Ahhhh … Those Good Ol’ Days …

Tonight I have two posts started, but suddenly I had an aversion to writing about either politics, racism or Equifax, so instead I am taking somewhat of a detour from my usual fare.

old-phoneThere was a time, long ago and far away, that when the phone rang, I answered it.  I was nearly certain it would be someone I knew, either a friend or family member, and if it weren’t, it would be a genuinely remorseful caller who had simply dialed the wrong number.  Ahhhhh … those were the good ol’ days, weren’t they?

Then came the days of the ‘800’ numbers.  If the area code was 800, it might be for me, if I had, say, an overdue account or some other pending business outside of my state, but more than likely it was somebody trying to sell me insurance, a burial plot, or convince me to sign up for a credit card.  I’m no dummy, so I quickly learned, with the assistance of caller I.D., to disregard calls from numbers that started with 800.  Annoying, yes, but minimally so, especially since it only happened once or twice a week.

But then … then came the damn robocalls.  Calls from Florida, Michigan, California, Las Vegas … all over the country.  It didn’t take me long to develop a system to deal with these.  I simply stopped using the ‘landline’ altogether and quit taking any calls on my cell phone from callers outside my own area code unless I recognized the number.  I have voice-mail, and if it were, in fact, important, then I could call the person back.  Problem solved.

And then … those who would prefer to make their living by using technology to steal from others rather than earn their money honestly, became truly sophisticated and found ways to make their ‘robocalls’ appear to be from my own area code.  Not only that, but they are frequently very close … just a digit or two off … from my daughter’s phone number.  Now, fortunately I, too, have technology at my fingertips and I have now adopted a policy of not answering any call unless it comes from somebody on my contact list.  This means that if a little picture of somebody I know and their name does not pop up, I simply either hit ‘decline call’ or ignore it.

phone-GalaxyI also have a program that shows incoming calls on my computer, as I often do not hear my phone, and I am able to decline the call with a single mouse click. And, I have visual voice mail so that I can read any message I receive, although the robo callers rarely leave a message.  I wonder, though, what their next move to foil me will be, for I have no doubt that there will be one.

Mind you, it is all annoying and some days frustrating, but I stay one step ahead of them, and if I do on occasion absent-mindedly answer a call, I simply hang up, so I am not complaining … at least not much.  But what does concern me is the people who fall for these scams.  And let’s face it, a heck of a lot of people are falling for them, else the scammers wouldn’t still be using these tactics.

According to a recent article in The Washington Post, one such scam, where the scammer claims to be with the Internal Revenue Service and demands fees and fines, has already cost consumers $54 million!  According to the article …

“If anything, robo-calls are becoming more prevalent and more sophisticated. In their latest devilish innovation, robo-callers have been spoofing numbers in your own area code and prefix, which prompts far more people to pick up. They are also experimenting with artificial intelligence that allows the robot to hold a convincing conversation with you, as you can hear in a sample robo-call posted by Consumers Union in which the recipient tries to get the caller to admit she’s a robot.”

And they offer some good advice … some of which I was not aware of …

  • Don’t answer.
  • Don’t press buttons. Don’t try to opt out of robo-calls by using the call’s phone tree. “If you engage with the robo-caller in any way . . . it lets them know they’ve reached a live phone number. Your number is then added to a hot list.”
  • Don’t speak. If a robo-call asks you questions, don’t answer. Some robo-callers ask, “Can you hear me?” When you say yes, the scammers may use that to claim that you said yes to their product or service.
  • If you receive a robo-call, the FTC asks that you file a complaint online or by calling 888-382-1222. The agency chooses which robo-callers to go after partly based on these complaints.

There are others, and you can read the article, but these four were, I felt, the most relevant.  I was not aware of the third one, “don’t speak”.  I have, on occasion said some choice words to a robocall, but I’m pretty sure that ‘yes’ was not one of those choice words 😉.  And as  for contacting the FTC, I don’t know about you, but despite being on the ‘no call list’, I receive on average three of these calls a day, so it would be impractical for me to contact the FTC each time.

