Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter

Monday, February 27, 2006

Magic Trick #1

I can show you this:
Pick a joke, any joke
commit the words to memory

but don't tell me
what's on the card.

Then pick a dog, any dog and
whisper said joke in its
floppy ear.

Chances are he will laugh
at you, not with you;

beside you while looking through you
because they are always about

such things as sizing you up, knowing
whether or not you are worthy.

Take it as fact, they can tell
in a sense, truth.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Rob Zombie attends the premier screening of his recent slasher flick, "All Hollywood Breaks Loose" ....

Actually this photo is of a Hindu yogi paying homage to Lord Shiva. Hindus from all over Nepal and India gathered at Pashupatinath temple to celebrate Shivaratri festival last Sunday. (REUTERS/Gopal Chitrakar)

Last week I ordered a copy of the current Poet's Market, and ever since it arrived both Robert and myself have been poring through the pages every chance we get. Its definitely a a worthwhile reference. I think I'll get the next edition too, when it comes out. So far, Robert has sent poems to several magazines listed in the book, and I've found a few already to send to. There's one called Thorny Locust, in Kansas City, that wants "poems with a bite." That'll work, I have a few lines with teeth, lol.

I've been keeping up on some of the animal rescue sites, cruelty cases listed by the ASPCA, and http://petabuse.com. There was a documentary on HBO last Tuesday, "Dealing Dogs" focusing on undercover footage of Martin Creek Kennels in Arkansas, whose owner routinely abused the dogs there... I really found it hard to sit still while watching some of those incidents. This always gets me so angry, makes me want to slap the shit out of whoever's abusing the animal. I've probably said it before, now I'm saying it again... God help anyone I see doing that to a dog, cat, or any other animal. In the documentary, the activist, "Pete" had to compromise everything he knew as right and wrong, in order keep his cover safe long enough to get extensive incriminating footage. In the end, after years of delays, Martin Creek Kennels were shut down for good. But I really have to hand it to the guy for his self-control... I don't think I'd be able to stand still for that. If I were in that situation, I'm sure my cover would be blown the first time somebody slapped a dog.
I still reccoment watching this documentary. For anyone who has Comcast digital cable with HBO, they're showing it: HBO On Demand, so you'll be able to see it anytime you want starting this Monday.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I'm a watcher, it's what I do. I watch statistics, alerts, pending court cases stemming from complaints and arrests. I keep my eyes peeled for animal abuse both locally and across the country.

I've been perfectly content to click on links, read the often heartbreaking details, sometimes becoming quick to anger after viewing some of the more graphic photos. Anger is possibly the greatest motivator, but up till now it has done little to spur me to action. Perhaps it has just taken time for so many of these incidents to build enough to actually say, "Enough" and work to do something to change what needs to be changed.

I remember back in 2003 they ran a story in the local newspaper. At the time I was living in Missouri, and the incident had occured in Liberty. A man named Charles Benoit had grabbed a stray kitten near his apartment and took turns with his friends holding the animal down on a hot barbeque grill, laughing and making jokes as the kitten cried and tried to squirm out of their grasp. When confronted by a neighbor who asked what was going on, Benoit himself turned, and shouted toward the balcony where she was standing, "We're grilling cat, come on down!" By the time she had rushed downstairs to rescue the kitten it was already severely burned, and the group was on their way out of the courtyard, muttering obscenities under their breath.

The kitten was taken to a local vet, but later had to be put to sleep as a result of the burns. This story takes an even more frustrating turn at this point. Although Benoit was charged with animal cruelty and ended up in police custody for a period of nearly a week, his friends proved relentless in harrasing the only witness with disturbing notes delivered to her home and constant threatening phone calls. During that week I followed the story closely, thinking that surely this was the case where the charges would stick when most of the others before it hadn't. Wrong again. Not two weeks later she recanted the story and said the whole thing had never happened. The case was dismissed.

They got to her with intimidation, and Benoit walked free with not so much as a slap on the wrist.

Hindsight is always 20-20. I can't help thinking now that if more effective legislation had been passed and harsher penalties in place, this jerk would have served jail time for his offense.

This is why I always consider it a victory of sorts when I hear of certain anti-cruelty bills passing in the House, or Senate. Recent legislation like:

A bill that would increase animal cruelty to a felony that was passed by the Utah House on Thursday, two days after it appeared to be headed for demise.
House Bill 61 passed on a 48-24 vote and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Or this one:
The Mississippi state Senate has voted for an animal cruelty bill that outlaws organized fights between dogs and pigs and prohibits the torture or killing of cats. The bill passed Tuesday.

Small items to be sure, and possibly overlooked by much of the general public. I consider each a success all the same.
Think Not

The lady at the table
set up inside Manchester Mall
boasted "Workshop"
for writers, and tipped
her nose in a snit that only the
elite or those full of themselves
can truly get away with...

making me feel so much like
a bum in a bistro

maybe sub-common in a place like
Cicero, Illinois, or Germantown,
Hinckley, even Odessa.

But there it was in Fresno
within walking distance
of Tower Theater, Java Cafe
and Moulton's hangout at Granny's,

that district a haven for creative
Bohemia-minded eclectics, eccentrics,
quiet like me, passion-mongers for
the spoken word. Poets. A writer
like me.

"I think not," coughs a cold stare
as she coaxes a pamphlet back
to its proper place.

