Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
July 26, 2008
I’m serving up tomato soup
Category: Serious

Which is to say that I was trying to cut off a figure's head with a hobby knife and it slipped... not good. And why is this knife so sharp, yet so useless? It was barely doing more than scratching the figure, yet it went through my flesh so cleanly that I didn't even feel it at first. And then when I looked at my finger, I thought maybe I'd just scratched it as well... until I touched it and blood just shot out from it in a clean arc. Seriously, it was like in the movies where someone gets slashed by a sword or a laser trap -- first nothing, then PSSHHHHHHHHHHHH! Ridiculous.

I seem to be doing alright typing without using my left pointer finger -- which should make the loss of the digit a little easier to deal with should I end up developing a severe infection or damaging the finger beyond repair in future mishaps -- but I'm still worried. Finger, heal thyself! Please?

-posted by Wes | 5:44 pm | Comments (5)
June 10, 2008
I used to love the circus…
Category: Serious

...but PETA's e-mail notices have given me an entirely different view of them -- or at least the parts involving animals. Now, sometimes PETA's e-mails seem to go a bit too far regarding their various causes. For example, in a recent e-mail entitled "Most zoos are prisons for innocent animals," PETA writes:

There's a reason animals in most zoos look so sad. Few zoos can even begin to meet animals' complex needs. Animals in zoos are denied everything that is natural and important to them, and they're confined to enclosures that are infinitely smaller than the open spaces they would inhabit in their real homes in the wild.

And I'll agree, animals in zoos do have less "freedom" than their roaming wild counterparts, but they also don't have to hunt for their own food, get toys and tire swings and other nifty playthings, are safe from other animals that might prey upon them, have people tending to their medical needs, and so forth. So while I know they lack the ability to consent to any of this, it sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me and I'm not outraged about animals being kept in zoos. But I think I've mentioned it here before -- and I know I talked about it with Mickey during at least one discussion -- I think technology will eventually end up freeing animals anyway. Once virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and/or animatronics get up to speed, I submit that it will eventually be possible for people to have completely realistic zoo experiences without the need for animals. And with that being the case, it'll be much easier to simply do that and not have to pay for trainers and veterinarians and resources to keep the creatures healthy and alive (though there will be a need for software engineers, tech support, etc. to keep the virtual animals running properly).

Anyway, the science fiction projection was a digression -- my point was that, insofar as we assume that zookeepers are taking good care of their charges, most will not find the very idea of animals being kept in captivity to be particularly troubling. Nor will they be especially disturbed by PETA's screeds against the idea of animals performing because the tricks that they perform do not come naturally to them. In one e-mail, PETA decried the trick of having elephants stand on their hind legs -- not because this makes them much more likely to develop arthritis (though I think I did read that somewhere), but because they wouldn't normally do this in the wild. Um, yeah. I'm pretty sure Bacardi wouldn't normally roll around and slap people high fives in the wild either, but I hardly think that we're abusing him by having him do it. If circus animals were being abused, however, that would change everything.

But wait! They are being abused. Viciously. And that is why, despite my former love of the circus, I cannot bring myself to attend a show these days. Is there an all clown revue? Perhaps an animal-free show filled with gymnasts and sword-swallowers and performers like the lovely Lucifire? These are circuses I could visit without feeling (too) dirty.

-posted by Wes | 9:12 pm | Comments (6)
May 26, 2008
On Memorial Day
Category: Linkage … Serious

I have a couple other posts in the works (one about a recurrent obsession and its latest manifestation; another on freaking Hillary Clinton and the potential damage she's doing with her most recent comments on sexism and even more explicit feminist slant), but I thought it was important to link to this Huffington Post article on Memorial Day. April Somdahl's heartbreaking experience -- and that of her late brother -- highlights yet another unfortunate effect of the Iraq War on the lives of service members, military families, and the rest of us as well.

I realize how this sounds coming from me, but I hope that you all have (or had, depending upon when you read this) a blessed and reflective Memorial Day. Wishing you a "happy" or "joyful" one doesn't seem quite appropriate in light of that article and what the day signifies.

-posted by Wes | 10:00 am | Comments (1)
May 14, 2008
Stampman Returns
Category: Serious

(Note: readers unfamiliar with the case should refer to this prior entry.)

''It's the Christian thing to do!''

The front of the card doesn't require a closer look (there's nothing written or stamped on it this time, though the image itself is arguably pretty fucked up considering the context), but click on the interior pic above for a larger version with slightly more legible text. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be begging for the friendship of someone who "burned me twice in court!" At least I think that's what he wrote there. I'm not entirely sure, particularly since there was only one court case as far as I know. And including his birth year there with the hyphen? So creepy -- it's almost as if he's suggesting that he hasn't much longer to live. Which may actually be true, given that he's got the AIDS and all, but still.


-posted by Wes | 6:26 pm | Comments (4)
April 29, 2008
Reverend Wright, go away
Category: Serious

Before yesterday, I really didn't think Jeremiah Wright was all that bad. Well, I admit that I thought he was "out there" -- and certainly a liability to Obama -- after first seeing the snippets of Reverend Wright's sermons on YouTube early this year (or maybe even last year; conservative websites were harping on them long before they became the talk of mainstream media). But when I had the opportunity to listen to the full sermons I found it obvious that they had been taken entirely out of context for the purpose of vilifying the man and, by extension, Barack Obama.

Sure, "God damn America" sounds pretty harsh, but Wright was chiefly talking about the American government -- and the injustices towards "racial" minorities that he attributed to it in that sermon, for the most part, have been well documented. When he thundered that "America's chickens are coming home to roost," he was quoting former US Ambassador Edward Peck and highlighting that our country is far from being an innocent bystander on the international stage. Far from gloating that America had gotten its just desserts with 9/11, Wright was simply pointing out that "violence begets violence, hatred begets hatred, and terrorism begets terrorism" -- and that, as we move forward, we need to recognize this reality and stop perpetuating the cycle. And the sermon from which Obama lifted the title of The Audacity of Hope was probably one of the best and most interesting sermons that I've ever heard. I haven't heard all that many sermons, of course, but considering that I'm hardly Christian I was surprised by how engaging I thought it was. I listened to it twice. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 7:21 pm | Comments (5)
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