“As the coronavirus pandemic has kept more residents at home, it has created such a high demand for adopting dogs that there’s a dwindling supply.”
( “So many pets have been adopted during the pandemic that shelters are running out,”
Washington Post, 1-6-21 )
Since it is likely the physical isolation will continue for some time – i.e., until the post-holiday spikes settle down and vaccination distribution reaches the masses – I’ve been thinking of jumping on the COVID companion bandwagon and adding a new pet to our family. Moiself is having trouble deciding; I’m torn between two equally compelling options. What do y’all, think:
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Department Of Reasons I Hate The Business Side Of What I Do
Part 1,294 In A Seemingly Endless Series….
Dateline: earlier this week, reading the fine print of the publishing contract of an international fiction journal – a journal whose aims/ambitions and unique form of distribution I respected…until moiself read this part of their contract, in the section, Grants of Rights (my emphases):
(d) The publication Rights granted in The Furrowed Kneecap Review
 may be exercised in any media now in existence or hereafter developed, including without limit, print media, electronic media, and electronic data bases….
Your work belongs to us – now, and in whatever future there can be, bwah haa haw!
Yeah, that frosts my butt (and furrows my kneecaps). But the thing is, in the Wild Wild West of the publishing world, what with digital and other rights being coined and re-invented within minutes of the appearance of new/online technologies which purport to “broaden a writer’s exposure” (read: steal use your work without compensation), more and more publishing contracts, whether for book-length material or journal articles, have some form of this language. And no matter what the stipulations, a contract it can turn out to be – like many a domestic violence victim has discovered re restraining orders – “just a piece of paper.” As one writer friend of mine learned, within two months after his book was published, your work may be scanned and posted on some website – where it can be downloaded and read (as in, stolen) by people all over the world with no financial remuneration for you.
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Department Of We Be Needing Schooling On A Complicated/Simple Word
“An educated person before the scientific revolution could very well believe that there were unicorns and werewolves, and that comets and eclipses are portents of the future – beliefs we now think of as primitive, superstitious, magical, but they were the conventional understanding of the day.”
( Steven Pinker, psychologist and author, focusing on language,
the mind, and human nature and behavior)
Educated. What do we mean when we say that someone is, “educated,” or that a person “needs to be educated?”
It should be a positive thing, to be to be educated or to be thought of as such. However, it seems to moiself that, more and more, I am hearing and reading educated used as a sort of passive-aggressive pejorative. As in,
“He just needs to be educated, then he wouldn’t be such a ______ ( racist; sexist; nativist; libtard; homophobe; fan of ‘The Bachelor’….)”
Sometimes, that may indeed be the case: the person whom you think needs to be educated is demonstrably ignorant on certain facts, and/or has led a sheltered life sans exposure to different people and ideas, and/or lacks wider world experience and the perspective it brings. But, here’s the trick: a person can be educated about an issue, just as educated as you are – BTW how are you-who-are-using-the-term-“educated” defining it? – and can disagree with you.
A person can know the facts, and agree with you as to what the facts are (“We both accept the Homeland Security Department’s statistic that 254,595 of the ‘Aliens Apprehended’ in the fiscal year 2019 were from Mexico and 1,368 were from Bangladesh”), but can vehemently and sincerely disagree with you about what the facts *mean.*
Let’s all be careful out there, and not take the ad hominem, patronizing, gettin’-all-educated-on-your-uninformed-ass manner when someone disagrees with us:
“They need to get educated on ____ [your pet issue]; then they’d see….”
That person to whom you are so quick to ascribe ignorance may know much more than you realize; beware the unspoken assumption, “If only he were educated in the matter, he would agree with *me*.”
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Department Of Surprisingly, This Was *Not* A Story About Farting
Although when I tuned into a favorite podcast of mine and heard this introduction, I at first thought they were putting a sciencey-spin on a story about SBDs. 
“In 1931 a chemist named Arthur Fox accidentally released a cloud of phenylthiocarbamide in his lab. A colleague nearby complained about the noxious odor…but Fox didn’t know what he was talking about…” 
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I’m not a fan of body building/weight lifting or MMA fighting, and I absolutely loath boxing, but I was intrigued by the The Game Changers. This documentary was produced by and/or featured interviews with major players in the afore-mentioned sports, and also film, including James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic and Chris Paul.
The Game Changers focuses largely on males, and myths about meat, protein, and strength, and on how such myths got started and are promoted (to us all, but especially to men and athletes and others in “macho” professions, e.g., firefighters). It features interviews with top athletes in their field who have increased their performances (and the longevity of their careers and their overall cardiovascular health) by opting out of the standard American diet (appropriate acronym: SAD) with its emphasis on meat and dairy products, and switching to plant-based eating.
The documentary also makes the bigger picture, linking personal consumption choices to global consequences :
And with more than 70 billion animals consumed globally every year, growing animal feed requires vast amounts of land. Which is why the single biggest source of habitat destruction is said to be the livestock sector….in South America, some 70% of former forests in the Amazon are now used to graze cattle, with much of the remainder used to grow feed crops for the cattle. Anti-poaching rangers on the “frontlines” of protecting endangered species see these effects firsthand.
“The actual biggest threat we have is the meat industry and the land that they are continually taking away from what we have left of these natural wilderness areas. Inch by inch, yard by yard, mile by mile.”
