28 July 2012

'and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make'


please take a few minutes to read about titan, a pitbull in georgia who has saved his owner's wife's life not only once but twice.  what is even more impressive and sweet is that the Humane Society is acknowledging the dog's heroics.  a big thank you to and props to the Humane Society for stepping up for the breed as a whole and giving credit where credit is due.

if you know me, you probably either know my dog, janie, or at least have seen pictures of her.  now, i'm not even sure of janie's true breed mixture because i rescued her when she was 14 weeks old.  the vet hinted that she believed janie to be pitbull/boxer mix, but as i've spent the last 9 years with her, i've surmised her to be part pointer (because she points, trees squirrels, and can seriously trail through the woods) and part staffordshire terrier.  either way, she's been pegged as a 'pitbull' or an 'aggressive' dog simply because of her looks.  yes, she is a big dog, but if we judged aggressive behavior by size, why the hell are people allowed to have a dog that weighs more than the human owner?  obviously the bigger dog would dominate and easily have it's way with the smaller person.

my 'aggressive' dog, janie mcadoo.  frightening, huh?

the ignorance associated with this 'aggressive' attitude towards such breeds or dogs is a direct result of the ignorant owners who don't control, train, love and humanely rear these dogs.  and the direct result of this over-generalization of a dog breed results in what i consider to be dog racism.  it is the very same idea of judging a person based on their looks or the color of their skin before getting to know that particular person.  it's the very same thing the nazis did to the jews - grouping them all into one general category and condemning them to near non-existence simply because some asshole purports an ignorant idea and even more ignorant, spineless, and weak-minded individuals blindly believe without utilizing their own free-thinking will.

i can speak of this because i've been directly affected by dog racism.  i lived in scottsdale, az, for a short stint and attempted to find an affordable, 1-bedroom apartment for myself and janie.  not only was i not able to find an apartment complex in the entire phoenix metro area that would rent to me because my dog was one of an 'aggressive' breed, when i did finally come across one in south tempe (almost 25-30 minutes from where i worked and spent my free time), they demanded a $750 non-refundable deposit because my dog was on the list.  so this lady says, "we'll be happy to accept your dog if you have a DNA test run to let us know her true breed."  ok, so you want me to go spend upwards of $100 to have a test run, more likely than not to come back telling me that in fact she is a breed that is on the list, only to tell me again that she's not welcome in the complex.  do i have sucker tattooed on my forehead?  do you really think i'm going to give you $750 so that you can use this money to fix up the apartments that irresponsible, unhygienic people destroy?  or to fix the apartments that actual aggressive dogs destroyed because their owners are not only terrible dog owners but are people who live in more inhumane surroundings than my dog would find unacceptable?  i find my dog to be more patient, more loving, more hygienic, and pretty much smarter than most people i ran into on a daily basis in the phoenix area.

another complex actually took the time to ask if i could bring janie by for a 'dog interview.'  i gladly accepted the invitation and was very fired up because the apartment was affordable, close to a great dog park, and very close to my work.  i arrive with janie and before i can even introduce myself to the idiot who managed the place, she says - as i'm walking up with janie - "oh NO, NO WAY!!!  that dog is too aggressive to have here.  we have children in this complex!"  my response: "lady, some kids need to be on leashes."  and it's not the kids' fault - it's the fault of the parents - or owners, if you will.

so, if i remember correctly, this was pretty much my last ditch effort at finding a place and i had heard so many racist comments and objections to housing myself and my dog that i kind of lost it on these ladies.  in place of wanting to unleash janie and let her 'aggressively' love these stupid people to death, i unleashed the above 'dog racist' rant on them.  i asked them if they rented to ex-convicts (and they did).  i berated them because i had had enough.  i made one of them cry and so i figured my work was done.  i let janie take a shit right there on their office lawn before i left, too.

now, on the flip-side, i do in fact understand that the corporations who build these apartment complexes have insurance policies and they are the ones that produce the aggressive breed list.  my question is: shouldn't there be an aggressive breed list for people as well?  in my 31 years on this planet, i've found that human beings cause much more damage and harm to the earth, houses/apartments, and even their dogs because they are, for the lack of a better phrase, just shitty people who live in a world of ignorance.  they're quick to judge but cannot stand to be judged as they do others.

