Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Slothful" Sunday......

Smile a bit.....(thanks to Shelly Williams for finding this)

Meet the sloths from Lucy Cooke on Vimeo.

As always...All sentient beings deserve the chance to be "slothful" and live their lives however they choose, and to have fun. The most important way to help ensure that is to live your life as an ethical vegan. Please begin to do so if you haven't already. Thanks.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Neal Barnard has written an excellent essay...

about our thinking about other animals. You can read it online over at the PCRM website, the title is The Psychology of Abuse and is well worth your time. For instance he writes:
There is reason for some long-range optimism about human psychology. As we develop in infancy, our capacity to act on impulses matures before our capacity to inhibit or modulate those actions. So, we go through a stage in which we babble, wet ourselves, and throw and break objects. Only later do we learn to speak, to control body functions, and to explore the nature of objects without breaking them.

Civilizations mature in the same way. We developed the capacity for the most grotesque aggressions before we learned, gradually, to inhibit those actions. We gave up cannibalism. Human slaves were freed. Most of us have realized that wife-beating is unacceptable.

With animals, we're just emerging from the babbling, wetting, destroying stage. One day we will look back in embarrassment and shame at the suffering we caused them for so long.
One day, there will be no humans, except those identified as criminals, who have any memory of  deliberately doing something that resulted in the exploitation of or harm to a living sentient being. To think of such a time is both amazing and wonderful.

While none of us (at least I don't know anyone) occupy that position of blamelessness, we can each begin to grow up and initiate our journey in that direction by living as an ethical vegan.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Boy Named Sue...

is a strange little song that was rather well-known at one time after being sung by Johnny Cash. The song itself was written by a rather quirky fellow name Shel Silverstein. He also wrote several books for children that did quite well.  A Light In The Attic, was a book of poems for children that stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 2 years (1981). I remember that some of the poetry in the book generated some controversy, one poem in particular was singled out by various conservative groups because it seemed to encourage disobedience, the poem was called "How Not To Dry The Dishes". There was, in some areas of the country, quite a bit of hubbub about whether the book should be in school libraries, etc.

How Not To Have To Dry the Dishes
By Shel Silverstein

If you have to dry the dishes
(Such an awful, boring chore)
If you have to dry the dishes
(‘Stead of going to the store)
If you have to dry the dishes
And you drop one on the floor—
Maybe they won’t let you
Dry the dishes anymore.

Pretty subversive stuff.  I can see why someone might be worried about the poem bringing down the empire.

Mr. Silverstein was quite a talented and individualistic person, in addition to poetry and songwriting he also was a screenwriter, musician, playwright, illustrator and cartoonist. He had a wide ranging interest in various topics and aspects of society. He also wrote another poem, and this one deals with something more powerful than the previous poem.

Point of View
By Shel Silverstein

Thanksgiving dinner's sad and thankless,
Christmas dinner's dark and blue,
When you stop and try to see it
From the turkey's point of view.

Sunday dinner isn't funny
Easter feasts are just bad luck,
When you see it from the viewpoint
Of the chicken or the duck.

Oh, how I once loved tuna salad,
Pork and lobsters, lamb chops, too,
Till I stopped and looked at dinner
From the dinner's point of view.

The best way to honor looking at "dinner from the dinner's point of view" is to begin to live as an ethical vegan...if you aren't already.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Exercising with other animals...

....can be interesting....

Is there any doubt that the cat person was having fun?

As always...All sentient beings deserve the chance to live their lives however they choose, and to have fun. The most important way to help ensure that is to live your life as an ethical vegan. Please begin to do so if you haven't already. Thanks.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Like us, they are somebodies, not somethings.

The title is a quote from Tom Regan, Ph.D. The video embedded in this post is from about 12 years or so ago. Dr. Regan talks about animal rights and when I first saw the video about a year ago I was very impressed with the clarity of his arguments. I also was (and still am) curious about what my reaction would have been to his talk if I had heard (and watched the video) around the time it occurred.

