Saturday, November 29, 2008

My son finds Thanksgiving confounding. Why do we celebrate a event which led to the decimation of indigenous people? It's one thing to celebrate something before you truly acknowledge the actual incident. I grew up with the whitewashed version of history - very little Hispanic, African, Indigenous influence. I got the whole happy Indians helping out the white folk version...with very little background on what was the standard operating procedures for Euro-Adventurers. For a very prestigious school, I got a very skewed version of history. Thinking about it though, it is in keeping with how few minorities were allowed in...that weren't part of the staff.  
But now that we know what Thanksgiving really symbolizes, shouldn't we modify? I know we try to paint it as a great opportunity to count our blessings and such. But shouldn't we do that on a more regular basis anyway? I mean, shouldn't we be thankful for the supportive people in our lives, the love we get from our families and friends, the blessings of health and abilities? Should we be thankful for all the freedoms we have on at least a monthly basis? I mean, shouldn't we just sit and reflect occasionally about the many fabulous things we get to experience, the wondrous miracles that present themselves into our life unprovoked? 
I remember when my boys were really little, like toddler little. They were thirteen months apart and I was wiped most of the time. I remember how I would be so frazzled and exhausted. It was just an endless stream of diapers, feeding, wiping, monitoring, entertaining, teaching, being on alert. Regardless of how bad the day was, how stressed I was, there would be one thing, one single moment when I would get a look that only someone who adores you can give, one little hand reaching for mine, one tiny little body climbing up into my lap to get as close to me as possible because he was he and I was his. In those spectacular moments, my entire day would change. Everything was worth it. Everything faded to black and the light would shine from my heart to his. I can still bring those moments up from my memory banks. I can still feel the overwhelming, cup runneth over emotions. There were so many of those moments that I can close my eyes and like a playlist on my Ipod, scroll through all the options and choose the perfect incident.  
I am so grateful every day for the opportunity to be a part of these two precious lives. For all their weirdness and teen boy angst, they are the perfect angels that would reach up to be carried, look to me for guidance and allow me to hold their hands on their life journey. What an incredible honor. 
So I don't need a day of thanks. I love the idea of getting together with my people and celebrating our relationship. That appeals to me. But I don't need to have a day to give thanks. Much like I don't need a mandated day of love. I get that some people need a day - a father's day, a mother's day, a valentine's day to remind them that the people so instrumental in making the world a brighter world with unconditional love should be valued....at least once a year. I think it should be part of the lessons we teach our kids. Valuing those that impact us. Appreciating those that brighten our day, are a shoulder to lean on. Randomly. Not orchestrated by society or commercial entities. But inspired by genuine love. 
That is the Thanksgiving lesson that I hope to give to my boys. That they demonstrate their love for others, the appreciation for those that give to them unselfishly, joy for the friendships they have found, for the those that love them regardless of their errors, mistakes, shortcomings. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I saw the most recent video taken in one of the many nondescript places where they slaughter turkeys. I saw it about a week ago but I am still having nightmares about it. How do you stomp, repeatedly, on the head of a defenseless animal, over and over again, turn away while it desperately tries to right it self, how do you insert a rod into the anus of an animal in your care and rupture its bowel...and then go home at night, cuddle your kids, pet your dog and sleep peacefully? 
How do people get so desensitized? 
I would think that you are around all this noise, this terribly stifling ammonia saturated, unventilated building with wards that flap and run and squawk and resist, I would think that if you do this for any length of time, it wears you down to the point that you don't care anymore. You not only don't care. 
You hate. 
You hate where you are. 
You hate how little money you make. 
You hate how you smell. 
You hate how you feel. 
And the only ones that you can take all this hostility and aggression out on are the ones dependent on your grace. 
But who has shown you grace? 
Who has cared about your family, your living situation, your troubles? 
Who is empathetic about the despondency that overtakes you every morning when you awaken to the fact that you have to go back and work in a foul smelling, desperate environment for minimum wage, no benefits and horrific conditions? 
You work sick, you work injured, you work regardless of personal need. 
I can only imagine the desperation. 
But even though I feel such deep sorrow for the plight of the factory farm worker, I cannot begin to understand how one can inflict such terrible abuse on defenseless beings. 
How does it change you? 
Does it tag along behind you, like a shadow, this deep darkness? 
Does it taint everything you think and feel? 
Does it make you strike out at those children that refuse to listen? 
Does it make you slap down the significant other that will not get off your back? 
Does it propel you to kick at that mewing kitty or barking dog? 
How do you dislodge the tentacles of this persistent octopus? 
How do you free yourself, separate work that you do for forty, fifty, sixty, up to seventy hours a week from your personal time? 
How does it not become a part of you?
This is where the fact that all things are connected comes into play. That guy that picks up that turkey and repeatedly slams it against a wall, drops it and kicks it across the room....while it hangs on to life, cannot possibly let go of that sort of violence, that sort of raging demon that would allow him to see a defenseless animal as a legitimate target for his anger. It is there, lurking, waiting for a break in patience, a time out in tolerance, a sliver in the sleep cycle. It is waiting to come roaring back because it cannot go. It has no place to go. Those that experience this sort of soul changing conditions do not have the means to lift themselves and their families to a better place, to work through it in therapy, to power it out at the gym. Those that are remanded to this sort of labor are stuck. And there is nothing in this world more defeating than being stuck. 
We have to get to a place, as a society, of balance. Where we raise animals, if we cannot break the addiction, in a natural environment, with compassion and kindness, with gratitude for the sacrifice the animal is making for us. And when the supply is depleted, it is done. No more mass production, hormones and antibiotics. No more warehousing of sensitive souls in deplorable conditions. Respecting what has been given to us, much as we should be respecting the seas and the lands and the air that exists for us. We have progressed. We have evolved to a point that we should be doing so much better for those dependent on us. 
If you are eating turkey for Thanksgiving, there is no excuse to not watch the latest video of what they must endure for you. 
It'll upset you? 
Too bad. 
If you can chow down on these animals you damn well better get the fortitude to endure a witness position to their plight.
It is the least you can do. 
Search "Peta Turkey Abuse"

