Monday, October 31, 2011

Love and Hate In New Jersey

I love New Jersey. I lived there for fifteen years and the Shore brought my wife and I together. The state has given the country more than its fair share of noteworthy people. How can you not love and/or admire Frank Sinatra, Franki Valli, Queen Latifah, Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Count Basie, Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., Captain Iván Castro (blinded in Iraq but still serving in the Army) and all the brave men and women in our military, William Brennan, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Bill Parcells, Franco Harris, Shaquille O'Neal, Al Leiter, Dana Bash, Andrew Napolitano, and Chris Christie (whether you're a Republican or Democrat he's a breath of fresh air in a world of idiots and double talkers). The list goes on and on and these are just a few of the names most of you will recognize.

However, there is a news story from the Garden State that makes me sick to my stomach. It's about a pathetic excuse for a human being, quite possibly a New Jerseyan (but let's hope not), who deserves nothing but your scorn and anger. He (I assume it's a man because I can't believe a woman would do something as cruel as this) is the slime ball who a month ago fired a .30 caliber bullet into the jaw of a Short-Finned Pilot Whale in the waters off the Shore. This beautiful, intelligent and sentient being suffered in agony for several weeks, until finally succumbing to infection and starvation, and beaching himself near Allenhurst where he died.

The National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Law Enforcement is looking for this depraved coward, and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction. If caught, he will be subject to a fine of $100,000 and a one year prison term (should be longer) for violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It is my fervent wish and prayer that he gets what is coming to him. Perhaps, if we are very lucky, one day he will fall overboard and meet a Great White Shark, up close and personal. We can only hope...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Morgan's Unconquerable Soul...

If you have been following the story about the young female Orca rescued last year off the coast of the Netherlands and held ever since in a small tank in a marine park in Harderwijk, the latest news is not good. The Dutch government has finally issued their ruling in which they rejected the plea by animal rights groups to try to reunite the Orca, who was given the name Morgan, with her family in the wild. Instead the court ordered that she be transferred to an animal park in the Canary Islands.

If you have read my earlier postings on this story, you know that I believe Morgan was doomed either way. The chances of finding her family pod were remote and without them she would have faced certain death alone in the North Sea. Equally dismal, however, are her prospects for living a normal life in the Tenerife marine park since the average life expectancy of Orcas in captivity is ten years compared to fifty or longer in the wild. (An inconvenient truth that the management and owners of these parks, like Sea World, conveniently omit from their PR campaigns.)

In the end, this is just one more sad tale about what happens when the world of whales and dolphins intersects with that of humans; a collision that nearly always proves fatal for the intelligent and sentient beings who dwell in the Seven Seas. Goodbye Morgan. To paraphrase William Ernest Henley's poem Invictus:

Out of the fate that awaits you,
Trapped in a watery hellhole,
We pray whatever gods may be
For your unconquerable soul.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Different Kind of Evil

For those of you who follow this blog I apologize for the two week gap in my postings. Right after my last commentary, I inadvertently downloaded some malicious software onto my computer that temporarily left me deaf, blind, and mute in cyberspace. I assure you that I came by this nasty stuff innocently and must have picked it up on one of the presumably legitimate websites I canvass for material for this blog (which one I do not know and it is likely that the keepers of the site don't even realize that a snake lurks in their woodpile). It is a sad testimonial to our time that a force of evil exists out there in the hearts and souls of some pathetic human beings who find pleasure in harming others in this fashion. While these lowlifes may not have degenerated to the same level of depravity as those who rape, maim, or murder, they are still the slime under the rock of humanity; and they deserve whatever fate lies in store for them in the living hell into which all evil must eventually devolve.

That said, I am deeply saddened to note the recurrence of a different kind of evil; that which arises from the misplaced Chauvinism of the Japanese government, which both condones and fosters the continued existence of their nation's whaling fleet. As spring returns to the Southern Ocean, the Japanese fleet is sailing once again to continue the insanely cruel slaughter of the largest and most magnificent beings God ever created. Under the ludicrous guise of "research" they will spread the precious life's blood of a thousand doomed whales upon the pristine waters of those far off seas. That such an advanced and otherwise civilized nation like Japan continues this barbaric practice is due to one reason and one reason alone; it is because they see the world's outcry for them to stop as an imperialistic assault on their culture. And until the good and decent people of Japan raise their voices against this misguided and malicious sense of nationalism, the butchery will continue unabated.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Arrogance, Intolerance, and Stupidity

Before the Sea World/OSHA hearings were adjourned, the fun park's executives stated that they intended to put trainers back into the water with Orcas in the future. They claimed that such "water work" is essential for the emotional well-being of these highly sociable animals.

Wait! What? Say that again. It is incredible that the presumably intelligent human beings who own and operate Sea World could proffer such a deceitful and self-serving defense. If indeed they truly cared about the 'well-being of these highly sociable animals' they would not imprison them in tiny concrete tanks where their dorsal fins droop, their minds grow numb, and their souls die even sooner than their bodies (the average life expectancy of a captive Orca is 10 years versus 50+ in the wild).

Are these men and women so obsessed with greed that they have lost every shred of decency and humanity that their parents taught them as little children? The arrogance, intolerance, and stupidity of Sea World's owners and management are a sad testimonial to the ignobility of which we humans are capable.

It is all so very, very sad.