Owners vs Lovers

Okay, so after talking to someone today about “rehoming”– let’s be frank, a great deal of the time that’s just a euphemism for “getting rid of” – pets, I feel the need to rant a little bit.  This particular conversation was about a horse, but it could easily have been about a dog, a cat, or any other animal.

If you were to ask a horse owner what they think of their horse, you will probably get a response like, “Oh, I love my horse!”

That might be true, or it might not.

There is a difference between horse owners and horse lovers, and a lot of people who say they are horse lovers – or even think they are horse lovers – really aren’t.

Loving a horse – or any pet, frankly – means providing for it fully and unconditionally. If there is a food shortage, lovers will make sure their pet was fed first, before they eat themselves. They ensure that all of the animal’s needs are accounted for…in a financial pinch, a horse lover would make sure his or her horse is taken care of before spending anything on themselves.

Ah…now there’s the rub. Who these days, in this economy, is not feeling a bit of a financial pinch? And pets can be expensive to care for.

People who can no longer afford to take care of their horse, or other pet, have no choice but to “rehome it,” and here I’m not using the word “rehome” in a judgmental or derogatory sense. If someone absolutely can’t feed their companion animal, or afford to take it to the vet on a regular basis, a good home where the pet can be taken care of must be found. It’s the responsible thing to do.

Now… a horse lover would take the time to do profile checks and screen any and all potential buyers. A horse owner, at least in my experience, just sells to the highest bidder – not really seeing or caring what might be in that horse’s future.

Now I’m not sure whether you are aware or not, but there are specific auctions just for horses. I’m not talking high-class auctions. I’m talking loose horse auctions where horses are sold by the pound. To a horse lover most of these “events” are an abomination. Abomination is the appropriate word. A horse lover would never subject their beloved horses to the degradation and horror of such things.

A horse owner, well they just see it as a way to squeeze every last penny out of their property. Or they just think it’s easier and quicker than selling/rehoming the horse on their own and just want rid of it as quickly as possible for whatever reason.

These folks will exclaim that there’s nothing wrong with these auctions! It’s a good place for the horse to have a second chance or find a new home!  And as they ship their horse off to these meat auctions, they will swear up and down that they just looove horses. Yeah, right.

This isn’t just something that can be applied to horses. Dogs, cats, gerbils, any animal under a person’s care falls into the same lot. There’s a difference between owning something (and loving it as an investment or “thing”) and truly loving it (as the feeling, sentient being that it is). The line gets a bit blurred sometimes what with all the debate that rages on regarding animal welfare and animal rights, but it’s there and always will be.

 

Affair of the Snowflakes

Although not animal related, this entry could kinda sorta be considered a rant. Do you ever read an article or news story that, while having nothing whatsoever to do with you, annoys you to no end anyway? That’s what happened to me the other day. I just mentally couldn’t let it go. So. Lucky you.

This should sort of go without saying, but my point of view is that someone who’s married really has no way to justify an affair. That may sound like common sense to many of you, but it’s not quite so cut and dry to a lot of others out there. I read this article yesterday about one woman’s dainty traipse through infidelity and couldn’t help but think to myself: “Well, isn’t that just lovely.” That’s a nice way of putting it anyhow. Remember, my New Year’s resolution was to try to be a better person (rein in the road rage and the like) so I’m trying my best to censor my evil thoughts.

In reality, I’ve essentially picked apart most everything this woman spouts off about and have pretty much an opposite view of how this whole marriage, commitment, and faithfulness thing should work.

The one sentence in particular that got to me was when she wrote, “I think that there are times, such as when your marriage is essentially over, and you are just in limbo mentally and emotionally, when a relationship that begins with an affair can end in a happy relationship.” Maybe it can. She might be right. I just personally believe that there should never be any overlap and thus never any way of really proving if that is true or not.

Your vows aren’t just something you say while you wait for the reception to start – they’re something you’re supposed to take seriously. And if your feelings change for whatever reason, no matter who is to “blame,” then you cut ties first before you move on to the next partner. It’s having a little thing called integrity and respect.