Pre-Thanksgiving 

What am I thankful for...not just today, but what do I think about on a fairly consecutive basis that fills me with gratitude? 
  1. That I don't smoke anymore. I have to say, I am so thankful on a regular basis that I was able to kick that habit. The control over everything I did was staggering, looking back. I am grateful.
  2. That I exercise daily - yoga changed my life. Running and then doing self paced yoga centers me and makes me calm. It is terribly obvious when I have skipped a day.
  3. That I found the love of my life. Lance may have some shortcomings but he puts up with mine, and for that I am eternally grateful.
  4. That I was able to experience the joy, the stress, the roller coaster that is motherhood. I adore my boys. I am stunned by their beauty, their brilliance, their gifts and their very kind souls.
  5. That I have a good relationship with my immediate family. That's nothing to scoff at. A lot of people hate their siblings and parents. I look forward to being with them and miss those that are not with me.
  6. That I have a job that intrigues me. That I am part of a team that gets along, that is straight up, and that has my back. I look forward to going to work and I literally have to be dragged out of there in the evening. It is challenging so it is never dull. 
  7. That my husband and I have reached a place where we are comfortable and are not stressing over money. 
  8. That my husband has found a job with people that appreciate his abilities, that positively reinforce him and make him feel valued. 
  9. That I am healthy. 
  10. That I have some of the best friends anyone could have. Seriously, I have always envied those "girl relationships" that have been so evasive for me. I always thought of myself as a friend that was lacking...primarily because those that I had been friends with made me feel that way. Now I realize that it wasn't me. It was them. The friends I have now don't have a secret checklist by which they evaluate my behavior. I have had that so often, being held to some standard of which I was unaware only to have the grenades tossed out during a conflict in order to blow me to pieces. I have never understood it, but it happened so often that it was impossible to believe that it was everyone else. But what was happening was I was selecting the same kind of person over and over again. Those that seemed really "into" me, but who would also become extremely disappointed when I didn't live up to the standard they were expecting. Regardless, I have great friends now. I am so grateful.
  11. That I am still optimistic. That might seem weird, but I am thankful that the experiences I have had have not made me bitter. 
  12. That Obama will be our next president. Succeed or fail, I feel like my country really stepped up and showed who we are. Not the stereotypical racist majority. But good, solid people that want to work for what they get and want to care for all in society. At least, that's who I am hoping we are.
  13. That my brother is watching over me.
  14. That he is with my dad watching over me.
  15. That I am who I am. Flawed as all humans but willing to change and grow. I am grateful that I am still willing to recognize the things that need improvement and appreciate the things that are good about myself. 
  16. That my family loves me.
  17. That my husband is faithful.
  18. That my sister misses me and wants me to visit.
  19. That my boys, my husband and I will have our dream ski trip before Josh graduates.
  20. That my hair will grow after my most recent haircut that is waaaaayyyyyy too short! :)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Please consider NOT eating turkey or anything else that will be eternally grateful for your decision to go vegetarian or better yet, vegan.






Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My friend, my best friend besides my husband, my mom and sister, is in love. I see it in her eyes, on her face, in the way she carries herself and in her energy. It is a soul inspiring thing. Especially when you are able to catch that buzz and extend it to your own relationship. I have known Lance for almost 16 years and we are on year ten of marriage. And I still adore him. He still takes my breath away. Still makes me laugh so hard I have to tell him to stop. Still get tingles up the back of my neck when I see him. Still feel the tightness in my chest when I think of him. Still feel the rush. I can totally relate to my dear friend. It is the best feeling in the world. It's why people are always searching for it. It is a feeling of completion. A feeling of high without drugs or alcohol. And when it's reciprocated. Wow. It's the most magical, most euphoric sense one can ever hope to achieve.
I am so happy for her. She deserves all the happiness in the world.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thank you to the reader that made me aware that chaining dogs in Texas is illegal! Where the heck have I been?
House Bill 1411 states

(4) "Restraint" means a chain, rope, tether, leash,
cable, or other device that attaches a dog to a stationary object
or trolley system.
Sec. 821.077. UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT OF DOG. (a) An owner may
not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that
unreasonably limits the dog's movement:
(1) between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.;
(2) within 500 feet of the premises of a school; or
(3) in the case of extreme weather conditions,
including conditions in which:
(A) the actual or effective outdoor temperature
is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit;
(B) a heat advisory has been issued by a local or
state authority or jurisdiction; or
(C) a hurricane, tropical storm, or tornado
warning has been issued for the jurisdiction by the National
Weather Service.