back to the story...  this is a wonderful example of fantastic dog owners who love their dog like they would their child.  and that love is over-reciprocated.  i've never met a loved dog who didn't requite ten-fold the love they received.  most people are intimidated by my dog solely on appearance - and in all honesty, i love it. it keeps the stupids at bay and way the hell away from me.  but if you ever meet my dog, you will know right off the bat that janie would never hurt you unless you were ignorant enough to attempt to hurt her or hurt me - at which point, you deserve what's coming to you.  i love my dog.  she's been my best friend for the past 9 years and i really don't know who i would be without her.  yes, she smells sometimes and she farts.  her tail does whip your shins, but they're love whips!  it warms my heart to read these stories, seeing people standing up for dogs who catch shit for an overgeneralization of a result of human neglect and irresponsibility.  your dog is your responsibility.  they are animals and do have naturally confrontational and defensive instincts and mechanisms.  if you don't understand this, you're not fit to raise a dog.

going forward, i really do loathe looking for a new house to live in because of the ever-increasing rise in dog racism.  it really makes it hard for someone like me to find a suitable place to live in a desirable area.  i meet pitbull or 'aggressive' dog owners all the time and they love their dog.  the only time i hear about a dog being aggressive or threatening is by the lack of responsibility of the owner.  so it's time for people to step up and give their dogs the love and respect they deserve.  you never know, they might just love you enough to save your life or the life of a loved one.  twice.

22 July 2012

mo rocca is more disturbing than an oven-roasted suckling pig.

hey there little buddy!  i'm gonna eat you!


please watch the above video (you only have to endure the beginning ad and then abou 38 seconds for me to prove my point).  mo rocca is doing a story on barbecue in miami, havana style.  the first part of the story involves the suckling pig, a centerpiece in cuban cuisine...  and a horror show to some.  oooooOOOOooooo!!!!!!!

so here comes CBS's double-edged sword of political-correctness.  at 14-15 seconds into the segment, the camera shows a local miami cook pulling a suckling pig out of the oven, with the little guy's face right up in the camera.  the segment even pauses the shot and spells out P-I-G with the crispy, succulent suckling pig starting you right in the face.  although considered inhumane and gruesome to people who don't eat pork or find it sickening to cook little baby pigs, they put it right out on the table for you.  or do they???

so let's endure about 23 more seconds of mo rocca's lisp and quirky humor to get to another shot with mo sitting at the table with the same cook.  at 37 seconds in, notice the blur in the middle of the table - what would be the very same suckling pig, filtered for your protection.

now, here's my conundrum: how is it socially/politically/ethically/morally inappropriate to show the pig on the table (just the pig itself - none of the carved meat is blurred out) when you can clearly see two omnivorous human beings carving up and actually EATING the meat?!?!?!  that is just outrageous.  clearly there is a profane lapse when just 23 seconds before, you get a close-up shot of the very same pig coming out of the oven, right up in your face.  so, the question i pose is: what is the point?

what is the point of even running a story about barbecue if you refuse to the very product that is one of the focal points of the journalistic work?  what is the point of blurring out the pig in one shot, where you actually show the pig being disassembled and devoured, but blatantly putting the very same pig in clear view in what actually could be considered a much more "disturbing" or "tasteless" view?  why can't someone who is truly offended change the fucking channel rather than force a news corporation like CBS blur out the feature image of a story?  we've gotten so used to pandering to every movement group's feelings that we're becoming a weak-stomached nation.

the duality in this journalistic/editorial mishap on CBS's part lies at the heart of the debate over  censorship, the media, and focus groups constantly whining about any and everything.  while CBS may find that they could possibly disgust or offend people with showing the face of a fully cooked suckling pig, i have to watch mo rocca flounce around in a cheesy getup that every touristy white person would wear to miami.  why can't we blur him out?  his voice is annoying enough.  i'm not going to sit here and tell anyone what should or shouldn't be shown on tv, but this little episode made me think: i can't stand mitt romney, for instance.  his voice is more offensive and disgusting than a fully cooked pig.  why don't they censor his voice with a voiceover by, say, Morgan Freeman.  at least the nonsense spewing out of his mouth more pleasurable to endure.  also, barak obama's public speaking and his excessive "uh's" are horrendous.  why can't we bleep over them or simply cut them out of his speech.  better yet, why can't he cut them out?  public speaking professors should start a big to-do about this just like any other anti-pork person would whine and moan about a suckling pig being shown on tv.

and just to boot, the stories we get to hear about the tragedy in Aurora, CO, are riddled with pictures of people bloodied and shot.  a truly horrendous scene - and we get full details on how someone methodically killed a dozen people and injured even more.  and this doesn't make you sick?

but please, CBS Sunday Morning - for the love of god - don't do any stories on open air markets in any other country than the united states.  i wouldn't want anyone to see what a skinned rabbit looks like because they're just so darn cute.  and tasty, i might add.