Technology … ain’t it grand?  I close with a funny story from long ago.  One day, probably in the early 1970s, I answered the phone and a female voice that sounded very familiar said, “Hi … whatch’a doing?”  Thinking it might be my friend Patsy, or some other friend, I told her whatever I was doing at the time, and we chatted amiably for about five minutes.  I was still trying to figure out who it was, and didn’t want to embarrass either of us by having to ask, when she said, “you been working out in the garden this morning?”  BAM … I knew she had the wrong number, for I not only did not have a garden, but I am known nationwide for my ‘black thumb’.  I can kill the unkillable, and plants simply commit suicide when they see me coming.  So, we ended the conversation and both agreed it had been a pleasure talking to each other.  Again … ahhhh, the good ol’ days.old-phone-2

 

Your Tax Dollars At Work …

It has been good enough for more than sixty years, since 1948.  It was good enough for the Bushes, Senior and Junior, it was good enough for Presidents Obama, Clinton, Ford, Nixon, Carter, Johnson, Reagan.  But it is not good enough for Donald Trump, who is used to his accommodations in Trump Towers where he has gold bathroom fixtures!

It is reported that a few weeks ago, Trump was at his golf club in New Jersey chatting with other members when he explained his reason for coming to the New Jersey club every weekend is that “the White House is a dump”.  He later denied having said it, and since I was not privy to the conversation, I cannot say for sure, but it was reported by several people, including staff members who were present, so I am inclined to believe he said it.

So, during Trump’s 17-day vacation, while we are paying for him to play golf and eat steak every night, the White House is undergoing a renovation.  To be fair, some of the repairs are necessary, such as repair of a leak in the ceiling, HVAC repairs, etc.  And those repairs were approved before Trump took office.  Other renovations, however, seem unnecessary and a bit frivolous in these troubled times, for example new carpeting throughout the West Wing.

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Empty Oval Office – 816.2 sq. ft.

The renovations will also include fresh landscaping and a granite curb … now, who needs a granite curb?  Isn’t concrete good enough?

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Workers installing granite curb

Apparently there has been a problem with house flies in the West Wing, and last month Business Insider reported that Trump called Reince Priebus to the Oval Office to kill a fly that was buzzing about. Flies … this is what happens when you fill a space with trash.

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So, you may wonder how much all this is costing us.  The renovations will amount to $3.4 million: $1.965 million for upgrading the HVAC systems, $1.17 million for carpet replacements. and a fresh coat of paint will amount to $275,000.  I hesitate to mention that my carpet is 19 years old, and my home has not been painted since then, either.  My home needs plumbing repairs, and my 25-year-old stove/oven is on its last legs.

Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said the cost of the renovations is less than what the past three administrations have spent.  Perhaps, but consider the past three administrations’ costs were over a period of eight years each, not 7 months!  And if the past three administrations have each spent more than $3 million, should not the White House already be in pretty damn good condition?

Since the Trumps are not quite the personification of class, grace and dignity that the Obamas were, I had concerns that Trump’s idea of “Making the White House Great Again” might involve such tackiness as gold-plated fixtures, nude paintings, or hot-pink walls.  But my research reveals that any renovations must be approved by the Office of the Curator.

WH-renovation-2“The White House Office of the Curator is charged with the conservation and study of the collection of fine art, furniture and decorative objects used to furnish both the public and private rooms of the White House as an official residence and as an accredited historic house museum.” – Wikipedia

Phew!  That is a load off my mind, for in Trump Towers, Trump has a three-level penthouse  designed to look like the interior of Versailles, complete with gold and diamond accents, and miles of marble and hand-painted ceiling murals. Can we say “hedonistic”?  “Tacky”?

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In my opinion, and mind you this is just my opinion, the thing that most needs to be replaced in the White House are its occupants.

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A Peek Inside Of Filosofa’s Mind-Bounce

Well, I cannot seem to settle into a topic tonight.  There is too much to write about, too many ‘goings-on’, and my mind seems to be on overload.  So, forgive me if I indulge in a bit of mind-bounce, but that may be my only hope for regaining a degree of focus.

