Animal Tales

Oh my gosh, guys.  Did you see “A Dog’s Purpose?”  Wasn’t it great?

Well, I wouldn’t know.  I refuse to watch it.  I hate any story where the dog dies, so why would I see a movie where the dog dies fifteen times?  I heard there is a sequel out now, “The Dog Dies Twenty More Times.”

“Marley and Me” traumatized me for life.  I refuse to watch “War Horse,” and several scenes in “White Fang” haunt me to this day.  Black Beauty still makes me cry, and yes, I remember Bambi’s mother (“Man is in the forest,” bang).  In fact, Disney is famous for jerking animal lovers around. Disney isn’t alone in toying with my animal softened heart, though.

Those that know me realize that I love horror movies.  I know all of the rules in horror movies:

  • Never run up the stairs to escape the killer
  • The dog or cat gets it first
  • The more annoying the character, the longer he lives, but, the more horrible his death will be when it finally does happen
  • The dog or cat gets it first
  • Women can’t run in the woods without falling down a hill
  • The dog or cat gets it first
  • The non-virgin woman with matching undies always dies
  • The dog or cat gets it first

Come on, I’m not alone here.  Here is the plot of every horror movie ever written:

The happy family unpacks the car for a week in a waterfront cabin in the woods. They open the door to the station wagon and two adorable, bright eyed kids bounce out with any variety of toys from doll to teddy bear. Happy, panting, tail-wagging dog follows them out of the car, usually a yellow lab or golden retriever.  His cuteness factor will play a part in the events to come.

Day one passes with camera angles hinting at a crazed killer in the woods. The dog runs out for his night time pee, and the audience inhales as he runs to the woods, barking.  Not this time, though; dog runs back to the house unharmed.  Audience visibly relaxes and lets out a collective sigh.

At some point the next day, the dog will disappear.  Sometimes he runs away, and an off camera “yelp” tells us he has met the crazed killer.  Other times, he is found in little bitty puppy bits and pieces.  The cuter and more obedient he is, the worse his ending is.

I have missed endings to good horror movies because I get too pissed to watch any more from the minute I see the dog in the beginning of the movie. Don’t judge me, Mr. or Ms. “choked up at a Hallmark commercial.” The whole idea behind books and movies is to bring us in, get us emotionally invested in the character(s), to make us CARE.

Members of my book club show little sympathy for the “animal-affected” – those of us who are bothered by abuse to animals or “when the dog dies,” in stories. We’re constantly reminded by the better than thou folks that it’s “just a fictional dog” and we’re advised to “suck it up already.”  Of course, these same people snort into boxes of Kleenex over the death of a human character (I’m looking at you Cedric Diggory, Fred Weasley, and Sirius Black!) and are inconsolably upset when the plot takes a sad turn.

On the edge of your seat over a thriller? Upbeat romance have you smiling? Horror movie got you looking over your shoulder? Is that tear-jerker causing real tears to well up? That’s the whole point!

As book readers and movie watchers, we’re SUPPOSED to get drawn into the story. We cry over fictional characters, laugh with fictional characters, get angry with fictional characters… why on earth wouldn’t we get upset over the death or mistreatment of a fictional animal?  Consider my tears the highest praise, story tellers and movie makers. You managed to destroy me in one “yelp” or sad scene at the vet’s office.  I know I’m not alone.

My friend was pissed that the dinosaurs didn’t win in Jurassic Park.  I’m still wrecked over Cujo, and don’t get me started about Old Yeller.  When I look for a book, I check to see if there are animals and whether those animals are in imminent danger.  If they are, I pass.

Life’s already sad enough, isn’t it? I don’t need my realm of escapism to be sad too.

So Many Questions

Today, I called off work because I’ve hurt my back. That’s not what I want to tell you about though. While at the store to get meds for said hurt back, I saw, or rather, heard, something I do want to tell you about.

A woman was at the customer service desk returning a bag of unopened sunflower seeds. You know, the kind that are found in flavors like ranch or chipotle or just plain salted. Was it the flavor that dissatisfied her? No. Were they stale or perhaps outdated? Again, no. So what could be wrong, you ask?

Well, in a word, sunflower seeds. Oh, wait. That’s two words. Still valid.

A lengthy conversation was had, but what it came down to was: the woman does not like sunflower seeds. I’ll repeat. She was returning them because she does not like sunflower seeds. Yet, and here’s where it gets a little confusing, she bought sunflower seeds.  One could presume the woman knows her own likes and dislikes. You know, as one does. But again, I keep coming back to the fact that she — not a husband or child or stealthy purveyor of disliked legumes, bought the sunflower seeds. To be clear, and she was nothing if not clear, she doesn’t like sunflower seeds.

