So…Who’s the Animal?

So…Who’s the Animal?

For millennia, humans have called other sentient species “animals” – dogs, cats, ManMonkeyHybridfaceelephants, fowl, you get the idea.  And, we use the term as a disparagement – “…he acted like an animal!  It was awful!”

Interesting, given that we, too, are animals…

This was understandable at a time when barbaric practices like blood-letting and slavery were the norm, when humans thought other creatures to be stupid & without feeling therefore perfect for exploitation; they had no purpose other than serving human’s needs with no interest in their well-being.  Think capturing them in the wild for the circus, or whipping a slow, underfed horse to death, from which comes the adage “beating a dead horse” to indicate a futile activity.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and although human’s treatment of other species has greatly improved from even a century ago – Boomers are the first generation to have household pets as the norm – in some ways the practice of distancing ourselves from them continues:

  • We still call them “animals” making them lesser thus less deserving of fully humane treatment at all times;
  • We still refer to them as “it” rather than by gender;
  • We call ourselves their “owners” just as we do our house or car.

In turn, this has allowed us to feel comfortable eating them, selling them, and in too many cases, abusing them.

We now know that all other species, from fish to fowl, from canines/felines large & small to rhinos, feel,smart animals have varying levels of higher order thinking, communicate, have social connections (including some species who mate for life), and are self-aware; in essence, possess all elements required for the same sentience as our species.

We see cows heading for slaughter who know what’s coming and attempt to escape; captive dolphins & whales dying from depression (that’s how the dolphin we all loved on “Flipper” died); fish who are now understood to have the capacity for acquiring, storing in memory, retrieving, combining, comparing, and using in new contexts information and conceptual skills (in fact, their brain to body ratio is higher than ours).
Get a feel for just how loving and smart farm critters are from one of the places that saves them from mostly factory farming.

Yet:

  • Factory farmers use ever more abusive methods to get the biggest bang for their food animals buck (and have put almost 90% of small family farms out of business BTW), and people who claim to love animals still buy their products;
  • Stores like PetSmart & PetCo still buy small animals raised just for sale in usually awful conditions, and sell them, and people still buy them not realizing (or wanting to know?) the harm done to them;
  • Horses & Greyhounds are exploited for racing then sent off to slaughter (horses) or euthanized (dogs) when no longer a money-maker – people still enjoy the horse/dog races, again, not realizing (or wanting to know?) the harm done to them;puppy mills crppd
  • People still buy their pets from breeders who, at best profit from the use of a species just for procreation (something we still consider acceptable for other species when we don’t for our own), at worst run cruel puppy mills;
  • Large and small species are still used for our entertainment as though that was the purpose for their placement on earth – many otherwise animal loving people still attend animal-entertainment venues;
  • We are now fully aware of State-sanctioned animal abuse that goes on in countries like South Korea and China, but we go on supporting those countries by buying their products.

So, why are humans having such difficulty applying our new found understanding of other species to our treatment of them, just as, for example, we’ve changed the way we treat humans with impairments now that we better understand their capacities?  Is same species vs. other species so compelling that we cannot give them the same level of respect we do our own?

Even animal lovers worldwide – folks who have pets and love them dearly – choose to ignore the suffering outlined above.  Americans spend billions on pet care, yet for the most part won’t spend a little extra to buy meat that’s humanely raised, take a little extra time to find a smart phone manufactured by country other than South Korea/China, or cosmetics not tested on animals.

They are animal lovers until it’s inconvenient.

We have the capacity to change the way the we and others in the world treat all God’s critters, yet too many of us don’t.

So, who’s the animal?