I try very hard to avoid commenting on ignorant political opinions and ridiculous memes on social media.  I try, I tell you … I really do.  And usually I am successful, for I have too much to do to waste my time on it.  However, as I mentioned, tonight my mind is all askew, and I was just cruising around on Facebook, hoping a bit of a break might stop the mind-bounce.  And I came across an extremely bigoted rant against the religion of Islam and its followers.  The writer claimed that Islam is “pure evil” and that we needed to get rid of Sharia Law in the U.S.  Well, as you can imagine, that set me off (mind bounce is often accompanied by enhanced irascibility) and I, against my better judgment, took off my shoes and jumped into the fray.

You would have been proud of me … I responded with intellect and quiet dignity, even when asked what planet I had come from and if I had been asleep all my life.  I stayed only a short time, enough for two or three well-placed comments, and then I left the conversation and turned off notifications so that I would not be tempted again.  But it made me start thinking about the bigotry and hate we are seeing, most of which is based on sheer ignorance.  A few of the comments that stood out, that spoke volumes about the mentality we are dealing with here:

“Outlaw all Muslim activities and people from our country,they have millions of acres of land in their own part of the world ,send them back ,declare this a Christian country”

“it’s not right ,it’s a mental illness that should be treated as such, all these types of people will eventually implode ,they will poison the minds of innocent children and most likely at some point molest someone ,and/or kill themselves or others”

“Harry too many liberals that don’t understand something when they read it ,or what it was supposed to convey ,they just steer away from it to their liberalism”

All comments reproduced “as is” without corrections.

To be sure, there were others who, like myself, tried to educate, to enlighten, to make the haters at least stop and think, but a handful insisted that they were right, everybody else was wrong, and just as I exited, it was becoming a vulgar free-for-all.  There is no value in such an exchange, and this is not a conversation or even a dialogue … it is simply sport.  Blood-sport, at that.

Which led me to thinking about red hair.  (I told you … mind-bounce)  Well, I was wondering if perhaps there is something in the lack of skin pigmentation, or in something in the water they drank, that gave them this tendency toward bigotry.  Are there certain physical traits that indicate mental traits?  And that brings us to the red hair connection.  It is said that people with red hair have shorter tempers.  Is it true? Well, I didn’t find any definitive answer, but I did discover that redheads get cold quicker and feel pain more acutely.  Okay … a snack is needed … something without sugar …

AHA  ….

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Coffee-nut m&ms … no sugar here, right?

Do you know what Kellyanne Conway, America’s #1 Bimbo, makes per year in salary alone?  $179,700.  Nearly a quarter of a million dollars per year.  For … being a mouthpiece, and a bad one at that.  For making up lies to cover Trump’s exposed posterior. For being obnoxious and mostly wrong.  $179,700!!!!!!! More than three times what I made in my highest earnings year!

So, Senator Ron Johnson, a republican (of course) from Wisconsin intimated on a radio show on Wednesday that Senator John McCain’s “nay” vote on the proposed healthcare bill before the Senate last month, may have been a result of his brain tumour.  The radio show host was notably taken aback and asked Johnson if, in fact, he really believed what he was saying.  His reply: “I-I-I don’t know exactly what — we really thought — and again I don’t want speak for any senator. I really thought he was going to vote yes to send that to conference at 10:30 at night. By about 1, 1:30 (a.m.), he voted no.”  Stuttering … genuine embarrassment?  I was looking a bit into Johnson’s background to see if there are enough of these moments to qualify him as Idiot of the Week.  Maybe …

And here is another …

Lindsey Graham … from time to time I have actually had reason to respect Senator Graham, but not today.  Last Tuesday (August 1st) Lindsey appeared on NBC’s Today show with Matt Lauer.  Here is what he said that set my teeth on edge:

“If there’s going to be a war to stop [Kim Jong-un], it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here. And [Trump] told me that to my face. That may be provocative, but not really. When you’re president of the United States, where does your allegiance lie? To the people of the United States.”