In my previous post I didn't state that I have been seeing a red colored dog chained to a tree for a while now. Hurricane Ike blew through and exposed the misery of this animal by tearing away the fence safeguarding the owner's cruelty. Tethered to a tree it sits there day in day out with a ridiculously large chain attached to its collar. I found out from Animal Control that the owners have other dogs that they allow in the house...only that one sits alone exposed to the elements all day and night. Why have it? Why have an animal that is merely yard decor? Get a statue and give the dog to someone that will take it for a walk, feed it, stroke and love it. Why torture an animal that is completely dependent on you? Why completely screw it up emotionally, making it aggressive and unsocialized? You hear about people who victimize one of their children..while the other go about their lives as if nothing is happening. While one is tortured beyond comprehension. I don't know what snaps in people. Why they would focus all their aggression and frustration and psychosis on a single individual but it is up to us, it is up to society to keep our eyes open. To notice. To pay attention. We have to stop abuse whenever it occurs. Seeing someone belt their kid in the store cannot go without comment and action.
Witnessing unlawful behavior, we must act. We must step up. It is imperative. Most think that the demise of our society has something to do with God being taken out of the schools and a lack of moral teaching. I believe it is something different. I believe it is a lack of empathy. Sometimes that needs to be taught. Once you have empathy for others, you can't hurt them. You can't physically torture. You can't neglect. Because you feel their pain. You experience the misery. We as a society have to start putting ourselves into the position of those that are dependent on our benevolence.
When you see a kid being bullied, step in.
When you see a parent slapping the little body of a child, step in.
When you see a child hurt an animal, step in.
When you see an adult behaving cruelly, step in.
And in Texas, if you see a tethered dog, report it, citing the House Bill (which is now an Act) 1411 making that action illegal.
We owe it to those dependent upon our goodness.
I used to go to the gym at five in the morning to work out on the eliptical and rowing machines. It was nice to get it over with. Later, in the evening, I would go back to the gym to do yoga. We ended our gym membership mostly because I freakin' hate gyms (but that's another story) and it was m0ney down the drain for my family that rarely used the membership to its fullest potential. I struggled with motivation for a while and not being able to find the right balance.
But I have finally found it.
I run two miles in the evenings with one of the dogs, come home and head straight upstairs. I shut the door to the master bedroom, dim the lights, put a new agey, spa station on XM, grab my mat and start my yoga. Not listening to others grunt, inevitably yak, or the instructions of the leader has been more than I ever imagined. Taking my time with poses, focusing in the areas I want to focus in on, breathing, pushing myself, it really has been cathartic.
The run starts out stiff and why the heck am I doing this-ish. But as my poor knees loosen up, and I get into a rhythm, I inevitably go where the music on my IPOD takes me. I understand the runner's high, although I don't think I have attained the level by any stretch of the imagination that mini or full marathon runners achieve. But I understand it. Once your mind realize that no amount of negative signals is going to stop you on your quest, it resigns itself to be as far removed as possible. I have literally had an argument with myself about that pain possibly being something serious and worth stopping for. But once that is done, it becomes automatic and you can wander off some place a lot nicer and more comfortable.

It's hard resuming if you stop. I stopped for a bit and found that my energy diminished so significantly I thought there was something wrong with me...like a disease or something. Everything was an effort. I found myself falling asleep in my chair before nine o'clock at night. I started back by taking the dogs for a walk. Three separate walks equalling about five miles. Brisk walks that started leisurely.
Then I got a gift card for my involvement in the Wellness Program at work. I immediately went out and bought running shoes. That was crucial. It's shocking what a difference shoes make. I got lightweight, supportive shoes that are a dream to run in. I actually look forward to my little run now. It is dark and cool. I realized also that I hate running in the heat. In my area, that's pretty much all the time except for now. So, I will have to figure out what time of night or early morning is coolest because I want to keep this up.
I realize now that there is a reason they call those that sit around watching TV all day "couch potatoes". Your flesh begins to look a lot like mashed potatoes if you don't exercise enough. It's not pleasant. I am fortunate in that being vegan helps keep my weight down but that doesn't do jack for the tone of muscles. That takes exercise.
All I can say is, do yourself a favor and start moving. Put on some headphones, put on your favorite song and dance like a crazy person. Jump. Kick. Punch. Walk. Stretch. Lift your arms over your head and reach for the sky. You will feel so much better. And your body will thank you. Not initially. It will hurt you initially. But once it realizes that you mean business, it will be surprising cooperative and capable.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's funny how easy it is to minimize things that we don't really want to take the time to investigate and analyze. We are all busy in our lives. Parents running around working full time, grocery shopping, carting kids here and there, picking up last minute supplies, meeting with teachers, maintaining the home and transportation. Single people doing the same thing...just not multiplied by as much. They have to endure the stress of (gasp) dating, which I can't even fathom having to find the energy for.
So when we drive by a house and see a dog chained to a tree with a bowl and little else, it is easy to think that it has access to water and the shelter of the tree...surely it must be fine.

