Societal death spasms
Neighbor kills neighbor. Don’t worry, though. They will pay for what they’ve done. Especially if they hate the inconvenience of annoying paperwork, attending a couple of hearings and paying a fine. That’s more than sufficient punishment for killing a fellow human being, right?
What is a society? My definition is a system where people make decisions that impact the safety of others. More and more it seems like that’s the only definition that matters.
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Gone To The Dogs, Baby, Gone
I’m back in office (or, as I like to call it The Love Den) after a weekend of travel. Maybe I’ll do a travel post. Or maybe, like always, I’ll plan on it and never get it done. Anyway, this is my first post in a few days that wasn’t written by breaking my fingers on a tiny electronic keyboard on an iPad. As such, I’m pretty happy. -Ed.
Are things getting better or worse? My personal theory is that things have always been shitty and it’s a remarkably consistent thing. Were people more “evil” in medieval times or in present day? My guess is that both were about the same. The only difference is that we think things should be better today and when they’re not our brains incorrectly interpret the difference between reality and perception expectations as some kind of disconnect.
Our helpless brains then think things like, “Things are going to hell.” Only they’re not. The more things change the more they remain the same.
I remember when I was a kid. A service dog was something limited to blind and deaf people. These were highly trained animals that were rarely seen in public. And when they were nobody questioned their legitimacy. Why would we? What kind of freaking asshole would you have to be to take advantage of laws for disabled just because you want your pet to tag along when you go shopping or out to eat?
We also used words like “please” and “thank you” and held open doors for other people.
In today’s world an amazing number of us have no such ethical quandaries. We want something ergo the ends justifies the means. Period. The only criteria that must be met is that we want it. And, let’s be honest, that’s a pretty darn low standard to meet.
Park in a disabled parking space? I’ve never done it once in my life. A few months back I fell out of a boat and smashed my ankle on a rock while whitewater rafting. The damn thing still hurts like hell. I could have asked my doctor (if I had one) to fill out the paperwork for a temporary permit. Why the hell would I? I can limp the extra 20-50 feet just fine. What kind of an amazing prick must you be to think you are entitled to take a parking space from someone who really needs it.
I recently spoke with a person who freely admitted to doing it. And why wouldn’t they? In their mind there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. No recognition of ethical boundaries translated into no reticence about freely admitting what they had done. Their brain literally couldn’t comprehend their might be something wrong with such behavior. It would conflict with The Want.
This same person, though, had a major issue about people touching her dog. The dog is high strung and has a lot of anxiety. It doesn’t like to be touched except on its own terms. But when she took the dog out in public, like grower’s markets, strangers would pet the dog without asking and without permission. This was greatly upsetting to her.
Later, she took us to a public park where there were signs posted that said, “No dogs allowed.” It never crossed her mind that her dog shouldn’t be there. Run loose, doggie. Be free!
Her mind was literally incapable of discerning the reality of her beliefs and actions. Under one set of mores people were rude assholes for breaking rules and in the other she saw nothing wrong with her behavior. Both were able to sit comfortably in her brain at the same time and she never noticed anything wrong about it.
When I lived in San Diego I had a daughter who was deathly afraid of dogs. They would make her scream, shiver and become emotionally withdrawn. The fear may not have been realistic or logical but it existed nevertheless. As such, we didn’t take her to public spaces like dog parks. We’d search out public parks where dogs were prohibited. There was one of these near the ocean where we liked to go to fly kites.
There were other dog-friendly places. They even had their own beach. But invariably someone would show up and unload their dogs and let them run free. The dogs would rapidly approach us and the owners would say things like, “Don’t mind Fluffy. He would never hurt anyone.” Well I guess we have your word on that, don’t we? The word of a known criminal. Meanwhile the day was ruined, for us, with my young daughter back at the car and wetting her pants.
Well played. You get your dog area for backup and our space as your primary. You probably didn’t want to go there because there were too many dogs, right?
So are we bigger assholes to each other today or does it only seem that way? We certainly seem more narcissistic and masturbatory. But back then there less rule of law and other things in abundance like slavery, racism, gender oppression, genocide and more. Maybe as a society all we’ve done is redistribute the evil in new and interesting ways? Maybe the amount always must remain constant?