Somebody PLEASE tell me he didn’t really say that!  Lindsey Graham is now, in my book, a bloomin’ DOLT.  People.  They are people.  We are people.  Trump and Graham are thinking it’s okay if hundreds of thousands of innocent people die, just so long as it isn’t on U.S. soil?  Think about that one for a few minutes, friends.

Earlier today, dear Roger told me to seek my ‘soft and quiet corner’ and rest there.  I told him my soft and quiet corner was filled with nails and shards of glass.  I now understand where those nails and glass shards are coming from.  And now, dear friends, I believe I shall go give my corner a good cleaning and spend a few hours there, away from the madness and mayhem. And in my next life, I am going to be a wolf, for I do not much care for the human race any more.

 

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A Great Bunch of Ideas and Many Thanks!

Thanks to all who responded to my plea for some fresh ideas for a weekly feature!  Many cautioned that perhaps I am trying to do too much, and to remember to take time for myself lest I burn out, and these are certainly things I sometimes fail to consider.  But overall, I am happy with what I do, and the weekly features that let me step back from politics into a brighter arena are, in part, what keeps me sane (if it can be said that I AM sane, which some might argue against). If I do a new Saturday feature, it wouldn’t be an addition, but would replace whatever socio-political article I would otherwise write, so really, no extra work involved!

You guys all had some really great ideas!  Music was mentioned at least twice, from JB’s thought of ”videos of different music, maybe some new bands/artist or some old favorites,” to Kertsen’s thoughts of “commenting on some famous song lyrics especially those protest songs that are always around.”  Colette suggested more of a collaborative effort, combining guest blogs with theme weeks, and she suggested some really fun themes!  Emily had the idea of “Snapshot Saturday where you post the most unusual thing you read or saw during the week.”  All great ideas, so I was pondering when …

My friend Bushka came up with the winning idea that lets me combine all of the above!  “How about… ‘Saturday Surprise’! This will give you a tremendous opportunity to respond to ‘occurrences’ that so often slip through your daily life…Opens you up to plenty of options….. ONE PROVISO…… NO POLITICS!!!!  Don’t you love it?  I do!  It gives me unlimited lattitude, yet keeps me out of the rabbit hole on Saturday mornings … or afternoons – I haven’t yet decided which.  And I can have tons of fun using the ideas that ALL of you have given me!

So, Saturday Surprise it will be!  It will not begin this Saturday, but likely next Saturday, as I need to do some thinking yet.  I hope this one will be fun for us all.  And many, many thanks to you all for your help and really great suggestions!

Hugh and Colette also expressed interest in posts about things that are being done to protect the environment, and I DO plan to do more along those lines, just probably not as a scheduled feature, since anything that pertains to the environment will almost certainly lead into the political arena.  But stay tuned … in fact I am working on one now for tomorrow morning!

On another note, I am working with an old friend on a piece that I will probably publish next Tuesday or Wednesday. The friend, to whom I promised anonymity, is a republican.  He is also an extremely intelligent man whom I have known for about 20 years and worked with for more than 10 of those 20.  Although he and I disagree on political ideology, we are both mature and respectful in our disagreement, and most importantly, we listen to one another.

My idea started when I asked him if he would be willing to answer a set of questions I compiled, in order to explain his reason for supporting Donald Trump and his policies, in light of everything that Trump has done or said.  I explained that my goal … my only goal … was to try to gain an understanding, to find some common ground, and that I trusted him to give me actual answers, rather than the standard “because he’s a great businessman” or “because he’s going to ‘make America great’ again”.  My friend agreed readily and said he had been thinking about asking me to do the same.  Which expanded my idea for the post, and I think it will be interesting to get an honest view from both sides of the proverbial aisle.  He is on vacation at the moment, but we plan to collaborate this weekend and I hope to have this post ready to go by the middle of next week.

So, thank you all once again, and I hope we will all have fun with Saturday Surprise!

Filosofa Seeks Your Ideas!