But I ask you to stop and think about it for a moment. The length of that tether determines the the amount of world that animal will experience. 3 ft? 4? 6? 8? An eight foot radius. In which to sleep.
Eat.
Defecate.
Urinate.
Eight feet suddenly doesn't seem like much.
It's beginning to turn chilly in our area.
Down to 45 degrees last night.
That dog is still chained to that tree.
In that cold and on that cold ground.
The tree does not offer warmth.
If it rains it will offer little shelter.
Often dogs that are chained have painful sores where the collar rubs. Dogs that are chained are rarely cared for properly. They are ignored for the most part with sporadic feeding, overturned water bowls, and even less interaction with people or other animals. They often become aggressive primarily from the stress of isolation but also because their world is that radius and it's all they have.
What did that dog do to be remanded into isolation?
What happened to make someone think that leaving a living creature chained alone and exposed is ok?

I read an interesting article at the link below. I think the contest should run nationwide. We would see a huge, sweeping change in how we view chained dogs.
The next time you pass a dog on a chain,, think.
Think about the life that dog is experiencing.
I will guarantee you that it did nothing to deserve that sentence.
And if you are moved, file a report with animal control.
Ask that they talk to the owner.
Cities all across America are waking up to this terrible habit and banning dog chaining.
It is about time.
http://www.hsus.org/pets/pets_related_news_and_events/chain_off_2006.html

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I did a search "what do gays want"...primarily because there's a lot of false information presented to look like fact.
I think....what's the big deal?
I mean there are a lot of people that don't believe in marriage.
It's a legal thing anyway.
Legitimizing the responsibilities in a legal sense.
So, why do gays want it?
It makes it way harder to leave.
Suddenly you're in court splitting things, dividing time for the children, like so much pumpkin pie.
One piece for you, one for me. Your piece is bigger!
You get the picture.
It's never pretty.
So why not just cohab?

And then I read the following. (http://www.villagevoice.com/2004-02-24/news/i-d-leave-the-country-but-my-wife-won-t-let-me/1)


Here are some excerpts...
I want to be a full citizen, with this woman [her partner, Sarah], today. I want to do whatever it takes, sacrifice whatever is necessary, go wherever I have to, for that to be so.
I want to be taxed equally. I want my Social Security benefits to go somewhere besides down the drain. I want the Fifth Amendment right not to testify against Sarah, and to protect our private correspondence from subpoena, the same as other spouses. Couples like us don't have that right.
Surprised?
Rosie O'Donnell and her wife were, when the lawyers came after them.
I want our politicians and religious leaders to stop going on television and suggesting that legalizing marriage for us would be like legalizing sex with dogs.
My wife, in my arms?
They are talking about my wife, in my arms.
Do they know, do they care, how much that hurts?
Where must we run to be safe from them?
I want my wife not to feel such pressure and fear that she curls up in bed at night and cries.
On the night of Wednesday, February 25, a woman in Brooklyn lay crying because she can't understand why people would hate her so, why they'd have to denigrate a beautiful and private part of her life with the most heinous rhetoric.
Think about that.
My wife lay in tears because strangers are clamoring for the power to decide whether she belongs, whether the American promise should hold true for her — as if there were any question which way they'd vote.
What stands between us and them?
A couple dozen senators, and some of those are on the fence.
Where is our right to a meaningful marriage, to the honest pursuit of happiness?
We want our justice and "domestic tranquility."
Whose country is this, anymore? Someone tell me.
I get the feeling it's no longer mine.

I found that to be so poignant.

And then I read this from here (http://www.bidstrup.com/marriage.htm)

Why This Is A Serious Civil Rights Issue
When gay people say that this is a civil rights issue, we are referring to matters of civil justice, which often can be quite serious - and can have life-damaging, even life-threatening consequences.
One of these is the fact that in most states, we cannot make medical decisions for our partners in in emergency.
Instead, the hospitals are usually forced by state laws to go to the families who may have been estranged from us for decades, who are often hostile to us, and can and frequently do, totally ignore our wishes regarding the treatment of our partners. If a hostile family wishes to exclude us from the hospital room, they may legally do so in most states. It is even not uncommon for hostile families to make decisions based on their hostility -- with results consciously intended to be as inimical to the interests of the patient as possible!
Is this fair?

