IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2008
(I'm trying embedding Flickr videos now)
|A BRIEF POST MORTEM
28 April 2008
I just want to add just a few more words about Says You before going on with the rest of my life. I've had messages from people who say they checked it out and it doesn't seem to be playing in their area.
Best thing to do is to go to the Says You web site where you can find a list of all the stations in the country which carry the show, and when it is on. If none of those stations is within your radio-listening area, many of those stations stream the show, so you can listen on the internet, if you have a way to do that. The wonderful thing about the Internet is that you don't need to be near a radio station's signal to listen to a radio show. You can be in Maine and pick up the streaming audio from San Francisco (in fact, before we started getting the show from Audible.com, our radio signal was often very weak and we would listen to the San Francisco station on my computer instead).
If you love word play, bad puns, and just general intelligent (and sometimes downright stupid) humor, I encourage you to check the show out. The thing that we have enjoyed, these past three years of flying to LA to catch tapings, is finding out how many other people are as nutty as we are, as addicted to this show about "words and wimsey; bluff and bluster." I know so many people who love "Wait, Wait, Don't tell Me" (and I do too), but that show is more topical. Unless it's an "evergreen" episode, it kind of loses its impact three years later, whereas the Says You 11 year old recordings are as fresh as they were at the time they were recorded.
The interesting thing I discovered in an extremely short poll, based on the fact that I seem to "know" Tony Kahn in so many different venues, is that there are Says You people and there are Morning Stories people and the two don't seem to have met. It was a surprise that none of the Morning Stories transcribers had heard of Says You and it was another surprise to discover that none of the people we spoke with in line at Says You ever listened to Morning Stories. It just seemed, to me, at least, that a crossover was inevitable.
One nice thing about the trip, about any trip, actually, was the time spent in the airplane, which allowed me to finish reading the book I had been readiong ("The Surgeon," by Tess Gerritsen) and start reading a new one ("Dead and Doggone" by Susan Conant).
(yes, Jeri, I can turn off the TV any time and read, but somehow I just don't.)
I bought the Conant book after I finished her first one, "A New Leash on Death." I really, really like reading books which are part of a series in order, so I couldn't read any other Conant books until I'd read book 2 of the series.
I didn't like book 2 as well as I did book 1. It might have been partly because I was distracted by airports, and airplanes and just all the stuff we were doing. But one thing that Conant does--and I've seen this in two books now--is to slip in an awful lot of instruction about dogs within the format of a plot line.
I've learned a lot about obedience training, for example, as well as characteristics of various breeds. I think it was the last book that gave a recipe for making your own liver treats to use in training.
But this book did something else. It shed light on animal testing and what you might find in a laboratory that is testing products on animals, specifically dogs. She describes dogs stolen from their families, sold to laboratories who ask no questions, the living conditions in cramped cages, debarking to prevent them from making noise when they are hurt, and a host of other things that happen to research animals.
I'm sure that any animal lover (a) would also be appalled at what I read in Conant's book, and (b) probably also turns a blind eye because we don't really want to know. It's easy to get indignant on a case by case basis. The recent expose on puppy mills got me, for one, to write a diatribe against pet shops and puppy mills, and YouTube had lots of videos about the living conditions of the "breeder bitches" in puppy mills.
I've recently been watching Escape to Chimp Eden, which documents a man's fight to save chimpanzees who have been through horrible traumas -- held captive for decades without access to trees or anything but concrete under their feet, or infants torn from their mothers to become someone's housepet, until that person finds out that a chimpanzee is not as "cute" a pet as they once thought. The stories go on and on.
And then there is the David Sheldrake Wildlife Trust, about which I've written before, which rescues orphaned baby elephants who have watched their mothers often slaughtered before their eyes and who have lost the love of the herd to which they belonged. (I am still haunted by the photo of Daphne Sheldrake comforting an infant who watched the slaughter of its mother and cried out in its sleep.)
The other day I watched an expose of dolphin farming, first learning about the nature of dolphin societies, the closeness among family members, and then watching as hundreds of dolphins were killed on Japanese beaches, watching them in the death throes, hearing their cries. It was heartbreaking.
But we human beings are terribly cruel to animals. We spend fortunes on cute little outfits for chihuahuas or bull dogs, but we buy products that torture animals in the process of making a face cream safe for a middle-aged woman's wrinkles.
I don't have a place where I am taking this entry. I am appalled at what we do to animals and I don't know what to do with my anger, because I still eat meat and I probably use products which were developed by testing on animals. I understand that some testing maybe necessary and that we probably do far too much of it. I also understand that animal societies are far more complex than we ever realized and that it diminishes us as human beings to devalue the life of other animals.
I have this burning need within me to DO SOMETHING, but the problem is so huge I don't yet know what that "something" is. I guess the first step is just awareness and then education...and reading labels more carefully to familiarize myself with the products and brands which test on animals, trying to find similar products which do not.
I haven't reached the "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more" stage, but I sure have reached the "I'm seriously concerned that I have unwittingly contributed to the torture of some poor animal" stage. It seems to me that once we know the facts and see for ourselves the horror that some animals go through, we really are duty bound to make some change in our lives, whether that be becoming active in animal rights causes, or simply changing the way we choose the products that we use.
It seems like a small thing, but every good change begins with a small step, doesn't it?
website if you really care...
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE: 30 miles
This is entry #2954