November 23, 2011 - November 16, 2011
Monday, November 22, 2010
can make a continuous 'mistake' for most of a decade...
CAN OVERLOOK BECAUSE WE DON'T SEE IT
. I took some heat a few days
ago when I suggested God
had a purpose
in the instant new
mega-celebrity of Michael Vick. What hardly anyone (er, no one)
realized was that I was grappling with the atheist model that there
is no God and therefore no judgment of what we do with our lives. The
American generosity about forgiveness and second chances has been
through the secular cult of celebrity into an image game. How you look,
how you perform on camera, and what you say to interviewers have
somehow become a substitute for what used to be known quaintly as
morality. If you're a charismatic celebrity right now
, that fact seems
to erase everything dark and sinful about your personal past. Unless.
Unless even celebrity and its instantaneous starbursts of admiration
are meant as a lesson to the rest of us, its highlights and lowpoints
orchestrated by a power that really would like us all
to think about life,
the universe, and everything.
I dared to suggest that the monolithic condemnation of Michael Vick in
which I have participated at greater (documented) length than any of my
commenters might have been rebuked by an ostentatious display of God's
gifts to a sinner we find it conveniently easy to damn without having
to make any real demands on ourselves. The result was more
condemnation of the easy-target sinner.
Allow me to make it even easier for you. A few weeks ago, I offered up
. I said:
believe there are things
people can do that deserve the death penalty. And in my simple Scottish
mind, those things are not about closure, Old Testament "eye for an
eye" cant, Christian compassion, or revenge. They're about justice.
Kill willfully in some cause other than self defense and what? You've
forfeited your own right to live. You're a failed soul the rest of us
shouldn't have to fret about. You just need to be put down like a rabid
I feel the same way about abortion. Sorry. That doctors could do
Or hadn't you thought about the
morality question with vivid pictures in front of you? They're crime
scene photos. Nothing else.
It's not about choice. It's about
murder. (As is 9/11, Which the
MSM also doesn't want us to see anymore. Because it
would upset us or distort our judgment or make us suspicious of muslims
or something. Something they know better about. Like abortion.)
I know "no one cares about the social issues this time." Except that a
lot of us still do. At least 30 million babies have died this way since
Roe v. Wade.
I'm for the death penalty. For murderers. And, no, in my heart of
hearts. I see no contradiction in terms. [boldface added in service to my current
So, for all those who feel any temptation to participate in the
feel-good story of the redeemed Michael Vick, who must be a good guy
because he now watches game films instead of snorting cocaine and gives
touchdown footballs to fans instead of partying with his thug
entourage, here's a real picture of the dogfighting world he chose to
finance and seek underworld status in as a "player" during his era of
superstardom with the
And just so you know it's no anecdote but a lifestyle and a
perniciously nasty form of organized crime, here are Parts 2
of the same damning documentary. Moreover, Michael Vick was not
motivated by easy paydays that overrode recognition of evil incarnate in
this 'sport.' He liked the dogfighting subculture enough to live a
double life of fine restaurants and dirty dives, as well as the lies
that double life entailed to fool people who trusted and believed in him.
Feeling good now? Justified in your dudgeon, are you? Does it confirm
your view that cruelty to animals is principally a function of the
lifestyle, even though you'd never admit to any racial component of
your self-righteousness? I mean, if only you'd known, if only you'd had
any capability to intervene in a world that is entirely closed to your
influence, life experience, and knowledge. In that case, there would be
no dog murder anywhere and respect for animals would reign supreme.
Funny thing. A guy called in to SportsTalk in Philadelphia over the
weekend. He got blown off because he had the misfortune to talk with Rob
, but he made an excellent point. Why, he wanted to know, was
it okay to condemn Michael Vick for things that are every day and
everywhere sponsored, administered, and profited from by governments?
What was he talking about? Greyhound racing.
Huh, what? uh, dog tracks. Why, perfectly nice
people go to the dog track.
It's actually kind of sophisticated
isn't it? Something Dorothy Parker might do in between literary
luncheons. Always was, anyway. And it's always been there. Until, oddly
enough, this year
and a source of tax revenue in 15 states
of the U.S., including
such enlightened blue states as Massachusetts, Rhode Island,
Connecticut, and New Hampshire:
- Guam (Greyhound racing is legal,
but the only operating track closed on November 8, 2008. Ban is being
- Kansas (Greyhound racing is
legal, but not currently conducted)
- Massachusetts (Racing
ceased January 2010, banned by Question 3. (Passed November 4, 2008.))