20 July 2012

who nose?

why don't dogs get boogers?  as much sniffing as they do in dirt and around the ground, their noses or snouts or whatever you want to call them never get stuffed up with solid boogers.  upon a quick google search, i'm not the only one who wonders this:


i have a dog and she gets sick but i've never seen a solid glob of snot come out of her.  and she sneezes all over me all of the time.  my guess (without reading the general population's edumacated guesses) is that their nose/snout is generally much wetter than the human nose and also lacks nose hairs, which for us humans catches dust and shit like that to eventually form into solid or semi-solid boogers.  dogs also sweat through their mouth and nose, but still you would think something would get caught up in there and generally start to bulk up.

i have no idea where i'm going with this but i just thought about it.  so there.

livin' booger free.

Book Review: Carlos Ruíz Zafón's The Prisoner of Heaven

this is by no means a professional book review.  i've done those - they're no fun.  i don't like to capitalize my writing unless i deem it absolutely necessary.  this may ramble, repeat, and what not, but it's written in hopes that you too will fall into the hypnotic, romantic, labyrinthian noir of mid-20th century Barcelona that Carlos Ruíz Zafón so vividly portrays in this series of novels (Shadow of the Wind, The Angel's Game, and this - the 3rd installment).  although i found The Angel's Game to be, quite honestly, the best book i've read in a decade, i'm starting with this review since i just polished it off - the book, that is.  i'll revisit the others, refresh, and do the same for them as well.

Zafón's story revolves around Daniel Sempere, a bookkeep who works in his father's shop, Sempere & Sons, which has obviously been in his family for years.  we're placed in the mid-20th century at first, but what Zafón does so brilliantly is take you from one period of Spain to the next, alternating between pre-civil war times to mid-civil war then back to post-Franco Spain.  having studied these times in my academic life, accounts of these times are horrifying and Zafon's descriptions - being either physical, psychological, or even emotional - live up to all i've encountered. Daniel has a wife and child, lives a modest life, and doesn't seem too interesting at all; yet, Zafón's world of quasi-magical realism brings demons and devils to life, only to be countered by the wit and strength of real world angels.  it brings out secrets in each and every character, whom you may both grow to fear and shed tears for in a matter of pages.

i want to say the central character in this 3rd novel is Fermín Romero de Torres - Daniel's lifelong friend, crazed philosopher, lover of women, and extra hand at Sempere & Sons.  before Prisoner, Fermín is the joker, the character that brings humor into the darkest moment.  more or less a scalawag, we don't know much about him from the previous novels - or should i say about his life and background.  well, Zafón lays it all out in these pages.  we find out who Fermín Romero de Torres really is and it's one hell of a ride.  from within the annals of Fermín's story comes the roots of the novel within the novel, The Angel's Game by one of Fermín's favorite and Spain's most loathed author's, David Martín.  the two come in contact during the war in times of utter dispair.  i will not even begin to spoil.  but we do end up finding out the origin of the book, from which we begin to find the secrets to an inner life Barcelona would wish to hold dear and secret in the center of its lugubrious heart. 

as i said before, i want to say Fermín is the focal point - and he is - but what we find out from his lifelong struggle as a nobody (literally) leads to a web of connections between all the characters: Daniel, his father - Señor Sempere, Daniel's deceased mother - Isabella...  even Daniel's son, Julián, who is named for another inter-novel writer, Julián Carax - whose writings are the focal point of The Angel's Game.  while Fermín searches for his true identity, his is not the only one revealed.

although Zafón's writing can be gory at times, it's real.  there's no softening of the skin when you read the descriptive qualities of, say, a burlap sack in a jail cell.  the words "stench" and "filth" are virtually slathered onto the pages - you can literally almost smell the very smells which Fermín is enduring.  Zafón's writing is deep, detailed, and visual.  it's almost entrancing.  the story moves along in stages, winding through time, space, and the characters' minds almost seamlessly.  a true talent it takes to mesh such an elaborately baroque tale by way of three phenomenally written novels.  

back in the saddle again.

i've been away from my ranting post for a good while now... almost a year i guess.  so now ranting for mud now finds me in a new place and a new picture.  there's actually mud where i live now.  relevance.

so anyone who reads, please follow, comment, converse, opine, etc. because i'm gunning up the writing again.  you never know what you'll find spewing out here so please check in from time to time.  so to kick it all back off, here's some pictures of monkeys riding dogs at a rodeo.  enjoy!

