Lions and tiger and bears, oh my, an animal abuse story.

•April 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

JavaAngry

While bouncing around Florida and avoiding the cold weather north of us, Sue and I heard of an animal reserve in the St. Augustine area.  We found their website and purchased tickets to do the tour.  There are only three visitations per week, and the cost is $30/person, and reservations are required.

http://www.staugustinewildreserve.org/

These animals end up in the reserve as abandoned or abused creatures. Some were previously kept in small cages by their owners; others were mistreated in a variety of ways. The volunteers who care for these animals all appear to be in love with every creature there.  Although the animal enclosures are somewhat small due to limited space and funds available. It is obvious that they are now treated like kings and queens. The tour was entertaining as well as informative, but I could not avoid the sinking feeling of these magnificent animals being confined to cages.  As there wise gaze met mine, I visualized these noble beasts living and hunting in the plains of Africa, tracking wild prey that soon would become their meal.

The animals are here because of human interference and atrocious abuse!  This is simply one more example of how man damages the natural world around us. Although here in the United States this kind of behavior is more closely monitored, it does occur all too often.  In too many countries, abusing animals is a way of life and in many cases, a path to wealth!  This all must change or many of the our most noble animals will soon become extinct!

I would suggest that all you snow-birds and permanent residents Florida visit the reserve as often as possible and use the following link to help fund their cause.  It is not a donation but a link to Amazon.com that will contribute 0.5% to the reserve of any purchase you make. This could be a significant amount of money if enough people use this site.  It is very simple to use the link; just log on to Amazon.com, using the following link and the rest will be taken care of.

 
When you log onto Amazon to make a purchase, log onto the following URL:
 
 
You will see “Soul of the Wolf Wildlife Sanctuary” at the top of the page, which is the name of the St. Augustine Wild Reserve’s parent company.
 
Additionally, if you log onto http://amzn.com/w/3FS4ABJ8WGG04,
You may check out our “wish list”. Any items on the list may be purchased from Smile.Amazon.com and shipped directly to us!

Nothing excites me more than the Gold Finches in spring

•April 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

April 2015 092

This is a special time of year. After a long cold winter, the trees are coming alive, the crocuses are breaking through the ground and the smell in the air is like nothing else on this planet.  And here to welcome the new season is my favorite spring time friend, the Gold Finches.  They are fluttering around the bird feeder outside our windows laik a carpet of gold on the emerging lawn. I just wanted to share this picture with you.

 

Live long and prosper, a tribute to Leonard Nimoy

•April 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

images

One of my favorite Spock scenes was in the show Is there in truth no beauty.

 

” But most of all, the aloneness,

You are so alone.

You live out your lives

in this shell of flesh

self contained

separate.

How lonely you are,

How terribly lonely”

 

We will miss you Mr. Nimoy!

May we all live long and prosper!

 

A tribute to my 8th grade English teacher, Miss Stocken

•April 11, 2015 • 2 Comments

teacher

I was a somewhat ordinary 8th grader with his head in the clouds and his feet occasionally touching the ground.  Miss Stocken was a tall, good-looking blond English teacher who enjoyed playing basketball with the boys whenever the chance arose.  Most of us had a crush on this young, vibrant teacher and would do anything she asked of us.  One particular day in her class stands out for me in a special way.  Miss Stocken had a tape-recorder set up on her desk which captured our attention as we entered the room.  The whispers moved around the room as we settled into class.  After taking role she explained that we were going to do a writing exercise accompanied by music.  The hands quickly rose because we had lots of questions about the assignment.  The questions ranged from, ‘What do we write?’ to ‘How long should the assignment be?’ and other frivolous eighth-grade questions.  Miss Stocken smiled as she informed us that we could write about whatever we wished to and it could be as long or short as we wanted it to be. She said, “Just write about whatever the music brings to your mind.”  So we all diligently set out to write purposely.  I am unable to remember what I wrote about but I do recall how excited I was to write freely, with no worry as to spelling, penmanship or grammar.  As class came to an end, she collected our work and told us she would read them and return them the next day.  The next day came quickly, and as promised, she returned our papers.  On top of my paper was a comment asking me to see her after class.  I was not sure whether to be excited or fearful.  Part of me was convinced that she  was so amazed with my writing, she wanted to tell me personally how good it was.  At the end of class I went up to her desk with my paper.

As I approached her, she smiled that big beautiful smile and then asked me to read my paper aloud so I could hear what I had written. As I began reading, I quickly realized that my writing made no worldly sense to me or anyone else.  I felt ashamed.  She quickly assured me that this was normal, but that I should go home to try to make sense of my writing.  I do not remember if I actually did follow-up, but it would have been difficult  because what I wrote was an incomprehensible mess.  Despite the fact that I had virtually no skills in writing, I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling that writing gave me.  Never the less, I decided that writing was just not my gig.  I managed to make my way through high school and college with extremely meager writing skills as I focused on the fields of math and science.  To this day, I remember the satisfaction that I had experienced in Miss Stocken’s class so many years ago.

