Friday, March 31, 2006

Animal Crackers

You’ve all heard me wax on about Mark Morford, editorial columnist of the San Francisco Chronicle extraordinaire, whose ability to articulate superbly while always maintaining a subtext of vehement irreverence, just blows me away. And you’ve all heard me express my fascination with animal intelligence and emotional landscape—yeah, that’s right I said “emotional landscape” and I stand behind it.

Many philosophers, farmers, agri-business, and a good portion of the human population all claim that there IS no emotionalism in animals. I’ve already recommended a book or two on the topic on this site, so I’m not going to regurgitate my arguments and scientific citations which bear a good amount of proof of animal behavior that deviates widely from mere instinctual response, and suggests an emotional sensibility in animals. Like how elephants visit and revisit the bones of their dead ancestors.

The reason understanding this concept of animal emotionalism and some level of awareness of impending death, pain, or even a sort of "heartbreak," is infinitely important to mankind is so that we might consider how we use and abuse animals, and revise our assumptions that live vivisections, cruel slaughter, and cruel testing is perfectly OK because animals are merely pre-programmed instinctual product-bots, put here for our use and consumption.
(photo from
These notions seem ever more important as Canada once again heads into its despicable
baby harp seal hunt. It seems ludicrous to read how activists protesting the hunt were arrested because they got "too close" to the hunters. "Rebecca Aldworth of the HSUS told Reuters by satellite phone that angry hunters had also thrown seal flippers and carcasses at the activists." It's a lovely world sometimes. I'm not a Pamela Anderson fan, but I commend her for taking a stand against this deplorable money-making venture.

But that’s all a tad heavy-handed above, because all I really wanted to do with this post was point you to a hilarious piece that Morford wrote about his significant other’s African Grey Parrot:
My Parrot Screams Like a Girl. Morford is usually a pop-cultural or political satirist, so it is interesting to see him write with a small tinge of … well, warmth.

This little bit by Morford is both hilarious and revealing, in that, as I mentioned, he’s not a terribly sentimental guy—and yet you can see he has learned much from this bird.

Enjoy the article, let me know what you think, tell me what your personal philosophy about the “nature” of animals is. And please, if any of you out there are as horrified by this ongoing crap in Canada as I am, participate to the best of your ability in ending this wasteful and cruel slaughter

Monday, March 20, 2006

Unhappy Anniversary

And while a good number of Americans are concerned about how to afford Prada while fueling up their Hummers, keeping their iPods current, or paying to vote for their favorite American Idol contestant, I'd like to acknowledge the unhappy 4th anniversary of our invasion on Iraq, which marked it's rollover yesterday.

Please consider the humanity of these Iraqi people, people that were perhaps at one time largely hopeful for the turnaround the U.S. might provide. Two years ago I wrote a commentary based upon Naomi Klein's article, "Baghdad Year Zero," called "Operation Iraqi Pillage." Naomi Klein delineates a blow-by-blow analysis of what went wrong in the capitalistic utopia that was supposed to be Iraq.

It's a big risk for a blogger like me to claim a particular political perspective, the backlash can be unbelievably ugly, but I simply can't sit by silently--which bodes the question, where is the activism of the young? My observation as a belated collegiate is that there is an incredible disconnect between youth culture and the state ... how might that play out in the future?

James Wolcott writes an excellent commentary that calls this "insurgent" activity what it is, and what the pundits were warned about from the start: CIVIL WAR IN IRAQ.

I encourage everyone to take the time to soul-search about the meaning of our actions in the middle east. Watch the film Syriana, or read some reasonably unbiased material about the history of the area, research our revolving door of allies and enemies. It is, in my opinion, the most American thing we can do.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


(from free spider images)
I have effectively conquered my fear of spiders ... they are good creatures that eat the dreaded fly--that revolting thing that lands and vomits everywhere, leaving behind legions of ways to sicken humans.

But the spider is Charlotte who saved the pig, and the spider is the creature that in the book, When Elephants Weep, which (I learned) folds her delicate, long arms around her brood to protect them from encroaching formaldehyde.

But do we ever really overcome the sensation of dread and vulnerability that occurs when we believe we're experiencing an itch, only to find it is one of them upon us? The metaphor is far-reaching, from the depths of our primal, instinctual fears and into what we learn is a good thing, but which initially repulses us.

In consideration of this fear we have of the other, of the thing that we assumed we must squashI wrote this small poem.


She swung her bathrobe over her shoulders like she’d swing a cape before a charging bull.
At the moment just before the terrycloth married the skin,
she felt the skip of eight legs down her spine,

like water trickling to her feet,
then running for its life away from her jintsu-knife shrieks.

Logjammed at the origin of a convulsion, that moment of springloading
prior to the traumatic spasm,

she realized that she would never feel safe putting on her bathrobe again.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The 8 Ball Says ...

Had so much fun reading my dear friend Sarah’s answers, over at Dusk in Dendera, that I thought I’d give it a try. If you try it, let me know your results!

Musical Magic 8 Ball

Go to your music player of choice and put it on shuffle.Say the following questions aloud, and press play.Use the song title as the answer to the question.NO CHEATING.
1. How does the world see me?
"All Love Can Be” by Charlotte Church, from A Beautiful Mind soundtrack. Can I be any more sheepish that I, in fact, do have Charlotte Church on my iPod? My pathetic romanticism is unveiled.