What was it then, a shock
of white straw and Warhol frames,
stylized grungewear of the day.
I think not.

Think maybe, perhaps, it's possible
in spite of spite, I'm laughing inside
like some manic hyena right there in the
middle of Manchester at the thought of
being more real than the most haughty elitist
and she never had a clue.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Dream Sequence

Follow me to the place
where I dream myself to sleep
and wake facing a waning moon
that fades in, then out.

There is the wind hearing the promise
of ice and rain when I open my eyes
in the clearing to electronic vision.

There, the green snake dipping into view
at eye level, opening its mouth wide
with the warning hiss
of a cat.

So sure that I see
while my lids are still shut
within some r.e.m. phase, sight
and sound, and a signpost
up ahead.

So there is some truth to this
to be found somewhere, unconcernedly
conveyed in a moment of twilight,
that half-stilled infinity
passing between waking
and this morning.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I got to thinking last night and this presented itself... This is what it is: a rant in poetic form. This is also one of the few places I can comfortably keep it that way.

Humble Opinion

You can google my name from here to Timbuktu
my alias, my alter ego, my plural nom de plume
and you will find my presence all over, here and there
cross-referenced with some of the best
in my humble opinion.

You could do just that, what would it prove?
Would it make me a better writer, better poet,
a more caring kennel worker, empassioned
issue-monger, able to push cohesive action to
the next level, and never falling apart
after never falling together?

I suppose you could find bits and pieces
of me in a google, but would that explain
my involvement with some of the most
joyless souls I've had the dubious pleasure
to meet, these worthy skeletons, these perfect
indifference-makers, movers and shakers, these
most unhappy critics the stratosphere has to offer?
But once again, this is only my humble opinion.

You could google my
sorry midwestern/german/scotch-irish ass
right down to the ground (go ahead...
you know you want to) Just do it, from now
until the cows come home, till one jumps
the moon, till the 12th of never or till
hell freezes over, whichever comes first.

Will that keep me from reading and writing
in cliche? Would that bring me a new language
with which to be "original"? My friend, the
technical lesson here is: Its all been done
before, its all been written and said in
book and spoken word. The only difference
is how you preserve your passion...
and that is mos' definitely
my humble opinion.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Me and Robert happened to catch an old movie on Encore yesterday afternoon. In Cold Blood, the true story researched in Kansas and written by Truman Capote. I'd never seen the movie, never read the book... and I suppose I was just in the mood for a movie classic, attracted by the location (being from the midwest), a morbid interest maybe in one of Blake's earlier roles. We started watching this movie, and it wasn't long before we were both giving it the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment, with reaction at the characters treatment of the evidence. How times have changed. You would never see that on CSI. At one point, we were nearly shouting at the TV, "What are you doing?... You've got your own prints all over that gun now..." Oh - the detectives tramping all over the crime scene, no regard for the evidence, they're contaminating everything! Lol... What a wide gap in how crime-drama movies are made... you'll never see that again. Just an observation.

I was actually a little disappointed with the Superbowl commercial offerings this time around. There were few winners, in my opionion... and quite a lot of clunkers. Budweiser came through as usual with some clever spots; "Streaker Sheep" being among my favorites. "Baby Clydesdale" weighed in with the "awww" factor, and "Senior Citizen Fabio" was beyond funny. I liked all those. Ameriquest also gains honorable mention in my book with their compromising situations, tre hilarious. Kudos go to Dove soap, with their promo regarding young girls' self-esteem. I also like the FedEx spot, "Caveman firing", and Aleve's ad featuring Leonard Nimoy having trouble flashing the Vulcan sign.
I will continue to stay out of Burger King simply by virtue of their ongoing campaign featuring the creepy King... the BK stage show spot was incredibly stupid. To me their admen have reached a new low; my jaw actually dropped at this inane production. Its almost as if their entire marketing team is composed of the chimps featured in the Careerbuilder ads, (which btw were good spots. Although not the best, at least they were funny.) Call me brand loyal; it seems Pepsi was intent on trashing the competition... Et tu, Jackie Chan? And the stunt double for a can of Pepsi is a can of COKE? (what-the-huh?)

Always for me, the game itself was secondary. I did end up getting into the play... Awful for Seattle, which seemed like it couldn't get a break the whole time. Especially the play where Roethlisberger fell short but dragged the ball over the line after landing. Bad call, in my humble opinion. But at least it was a good game, not a "shut-out." So congratulations to Pittsburgh for the win.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

This story just makes me sick. Sometimes I absolutely hate people and the excuse of a bottom line they depend on as a motive.

Columbian Drug-smuggling Puppies

I want(demand)to see the maximum jail time for these monsters, not only regarding the drugs but also for the animal cruelty charges.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I happened across this item from the Kansas City Star, the newspaper I still browse through online every now and then.

Kansas Bills Would Make Animal Abusers Felons

Even though I no longer live in the midwest, I do keep up on certain issues, animal cruelty being one of them. The article points to a couple of bills being put to the Senate. One seems decent enough, the other is just too weak, in my opinion. So for the record I'm urging everyone living in Missouri and Kansas to vote yes on SB 408. Do it for your pets... do it for your neighbor's pets... do it for the strays you might see around your neighborhood, do it for those you don't see. Help impose stiffer penalties for animal abusers.

Looks like this is getting attention from a lot of organizations