I am simply too exhausted to write a post tonight, but I have been considering something and would like your input.  My “Jolly Monday” feature and “Good People Doing Good Things” feature on Wednesday seem to be a hit.  And I enjoy doing them also … it gets me away from politics, from the gloom and doom of my rabbit hole for a bit.  So, I’ve been considering adding a third weekly feature, perhaps for Saturdays.  But I am not exactly full of ideas.

The one idea I did toy with was an ‘Environmental’ feature, sometimes featuring people, organizations, states or even nations doing things to protect the environment, and sometimes featuring notable abuses to the environment, which would likely take it into a somewhat political nature.

idea-1.jpgSo I’m asking for some input from my cherished readers.  First, are you interested in another “off my beaten path” feature, and if so, what are some of your ideas?  What sorts of things would you like to see?  I also gave some thought to an animal feature … I come across hordes of funny animal stories every weekend when I am digging for “Jolly Monday” stories.

I hope you’ll send some ideas my way, for my weary brain seems to be fresh out!  And while I’m just writing randomly … I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for being such great friends!  Your support and comments mean so very much to me! You guys are more than just fellow-bloggers … you are family and I always look forward to reading your comments and catching your posts as often as I can.  Thanks for being my cherished friends.  Here’s to many more years together!

And now … I shall … zzzzzz … go to bed!  G’night all!

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Olde England, carrying on

Most often these days my posts tend to be dark and depressing. I think it is time we all have a breath of fresh air!!! My dear friend Mary, writing as memoirsofahusk, has written one of the most uplifting posts I have read in a long time. Mary lives in the UK, and as we all know, they have had their share of troubles lately. She was in need of some time spent in nature to re-gain her perspective, and she shared the experience with her readers in both beautifully crafted words and gorgeous pictures (she is both a writer and a photographer). Please do yourself a favour and spend a few minutes reading Mary’s beautiful post … I promise you will smile and feel a bit of peace. Many thanks to Mary for permission to share this with my readers!

MEMOIRS OF A HUSK

It wasn’t a dawn chorus, it was a cacophony. And it went on, and on, and on.

Barney

The lambs joined in.

Then the donkey.

Then we heard the clippety-clop.

Clutching my camera, I leaned through the tiny window, in the thick stone wall, of the old farmhouse that’s now an inn. An unusual inn…

‘Good morning,’ I called.

‘Good morning to you,’ replied the passing stranger, ‘how are you?’

‘Fine,’ I replied, ‘how are you?’

’I’m very fine,’ he responded with the biggest, sunniest smile you’ve ever seen, ‘I’m on holiday.’

A flat cap on his head, greying moustache on his upper lip. A spring in his step and a twinkle in his eyes, the gypsy was walking beside a horse pulling an old-fashioned, brightly-decorated gypsy caravan. Looking barely big enough for a man his size.

But I doubt he lives in it year round. For this is a…

View original post 1,040 more words

The Trump Legacy … Potties!

Okay, folks … you all know by now how I feel about Donald Trump, right?  And you know that, in my ever-so-humble opinion, the man has not done one single thing right … perhaps in his entire life, but certainly since January 20th, 2017.  But … Filosofa must give credit where credit is due, and it turns out there is one industry that he has boosted over the top.  What is this, you ask.  The porta-potty industry!

President Trump vowed on the campaign trail to boost economic growth and be the “greatest jobs producer that God ever created.”

His economic legacy is far from sealed, but it’s safe to say he has made at least one industry flush: the Washington region’s portable toilet industry. – The Washington Post, 20 May 2017

Doesn’t it make perfect sense that Trump’s legacy will be that he boosted the toilet industry?

Turns out that the connection is all the protests that have taken place, are taking place, as a result of his policies and behaviour since entering the Oval Office.  The Women’s March on 21 January, for example, required some 600 port-a-potties, which was still insufficient, I am told.  Rob Weghorst, chief operating officer of Virginia-based portable toilet rental company Don’s Johns (don’t you just love the name?  🙂  ), said the increase in political advocacy — typically among protesters with left-leaning political affinities — has translated to boom times. His company provided toilets for the Women’s March, the People’s Climate March and others on the Mall this year.

pottie-2Weghorst isn’t complaining. “All I’m going to say is that we love the activism. I’ll leave it at that. It’s been good. It’s made for an interesting and lucrative spring.”