In my opinion someone in a troubled marriage should 1) try to fix the marriage somehow be it counseling, time apart, whatever, before 2) officially (a.k.a. legally) separating or divorcing prior to courting new romantic partners. Never should the twain meet.

Another thing that got to me about this piece was the very sly mention of her ex-husband’s substance abuse. “We failed at marriage in just about every way possible, all leading up to me saying “enough is enough” when it came to his substance abuse and… in the end… my falling in love with another man.” I’m sure a few steps were skipped in those literary leaps, but it sounds to me like his addiction was apparently enough rationale for an affair yet not quite bad enough to pack up the kids (who shouldn’t be around drugs) and move to a safer place. So she did what she needed to do to console herself – falling into the arms of another man, but her kids’ needs were secondary? Right. I see how that works.

She brings up many times in the article the age-old dilemma of if you can trust someone when you know they’ve cheated before. Can you trust a cheater? Well, according to her, she and her new man are “different.” They’re the exception to the rule. They’re unique. They’re the ultimate snowflakes. All other cheaters, yeah, you might have to worry about them, but not this woman and her side piece. They’re the real deal. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode “The Deal” where Jerry starts sleeping with Elaine and he’s explaining to George that he and Elaine figured out the whole “friends with benefits” thing.

Jerry: Well, we’ve tried to arrange a situation where we’ll be able to do this once in a while and still remain friends.
George: (maniacal laughing)
Jerry: What?
George: Where are you living? Are you here?  Are you on this planet? It’s impossible. It can’t be done. Thousands of years people have been trying to have their cake and eat it too. So all of a sudden the two of you are going to come along and do it. Where do you get the ego?

So where does this woman get the ego to think she and “40” are the cheaters that have broken the mold? I’d bet dollars to donuts that most couples that began their relationship through infidelity thought to themselves or even went so far as to tell each other the exact same things. “I’ll never cheat again.” “This is the person I was meant to be with.” “I just needed to get that out of my system.”

There’s absolutely nothing unique about how she found herself in the middle of an affair, so why should the aftermath be anything above average either? Maybe they’ll make it, but I’d sure love to see the statistics on how many of these relationships have the partner cheating with someone else in the future and if so, how quickly.  And if they do make it, all I have to say is, they deserve each other. Is that harsh? Well, maybe my New Year’s resolution isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but there you go.

Frankly, I find it a little sad that she’s straining so hard to get people on her team. Why do I say this do you ask?  Well…today I found yet another article she wrote about the same affair – although this time she took a different tack in her subsequent explanations.  In this one, she speaks to her marriage “being over,” how she was the only working on it for too many years and how it drove her into an emotional (and then physical) affair…blah blah blah. Really, for two people who are sooo different, the reasons for their affair have simply been done to death.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging her for having the affair. She’s an adult and can do whatever the heck she wants.  I’m judging her for trying to rationalize it. To justify something that has such ramifications to others around you seems amazingly selfish to me. How did her affair affect her kids? Not to mention what is she teaching them?  How about her ex (we don’t get much back story on him)? An affair doesn’t just touch two people. It has a massive ripple effect that she seems completely oblivious about.

So my advice, readers, is to cheat if you want to. I’m not your mom. Live your life. I simply ask that you own it. Have the balls to step up and say, yeah I cheated because I just felt like being selfish and putting my needs above those of my family. At least be honest and above-board about it.  Oh wait

What is it with Parents?

I had another run-in with a kid that wasn’t mine the other day. Spoiler alert: I almost lost my patience. Big shock, right? I don’t know what it is, but unruly kids are just a real, constant, and severe pet peeve of mine. It’s not so much the kid itself that annoys me; it’s the idea that there are parents that drop the ball on basic child rearing skills. I see it in these kids’ faces, their lack of guidance, and it annoys me to no end. I know not every kid can be given the best parents. Some are born into difficult circumstances. I get it. I’m not talking about that. I just mean, for the sake of this entry, basic etiquette. Little tiny manners that a kid should be taught from the get go. Yet, I was recently shown that, nope, this is not always the case.