- New Hampshire (Racing
banned as of January 1, 2011, by HB 630. (Signed into law July 8, 2010.))
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin (Greyhound racing
is legal, but the last operating track closed on December 31, 2009)
- Colorado (Racing suspended in
- Oregon (Greyhound racing is
legal, but not currently conducted)
- South Carolina (Greyhound
is legal, but not currently conducted)
The Wiki entry
that provides this information also rather strangely includes the
following commercial for state-sponsored greyhound racing:
In the United States, greyhound racing
is governed by state law, which
ranges from total prohibition in some states, to lack of regulation in
The National Greyhound Association
founded in 1906 strictly regulates
greyhound ownership in the U.S. and has established comprehensive
animal welfare guidelines based on veterinary recommendations. These
guidelines cover nearly every aspect of greyhound care on the farm and
at the racetrack. The American Greyhound Council conducts unannounced
inspections each year on the nation's 300 breeding farms and kennels to
enforce compliance with the industry's animal welfare guidelines. Minor
violations are noted and corrected and more serious violations are
addressed in hearings before the NGA's governing body. Those found
guilty of these violations can be banned from the sport for life. Ref.
Greyhounds live in climate-controlled kennels, usually on or near the
tracks where they race. They are turned out several times daily for
mild exercise and play, exercised on sprint paths and taken for walks...
There's more of the same in the Wiki text, but it's not reprinted here
because it's bullshit. This is a form of dog abuse, torture, and murder
that is traditionally acceptable and under the radar because it's
institutionalized and not associated with other forms of societal
dysfunction. But it is
dysfunction.. And cruelty. Here are the opening
of a website you should read if you think government
bureaucrats treat dogs as sources of gambling revenue more humanely
than do illegal urban gamblers:
The majority of people attending
[greyhound] races have little knowledge of what actually happens to
these animals. Little do they know, or care, what kind of life these
dogs lead. To them it’s a lot of fun, have a few drinks, make or lose a
few bucks, and return to their comfortable homes. The life of the
Greyhound is one of misery, fear, mistreatment, and finally a painful
death. The remains of approximately 3,000 Greyhounds from Florida
tracks were discovered on the Alabama property of a track security
guard who “took care” of unwanted dogs with a .22 rifle. Their horrible
life began the day they were born, and ended the day they died...
The Greyhound is not considered as a living animal, but rather a
running machine. Thousands of Greyhounds are produced each year, many
more than are needed. Dogs that are considered as too slow to make it
are killed. Any dog that is injured, or develop[s] muzzle sores or...
any problems is killed. If they win they live. If they lose they die.
Very few make it to 4 years old.... Dogs suffer at every track [from]
neglect, and soon meet a cruel death... Many suffer from malnutrition
and dehydration. Without the proper air conditioning they die from
heatstroke. Any dog that slows down or becomes unprofitable is killed.
One kennel owner faced felony charges for selling over 1,000 Greyhounds
for medical experimentation. So how are [they] killed.? The favorite
method is a .22 bullet in the brain. In an Idaho Greyhound Park, a
female Greyhound was placed on a wet floor, a metal wire shoved in her
rectum and attached to her lip with an alligator clip, and she was
electrocuted. Many are beaten to death, buried alive, and hung. In
Florida six Greyhounds were found along the highway near a dog track.
All met a horrible death.
Some pictures of government-acceptable treatment and/or retirement of
20 track dogs killed
Allowed to starve.
Useless Racer to be killed -- not
One of 10 Greyhounds Found in Phoenix
decapitated at end
I'm going to close by asking all you sanctimonious Vick haters if
you've ever 1) felt as much anger about the whitebread abuse of
greyhounds as you have about inner city dogfighting, 2) done anything
about either by, say, adopting a greyhound or a pitbull, or 3) managed
to refrain from condemning pitbulls as a breed that is dangerous to
children, decent dogs, and human beings in general?
But I'm not closing yet. While you think about my previous questions,
I'm going to deal with the PETA defense. The lame rationalizations of
those who can somehow employ moral relativism to forgive the Michael
Vicks of the world because they condemn those of us who eat chicken,
veal, and fish as co-conspirators in the oppression of all animals.