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If you’re interested in changes you can make to help all other species, here’s a few recommendations:

  • Pay a bit extra for organic eggs & meats from humanely raised livestock (don’t let “natural” or “free of antibiotics” fool you; that means only that a factory farmer as d/c’d adding hormones/antibiotics; if “humanely raised” is not on the packaging, the pigs/cows/hens/turkeys are not being treated well)
  • Join animal advocacy organizations like the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States, PETA, and World Wildlife Fund, to stay apprised of petitions you can sign to end various types of animal abuse – of course if you can give one or more of them a small donation, they do very hard work and deserve your support.  Also, a click a day helps animals at the Animal Rescue Site where sponsors pay for that day’s animal helping activity when the required number of clicks is reached; it’s free and it works.  You can sign up to be reminded to click every day, and there’s many other causes on the site, so you can also help them while you’re there if you wish.
  • Do just a bit of research and buy only products not test on animals – there’s a ton of ’em, they can be found everywhere, and it takes only your awareness to make the switch.  PETA keeps an extensive list of products not tested on animals.  Companies like Mary Kay were removed from the list when they opted to start selling products in China – a lucrative market for them, but a decision that clearly put profits ahead of animal welfare given that China requires animal testing on cosmetics…
  • As much as feasible, stop buying products made in China and South Korea, the two greatest serial abusers of particularly dogs and cats.  I know…lots a great things are made in particularly South Korea; LG & Samsung electronics & appliances, Kia & Hyundai cars…but with just a bit of research I found a terrific android phone made in Taiwan (a Chinese territory on paper only), and rather than buy your next car, appliance, or TV from SK, buy one made in America.
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Scapegoating Baby Boomers….Or Not…?

Scapegoating Baby Boomers….Or Not…?

I’ve noticed that much of the turmoil in the two most powerful Western Countries in the world, the US and Great Britain, is blamed on Baby Boomers:

  • In the US, the rise of Candidate Trump is blamed on angry, White middle-aged menangry Boomers (Boomers) who make up a bulk of his supporters (and the Tea Party before that), believing the system is “rigged” against them, wanting a political revolution that includes walls, bans on Muslims, a return to “the way things were” in younger days, and a possible exit from NATO;
  • In Britain, the majority of Brexit “leave” voters were Boomers, dissatisfied with such things as all the refugees crossing their borders and money going to the European Union that they want to keep for Britain alone.

We’re not the only generation voting for such controversial issues as leaving a union and banning an entire culture from the country, so why do we get all the blame?

Most likely because we’ve earned it.

As the first generation in modern history to:

  • think only of the present, not the future (the reason we were the first generation to make having lots of debt very cool…)…
  • have been raised to believe we’re quite special and therefore deserve great things (then passed that onto our children), and…
  • have grown accustomed to getting what we want when we want it no matter who or what is harmed along the way (from the environment as we also made waste cool, to the Great Recession fueled by our desire to live far beyond our means…

…we changed the landscape from sacrifice to satisfaction now, from ensuring the greater good to preserving what’s mine… and we replaced thoughtful debate with a good whine.  Remember, we still hold much of the power in both countries, from being the majority in legislatures to holding the most leadership positions in industry.

In the US & Britain, it’s mostly Boomers who want to close the borders to brexit-boomersrefugees/migrants, claiming fear for their safety and loss of jobs.

Yet, in the US, manufacturing workers are only a small portion of overall employment, accounting for just 9% of the workforce; instead, service workers account for more than three out of four American jobs and contribute to 60%+ of employment in 434 out of 435 congressional districts.  No opportunities lost there since Boomers are not about to starting cleaning hotel rooms or busing tables anytime soon. As for Britain, where socialization stops at industry’s door and Boomers have a nice pension, the only people at risk of losing jobs thus income to refugees were Millennials, who wanted to stay in the Union.

In the US, Boomers in the labor sector want those high-paying for un/semi-skilled manufacturing jobs back!…taken away by all those trade treaties vilified by Trump.  In fact, most manufacturing job loss came from advances in technology. Boomers in government want only to ensure their own political longevity which usually entails ignoring their constituents’ best interests, and those in industry make fistfuls of money by keeping their workers’ wages ridiculously low or moving their operations overseas where labor costs are far below what US workers would need to make a decent living.

In both countries, the majority of those who commit acts of terror are citizens or nationals.