16 June 2011

kudos to phish

for the first time in years, probably since 2004, i have valid reason to give phish positive praise for something they've done: webcasting shows. it's really a brilliant idea, in all honesty. i mean, put yourself in their shoes: they're already getting more or less $75 per ticket and sell out every show with no problems at all. Why not make $15 more bucks and sell the show on the internet to (at the
very least) twice as many people than you're reaching solely in the venue. with the festival streams this summer (hangout, bonnaroo, etc.), shit - now i don't have to pay for over-priced festival tickets, rent a condo, deal with the festivality in all its entirety.

i can't even begin to explain how nice it is to have the following taken away from the "going-to-see-a-phish-show" experience:
  1. the fucking scuds - i don't have to hear "moooooooolllllyyyyyy" or get hit up for smokes by every anti-showering hippie in the place. as a matter of fact, i don't even have to walk around the entire lot, or park my car, or do any of that shit. i'm on the couch. all the heady bros are at the show sweating it up and brah'in out in their own wookie ass way, and i don't have to deal with even one of 'em.
  2. this is an extension of point 1, regarding the crowd, and i don't need to explain this any further: "A drug is not bad. A drug is a chemical compound. The problem comes in when people who take drugs treat them like a license to behave like an asshole."--Frank Zappa
  3. a/c - i'm sitting comfortably in my recliner, drinking old charter, and am comfortable. i'm not fighting over seats, scheming to sneak over the rail when the usher isn't looking, watching out for wookies who are doing just that... and i'm in the confines of my very own home. plus, i have my own shitter to go to when they play "wading in the velveeta cheese" or any other flimsy new song they purport.
  4. soundboard - i actually get to see the band (which isn't that great now because as cheesy as trey has gotten, with the signs and all and the singing along, i just don't get it). i think the theory that as musical artist get older, they just naturally cheese out - so it seems to be heading in such a direction for phish. i predict that in the next year, going to see a phish show will be eerily similar to watching an episode of espn college gameday, with all the signs and overbearing crowd participation. playing songs that people write on signs - that's not the spontinaeity i'm looking for in such a band. don't take cues from the people in the crowd. please.
  5. did i mention that i have my very own shitter? just can't beat that.
so, i tip my hat to the boys - the first tip of such a hat in a long time. i'm glad that people are enjoying it, that they're playing the songs correctly (at least - although they're "banging them out" more so than in the past), and seem like they're having fun.

05 January 2011

my sweet honeymoon in Haiti

who could have ever guessed life would turn out so sweet? you think you're in a dead end job in a dead end city when things just turn right around. now look at you, in Haiti, exploiting locals and local horses, and for what??? that perfect picture that sums up the relationship you have with the love of your life. Betty and Randy 4 life.

now don't feel sorry for Ulysse - even though he looks like he's struggling and not enjoying himself, he's actually having the time of his life! most other visitors exploit Ulysse and his horse-leading abilities, but not us. we were nice enough to include him in the pic. not only that, we're sharing our Ulysse experience with all of our closest and most dearly loved. that's right - keep an eye out next Christmas. i'm not sure there's a better picture that defines peace, love, and joy simultaneously. even the horses look stoked - the one on the right even smiled for the picture. what a sport. FELIZ NAVIDAD, ULYSSE!!!!

not everyone would imagine Haiti as being the supreme honeymoon spot, but what Randy wants, Randy gets. you wouldn't believe the room on the beach - i mean, no one is here. who'd thunk it? i heard rumors of some type of cholera going around, but i just thought that was some type of tropical voodoo drink. i wondered why the waiter gave me a strange look when i asked him to bring my lovely wife a tall glass of cholera.

we spent 6 steamy, sexy nights in Port Au Prince, me, Randy, a can of Crisco, and well, some things should be left unsaid. don't get jealous of Randy's tan - it's the Crisco. I, on the other hand, refuse to take my shirt off - even in oceanic settings. why? why do i wear white tube socks with my Crocs? why do i wear a neon yellow fanny pack? why, you ask? because it fucking works.

we came upon Ulysse and his two pals, Napoleon and Jean, while we were bronzing up our bods the second day in Haiti. not only was his uni-tooth smile inviting, but he also seemed very bored and in need of some work. what better way to appease both of our dilemmas than to have him lead us into the ocean on horseback for the most romantic moment of my natural life. i may not remember the whole trip (thanks, Crisco) but i will forever remember Ulysse, Napoleon, Jean, and my beautiful, bronze-thighed beauty of a wife, Randy.