Upon death, in many cases, even very carefully drawn wills and durable powers of attorney have proven to not be enough if a family wishes to challenge a will, overturn a custody decision, or exclude us from a funeral or deny us the right to visit a partner's hospital bed or grave.

As survivors, estranged families can, in nearly all states, even seize a real estate property that a gay couple may have been buying together for many years, quickly sell it at the largest possible loss, and stick the surviving partner with all the remaining mortgage obligations on a property that partner no longer owns, leaving him out on the street, penniless. There are hundreds of examples of this, even in many cases where the gay couple had been extremely careful to do everything right under current law, in a determined effort to protect their rights.
Is this fair?

If our partners are arrested, we can be compelled to testify against them or provide evidence against them, which legally married couples are not forced to do. In court cases, a partner's testimony can be simply ruled irrelevant as heresay by a hostile judge, having no more weight in law than the testimony of a complete stranger. If a partner is jailed or imprisoned, visitation rights by the partner can, in most cases, can be denied on the whim of a hostile family and the cooperation of a homophobic judge, unrestrained by any law or precedent. Conjugal visits, a well-established right of heterosexual married couples in some settings, are simply not available to gay couples.
Is this fair?

These are far from being just theoretical issues; they happen with surprising frequency. Almost any older gay couple can tell you numerous horror stories of friends and acquaintances who have been victimized in such ways. One couple I know uses the following line in the "sig" lines on their email: "...partners and lovers for 40 years, yet still strangers before the law." Why, as a supposedly advanced society, should we continue to tolerate this kind of injustice?

These are all civil rights issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with the ecclesiastical origins of marriage; they are matters that have become enshrined in state laws by legislation or court precedent over the years in many ways that exclude us from the rights that legally married couples enjoy and even consider their constitutional right.

This is why we say it is very much a serious civil rights issue; it has nothing to do with who performs the ceremony, whether it is performed in a church or courthouse or the local country club, or whether an announcement about it is accepted for publication in the local newspaper.


Much of the argument against has no basis in reality.
"You can leave money to whomever you want!"
"You can award benefits to your dog...didn't you hear about that woman that left all her money to her cats? "
"They just want their abhorrent behavior recognized by the legal system! They are imposing their beliefs on us!"
Isn't that strange? I have found that most baseless arguments involved projection - blaming others for what you are actually doing. We are imposing OUR beliefs on THEM. They are trying to legitimize their relationships not for approval, not so that it can be taught in school, but so their families are cared for when they pass, so that they can care for each other should one become incapacitated.
Shudder.
How awful!

It will happen.
It is inevitable.
But I understand their impatience.
They deserve to have the rights of everyone else.
It IS a big deal. It does matter.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I guess it's pretty well known now that something like 80+ churches decided to defy the separation of church and state with political sermons before the election.
Their tax exempt status was not revoked.
Now we have pastors, priests, preachers and other folks of said cloth wagging their fingers at parishioners for their possible votes for Obama. He is pro-choice...or rather as those that like to incite "pro-abortion" and therefore, doomed to eternal damnation and fast feet hot coal dancing.