For a generation here in the US that had the gumption to protest the Vietnam war to an end, the stamina to handle the assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, the fearlessness to live through the Watts riots & Kent State massacre, and the prescience to push for thus achieve the Civil Rights Act of 1964 & Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Women’s Liberation movement of the early ’70’s, and in Britain set world-wide trends in music/fashion/socialization, we’ve clearly lost our ability to go for the gold, replacing it out of fear with a determination to settle for the mediocre.

Because that’s what fear breeds…mediocrity…and we’re leading the way.

An Open Letter to All US Gun Owners

An Open Letter to All US Gun Owners

NRA logoThe NRA (and the small minority of Americans/vast majority of gun manufacturers they represent) continuously complains that any restrictions on gun ownership will lead to a “slippery slope” ending in everyone’s guns being taken away.

And indeed that fear has become a reality, but not the one they predict; instead they’ve done the slope slipping, from supporting some restrictions in the 80’s & 90’s to a “no restrictions are acceptable” stance now.

As a result, they’ve at last lost my willingness to accept some level of gun ownership, as that acceptance was predicated upon my understanding that most gun owners want regulations that keep gun carnage to a minimum.  Although I’m sure this is still true, even those folks have lost my backing as, through their silence, they are tacitly supporting the NRA’s untenable positions.

I’ve always known that the stance of gun ownership as a right bestowed to all by the Second Amendment makes sense only when the important opening words are omitted (which you will find is the case in all advocating documents and statements): “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…”

2nd-amendment

…but again, I was willing to work with Americans’ desire to own a weapon so long as they were willing to work with gun-control advocates on life-saving restrictions.

I never accepted that a hunter needs an automatic weapon to nab a deer (anyone who does has chosen the wrong past-time), that arming school personnel is the answer to children/youth being slaughtered in their classrooms (or in the case of the latest, and largest mass shooting in US history, carrying club-goers…that’s the ticket, arm folks who have been drinking…), or that people on the terrorist watch list must still be permitted to own guns because a rare few may be on the list erroneously.

But now, I no longer accept, for any circumstance, the notion that someone must be armed to be happy…or safe.  Unless you’re part of a militia formed to defend the security of these free States, I am now fully in favor of an Australian style ban on all guns, thanks to the NRA, and the power bestowed upon them by the silent majority of US gun owners.

I hope others, particularly my fellow Boomers, who have stayed silent about this as did I, will no longer as well.

To All Boomers on the Dating Scene…

To All Boomers on the Dating Scene…

I’m dating…have been using a dating site for Boomers – better than some alternatives (hoping to meet someone while in the check-out line at the supermarket…), worse than others (finding like-minded people at your place of worship or interest groups).

And might I say…What a trip!

I’ve had many a fun time; I’ve also experienced things from the surprisingly stupid to the downright weird (coming later in this post).  If my not so great experiences are typical, and I think most likely they are, I can comfortably assure all of you in dating mode that anything you’ve experienced, I have too.  And so have lots of others.

first dateI do like dating – the “getting-to-know-you” portion of the process.  I’ve met quite a number of interesting & accomplished men, and am better for it.  I’ve been treated quite well by the good guys, and have had quite a few laughs, terrific philosophical discussions, and learned a few things.  I can go out, have a few cocktails and some great conversation, with no expectations other than a heartfelt thank you at the end of the evening.

And while in full disclosure mode, it’s important to add that I’m not desperate to find someone, so I’m mindfully taking my time.  I don’t feel unfulfilled without a man, I’ve grown quite comfortable with my independence – the thought of sharing my personal space 24/7 sounds a bit more like a chore than desirable – and I like getting to know new people whether or not there’s on-going compatibility potential (not yet…admittedly I am quite picky).  Finding no one yet who rings my bell is not distressing.