Which is to say that there is no crime because belonging to an omnivore
species makes all of us criminals.
Dogs are not chickens or veal calves. They're not even cats. They are
likely as important to the development of human civilization, and even
human consciousness, as any factor yet discovered in the
anthropological record. It's not me saying this. It's scholars
who have made a study of the subject:
The cohabitation of dogs and humans would
have greatly improved the
chances of survival for early human groups, and the domestication of
dogs may have been one of the key forces that led to modern humans. Anthropologists
Tacon and Pardoe argue that the effects of human-canine
cohabitation on humans would have been profound, and hypothesize that
some of the effects could have been moving from scavenging to large
game hunting, the establishment and marking of territories, living in
optimally sized social groups, hunting/working in synchronised teams,
and negotiating partnership bonds.The
human-dog partnership set both species on a new evolutionary course.
The paragraph above references academic work done by Drs. Tacon and
Pardoe. Here's the briefest of reports on their
Humans live a dog's life
Tuesday, 26 March 2002
A new theory claims that
many human behaviours are a
result of our long-standing relationship with dogs, and vice versa.
Dr Paul Tacon from the Australian
and Adelaide bio-archaeologist Dr Colin Pardoe put
forward their ideas in yesterday's issue of the journal Nature Australia
"We were asking the questions, 'What is a human?' and 'What is a
dog?'," explained Dr Tacon.
"The answer was not straightforward and we found the two were
Wolves were the first animals to be domesticated by humans — and the
researchers believe this may have happened much earlier than previously
Domestic dogs appear rather suddenly and widely in the geological
record between 13,500 and 14,000 years ago. But the lack of
evidence before then may be due to the lack of burial sites, said
It was only about that time that humans began settling down and farming
— prior to that, most people led a nomadic existence, so burial sites
Other evidence points to earlier domestication, note the researchers.
DNA analysis suggests a split between dogs and wolves over
100,000 years ago, and possibly as much as 135,000 years ago.
In addition, fossil canine skulls much smaller than those of most
wolves have been found at archaeological sites in England along with
human artefacts. These are estimated to be 190,000 to
130,000 years old...
In their paper, the researchers argue that an early relationship
between humans and dogs directed the evolution of both species.
"Most studies have concentrated on the effects of human–canine
cohabitation on dogs rather than the reverse," they write.
"But the effects on humans, on their psychology, hunting practices,
territoriality and social behaviour, would also have been profound."
In fact, dogs may have chosen us rather than the other way around...
Both wolves and humans are social animals with complex communication
signals, leading them to adopt each other's behaviour, say Tacon and
For example, humans may have adopted the practice of making symbol
marks on rocks from the wolf behaviour of territorial marking. These
symbol marks, which appeared between 40,000 and 50,000 years
ago, are quite different to engravings and paintings, the researchers
Another wolf-like behaviour is big-game pack hunting, which does not
appear to have occurred among pre-Homo sapiens
requires special powers of cooperation and negotiation in complex
So is it true that that dog people are different to cat people?
"Cats were domesticated 4,000 years ago, but our relationship with
the dog goes back much further in time," Dr Tacon said.
"Dogs and humans have similar social systems and are ideally suited
towards living with each other."
NOW I'll close. Wolves and human beings were in prehistoric times the
two most successful predator species on earth. A subset of one chose
to live with the other, and
the evidence suggests that both expanded the range of their talents and
emotional depth thereby. Wolves have bigger brains than dogs. But
Neanderthals had bigger brains than modern humans. Today, wolves are
endangered and Neanderthals are extinct. We are condescending in our
research when we note that the difference between wolves and dogs in
test situations is that wolves will persist in a failed problem-solving
situation because it doesn't occur to them to ask for help from humans.
Wildness! We admire it so.
Dogs, with their smaller brains, give up quickly when a problem is
beyond their powers and look hopefully at humans. We humans are happy to
provide the answer, and they -- amazingly enough -- have the
communication skills to understand and act on the answer. Are wolves really smarter
than dogs? Who is it that lies in front of a peacedul fire in winter
and snores under an air-conditioner in summer, with cake, spaghetti,
and Big Macs an occasional treat in the offing?
uh, how is this different in any way from Madison Avenue's
characterization of the difference between the human male and the human
female? Not much. The same kind of blindness is at work.
