What About the Misfits?

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Free the Whales!

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I have never been an animal rights activist, PETA gal, or whale whacko. I believe that the problems that humans face should be addressed before those of animals. No offense to the animals or activists who have genuine concern.

Last night, I tuned into the last half of the documentary “Blackfish.” I can’t say that I went in biased towards the whales. Last summer, I visited SeaWorld for the third time (the second that I actually remember). I enjoyed seeing the dolphins, the sealions, turtles and yes, Shamu in all his corny amusement park splendor. I also enjoyed going on Journey to Atlantis and riding this really dorky kiddie ride with my father. I think we got some looks.

But I don’t think I’ll be going back to SeaWorld. It is tainted for me now, along with many of my good memories in ignorance. I’m not even all that disappointed that I can’t find my SeaWorld hat.

It truly amazes me how SeaWorld can get away with lying about things. How can they call themselves educational (which is their justification for keeping animals in captivity) when they deny biological facts, like that whales in the wild can live up to human life spans and that the flabby Shamu dorsal fin is not a normal whale attribute?

And how many trainers need to die before some important changes are made?

If whales are kept in captivity, can’t they at least have the opportunity to roam around more and have more food to eat, isn’t there a way? Clearly, something is wrong if SeaWorld trainers are dying and Dorsal fins are collapsing. Why doesn’t anyone care about anything but profits? What about having some respect for God’s creatures, huh?

SeaWorld, according to their website, does not acquire its dolphins through the inhumane Japanese method anymore as documented in “The Cove.” But why should I necessarily believe what they say?

I never thought I would say it, but here it goes: Free the Whales! Or at least make their lives a little easier. I believe that an American business is capable of at least that much!

Cliches That Are True #3: “Religion is the Opiate of the Masses”

I actually don’t agree with Napoleon Bonaparte’s rationale, so don’t worry, I won’t be trying to take over the world any time soon, but I think this statement does have some truth to it. A lot of people rely on religion just because it makes them feel better, not necessarily because it is right. I have been guilty of this too. 

But religion is just one of the opiates. Science, philosophy, politics, culture, we like to smoke that too.  These are all things that help us make make sense out of the chaos. That’s right, super smart, superior scientists, you’re human too, and you have feelings. By the way, I’m not trying to antagonize scientists. Nerds are my favorite people. I’m just saying that they don’t know everything (the best scientists know that they don’t know everything). 

So don’t be drugged. Accept the truth, and nothing less, even if it doesn’t make you feel all good inside like a movie with Jennifer Anniston. And what is the truth? God, the God of the Old Testament and the same God who loves (that’s right intellectuals, I’m not afraid of the “contradictions” in the Bible).

 

 

Emotional Greed

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Why do TV commercials work? It seems ridiculous that they are as effective as they are. We laugh at them… but if they didn’t work, why would companies pay for them?

Consumers know that many of the products are superfluous, and they know that the benefits are highly exaggerated. They can see through all the fluff and glitter.

Commercials sell much more than a product. They sell an image, a lifestyle, an accessory to happiness. So no matter how cynical you are, you’ll always find something deep inside you churned by them. It’s not just your stomach. And pretty soon you’ll find your wallet churning as well. It’s due to a basic human desire- to live the best life that you can.

For a time, I was partially convinced that I’d built up some immunity to greed. I realized that, materially, I had everything a person could ever need and far more. I stopped dreaming so much about a prosperous, successful future for myself and started dreaming a tiny bit more about the good things I would do with my life, God willing.

I even wondered why it was that others around me seemed so obsessed about money. Wealthy people and lower income people that I’ve known alike. Why couldn’t they be content with their families, their friends, their present situation? Why couldn’t they be a little more like me?

Someone once called me “greedy.” The person didn’t speak English as a first language, so at the time, I thought that it was not only unjust, but that even if I was guilty of discontent, it wouldn’t be called “greed.” That’s not the right word, you’re wrong, and I’m a good person, overall? Right? Not greedy, that’s beneath me. Everyone feels depressed sometimes.

You’re not a total jerk.

I’m a good person, right?

Right…

I began to realize that my emotional greed was really no different than the conventional type of greed. I’ve always wanted to have lots of friends, go places, have fun, be accepted, and all that. What a fool I was, blinded by my own avarice! Yes, good for me that I was partially resisting the love of money, but what of my sins? What of being irritable and ungrateful? And why, why? Why couldn’t I just sit back and enjoy past memories of friendships while passively delighting in the uncertain possibility of hope in the future. Why not appreciate more my home, my writing, my little niche here on WordPress that I’ve grown to love, and all the rest. Why worry, agonize, cry in the dark, belittle myself, and constantly deliberate the reasons for it all in my overactive mind?

I know that I shouldn’t covet. But sometimes it’s just not easy. Now I know how every other human being feels.

Well, I won’t judge you if you want some more money in your life. Who am I to talk? After all, money is quite essential. Hunger and thirst will kill you before loneliness, every single time.

A Day at the Getty

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I can look at paintings all day long… and I pretty much did. I love to just get transported by them, entering a new realm, forgetting where I am and who I am. The one up above is of the Sermon on the Mount. Sorry, I didn’t have time to jot down all the titles and names of the artists. I especially liked the religious ones, even if they tended to put an unhealthy emphasis on the Virgin Mary. But at least it seemed that people were trying to glorify God with their art. More than can be said for the movies and television we see today. Image

 

I really liked a lot of the more medieval panel paintings. One so seldom hears about European art from before the Renaissance (and there is a reason), but I don’t think they should be completely overlooked. They’re so ornate and often quite whimsical. You always think of older things being conservative, but not always. 

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I believe that this one was done by Titian (I was really excited to see one by a very famous artist) but correct me if I am mistaken . Yes, now we are into the mannerism movement (right?)

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And look, a wood cutting, a style made famous by Albrecht Dürer (but this one was not done by Albrecht). I believe the title is, “A Hare in the Woods.”

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The food at the restaurant was quite fancy, all French style or something. My salad was quite satisfying. I wish I had pictures of all the dishes there, they were so pretty to look at! Never seen anything like it.

Well, I hope this has been cultural. It’s really cool looking at art, because you see things that are both vastly different and strikingly familiar. You see emotions that you know all to well yourself, and you see that people really haven’t changed as much as you might think. You can even argue that they haven’t changed at all.

You should visit this place too! Thanks J. Paul Getty.