Who's "pro-abortion"?
Seriously?
Who?
Who goes out and says I want to get pregnant so that I can live the joy of having a fetus sucked from my uterus?
And of course the implication with the alternative to "pro-life" is...anti-life? Pro-death?
Those hysterical frenzied masses that love to toss out the innocent baby images have no interest in solving the problem.
The problem being: unwanted pregnancies.
If they were interested in solving this problem, they would back the mass distribution of the "morning after pill". This way no conception occurs and no fetus develops. They don't want this available. It goes to the whole "personal responsibility" and abstinence until marriage creed they cling to. It just seems to me that this is counter to what God intends. If he wanted everyone to stay virginal until marriage...was he honestly expecting people to marry at 9,10,11...with the onset of puberty? Because isn't that what puberty is all about? Being able to procreate?
This is the contradiction that kids are facing today.
They are bombarded with images and content about sex and sexuality.
They are equally bombarded by church and parents (ESPECIALLY in the south!) about abstinence and virginity until marriage.
AND they are pushed to wait to get married until they are out of college and independent.
?
So what are talking about here?
23?
24?
Before you have sex?
Easily TEN YEARS after hitting puberty?
Why does God make men sexually peak at 18?
So they will be completely disinterested by the time they're married?
It's a bunch of human bullshit dabbling in stuff they know nothing about.
I have no issue with safe sex.
I don't.
And if something happened and one my boys came to me about a broken condom and worries about pregnancy, I would make sure that I got a morning after pill for the girl in question.
Because as lovely and wonderful and blessed children are, they are a huge responsibility. AND they deserve to be born into an environment of love and compassion and nurturing and maturity. You will rarely find that with a 17 year old.
I don't want churches preaching to my kids or to me that a vote for a certain candidate threatens my place in heaven. it is absolutely against the law of God. My place is secure. Regardless of when my kids have sex, regardless of my voting record.
It is time to get away from the unsolvable problem of abortion and get on the real solution - sex education, safe sex practices, free sexual health checkups and birth control.
In homage to those again denied their basic rights, hang in there. People will acquiesce. It is now a matter of time. Public opinion is changing. It's impossible, I know. Like seeing a child in an abusive situation until the paperwork is done for CPS. Or waiting for people to care about the plight of animals. It's heartbreaking. It's not fair. It's painful. But it will change. If we can finally elect a minority to run the country, there is hope.
You will get the rights you deserve.


Why Can't I Own a Canadian?
October 2002
Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your devoted fan,
Jim

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

There are nights that for the life of me I cannot close my eyes. I am not a "worrier", at least not in the same category as my mother and sister. I do worry about things but not compulsively. I don't look for things to worry about.
I do have a tendency for "continued education" which to me is refreshing my passion for animal rights through video. There are many people that I know that cannot do it. They cannot bring themselves to watch the videos that show the plight of elephants & tigers in circuses or zoos, turkeys and chickens in factory farms, cows and pigs in slaughterhouses.
It haunts them.
It scars them.
I understand this.
But to be honest, it scars the animals a helluva lot more than it can ever scar us.
So many people that I know think I am so principled. I find that counfounding. I don't consider myself excessively principled.
I am, however, excessively haunted.
Every video stays with me. And every time I see a burger, bacon, cheese, eggs, those videos revisit me. Everytime I see the signs go up for the rodeo and the circus or the local zoo, I see the images that are burned into my consciousness.

Abuse of dependent beings is the hot button issue for me. There is no defense of it. You cannot give me a reason I will accept. Hitting children, bullhooking elephants, whipping tigers, smashing piglets onto a concrete floor, sodomizing turkeys...just not defensible.

