Saturday, June 26, 2010

On Animal Cruelty

In The New York Times Magazine, Charles Seibert discusses the link between witnessing animal cruelty as a child and the implications for that child's capacity for compassion or empathy in his article, "The Animal Cruelty Syndrome." A follow-up letter by Marianne Sullivan introduces the issue of the implications of eating meat on a culture's morality:
Siebert deftly explores the connection between violence against animals and other forms of violence, but he avoids the implications. The article mentions that children who witness violence toward their family pet “suppress their own feelings of kindness and tenderness toward a pet because they can’t bear the pain caused by their own empathy for the abused animal.” That would appear to be exactly what people do whenever they sit down to eat. No matter how hard people pretend not to, we all know what happens to the animals who end up on our plates. What does our willing ignorance of this violence toward billions of animals do to us as a culture?
New York

Friday, June 25, 2010

Angry Records

I took this photo a year ago today - I saw the display in the Autumn Leaves Bookstore window and thought it was amusing. It seems an appropriate photo with which to cap the week, as I have encountered more than one situation that has made me extremely angry, so much that I feel I have rage, rather than blood, in my veins. (Don't worry - I'm over it!)

Angry Records

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Black Water Rising by Attica Locke

Black Water Rising: A NovelPublisher's Description:
Jay Porter is hardly the lawyer he set out to be. His most promising client is a low-rent call girl and he runs his fledgling law practice out of a dingy strip mall. But he's long since made peace with not living the American Dream and carefully tucked away his darkest sins: the guns, the FBI file, the trial that nearly destroyed him.

Houston, Texas, 1981. It is here that Jay believes he can make a fresh start. That is, until the night in a boat out on the bayou when he impulsively saves a woman from drowning—and opens a Pandora's box. Her secrets put Jay in danger, ensnaring him in a murder investigation that could cost him his practice, his family, and even his life. But before he can get to the bottom of a tangled mystery that reaches into the upper echelons of Houston's corporate power brokers, Jay must confront the demons of his past.

With pacing that captures the reader from the first scene through an exhilarating climax, Black Water Rising marks the arrival of an electrifying new talent.

I purchased this book at Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, when I dragged my colleagues on a $20 cab ride because I wanted to be sure to visit the iconic store during the AACSB Sustainability conference. I was looking for a literary mystery to read on the plane, and I had trepidation about this novel, but thought it was the best of those available. 

Part of my hesitation came from the setting - did I really want to read a book about Houston, an oil-rich city in Texas, especially during the BP oil spill? And a damaged lawyer trying to make right? Didn't we have that in Michael Connelly's The Lincoln Lawyer?

The book first surprised me on page one, when a header to the opening chapter placed the events of the novel in 1981. Somehow that made it more interesting to me. The novel became even more interesting when it introduced Jay Porter, the lawyer-investigator, as having been involved in the 1960s Civil Rights movement. It was governmental shady dealings that led to his trial and that solidified his mistrust of police, FBI, and the government in general. The flashbacks to Jay's days as a student organizer at the University of Houston were among my favorite passages in the book. 

While I thought Jay could have been a more strongly developed character, the book more than met my expectations, and I enjoyed that the denouement involved Jay learning that big industry is more corrupt and with less integrity than the government he feared. 

Telephone Phobia

Some people love to talk on the phone. When they have a question, advice, a story, or any thought in general, they pick up the phone to share. I am not one of those people. It's more than simply a dislike or aversion to speaking on the phone. It's an anxiety. While my telephone phobia is not as extreme as some people's, those people who actually get hives, panic attacks, or lose their jobs because they can't talk on the phone, it is more than a simple lack of interest in speaking on the phone. I do get anxious, to the point of a racing heart, when I hear the phone ring, when I get a message, or when I have to make a phone call. Though this can be inconvenient, dealing with it at this point is not a priority for me, so I ask for understanding and reaching out via email!

Are You Willing?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

That Explains a Lot

In addition to being vegan (no meat, dairy, eggs, or any other animal products including gelatin, whey, honey), I am a very picky eater. I loathe beyond words onion, I despise eggplant (though I admire its purple skin), and I detest cauliflower. Most fruits due to their texture make me sick to my stomach. I don't even like hot drinks like tea and coffee. Being so picky is very inconvenient - and sometimes awkward.

However, I gained some insight into my very narrow food parameters from something my mother recently said. Apparently, when shopping for baby food, she would look at the different varieties - with probably not all that many from which to choose in the early 1970s - but she would always and almost exclusively purchase turkey. Yes, turkey. : P I believe she said that she couldn't imagine anyone liking and wanting to eat the other varieties.

No wonder my palate didn't ever develop!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Summer Solstice

What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade. 
                                              ~~Gertrude Jekyll
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