The National Park Service (NPS), which oversees the Mall, requires demonstration permit holders to provide one portable toilet for every 300 participants, 20 percent of which must be wheelchair-accessible. NPS said it has seen more than a 30 percent increase in permitted protests compared with this time last year, with some attracting tens of thousands of people.

Frederick Hill III, owner of the District-based Gotta Go Now (another catchy name!), says his port-a-potty company has seen about a 40 percent increase in revenue each month of 2017 compared with a year earlier. So far in May, business is running 50 percent ahead of last year. Depending on the bulk of the order, Gotta Go Now charges between $85 and $125 per toilet, including delivery and pickup.

Jordan Uhl, who is planning the June 3rd March For Truth, said that the potties will be his single largest expense, around $5,000.  Most who have contributed to the online funding campaign for this event probably had no idea that their money was going to rent toilets!

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Given the current state of the Trump administration, there is every reason to believe that protests will continue and draw increasingly huge (or is it yuge?) crowds, as more and more people are affected and become cognizant of the chaos Trump & Co. has made of our nation.  Thus … the demand for port-a-potties is not likely to diminish any time soon!  My advice?  Buy stock in Don’s Johns!  And as for Trump … well, never let it be said that he didn’t fill Washington D.C. with a bunch of … er … poop.

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One-way glass porta-pottie

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A Breath Of Fresh Air!!!

Tonight I wanted … nay, I needed … to write about something other than … well, you-know-who.  So I spent some three hours searching for a story that had nothing to do with U.S. politics.  You wouldn’t believe how hard that was!!!  Even the European news sites had all you-know-who … every single bloomin’ story!  But I knew I had found my story when I saw this picture …Milner-1This woman’s office is the first I have seen that looks worse than my own!  The woman is one Dr. Brenda Milner, a professor of psychology in the department of neurology and neurosurgery at McGill University in Montreal, best known for discovering the seat of memory in the brain, the foundational finding of cognitive neuroscience. Now, if I knew what all that meant …

Milner-3Dr. Milner is 98 years old and still going strong!  Dr. Milner continues working, because she sees no reason not to. Neither McGill nor the affiliated Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital has asked her to step aside. “People think because I’m 98 years old I must be emerita,” she said. “Well, not at all. I’m still nosy, you know, curious.” 

In 2014 she won three prominent achievement awards, which came with money for research. She has a project: a continuing study to investigate how the healthy brain’s intellectual left hemisphere coordinates with its more aesthetic right one in thinking and memory. (Perhaps I should travel up to Montreal, because I am fairly certain that my left and right hemispheres do not coordinate with one another at all!!!)

She has made some concessions to her age … she only goes into the office about three days a week now.  “And I have some rules,” she added. “I will take on postdoctoral students, but not graduate students. Graduate students need to know you’ll be around for five years or so, and well” — she chuckled, looking up at the ceiling — “well, it’s very difficult if they have to switch to someone else, you know.”

Dr. Milner changed the course of brain science for good as a newly minted Ph.D. in the 1950s by identifying the specific brain organ that is crucial to memory formation. I will leave out the technical detail, as I do not understand it myself, but for any interested, this New York Times article gives more detail about her work and is quite fascinating.

Milner-2Dr. Milner was born in Manchester, England, and was homeschooled until age 8 by her father, a music critic and piano teacher. By the time she was 6-years-old, she was fluent in German as well as English.  She fell in love with mathematics and science and earned a scholarship to Cambridge University.  She has over 20 honorary degrees and many distinguished awards, far too numerous to list here.

Though she does not drive, Dr. Milner did once pass her driving test …

The driving instructor wiped his brow with a handkerchief, and not just because of the heat. His student — a grown woman, squinting over the dashboard — was ramming the curb in an effort to parallel park.