I was at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant with my daughter trying to have a decent meal and we were doing a pretty good job at it. Good food? Check. Sparkling conversation? Check. Hospitable wait staff? Double check. Almost everything was in alignment for a perfectly satisfactory meal. The only kink was the group sitting next to us. There were four adults and, oh, roughly 300 kids screaming their heads off. Obviously there weren’t 300 kids there, but it sure sounded like it.

One of the kids, this little girl maybe three years old, was rocking so furiously in her chair she toppled right onto the floor. A concrete floor. It got to the point that I was seriously worried about her. A hard fall like that has “eventual head trauma” written all over it. But she kept on doing it. Or, more specifically, the adults didn’t do anything to stop it from happening. The girl fell off her chair, backwards no less, five or six times. It made for an interesting obstacle course for our server. I have to give her credit (the server, not the girl), she’s quick on her feet…able to leap around unexpected child-sized falling objects with a tray full of food with nary a hair out-of-place.

Without major injury, the child got bored with that little trick (thank god, cause my nerves couldn’t take it) and started to amuse herself by flinging her shoes off, sort of like how adults do after they walk through the front door after a long day and just can’t have those pumps on anymore. You just flick your ankle and send them across the floor a little in front of you. The girl was doing that, except being three years old, she has the coordination of a three-year old and the shoes were flying everywhere. And let me tell you, she got some good distance on those suckers. Again, the adults didn’t seem to notice, care, or think this was something that should be corrected. Shoes were landing on the table and in their food for cryin’ out loud!

Sarah and I ate our meal a bit tensely, waiting with bated breath, like a couple of nervous outfielders at a Little League game anxious for that moment when we might be called upon to catch a pop-up as it made its way to our section of the field. We didn’t want to be caught sleeping on the job and have a shoe end up in our grits.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. The real winner was when the five-year old of the dinner party came up to our table as the family was leaving. She stood at our table and stared. And stared. And stared. We thought at first she was checking out the pictures on the wall around us, but after a solid five minutes we realized, no, she’s staring at us. Standing stock still, she was unapologetically boring into our souls with her creepy little eyes. She was starting to freak me out, like one of The Shining twins, and I had no idea what to do.

The thought crossed my mind that maybe this was something she couldn’t help doing. But I had just watched her at her table for well over an hour with three other kids and was pretty confident she was nothing but a nosy inquisitive little girl who didn’t know how impolite it is to stare. (If I’m wrong, then this is just one more reason I’m going to burn in hell.)

So right about the time Sarah and I had decided to speak up, the mother apparently realized that this young member of their delightful group was missing (they were almost completely out of the dining area by this point) — but I guess thinking it wasn’t important enough to actually come back, she simply yelled across the room full of dinner patrons for the child to get herself over there. The girl grinned and took off.  And well, there you have it. Dinner and a show a la Cracker Barrel.

So what do you do in a situation like that? Fight fire with fire and stick out your tongue? That could give the wrong message that you’re in on the joke and don’t mind the unsolicited company. It could also garner you some dirty looks from other adults. Do you invite the kid into your booth and adopt her until the parents realize they’re one short? I can’t see the parents appreciating that one. Unless it goes the other way, and you wind up with another mouth to feed. Or maybe take the curmudgeonly route and say “Can I help you?” or some such thing and hope they go away? While probably satisfying…again, not so popular with the parents. Sometimes it would be nice if you could just call in the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Oh, don’t roll your eyes at me, we’ve all been there.

While I realize that when you’re in public, you have to deal with a lot of annoyances (trust me, I know), there should be certain things that are just a given. For instance, when you’re out to dinner, you should never, ever find yourself in the position of having to quickly sum up ideas on how to deal with an unnerving, staring child. Or catch flying shoes.

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.