Somehow in that brief encounter, she had planted the joy of writing in me. Not that I could write well enough but I greatly desired to write proficiently.  So as the years passed, I gradually began to understand the process of learning to write. In the beginning it was slow and difficult because I had little guidance.  I was improving but had so awfully far to go.  Somewhere along the way came the advent of computers, allowing me to write something which I was actually able to read and review.  When I retired from teaching, the local newspaper (asked me, YES ME!) to write a blog for them.  Well, in the beginning it took many hours to come up with something that was mostly grammatically correct and had less spelling errors. My wife, Sue, was pretty good proof reader,  but a friend of mine who had taught writing for many years at a prominent Catholic high school in Washington, DC, offered to proof my work.  This was difficult at first as we plowed through, what must have been hell for him; i.e. my flawed writing.  He is still helping me and occasionally praises my work which is an immediate high for me.

As usual, if you have made it this far, you may be asking what the point of this article is.   Put concisely, the point is: the power of a teacher to is plant seeds in young fertile minds!  One never knows where that kind of special moment will lead them. I have listened to numerous stories from former students of mine who told me of comments I made or things I did that had a profound impact on their lives.  Most of the time I do not even remember the specific moment, but to hear these stories is nothing but enjoyment for me. To know that I made a difference in the lives of many young people is the reward in itself for all those years of teaching.

Ripples in time

•March 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Short thought for today.

Every action one takes in the course of a day is a small ripple in a universal pond. Small good deeds can begin as a tiny wave and in a short time develop into a tsunami. A simple act of charity can eventually move a mountain.  If we want to make the world a better place, we must all create small ripples in our ponds and let the ensuing tidal wave cover the world with good!  Now, go make some waves!

Sorry folks

•March 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Traveling around Florida for the winter.  Enjoying our friends, the beaches and the sunshine. Have not taken the time to write.  Having too much fun!  Talk soon.

The vacination delimma

•February 28, 2015 • Leave a Comment

 

vaccine

The big question on many parents’ minds is whether to get their children vaccinated. I can remember having the same discussion many years ago when our children were at the age to be vaccinated. Having read some of the many articles telling of the possible complications and even death associated with the vaccines, of which there are many, I was forced to make a decision about my children’s health. They were born prior to the information age, which limited our sources of ideas and opinions. Sometimes one must make decisions based on whom one believes. When I say who, I am referring to the medical, the corporate, the media and the underground communities. I think it is important to realize that these four entities sometimes purposely blur the lines to further their cause and make our work as parents even more difficult.
The truly difficult reality of this dilemma is that all sides are somewhat correct.  With this in mind, let’s take a look at a few situations that support my idea.  I wonder what percentage of the population is allergic to peanuts. There are some individuals who, left untreated, will die from exposure to a savory legume. A friend of mine carries two injections of allergy medication with him at all times in case he is stung by a bee. If I place a cream on my lips with sulfa drug in it, two hours later I will have what many refer to as a panic attack. These are just a few examples of the allergic reactions that can occur in everyday-life.  Now consider these vaccinations which carry many different substances that may cause some kind of negative reaction to the recipient.  Yes, there will be some consequences to these shots! Will every single person who is vaccinated react in the exact same way?  No!  Will there be reactions that we cannot even predict or understand?  Yes!  If you would like to read the data on this, go to;
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00046738.htm
Sometimes the good of the many outweighs the good of the few.  This is a powerful statement and I sometimes think it applies and sometimes it does not.  Of course, there is the other version, Sometimes the good of the few outweighs the good of the many which is a little more difficult to defend.  Should you get your child vaccinated?  Yes, for the simple reason: you are not alone in this war against germs! If one lived in a shack in the middle of the tundra, vaccinations would be of little consequence, but to live in a crowded urban environment is another completely different issue. Another point one must deal with is the statistical data. Which is more statistically probable, that your child has a negative reaction to a vaccination or that he or she contracts polio or measles or any of a multitude of diseases we now vaccinate against?  I think you will find that the chance of getting one of these afflictions will be a much higher probability than a reaction from the vaccine. But, the final decision is yours as the parent.  If you choose to keep the child unvaccinated, your child will not be allowed to attend public school.  It makes perfect sense to have your child inoculated when you put hundreds and sometimes thousands of hygiene-challenged youths together in a relatively small place.

Yes, the world is becoming a more and more complex system forcing us to deal with increasingly difficult ideas and concepts, but there is a considerable amount of good out there.  We have fewer deaths from these old-world diseases than ever before and some of them are close to being 100% eliminated. So suck it up parents, and make the difficult decision with the awareness that there may be consequences for extremely small number of children. Chances are better that you are struck by lightning than to have a negative effect from a shot.  And look at this from the other side of the table: What if your child is infected and gets polio from a child whose parents refused to vaccinate?  Then it takes on a whole different appearance!

 
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