The courage of Michael Vick
Michael Vick still plays in the NFL? Need I say more?
Poor Michael Vick. This poor little victim of circumstance has been put through the school of hard knocks and then some.
Finally, he is getting the kind of positive recognition and accolades he deserves.
Vick’s teammates on the Philadelphia Eagles recently voted, as a team, to give the beleaguered quarterback the Ed Block “Courage” Award.
By all means, let us celebrate the “courage” of Michael Vick. Is it the “courage” to face that what you did was wrong and that you’ve repented? Not exactly. It’s more like the “courage” to say, “Hey, come on now. It’s in the past. Can’t we move on? Let’s leave the past behind.” Right on, Vick!
If there is one thing the NFL does well it is promoting the type of values we can all appreciate and enjoy.
The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation on its web site says it “is dedicated to improving the lives of…
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The gallant crew of the U.S.S. Fluffy Tail
Another morning, another blog post not even started yet. Now I face a choice. Wear clean clothes to work or write on the blog.
Hello dirty clothes!
Plumb out of ideas, I asked my wife for a random topic. She said, “cats.” So here we go!
In space no one can hear you meow…
Ship’s Log, U.S.S. Fluffy Tail. Stardate 3.1415 rounded off to the nearest decimal point. We’re proceeding dangerously close to the neutral zone on our mission to map gaseous anomalies in sector Felinictus. So far no sign of Dog vessels. Meanwhile, my engineer says we’re running low on milk…
The attack came out of no where. We had no warning. As the ship rattled I sprang from the ready room to the bridge.
“Report!” I demanded.
There was no answer. I turned to find Commander Morris, Science Officer. “Dammit, cat, what the hell do the scanners show?” Continue reading →
Greetings, to ALL Earthlings
“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.”
Michael Vick barks that he’d like to be sacked from Eagles
Michael Vick (who I’ve written about before) was back in the news this week.
First, it seems some comments he made about his new team, the Philadelphia Eagles, have been interpreted by some as Vick saying he is “disgruntled” with his situation with the Eagles. Keep in mind that this is the same team that gave him a chance to get back in the game after he spent 18 months in jail for bankrolling a dogfighting ring.
Regarding the prospects of returning to play for the Philadelphia Eagles next year, Vick had this to say:
“It would be hard. It would be an everyday struggle. But I would have to take that time to hone my skills and get better. I’m excited about the opportunity I have moving forward whether it’s with Philadelphia or another team.”
Not exactly what you would call enthusiasm for your employer, eh? Especially when the current season is only about half-way done. And keep in mind that he’s being paid $1.6 million for 2009 and the Eagles have the option of picking him up in 2010 for $5.2 million. He has the balls to poop on that? Wow.
Of course when interviewed later he back-peddled from his earlier comments in true NFL quarterback/dog enthusiast style, saying that his only concern right now is helping the Eagles win a Super Bowl and not on where he’ll be playing next year. Right.
The Eagles want Vick to play out of something called the Wildcat formation. (I have no clue what that is.) Think of this situation as an employer telling an employee, “I’ll pay you money and this is what I want you to do.” Vick’s response? “I won’t be a Wildcat guy. I can’t. It’s a different style of play. It’s almost like a hit-or-miss type of thing. My position is quarterback. That’s what I was born to do.”
You just can’t fake true class like that. Thanks for giving me a job but I won’t do it, won’t like it, I’ll bitch about it to the press, and I’ll undermine my teammates while the current season is still underway. I mean, come on! Who wouldn’t want this guy on their team?
The second bit of Vick news is that a federal court ruled that Vick can keep $16 million in bonuses from his former team, the Atlanta Falcons, even though he wasn’t available to play and earn those bonuses because his ass was in jail. I’ve got to try that sometime. Spend two years in jail, get out, then tell my boss I want the Christmas bonuses I missed paid in full. That would be a nice gig.
Lastly, I haven’t seen anything new about Vick’s reality TV show to air on BET that will document has “trials” and “tribulations.” I’m keeping my ear to the ground on that one. Maybe we’ll learn more soon.