Monday, June 28, 2010

Your Pet is Another Man's Meat. Who is in the Right?

A large percentage of the people in the United States and other Western "First World" countries have companion animals, also known as pets, in and around their homes. Most of these are dogs, cats, horses, parakeets, etc. We humans tend to form very close attachments to these non-humans, and the death of one usually causes deep mourning in the other. It is doubtful that any of these humans would ever consider killing the "pet" they love, let alone cook it for dinner. Such a thought would most likely sicken them. These feelings of compassion are natural. They are part of the way in which God created us.

But, at the same time that we are having these loving feelings towards our own companion animals, are we also chewing away upon the flesh of another animal, just as lovable, such as a chicken, a pig, or a cow?

We would never consider keeping a dog in a cage so small it cannot turn around or lay down. We would never let our cat live in a box where it had to lay in its own feces. We would never keep our parrot in a cage so small it cannot spread its wings after clipping its beak so short it can barely eat. Yet, this is the common method used to keep cattle, veal, pigs, turkeys, and chickens.

Because we humans have compassionate hearts, we want people who are cruel to our pet animals to go to jail. Yet, daily most of us vote in favor of horrid cruelty by purchasing the meat of other animals. Many humans fail to make the connection, or simply may not WANT to make the connection, which is a form of denial and leads to the hardening of our hearts. In our minds, we sanitize what we are doing. We see only "food", or we picture only the living animal and not how it got to our plate. We even name them differently – a steer or pig is called “livestock”. A turkey or chicken is called “fowl”. I've even heard the argument that horse slaughter in the US is bad because it competes with the beef industry. Really? Then I hear, "but humans NEED meat to survive" or "man has developed as an omnivore, we are SUPPOSED to be this way." Again, really? I am perfectly healthy not eating animals or their byproducts. I understand that no one wants to be called cruel. But people who promote cruelty rarely like having others tell them they are doing so. They like to maintain the illusion that they are somehow good people, and having others point at them and reveal that, hey, they're not doing good THINGS, really rankles them.

So, to my omnivore friends, which of the following meats is it okay to eat?

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Elders

So this is the painting I have decided to take to the Robots vs Aliens show at Thumbprint Gallery in San Diego this September. Unless, of course I paint something I like better between now and then

Artist in Residence... again

In the very beginning the ancient gods were discussing what they should create to amuse themselves. They created picture tellers to ignite their minds; to draw them into the worlds they had created.

I did not spend years, poverty stricken, studying art. I did not struggle in a small loft.
I have, however, found that frustration is a part of my life. But my response as a picture teller is not to cut off my ear; I do not scream and rage. I talk with my friends and I put paint on a canvas and create their stories in pictures. I read fantasy books, and I put paint on a canvas and create the creatures I read about. I watch movies, and I put paint on canvas in honor of the actors I admire.

Though there were perhaps a dozen years in which I created no pictures, the urge to put paint on canvas never deserted me. I believe the stories simply built up in my mind until, recently, I was unable to contain them and they have begun to bubble out onto canvas again. They can’t be classified, but they can, I hope, be enjoyed.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Use Common Sense, and Don't Kiss the Family Pig

Old Professor Hoffman, from Michael Crichton’s novel, State of Fears, tells us, “the PLM, sic politico-legal-media,… a ravenous machine seeking new fears, new terror. I’m telling you, this is the way modern society works – by the constant creation of fear.”

Over 3 million people worldwide died of the flu (pneumonia and other related consequences) last year. With another 2 million deaths from diarrheal diseases. This is on top of another 2 million deaths from malaria, almost that many from tuberculosis and about 1 million deaths from measles! Did this make the news let alone the headlines?

We (and the PLM) would probably do more good (save more lives) if we spent our time, effort and money on getting our students to: stop smoking (440,000 deaths last year in the US alone), stop using alcohol (85,000 deaths in US), stop driving automobiles (45,000 US deaths), stop using illegal drugs (17,000 US deaths), or stop having unprotected sex (16,000 US HIV related deaths). There is, in all likelihood, a greater risk of death from “other than flu”, infectious diseases (75,000 US deaths) than from the Swine Flu. Our students have a greater risk of dying in a car wreck on the way to school than of dying from the swine flu.

