main characters, even the teenage characters like Frank and Joe Hardy and Nancy Drew.

I brushed them off thinking that these were clichés the author used to move the plot along and give us a reason to root for the heroes a little bit more. Then, once I got into middle school, I found out the truth. There were not clichés. Bullies actually existed! I don’t think there was one grade from middle school on where I didn’t run into at least one archetypical bully. Contrary to popular belief, the girls were quite vicious. Any new girl in the class was fair game for their terrible verbal abuse. There was always at least one boy bully, too. While the girls were poetic in their nastiness, the boy bullies tended to use physical means to get their rocks off.

When I was in school, teachers rarely did anything about it. Times are changing. But back then, they’d shrug their shoulder or look away thinking, “Kids would be kids.” No real punishment or attempt at conflict resolution. Maybe the teachers just assumed that once these kids got older and graduated (or dropped out) they’d see the error of their ways and stop their bullying.

Well, anyone who watches reality TV knows that just isn’t true.

Kids who were bullies in school often stay bullies and the kids who stood by and watched generally tend to continue getting their jollies like that today.

Take the popular shows like Tosh.0 or Smoking Gun Presents World’s Dumbest. The format is similar. A group of D-list celebrities sit around and watch videos of accidents. Some of them are innocuous, like a husband and wife who fall into a pool at a wedding. No injury, no big deal. But then they watch other videos where people are actually getting hurt. Badly. They’ll show a clip of a skateboarder who lands on his head after falling down. The kid could have a concussion, or worse, and these people on the show are sitting in the studio taking delight in the moment. And people at home must be eating it up too, otherwise the shows wouldn’t keep airing.

Fox News has had a grand ol’ time denigrating the First Lady’s weight of late.  I’m not speaking to the politics of it – but the fact that anyone’s weight and the mocking thereof should make the “news” is just amazing to me. This is bullying, plain and simple.

And of course there are a myriad of shows and so-called celebrities whose sole purpose seems to be coming up with vile insults that pick apart the supposedly horrible way people look. No wonder our society has so many issues today.  This is popular entertainment. This is what we’ve become…millions of people sitting on their couches laughing at others and feeling superior.

Observing this behavior has forced me to come to the following conclusion: People have no empathy and no pride. Mocking others isn’t exactly a prideful moment. The lack of respect for our fellow human beings is shocking.

Need proof? Here’s the latest and greatest in human nature:  Yahoo Article on “People of the Iowa State Fair.”

This isn’t the official page of the Iowa State Fair, but it’s a page someone created to share photos of people attending the fair. Roughly 90% of these photos seem to have been taken by a bully–yes, a bully–looking for overweight people or people dressed in a unique and different way. The photos have captions that ridicule the innocent people who were just being themselves trying to have a fun day.

Of course, not everybody enjoys these photos.

According to the article:   Several visitors who find the site offensive have asked the administrator to take down (or at least take responsibility for) the page’s hurtful content, but to no avail. The administrator posted this response on Tuesday: “People watching is one of the great traditions of the Iowa State Fair, and this site was made to allow people worldwide to enjoy that… The internet is full of offensive and disgusting things, and if I stumble across a website that offends me, I re-direct my browser elsewhere immediately and do not go back.”

The italics are part of the article, but I’d italicize them if they hadn’t been, because that’s a common excuse.

“If you don’t like it, don’t watch.”

Well, the problem is, what about the people who do like these degrading photos and captions?  They are society’s problem…because those adults are going to teach their kids that “fat-shaming” and “different-from-us-shaming” is okay.

Is normal.

Is funny.

And that’s so sad.

Where did the “news” go?

Check out the cartoon below. It came across my newsfeed the other day and it struck me as funny, and sadly, extremely relevant. Where are the accurate news sources? Every day it seems that another outlet has been compromised by political influence and corporate protection.

More and more people are getting their news from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (comedy programs airing on Comedy Central mind you) than Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, or Bloomberg. Does this sound sad to anyone else? Not sad because we look to John Stewart or Stephen Colbert for our facts on what’s going on in the world out there. That’s actually great because they’re both fantastic commentators. Sad because there are less and less places for us to get the unbiased, unfiltered, and transparent truth if we should want it (which we should).

It’s gotten so bad that some people I know don’t even read any American news sites anymore. They go to BBC News or Reuters because they feel they have a better chance of finding out what the US has been involved in and to what extent without the story going through a hefty edit process to make sure no influential billionaires get in trouble.

How corrupt are US news sites? I honestly can’t tell you. What I can say is that, as the comic implies, while we may not know where the “real” news is, we seem pretty sure that what we’ve got isn’t cutting it anymore.

Luckily there are a few bastions of uncompromised news out there. Or at least I think they are, until some scandal comes out that destroys their credibility as well. I’m thinking primarily of NPR. They seem fairly legit and unbiased, but then again I can’t be sure. And this is the point I’m trying to make. The skepticism has gotten so bad that I’m finding it tough to put my trust in any news outlet. There’s always a cloud of doubt looming overhead due to the way so many “sources” alter their perspectives to meet their station’s agendas.

This is why I’m parched, why I think we’re all parched. We just want to get through the business politics to learn about the actual politics. If that oasis will grow anytime soon is yet to be seen but those little pockets we do have had better stay pure lest we all dehydrate from lack of truth.

this is me on any given day my television happens to be on

this is me on any given day my television happens to be on

 

NEWS

this tidbit is NOT vetted by me personally, but wouldn’t be surprised if it’s true

 

Horse Rescuers — the Oft Lonely Advocates

Musings from a Tangled Mind:

I love, love, love to see advocates share the love like this writer! I know…that’s a lot of “loves.” But, too often there is divisive behavior that hurts the cause and ultimately hurts the animals. I think it’s great when people can be a voice for a cause — whether they’re at an event in person or just in spirit. We ALL count, we ALL matter and we ALL make a difference. So I say thank you to every advocate out there. You’re all doing a bang-up job!!

Originally posted on Equine Preservation of North America -EPONA:

Many devoted animal advocates often attend events and demonstrations that support the cause we’re all backing and we cannot thank you enough! It may be as a part of a strong picket line or a peaceful protest outside a political office, or the storefront of a place that supports inhumane treatment of animals. These activists have the amazingly powerful ability to get together, swap stories, meet each other, and engage earnestly with other members of their like-minded community. They give much needed support to each other and are alleviated of any fear of isolation by being reassured that there are many others who feel just as strongly about the cause as they do. There is a group all too often unable to attend such events but who nonetheless are just as adamant in their stance for animal rights. Of course we’re talking about horse rescues.

become a gift to others and you will always be well received

The people who run horse…

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