So when I saw that yet another elephant had died in captivity in a zoo, it brought up all those images I have of "training" videos.
The gut wrenching, soul destroying "breaking" of baby elephants by being tied down and beaten bloody for days.
The screaming of captive elephants at the hands of their 'trainers".
The wild look in their eyes as a "trainer" approaches with a weapon of discipline in their hand.
Seeing the video of little Mac as he lifted his little leg at the "request" of his trainers makes my heart ache. I know what an elephant must endure in order to master that feat. He must endure screaming and beatings and relentless sadistic actions. To do something that is unnatural to an animal it takes a great deal of fear. Terror actually. The ironic part is that those in the crowd watching, see an animal - like an elephant or a dolphin - with what appears to be a smile - as if the animal is enjoying the fun game.
They do not.
I often wonder if people even think where the dolphins that jump through the rings, the tigers that hurl themselves through the fire, the elephants that mount each others' backs in a ghasty display...I wonder if anyone every thinks about where these animals come from, where they stay when they aren't performing, how they are treated.
I see videos to keep myself aware.
The dolphin round ups in the coves of Japan where the water is turned red with blood as these terrified animals are trapped in the most horrifying display you will ever witness.
The relentless bloodying of elephants to ensure they remain petrified at all times.
The greyhound dogs that are raced and then beaten, abused and neglected.
The circus ponies punched in the face for no reason.
I see what men do to animals.
From the skinning of live dogs in China for unlabeled fur trim on American coats to the ripping off of wings and legs that are caught in the cages at the slaugherhouse.
I have seen it. It is with me everyday.
Every second of everyday.
It is not hard being vegan.
As I would think it would not be hard not being a Nazi.
Or a slave owner.
Seeing and hearing how some are treated at the hands of others...it makes it easy.
Tempting? Sure.
But the guilt is not worth it.
Knowing that the piece of chocolate that will satisfy a craving for 15 seconds does not justify the hell that baby calf had to go through - being ripped from its mother, tossed into a box to become veal or ground up for 99 cent burgers.
I understand how the out of sight, out of mind theory works for most people.
I also understand how wounding a video showing what animals must go through is to most people.
My question is - how do you justify consuming animals yet not give them the respect of witnessing what they go through for you?

Mac is in a better place now. I only wish he could have lived as he was intended to live while on this earth - with a loving family, with the grass and dirt and trees around him, running for his life, learning from his family how to fend for himself and to be part of a family unit. My heart is made up of miniscule pieces, shattered endlessly by man's inhumanity yet pieced back together by those that are willing to give of themselves to make life better for the dependent beings placed in our care.

Watch Whale Wars on Animal Planet on Friday nights. It is the story of the organization Sea Shepherd Conservation Society started by Paul Watson, one of the original members of Greenpeace. I have been giving to this organization on a monthly basis for close to a year now because they go and stand in between our fellow mammals of the sea and the hunters. It is so much better than the (gag) Deadliest Catch because this it is all about the sparing of life and those willing to throw themselves into harm's way for the benefit of others.

I find that to be as close to what Jesus asked us to do than almost anything else.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

When Palin was tapped to be the republican VP, I did a little research. Just beneath the fluff, there were stories about her refusal to be briefed. She had no patience for coaching or training, choosing to be off the cuff and more natural. Which I do understand, in all honesty. No one wants to sound like a robot repeating factoids in rote fashion.
But when one enters a new realm, especially one with so much exposure, so much scrutiny, I would think that anyone would defer to those that have experience and follow their directions. Palin, it appears, refused to do so. She balked at any training or instruction which led to her catastrophic interviews. She didn't know that Africa is a continent...not a country. She didn't know the countries involved in NAFTA. I don't think knowledge thwarts one's personal style. I believe that you can deliver thoughts and knowledge with a personal flair that separates you from everyone else. That's why Obama was such a phenomenon. His intellect was only highlighted by his ability to inspire. No one wants to sit and listen to a monotone drone. We want to hear the personal, see the individual. But we want substance. Cutsy, folksy is fine if you have something to say that's relevant, insightful and knowledgeable. It is annoying when it is merely a cover for a lack of those vital ingredients.
It's funny to me that Obama was continuously cast as arrogant and an elitist, when someone who knew so little coming in refused to be tutored or informed believing that she could get by on her wits. You can do that on a small stage but on the national stage you will be eaten up.
Which is exactly what happened.
She flew like a meteor from the convention, and just as quickly, within a couple of weeks, burned out and became a joke.
Boy. I sure hope she's the face of the future republican party.
It would be a lock for the democrats for at least another four years.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I guess the Evangelical Christians were right. God does pick the president.
Glory, glory, glory! Lord God Almighty!
Obama is our president elect.
I am euphorically soaking in the honeymoon vibes.
Let the changing begin!
And so it begins...
News like this will begin as a trickle...ending in a torrent of negatives under the Palin column.

NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family--clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.