“We reached an agreement, right then and there: He let me pass the test, and I promised never to drive,” Brenda Milner said, smiling to herself at the decades-old memory. “You see, my spatial skills aren’t so good. That’s primarily a right-brain function.” – New York Times, 15 May 2017

Fortunately, she doesn’t need to drive to work.  “I live very close; it’s a 10-minute walk up the hill, so it gives me a good reason to come in regularly.”

I admire this woman very much!  She is dedicated and has a sense of humour, and most important, she isn’t letting age slow her down, but just keeps on giving of her time and talents.  I am 23 years younger than she, and I suspect her energy levels far exceed my own.  I am so glad I stumbled across Dr. Milner tonight!

Are Animals More Human Than Humans?

I consider myself an animal rights activist. Though I do not carry signs and march alongside PETA, I support animal rights both financially and in my writing.  Frankly, today I think animal rights are probably a much worthier cause than human rights, since animals are more pure of spirit and, as I am given to understand, inhabited the earth long before humans.  I do not wish to write tonight of Trump, the disastrous health care bill, Tillerson, Sessions, or any of the other ugly aspects of our daily life.  Instead, I wish to write about … pigs.

The headline that piqued my curiosity read …

Woman who helps thirsty pigs evades jail

Of course, I first thought the pigs were jail-bound, but upon closer reading (with a magnifying glass), I determined the woman who was helping the poor, thirsty pigs, was for some reason, jail-bound.

The story, as told by BBC, goes like this:

An Ontario judge dismissed mischief charges against Anita Krajnc, ending a legal battle that captured the global attention of animal rights activists.

Judge David Harris said he was not convinced that Ms Krajnc obstructed the use of property when she gave water to pigs headed to slaughter.

Ms Krajnc said it confirms “compassion is not a crime”.

Mischief to property is a criminal offence in Canada related to the wilful destruction or damage of property.

Justice Harris wrote in his decision that he is satisfied that Ms Krajnc “did not obstruct, interrupt or interfere with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of any property” when in July 2015, she gave water to a few animals being carried in a tractor trailer filled with 190 pigs going to a slaughterhouse outside Toronto.

Ms Krajnc, who co-founded an organisation called Toronto Pig Save in 2011, regularly gathered with other activists on a traffic island at an intersection near a large slaughterhouse to pet the animals and give them water.

But this time, the truck driver confronted Ms Krajnc and police were called. A video of the tense encounter was posted online by the activists.

During her trial, supporters crammed into the courtroom, many sitting on the floor. Members of the media sat in the prisoner’s box.

Despite her win on Thursday, Ms Krajnc told the BBC she has “mixed feelings” about the decision.

“We were hoping for recognition in the legal system that pigs and other animals are simply not property – that they are sentient beings, that they have basic rights,” she said.

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So, doesn’t that raise a number of questions in your mind?  It doesn’t, you say?  Awwww … c’mon … play along here and don’t force me back into the world of … well, you know … just yet.  Filosofa is trying to de-stress here, and the least you can do is play along …

So, (for those of you still reading) the first question is:  Should animals have the same rights as humans? Well, in a case in New York in 2015, two chimps, Leo and Hercules, went to court.  Their lawyers wanted them removed from an animal testing facility to an animal sanctuary.  The judge, one Barbara Jaffe, suggested the chimps had the right of habeas corpus – the ancient legal principle under which the state has an obligation to produce missing individuals before a court.

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But later, the judge changed the wording and suggested that the court does not consider the animals to be legal persons. Awwwwww …. This story was supposed to DE-stress me …  😥

The year before, there was the story of another chimp named Tommy, in which case a judge said a chimp was not entitled to the same rights as people.

pigs-3-Tommy

And this led to the term speciesism, defined as: “the idea that being human is a good enough reason for human animals to have greater moral rights than non-human animals. …a prejudice or bias in favour of the interests of members of one’s own species and against those of members of other species.”

Now, folks … look around you at the world today.  Do ‘human animals’ ACT like they have ‘greater moral’ rights?  Do they even act like they have morals? If humans are to be considered “superior”, then does it not follow that they have a moral obligation to care for those who fall beneath them in the … um … food chain?