If that’s not emblematic of society today, I don’t know what is.

Future Disappointment

I remember watching the Jetsons years ago and being so excited for a future with flying cars, fully automated kitchens, and robot maids named Rosie.

Instead, here we are. With sex robots and Taco Bell delivered to our door.

All is not lost, though. There are some real-world inventions that I never would have imagined as I watched George walk Astro on the conveyor belt outside their floating apartment complex.

The Wine Rack: Ladies, rejoice. The Wine Rack is a bra that you fill with wine. It comes with a sipping nozzle (no, it’s not there, you perv! It’s on the side of the bra). You can carry your own booze with you anywhere you like.  This is as hilarious as it is genius.

The Better Marriage Blanket: Otherwise known as the fart blanket. Allows your husband (because we all know women don’t fart) to pass scentless gas.  This is going to save marriages because, according to a survey I just made up, farts are responsible for 62% of all divorces.

Rear Gear: At last. A solution to the annoying problem of your dog or cat having a butt.  No lie, these are stickers to put over the hole in your dog’s rear end.

Baby Mop: As someone who puts rags under her shoes to mop up spills because I’m too lazy to bend over, I applaud this one.  Stick this to your baby and as he crawls, he is polishing your floor. Sheer genius.

Diet Water: Not even going to try to explain this one. Apparently, getting fat by drinking water is a real issue.

Vertical Bed: You know, if you need to nap in line at the grocery store.

TV Hat: Wear your TV hat as you sleep standing up in your Vertical Bed.

Banana Slicer: Of all the fruits on the planet, the hardest to master is the banana.  Thank God someone invented this handy banana slicer.  For your added pleasure, you’ve got to read the comments on this one.

Neck Pro: Because having a licensed chiropractor to treat your neck pain is so “last year.”

Face Flex: Apparently, you can use this medieval torture implement to tighten and tone your facial muscles.  Scroll down the page to the short video.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.

Seriously though guys, if we are ever going to have flying cars, end world hunger, and achieve world peace, we need to do better than this.

Ok, so, I know you’ve been waiting for me to comment on the sex robots, so here is my take. They have male and female sexbots, and, well, honestly, I’m not sure it’s a bad thing.  Although I am concerned about the “try for 30 days, money back guarantee.” Just ewww.

As for me, if they make a male robot who does dishes, cuts the lawn, and changes the oil in my car, I’m all in.

Ugly Is As Ugly Does

Don’t let that gleam in my eye fool you… this is not going to be the usual, humorous fare you’ve come to know and love here at Musings. I know that I’ve regaled you with the catchphrase “I hate people” often, and perhaps, for a while, it lost the bite it once had. However, reading the news, as it so often does, brought this feeling to the forefront with decided force.

Do you remember the final episode of Seinfeld where the gang, as so-called “innocent” bystanders, were arrested for watching as a man was robbed and abused on the street? Yeah, everyone remembers that one.

Have you ever thought of what drove that episode, though? I’ll tell you what I think. Incidents like the idiots on the subway who sat by and watched as a poor, defenseless 78-year-old woman was kicked repeatedly in the face by a psychopath!

But really, who is the psychopath here? No one called 911. No one intervened. Instead of calling for help or better yet, putting down the cell phones and getting up off your asses to help this poor woman, a bunch of you continued to record the incident, some even went so far as to provide commentary. What is wrong with all of you?? How can this be okay? How can you live with yourselves after watching, while a woman feared for her life and lay there bleeding right in front of you? Didn’t any of your parents teach you better?  Your callous inaction was disgusting, and the fact that you could stand there and watch, while doing absolutely nothing, makes you disgusting.

Oh sure, you could argue that you were gathering “evidence.” Bullshit. I don’t buy it. When everyone is recording, and no one is helping (I’ll repeat an important point that was reported: not a single 911 call was made) … that right there is a sign of a bigger, much uglier, issue in our society.

What if she were your sister or your mother or your grandmother? What would you do then? Would you record someone in your family going through the same experience or would you help? I really want you to consider this, and then explain to me why there is a difference.

Is this what we’ve become as a society? An eager audience to someone else’s suffering? Or has it always been this way? I know the human race – as a general rule – is horrible but come on people! God damn it, get your shit together. We’re all in this world together and we can’t keep doing this to each other.

Get up, rise up, and speak up! Offer assistance when needed, give up your seat to stand up for others, be kind. Put down the camera and forego the viral footage in favor of nabbing the bad guy, not on tape but in real life… even if that just means calling 911. For God’s sake think of someone else sometimes, especially in pivotal moments when your action, your voice, can make a difference. Do the right fucking thing.

Okay, rant over. I need a drink.