As for my dateability, I’m moderately attractive, generally accomplished, have a decent sense of humor and basic social skills, and I have RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis), thus this package has it pros and cons.  But, ladies and gents, so do most Boomers’; I’ve met guys who have diabetes, heart conditions, are substantially overweight, or have any of a number of other physical limitations, who see no correlation between their limitations and my own (theirs is no big deal; mine’s a huge burden…).  I don’t let such laughable hypocrisy cause angst…remember the words “laughable” and “hypocrisy”…

So, for all of you taking this ride as well, I’ve compiled a few of my, shall we say more unfortunate encounters, that fit well in a list of do’s & don’ts, in the hope that when (notice I didn’t say “if”) you experience any/all of these, you won’t sell yourself short by tolerating them, nor, most importantly, take others’ bad behavior personally – so you can not only shrug off the bad while enjoying the good, but take the goof-balls in stride:

Do

  • Have teeth (I’m in Florida…)false teeth 1
  • Let me know if no you’re longer interested
    apparently social skills have escaped many of our generation; or perhaps too many guys are cowardly, but simply not responding to a “thanks for the get together” because I’m not your type, is just rude
  • include a pic…a recent pic….
    no pic attached to the profile translates to no response from me (no pic usually means married, but regardless, I want to know what you look like as much as you do me…)
    then there’s the posted pic taken 10 years and 100 pounds ago – men complain about women using old/no longer applicable pictures, yet they’re equal opportunity offenders
  • read what I’ve written…
    I’m up front about my RA, as well as my dislike of those canned “flirts” sites create for you to use and my readerspreference to meet in person vs chatting by phone or email, yet I get lots of canned flirts, have guys insist on talking at length by phone before meeting (so…you chose me why?), and they somehow miss the part about RA (it’s on line 2…)
  • pay attention; stop repeatedly sending those darned flirts when you contacted me 5 times before then never responded when I answered you; also see above about sending canned flirts when I’ve mentioned how much I don’t like them in my profile…
  • let me know if something’s changed for you
    I’ve had guys set a place/date/time to meet, then not show (“oh, yeah, I forgot…”), or tell me they can’t make it only after I’ve checked to make sure we’re still on (I do that now that I experienced the no-show)…a modicum of communication skills isn’t too much to ask…

Don’t

  • contact me if you live in other parts of the country
    I’m not interested in being your keyboard pal, dating by phone, or any other long-distance concept; call me old fashioned, but face to face is a must for memotel 6
  • get a room on the first date (really…someone did that…) – if sex is what you’re looking for, try an escort rather than a dating service
  • be hypocritical…as mentioned above, you have a heart condition, or high BP, or diabetes, or one of many other afflictions that come with being our age…so stop treating my RA like the plague
  • suddenly change up…don’t make final arrangements to meet, then a few hours prior set some new hurdle I must jump before we do; if you have specific criteria about anything, say so up front – know your own mind
  • refuse to make eye-contact, or look everywhere else in the place but at me throughout the entire date
    unless you have Tourette Syndrome or some other malady that causes you to lose control of bodily functions, you asked me out…show me the basic courtesy of not acting like you’re embarrassed to be seen with me…
  • come dressed like you’ve just finished cleaning your garage…and didn’t bother to change before leaving the house

To take you out, here’s my favorite “bizarre behavior” story for your reading pleasure:

On a first date, the gentleman and I had a cocktail at an establishment overlooking the water (nice!); we sat at the bar (mhenessyvsopy choice).  The bar’s set-up was such that some top shelf liquors were within reach on our side (admittedly not a wise set-up).  When the bartender didn’t respond quickly enough to his need for a refill (the place was slammed), he reached across the bar, picked up a bottle of Hennessey (goes for $10-$15/pour depending on the establishment), and helped himself to a triple pour.

When I enlightened him on the reality of what he did (the bartender will pay for that out of her wages), you will not be surprised to learn he didn’t care…

I excused myself, and found a discreet way to let the bartender know what he did, and direct her to give me the check for the pirated booze.  We left shortly thereafter (I wanted outta there…); he paid for my drinks and those the bartender poured for him.

As I awaited my car at the valet, he breezed past me on the way to his, pronouncing as he walked by “next time you’re buying the drinks…”

The next day I wrote him with the following message:

 1. there will be no next time…
2. take heart knowing that I did in fact buy you drinks; I paid for the liquor you stole.