If you made it this far, thank you for putting up with this rambling-of-the-mind post, but the mind was rather like a rubber band wound too tight and needed to be let off the leash for just a bit.  I shall return in a bit with more of my usual fare.  Meanwhile, if you see a thirsty pig today … give him a bit of water.

NO POLITICS MONDAY!!!!

Good Monday to all!  I don’t know about you, but personally, I am suffering a case of “political overload” at the moment, after Saturday’s primaries and caucuses, Sunday’s debate, and all the Trumpola thrown in my face for the last several days/weeks/months. Mondays are tough enough without adding angst to the equation. So, I decided today I would find other, more fun and interesting things to write about before returning to wading through the muck on the morrow.  Here are a few brief blurbs I ran across in my journeys through the netherworld.

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The Guinness World Record book is famous for some of its oddball categories.  Bet you didn’t know there is even one for the loudest burp!  That record was broken by an Australian man who says it was the fulfillment of his lifelong dream. (The Week, 2016)  How loud was his burp?  110.6 decibels or louder than a motorcycle or power saw from three feet away.  “It’s been a bit of a goal from when I was a kid,” he says.  He credits his success to regular training sessions with carbonated drinks, including beer. There are also categories for the loudest female burp and for loudest fart.  Okay … well, um … moving along now …

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A 16-year-old kid teaching a group of 70+ seniors to take selfies?  Well, it seems like an idea that just might catch on!  How many of us over a certain age have to ask our kids or grandkids to help us with our phones, computers and other 21st century devices?  Back in the day (I’m not saying which day), I could rebuild a computer, but these days, I cannot even make the DVD player display closed captioning without the assistance of my granddaughter.  A young man, Christian Magnuson, volunteered to help out at a retirement home (I like this kid already!), where he noticed that most of the residents had smartphones, but they were at a loss as to how to do much more than turn them on.  I can relate … until recently I couldn’t figure out how to make a call on mine though I could text like a pro!  Anyway, Christian, age 16, started teaching a weekly class to teach the seniors such things as taking pictures (including selfies), changing ringtones, texting, and what all those little icons mean.  He is also teaching them about something called “Siri” … whatever the heck that is!  I think I am the one who needs his classes.  Two thumbs up to this young man!  (Bahrampour, 2016)

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R.I.P. Nancy Reagan.  While I frequently disagreed with Ronald Reagan’s policies and ideology, Nancy Reagan was a gracious First Lady.  She brought to the White House a sense of style, but, more importantly, graciousness, a gentleness, warmth, and charm.

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Two brothers in Florida both won the lottery on the same day, but with separate tickets!  What are the odds, you ask?  The two brothers, James and Bob Stocklas, had been vacationing in Florida when, as they were heading back to their home in Pennsylvania, they each bought a lottery ticket.  Their winnings?  Well, James won $291 million while Bob won a whopping $7.  But never fear … James plans to share.  “We’ve been laughing a lot about it, he doesn’t need to worry about nothing,” James told the New York Daily News. “Family’s family. He’s not going to worry about anything.” (Moran, 2016)

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butterfly and bee

Of butterflies and bees … one is in decline, but the other is making a comeback.  First, the good news:  the Monarch Butterfly population has more than tripled this year, after multiple years of decline.  Credit goes to a joint effort between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada for planting more milkweed plants, and cracking down on illegal logging.  Now the really bad news:  the honeybee population, which has been decreasing since at least 2006, has decreased by some 70% in Iowa, the Dakotas, Montana and Minnesota, and by 50% in California. There seems to be no single cause, but a complicity of climate changes, pesticide and fungicide over-use, genetically altered crops and other man-made causes.  This is critical because “no other single animal species plays a more significant role in producing the fruits and vegetables that we humans commonly take for granted yet require near daily to stay alive”. http://www.globalresearch.ca/death-and-extinction-of-the-bees/5375684.  Albert Einstein once prophetically remarked, “Mankind will not survive the honeybees’ disappearance for more than five years.”  Many efforts are underway to achieve a solution to this problem … let us hope it works!