Our chances of exposure to the swine flu are probably higher here in California than if we lived in oh, say, Minnesota, but, they are still miniscule compared to all sorts of other potentially life threatening exposures. In a very cursory study of environmental bacteria growth made right here on the Menifee Campus of Mt. San Jacinto College it was found that “hand sanitizers” were less effective than regular hand washing in preventing bacterial growth on human skin. It was also noted that only approximately 1 out of 4 males washed their hands after using the bathroom. Students noted that samples taken from door handles and from classroom computer keyboards ranked in the top 5 for highest bacterial colony growth from “college” environment areas.

I am not saying we shouldn’t be concerned, but I would hope that we would keep this “news” in focus. I tell my students to stay home if they are sick; flu, hang- over, cold, headache, mental health, whatever. Better for them to miss a day or two than to suffer through my class (even without an aliment) and potentially pass it on to others or me, heaven forbid! We cannot legally grade on the basis of attendance so I try whenever possible to give them an opportunity to make up any missed work, even the ones I think might be “abusing” my good nature. At least when they miss a class it forces them to meet with me one on one. That in itself is usually a benefit to both the student and me.

I think I feel a fever coming on, thank goodness for on-line classes!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. And for God’s Sake, Step Away From the Plastic!

I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of plastic in my life. Sound pretty easy, right? Not so much. Until I started trying to make purchases that did not include plastic I had absolutely no idea just how pervasive it has become. (At first I wrote the word “invasive” instead of pervasive, maybe I should have left it?). Seriously, try to purchase toothpaste, aspirin, makeup, a pen, even shampoo in anything but a plastic container.

Some stuff is easy – body soap? Pretty easy, there are some very nice body bars sold in a box. Some, like “Pure and Natural” even imbed flower seeds in the box, so that you can bury it in your garden and get flowers as a “free gift”! Trash bags? Not too hard, those come in some really nice corn-based, compostable forms (check out Even dishwasher soap comes in a box.

But, the liquid dish soap one would use to wash dishes by hand? Yeah, try to find that sucker in anything except plastic. Cleaning supplies? Plastic. Makeup? Plastic. Shampoo? Plastic…

But wait! Today I made a wonderful discovery. A company called Phytosolba (sp?) makes an all-natural shampoo in ….. a METAL container! Won’t break in your shower, and the container isn’t made from plastic. The drawback? It is made in France. So shipping it here probably used up enough fossil fuels to make up for the lack of plastic. All though, if you look at the labels, most of the shampoos sold here are made in New York, so for us Californians, there is still a fair amount of shipping involved.

Anyhow. Suffice it to say, one plastic problem solved (sort of); many more to go. I’ll keep trying.

Now, where is that darn recipe for all-purpose cleanser… I’ll make it myself and store it in a glass bottle…

Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Birthday to Joe

Coming up Joe will have his 8th Bone Marrow Transplant birthday! His sister Nichole was his donor so it is her celebration too!

I LOVE YOU TWO!!!!!!!!!

It is so hard to relive those horrible days when we all were wondering if he'd live or die. I am thankful each and every day that he is alive and well and around to be a pain in the backside. I wouldn't have it any other way!

I've Joined the 21st Century

First, it was a blog. Now, Facebook. Yup; I'm there. It's a work in progress as I try to steal a few minutes here and there to add to the site. Let me know if I've flaked on adding important stuff...

And no, I don't know how to link these two sites together yet... sheesh!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

World Water Day

This Sunday, March 22, is World Water Day - Established by the UN in 1993, it's an international day of observance and action to draw attention to the plight of the more than 1 billion people worldwide that lack access to clean, safe drinking water and to make safe, clean water available to all. Celebrated since 1993, World Water Day was designated in 1992 when the United Nations (UN) General Assembly passed a resolution. With each passing year, the observance has grown larger and stronger.
In the developed world, our addiction to single-serving water bottles undermines responsible use of water and diverts our attention from investing in public tap water systems and home filtration. So commit to making a difference today, by purchasing a high-quality, safe reusable water bottle for each member of your family. It's a true win-win -- you'll save both money and natural resources.

Go here: to find out what else you can do!