At that time I was oblivious to the notion of animal rights and of abolition. I had been following a vegetarian diet (for the most part...but not totally rigorously) for a number of years. I followed such a diet 75% because I thought there was something vaguely wrong with killing and eating other beings and 25% because I thought such a diet was healthier. I was vague about the wrongness partially because I really didn't have any kind of framework in which to think about my feelings of the wrongness of eating "animals" except that I was "sensitive". And, quite often, I had been advised of, and teased about my "sensitivity" about animals...since childhood.

One way I look at my journey through life (especially the "adulthood" part) has been to discover that many of the ways of thinking and feeling that I had as a child...that were given up because of messages from trusted authority figures and from the culture...were in fact true and good and worthwhile. And while I thought I was giving them up to become "adult" what I actually was doing was abandoning my core self in order to "fit in", to "conform", to not be "weird", to be "socialized", to behave the way others and the culture wanted me to behave and think and feel. So I could be a "productive" "citizen". It sort of embarrasses me to write this, but what the hell, it is true and I can't change it. I mostly saw myself as an unsuccessful pretender to being what I thought I was supposed to be. No great shakes at being a "regular" guy, in fact pretty poor at it actually...and often anguished over my failure at this task.

Some years ago though (with the help and support of a number of remarkable human animals and a lifetime of support from other animals) I sort of gave up on most of that "regular" stuff and started trying to "go with my own flow" so to speak. Life became, in many ways, much more enjoyable...and at the same time much more difficult. Someone once observed that Americans pay a lot of lip service to the notion of individuality but if you actually go out and try it you will get identified as an eccentric and treated as if there is something sort of wrong with you.

For those of you who are living as ethical vegans, this is not news and for those of you who are still not there of the "benefits" of living vegan is that you will most likely be pegged as "weird" by a large number of folks. You definitely will be getting out of step with many marching tunes that are played by our culture. will be benefiting your fellow Earthlings, yourself and your planet. To me, that's well worth being "out of step".

More information about Tom Regan can be found here, and here. A more recent video of him speaking can be viewed here.

Now caution is advised, there are scenes of animals suffering, painful to view...but they are generally brief and integrated fairly well into what is being said. For those who avoid all depictions of cruelty I would urge you (especially if you have never heard this speech) to try to watch the video anyway. I think it is a hell of a speech and if you aren't familiar with some of the philosophical underpinnings of animal rights...this is a great introduction to them. Here is a professional (he makes a living at it) philosopher (we're all amateur philosophers) explaining why all animals (yes, that includes human animals) should share some of the same basic rights.

All sentient beings deserve the chance to live their lives however they choose. The most important way to help ensure that is to live your life as an ethical vegan. Please begin to do so if you haven't already. Thanks.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Saturday magic.....

Bobby Ray, the rescue tabby cat being that lives here, sat in my lap and watched this video with great fascination. (Thanks to C.A.L.F for giving a heads up about the video)...if the video doesn't display correctly simply click on it and you will be taken to youtube where you can watch it.

With no intimation of condescension or judgment, I will comment that if you are a human animal and you can watch this with no sense of "magic", I feel regret for you.

As always...All sentient beings deserve the chance to live their lives however they choose. The most important way to help ensure that is to live your life as an ethical vegan. Please begin to do so if you haven't already. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Go see some "eye candy"...

This graphic from the NY Times compresses almost 100 years of information about human mouths and the misery caused thereby into one almost stunning chart. Think of the pain, the terror, the children torn from their mothers, the death, the fear....all compressed into some innocent appearing lines on a background. An abstraction of atrocities.

Another graphic from Civil Eats provides an interactive look at the sources and amount of calories ingested from 1970 to 2008. This presentation utilizes some of the strengths of presenting information via computer, those of being able to present data in a dynamic manner and allowing the user to influence the presentation. Notice how many more calories we eat now as compared to 1970.

No matter what, make your food choices a comfort for all Earthlings, go vegan.