2. Will I have a happy life?
"The Big Sky” by Kate Bush. LOVE this song, and sort of love/hate/identify with what this ”answer” suggests, “I’m looking at the big sky, you never understood me, you never even tried.” Or “walking onto those big, big clouds, walking onto a big, big sky.”

3. What do my friends really think of me?
"Jennifer Juniper” by Donovan. Jennifer Juniper rides a dappled mare with violets in her hair. I’m sort of shrinking into a corner, realizing that I’m having to admit that I have utter pop crap in my iPod shuffle!!! And this personification of the “object” of romantic fantasy from the old, old Donovan song hardly seems to apply to me.

4. Do people secretly lust after me?
"The Wind” by Cat Stevens. Can’t make any sense of this one.

5. How can I make myself happy?
"Under the Milky Way” by The Church. Is that where I must go to finally make myself happy? Figures.
“I got no time for private consultations under the Milky Way tonight. Wish I knew what you were looking for, I might have known what you would find. And it’s something quite peculiar, something shimmering and white, it leads you here despite your destination, under the Milky Way tonight.”

6. What should I do with my life?
"Resignation” by Reef, Great Expectations soundtrack. Unbelievable! What more can I say, this sounds just about right!

7. Will I ever have children?
"Desire Lines” by Lush.
"It's raining in this room, And it's so hot outside this room, I don't know no one here, I don't want to be here In this room."
Yup, just something you stay inside yourself about. We know the answer to that question, don’t we?

8. What is some good advice for me?
"Why Can’t I Be You” by The Cure. Yeah, now see this questionnaire isn’t going so well for me, is it?

9. How will I be remembered?
"The Power of Goodbye” Madonna. Whhhoooah hoah.
“Your heart is not open, so I must go. The spell has been broken, I loved you so. You were my lesson I had to learn, I was your purpose you had to burn. There’s nothing left to lose, there’s no heart left to bruise. … I wanna go higher, there’s nothing left to try, there’s nowhere left to hide, there’s no greater power than the power of good-bye.”

10. What is my signature dancing song?
"Bathwater” by No Doubt. Fun song, I'll dance to it more.

11. What do I think my current theme song is?
"In the End" by Linkin Park. An answer that really … sort of breaks my heart.

I kept everything inside and even though I tried / it all fell apartWhat it meant to me / will eventually / be a memory / of a time when I triedso hard /And got so far / But in the end /It doesn't even matter / I had to fallTo lose it all /But in the end / It doesn't even matter / One thing / I don’t know whyIt doesn’t even matter how hard you try / Keep that in mind / I designed this rhymeTo remind myself how / I tried so hard

12. What does everyone else think my current theme song is?

"Lightening Crashes" by Live. Damn, I’m getting depressed. And yet, isn’t there hope when the new baby takes the place of the old woman who has died?
“oh now feel it comin' back again / like a rollin' thunder chasing the wind / forces pullin' from the center of the earth again /I can feel it.

13. What song will play at my funeral?
"Home” by Dishwalla. I love, love, love this song, go ahead y’all, play it at my funeral, and then celebrate for me!

14. What type of men/women do you like?
"Good Riddance” by Green Day. Well, that explains a lot!

15. What is my day going to be like?
"Come Undone” by Duran Duran. Yeah, this has been loads of fun! This is why I avoid psychics! I think this was what YESTERDAY was like!

* All right, remind me to not mess with the supernatural the next time I have an inclination to do so. In the meantime, thanks for visiting!

Monday, March 06, 2006

And I Quote ...

Do you enjoy quotes?

I have no time to construct my own creative product today. All is encroaching—an incomplete Sr. Project, a huge trip that demands my attention and planning, an “ethics bowl” I agreed to participate in which is crushing me!

Here are some quotes I love:

“We are in awe precisely of the human power to frame ideas which cannot be intuited. Imaginatively we stretch out towards what imagination cannot apprehend. We realize that there is more in what we see than meets or can ever meet even the inner eye.” Catherine Warnock (literary critic)

“Reason is to imagination … as the shadow to the substance.” Percy Bysshe

“This spiritual love acts not, nor can exist/ Without imagination, which in truth/ Is but another name for agbsolute power/ And clearest insight, amplitude of mind, And reason in her most exalted mood.” Wordsworth (Prelude)

“Poetic testimony reveals to us another world inside this world, the other world that is this world. The senses, without losing their powers, become servants of the imagination and let us hear the inaudible and see the invisible. … The senses are and are not of this world. By means of tehm, poetry traces a bridge between seeing and believing. By that bridge, imagination is embodied and bodies turn into images.” Octavio Paz (The Double Flame)

And then just some beautiful quotes from Brokeback Mountain:

“There were only the two of them on the mountain flying in euphoric, bitter air, looking down on the hawk’s back and the crawling lights of vehicles on the plan below, suspended above ordinary affairs and distant from tame ranch dogs barking in the dark hours.” Annie Proulx

”The mountain boiled with demonic energy, glazed with flickering broken-cloud light, the wind combed the grass and drew from the damaged krummholz and slit rock a bestial drone. As they descended the slope Ennis felt he was in a slow-motion, but headlong, irreversible fall.” Annie Proulx