These days, we enjoy the pretense that the female is the superior sex,
because she's so much better at the juggling of minutiae than the sex
which produced Newtonian and Einsteinian physics, the Sistine Chapel,
the works of Shakespeare, Mozart, and all the world's major religions
(including the only evil one). But if we are now, belatedly, learning to
appreciate the small things as something equivalent or even superior to
the big things, it's definitely time to accept the virtues of the
oldest partnership of all.
Dogs are not our possessions or chattels. They are not fish, cuts of
meat, or the source of eggs. They are co-creators of the civilization
we both rely on and whose fruits we both passionately enjoy. When we
maunder on about core values, we can never in good conscience exclude
them. They are our better half when it comes to the senses, the
simplicity of love, the stone eternity of loyalty, and the importance
-- despite every complicated distraction -- of play. They're content to
act like the dumb ones in our partnership, but they're the ones who know
more of our language than we do of theirs, and they're the ones who keep
teaching us that life is to be lived in the moment, this
moment, which is just about as
close to the genius of Einsteinian physics as any human can ever get.
And, no, I'm not equating women with dogs. Except that I am. Because
I'm also equating men with dogs and women. We're all three better for
the presence of the other two. Dogs inure women to the disgusting
physical habits of men. Men inure dogs to the stormy emotional
reactions of women (Woof!). Women inure dogs to the temporal failures
of men about vital matters like water, dinnertime, and treats. And men
and women learn to bond over the fate and well being of a creature who
is neither the child of their loins nor the hope of their destiny. They
all learn about love for love's sake.
Hurting a dog isn't like eating veal. Being a man who has hurt dogs
isn't a sin that goes away. But being a man or woman who has never
rescued a greyhound or a pitbull or a shelter dog or a stray on the
side of the road isn't the world's loftiest moral
Here's a greyhound
, where there are dogs who need you to
learn what stairs are.
Here's a pitbull rescue site
there are dogs who need you to
learn what hanging out on the couch means.
You can't actually go wrong either way. Greyhounds are probably better
for older or quieter folks. They want their own sofa; the love is
automatic and assumed. Pitbulls are probably better for active
families; the love is something they want to demonstrate to their
humans in every way possible. I've known both. A long list of
greyhounds tilts me in that direction. But I also remember Peter's
Sullivan, a pitbull so anxious to please, and so thoroughly gentle,
that the very thought of him makes me angry at the endless slanders of
this handsome and maliciously maligned breed.
Or go to your local shelter. Just don't buy a damned toy poodle and
tell me you can't ever get past Michael Vick. Or do. But please don't
tell me about it. I won't be listening.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Because it's Friday...
Missing Sam Kinison
were having fun then. What are we doing now?
. I'll begin with a definite nod to Big Hollywood's
who today remembers
the late comedian
and offers up videos of some of Kinison's more politically incorrect
routines. They're NSFW for reasons of language, but the larger point is
that they're also
21st Century (NSF21?). Who could have guessed that this irrepressible
spirit would seem an impossible anachronism less than 20 years after
his death? Sad to consider how devastating his take would be on the
post 9/11 world he didn't live to laugh
I'm sharing what may be the only PG-rated video clip of him on YouTube.
Well, maybe PG-13. Truthfully, I'd forgotten just how much fun
Kinison's version of Wild Thing
is. How could so much hostility have such a vital sparkle in its eye? But
it's there, along with a slew of rock and roll royalty (extra points
for identifying all the stars who were so evidently delighted to
participate as props for Kinison's anthem of betrayed love).
You can look at the Big Hollywood stuff or not. I don't care. All I
know is that I laughed out loud watching the clip shown here. It's just
a great good time. Something therapeutic for another grim Obama Friday.
it's still Friday...
so jazzed about Sam
Kinison we can't help ourselves.
Not all covers are good. But some are great. Here's your chance to
weigh in. Here are the covers and the originals. Vote. You're still
Americans, aren't you? The cover is first, the original second. Which
is better? Sometimes it's a close call. Sometimes it isn't.
All Along the Watchtower.
I Can't Get No Satisfaction
Eve of Destruction
The Turtles, The Kingston Trio, the
Light My Fire
Sympathy for the Devil
Ain't Too proud to Beg
Crimson and Clover
Tommy James & the Shondells.
Salt of the Earth
Have fun. It's Friday. Whatever you think, nothing much matters on