Maybe we were meant to fight our way through, struggle, claw our way up, scratch for every inch of the way. Maybe we can’t stroll to the music of the lute. We must march to the sound of drums.
–Captain James Tiberius Kirk
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
–The Bible, Matthew 7:13-14
In the beginning human life crawled out of the primordial ooze and was horny. But, even before that, it was hungry. Foods, it thought. We need foods.
It turns out that the human stomach isn’t that discriminating. It’s a go-with-the-flow kind of hipster dufus (probably wearing a fedora) who blindly trusts decisions made by the brain and mouth. Ha ha ha! Like they give a shit about downstream organs!
Tom’s Law #42
As one becomes less involved in the production and preparing of one’s own food, the odds of unwanted contaminants, unknown ingredients, lessened nutrition, deception and malice are exponentially increased.
Chew on that!
For example, the average fast food patron eats an average of 12 public hairs per year. And probably in a public place! Some things are meant to be handled in pubic.
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Ever heard of the website Clients From Hell? It’s hilarious. Here’s a recent example of the goodness you can find there:
Nov. 21, 2012
Recently, I had to make small talk with a client’s wife.
ME: I heard that employees that look at pictures of cute animals at work are actually more productive and get more done. Cool, huh?
Client’s wife: You know what I think would make employees more productive at work? Looking at pictures of the unemployment line.
The small talk stopped there.
Source: Clients From Hell
The moral of the story? Empathy knows no limits! By the way, today is Small Business Saturday. A holiday invented by those assholes over at American Express. Good thing I haven’t done my small business yet today. (That’s a poop joke.)
The fellow was obviously referencing this recent news: Looking At Cute Animal Pictures At Work Can Make You More Productive, Study Claims via The Huffington Post.
Because I want you to be productive, too, I’ve decided to share a couple of my recent photographs.
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What I know about wine would fit in, well, a wine glass.
I do know that a doctor said I have to drink a glass of red every night or I’ll die. I admit I might not have that exactly correct. But I’m willing to err on the side of caution. For example, I’m pretty sure that if I drink two glasses a night, then I won’t die … twice.
So I got that going for me.
I’m trying to make my wine a matter of routine. As with most things it is important to have a plan. Of course I usually start with a beer. I don’t want anyone questioning my manhood or anything. Beer is an excellent aperitif.
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By far one of the most popular stories I’ve ever written about on this blog is the incident of animal abuse at Conklin Dairy Farms in Ohio. It has consistently brought traffic to this blog since the story broke and continues to be popular to this day. I thought it would be a good idea to get caught up on with how this story eventually turned out.
Back in May 2010, a group known as Mercy For Animals (MFA) released an undercover video they had shot at a dairy farm they had randomly selected in Ohio.
The video documented animal abuse by Billy Joe Gregg, Jr., an employee of Conklin Dairy Farms. In the video, Gregg bragged about abusing cows and was seen punching cows and attacking them with a pitchfork.
The video also included a few seconds of footage showing the owner, Gary Conklin, kicking a cow that was laying on the ground.
Gregg originally plead not guilty to 12 counts of animal cruelty. On Sept. 24, 2010, Gregg plead guilty to six misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. Gregg was sentenced to eight months in jail, ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, and was barred from contact with animals for three years. Gregg was also ordered to receive counseling through a program that specializes in treating individuals involved in animal abuse cases.
A grand jury also considered the actions of Conklin, shown on the video kicking a cow on the ground. The jury was shown the unedited version of undercover footage. The edited version of the video released by MFA to the internet had bracketed Conklin’s actions with actual abuse, lending the impression that Conklin was also participating in the abuse.
The unedited video was also seen by four veterinarians who specialize in large animal care.
The County Prosecutor said, “[The grand jury] saw the unedited video of Mr. Conklin’s actions, not the highly inflammatory version released on YouTube by Mercy for Animals.”
After viewing the video and hearing from investigators and veterinarians that concluded Conklin acted appropriately, the grand jury decided not to indict Conklin.
No evidence was ever presented that Conklin was aware of the actions of Gregg.
Regarding the footage of Conklin kicking a cow, the prosecutor said Conklin was actually acting appropriately to prevent injury to the animal. “These animals, sometimes called ‘downer cows’ must be brought to their feet. The sheriff’s office had the video reviewed by four experts, each of whom agreed that Mr. Conklin’s actions were entirely appropriate.”
The prosecutor noted that the experts were veterinarians with extensive experience in large animal care. Each agreed that delivering a sharp blow to the animal to get it to rise was not abuse. The veterinarians told law enforcement that cows that remain down are at risk of injury or death.