( Damien Mander, founder of The International Anti-Poaching Foundation )
Also, the film is just dang funny in parts…and about parts. The scene where a medical doctor “who wrote the book on the penis” (literally) gets three football players to participate in an experiment showing how their nocturnal erections are greater in both quality and quantity  after eating a plant-based meal – it gets ten stars on the giggle-meter.
One of the things that interested me in the documentary was thinking that it might give me a chance to make fun of AHHHnold Schadenfreude Schwarzenegger. Turns out I need to bitch-slap moiself back to the 1990’s for holding that petty thought, as Herr Schw-etcetera actually comports himself quite well.
Oh, and lest you think certain opinions of moiself’s have changed, although I’m pleased to see him realizing and embracing the personal and planetary benefits of plant-based eating, I still wish Maria Shriver would have gone all paleo on Ahhhnold’s cheating ass.
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The Podcast I’m Not…Casting?
Think of all the great, meandering conversations you’ve had with a friend, and how you enjoyed the sometimes linear/sometimes non sequitur give-and-take, because you were a part of it. Now think how many of those conversations would be interesting for other people to listen to – people who don’t know you and your friend and were not even present during the conversation – for thirty minutes or more.
Regular readers know I am a regular podcast listener. The current list of podcasts I follow/subscribe to includes 20+ feeds, from Clear + Vivid to the TED Radio Hour. Five times as long as this list is the catalog of podcasts I have tried for a few episodes – even a few weeks – then deleted from my feed. Most of the latter are podcasts hosted by Famous People, whose sole subject seemed to be talking with Other Famous People. 
There seem to be a plethora of Famous Folks ® who are either clever or articulate, and who have been convinced by others (read: their agents and fellow suckups celebrity friends) that they are *both* clever and articulate. Thus, these Celebri-pods believe their amiable personae means that merely chatting on mic with their celebri-friends about…stuff…is interesting to others who aren’t directly involved in the conversation. Wrong. In my experience, it’s too often….
The fact that anyone can blog used to be touted as an example of the great democratization of our media. Now we’ve devolved from Anyone can blog! to Everyone has a podcast! So: here’s my idea. With a nod to Abbie Hoffman, I will title my entry into podcast-dom, Turn This Off.
Mine will be yet another foray into the advice podcast genre. A growing number of podcasts (e.g. Don’t Ask Tig, which I listen to) aim to give columnist-style guidance (think Dear Abby, et al), whether facetious or serious.
By virtue of its title, I figure my podcast will be the one advice podcast where people will actually follow the advice.
Of course, now that I’ve put this idea out there someone’s going to steal it….so this will be the podcast I’m not actually producing. 
In the podcast I’m not doing, here’s one thing I can guarantee you won’t hear: the host (that would be moiself ) staying silent when her guest makes a WTF?! declaration.
Example: a few minutes into a recent celebrity-advice podcast I was listening to, the host’s celeb guest said that “fear should never make you navigate your decisions.”
The following digression is yet another reason why the podcast I’m not doing would fail (for reasons other than me telling people to turn it off) : no celebrities would want to come on my podcast because I wouldn’t let them get away with a statement like that.
Celebrity Guest ® was likely referring to her career decisions; still, she made a blanket statement, and a face-palming one at that. There’ve been books written about why ignoring your fears is foolish. If you don’t recognize the *value* of fear (one of humanity’s most important survival senses) in making decisions you’ll inevitably make some really poor ones.
Evolutionary biologists tell us that the “rationally fearful” are the ones who survive. I’m not talking about nonsensical fears, like fearing that if you don’t touch the doorknob five times before you leave for work your house will catch on fire, or other phobias or irrational compulsions. Pay attention to fear (sometimes referred/always related to intuition). Learn how to analyze a realistic fear (that you may tumble off the cliff if you lean way over trying to get the ultimate selfie) from a momentarily uncomfortable but ultimately inconsequential worry (that you’re anxious you’ll flub your toast to the bride and groom).
In other words, pay attention when your Spidey senses start tingling.
People who don’t pay attention to their fear can end up injured or worse, whether it’s tumbling off of a cliff or being drugged by that “really cool guy” your friend set you up with but whose vibes gave you the willies….
“Intuition is always right in at least two important ways;
It is always in response to something.
It always has your best interest at heart.”
( Security Consultant Gavin De Becker, author of
The Gift of Fear: And Other Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence )
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Department Of Partridge Of The Week
Which was actually last week’s, until a mob of racist rightwing Republican-abetted terrorists…current events, shall we say, stole the blog show. This Partridge in our pear tree will be the last one, until the next solstice/winter/Christmas holiday season:
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Pun For The Day
I taught my kids how to fart. You could say they were under my tutelage.
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May you pay attention to your fear;
May you follow your dreams
(except for that one where you are naked at work);
May you look in the mirror before you deem that someone else needs to be educated;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 Not the journal’s real name.
 Silent But Deadly. Surely, no reader of mine needs that acronym explained.
 I discovered these podcasts when I did a search for “comedy” or entertainment podcasts, wanting more laughable-listens in these COVID times, as opposed to shows devoted to news/current events (I have enough of those in my feed).
 Although, who knows what 2021 will hold?