The grand jury also heard testimony from the undercover operative put on the Conklin Farm by Mercy for Animals, Jason Smith of Texas. Smith had told law enforcement that he did not witness any abuse by Conklin, and that Conklin did not know of the abuse by Billy Joe Gregg.
After learning of the abuse, Conklin fired Gregg the very next day. Since the incident became an internet sensation, Conklin has been the victim of death threats and threats to destroy his farm “piece by piece” by animal rights activists.
This case is closed and justice has been served. Conklin was found to have acted appropriately and did the right things, and his actions have been reviewed and cleared by industry experts and a randomly selected grand jury. I understand that the video was upsetting – it deeply affected me as well – but threats are never the correct response and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
In my previous coverage of this story, I made two points. First, how could this sort of thing happen at a dairy farm and management not be aware? I stand by that point. As I said, it was never proven that Conklin knew about what Gregg was doing. But isn’t that the point? Isn’t there a moral responsibility to know what’s going on? In a statement for the press, Conklin Dairy Farms maintained that they take “the care of our cows and calves very seriously.” That means you have to be proactive enough to be aware and not let the bad things happen. I’m willing to guess that Conklin learned a very important lesson here. He has since spoken of the importance of maintaining an employee manual that stresses things like standards of animal treatment.
The second point I made was taking umbrage that Conklin had not been charged with a crime. Here I was overzealous and I apologize for going that far. I was wrong. Conklin has been completely cleared of any wrongdoing. I accept that and I wish him well. I allowed myself to become emotional about the issue and the video and I was too quick to rush to judgment. I’ll try to be more careful about that sort of thing in the future.
“I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”
Abraham Lincoln’s cat, Tabby, was the first of several White House cats. Source.
Here’s a bit more about Lincoln and his love of animals:
Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth President, loved cats and could play with them for hours. When asked if her husband had a hobby, Mary Todd Lincoln replied, “cats.” President Lincoln visited General Grant at City Point, Virginia in March of 1865. The civil war was drawing to a close and the enormous task of reuniting the country lay ahead, yet the President made time to care for three orphaned kittens. Abraham Lincoln noticed three stray kittens in the telegraph hut. Picking them up and placing them in his lap, he asked about their mother. When the President learned that the kittens’ mother was dead, he made sure the kittens would be fed and a good home found for them.
President Lincoln’s compassion extended to turkeys, too. Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation on October 3, 1863, setting aside the last Thursday of November, “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” A turkey was sent to the White House for Thanksgiving dinner in 1863, and Tad, Lincoln’s son, named him Tom. Tad befriended the turkey and pleaded with his father to grant “Tom” a stay of execution. Abraham Lincoln took time out from a cabinet meeting to issue “an order of reprieve,” sparing the turkey’s life.
Mr. Lincoln’s compassion extended to dogs, too. Fido was a mixed breed with floppy ears and a yellowish coat. When fireworks and cannons announced Abraham Lincoln’s victory in the Presidential election of 1860, poor Fido was terrified. The Lincolns were worried that the long train trip to Washington,DC, combined with loud noises, would terrify Fido. John and Frank Roll, two neighborhood boys, promised to take good care of Fido. Mr. Lincoln made them promise to let Fido inside the house whenever he scratched at the front door, never scold Fido for entering the house with muddy paws, and feed him if he came to the dinner table. The Lincolns gave the Rolls their sofa so Fido would feel at home! Did you know “Fido” is Latin? Fido is from “Fidelitas” which translates as “faithful.”
Nanny and Nanko were White House goats. Tad and Willie liked to hitch the goats to carts or kitchen chairs and have the goats pull them through the White House. Both Nanny and Nanko liked to chew things. Nanny got in trouble for chewing up the flowers at the Old Soldier’s Home. Nanko got in trouble for chewing the bulbs planted by White House Gardener, John Watt.
The Lincolns also had rabbits and cats. Mr. Lincoln named his horse Old Bob. Old Bob was the rider-less horse with a pair of boots turned backward in the stirrups in Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession.
While researching Joaquin Phoenix for a blog post I discovered that he had narrated a film called “Earthlings” back in 2007.
Using hidden cameras and never-before-seen footage, EARTHLINGS chronicles the day-to-day practices of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit.
This powerful movie currently has a rating of 8.4 out of 10 starts over at IMDb.
And, I just found out yesterday, this movie is being made available for free at the web site earthlings.com. If you care about how animals are treated on this planet it is a movie I highly recommend.
DISCLAIMER: The film is extremely graphic and contains a lot of footage depicting the killing of animals. This is an important film but may be too upsetting for some viewers.
If you are willing to take a look, visit the earthlings.com, click “Watch Now” near the top-right corner, then scroll down to the bottom and click the thumbnail image labeled “Full video.”