Tag Archives: vocab

Concept Discussion [Trap Neuter Re-abandon]

28 Jul

Words such as ethical and humane are difficult to define because (very divergent) personal belief-systems and personal experience color both terms.  Welfare is a provable condition, by design.  It uses quantitative parameters to ensure animal health and freedom from suffering and cruelty.

Speaking of personal experience, my 15 years of employment in veterinary hospitals (and prior to that over 1,000 volunteer hours in animal settings) influences my judgments in the following vocabulary terms.  Intentionally for propaganda, and unintentionally out of ignorance, these words are being used to persuade.  But they might not be the most accurate way to describe the reality of the situation.

Here’s what I mean. The term “feral” is overused, as is “wild” in the context of abandoned pets being left to fend for themselves.  Feral implies the cat is unapproachable (and will probably remain that way long-term).  Using wild to describe un-homed cats suggests these cats belong outside, are proficient in meeting their own needs without intervention, and cannot be tamed (and would not like it).

I would argue very few cats in colonies (or shelters, or homes) are truly feral.  Do they get amped up and scared, especially with unfamiliar people doing unfamiliar things to them, or in strange places-absolutely!  Most cats get stressed and hate travel/change.  But given time to calm down, and with some patience, would they make a good pet? Yes!  I have a big problem with the notion that some cats are “unadoptable” and must be feral forever.

I can’t tell you how many times a client was in the exam room with a growling cat in the carrier, and they told me said cat was “feral.” If I had to guess I would say at least once a week.  And I can’t tell you how many times that growling cat in a box could be taken out, handled to get vitals, and ended up tolerating the appointment–most of them.  In 15 years, out of all the cats that came into the veterinary hospital being called feral, probably 12% were actually feral, and probably just 5% of those had to be sedated to proceed with their appointment.  So the perception of feral and the incidence were drastically different.

I think feral is a loaded term that justifies abandoning healthy, potentially-adoptable cats in urban streets.  And don’t get me started on wild.  These cats are not independent for the most part.  They do require human intervention, because even actual wild cats were not living in population-dense, urban landscapes.  And genetically they differ from their wild ancestors–ever see an F1 Bengal vs. a domestic shorthair?  You can see that genetic difference in their behavior!  And most of the cats that are dumped were once pets, or they are genetic offspring of pets.

Bottom line: Roaming or stray are more accurate terms for this situation. 

Furthermore, I disagree that some cats are outside cats, and can’t be taken indoors.  Habituation and localization are real.  The feeding part of the TNR process uses these concepts to train cats to gather in a certain area at a certain time, with other cats and humans present.  The cats are trained to get in the traps.  Why not use habituation to get cats more comfortable with people and train cats to stay inside?  The cat may hate it at first.  There are strategies, products, and medications that can assist in the process.  Patience, persistence, and calm can go a long way in getting (and keeping) a cat inside.  Spend the time and effort, and in most cases it can happen.  If you don’t believe me, just look at YouTube and you’ll see about a thousand success stories.  And indoor cats are exponentially safer than the ones outside!  People who say some cats are just outdoor, and can’t be taken inside don’t have a wild cat problem, they have a priorities problem.

Throughout my research paper, I will argue there is little difference between the initial dumping of cats by irresponsible people, and the “release” part of TNR.  Just because the TNR has good intentions doesn’t make throwing cats outside the right thing to do.  The cats are neglected in both scenarios, dumping or release.  TNR is also not sustainable, and my research will show how TNR colonies maintain their original numbers or increase their numbers without death (either euthanisia or most times, hazards outside) and adoption.  Neither euthanasia or adoption are mandated in TNR.

After being involved in animal hospitals for 20 years, seeing what patients come in, I believe there are some things worse than death, and euthanasia is often a kindness.  I have seen horrible things, and was sometimes even relieved to see an animal ‘put out of its misery’ (there are reasons, that I will not describe here, that this is a common phrase).  And the procedure itself is compassionate, done by a veterinarian who loves animals so much that they completed 5-8+ years of college education, and took a job that is both time-consuming and relatively low-paid.  The process of euthanasia is also (for lack of better word) clean, meaning no messy hit-by-car, dog-mauling, human abuse, and no undue suffering like heat stroke, slow starvation, or disease process kills the animal.  It’s the poke of an IV or needle, and an injection which acts quickly on the brain and stops the heart. I believe euthanasia is much less cruel than trapping, neutering, and putting an animal back outside in the elements with all the hazards.  Before you think death is the worst thing, check out some of the 85% morbidities faced by outside cats.  Like I said before, there are worse things than death.  Why are we choosing that fate for these cats we’re trying to help?  After neuter the job isn’t complete–let’s work on adoption, education, and prevention.


3 Apr

That’s right–this word is so cool that I am dedicating an entire (short) post to it.  I like that it starts with a vowel.  And how can you go wrong with a word that contains the letter”V”?

As a side-note, I’m pretty sure question marks are the only punctuation that don’t automatically go inside quotation marks.  True?  I’m pretty sure it depends if whatever you have enclosed in quotes is the question, or if the sentence, which happens to contain something in quotes, is the question.  Wait–is the exclamation this way too?  I can never remember so I try to never use quotation marks and the exclamation point at the end of the sentence–just to avoid that scene.

You, my readers are probably thinking–why is there some random paragraph on grammar?  She obviously doesn’t know/care, because I see about a thousand errors every time I read these posts.  True.  But not because I don’t know.  I type using the hunt & peck method.  And I’m FAST at it.  But because I’m looking at my fingers rather then the screen, I miss some stuff.  Also, I’m just a really, really lazy editor–in my blog.  I write in here to get things off my chest, and editing just has no place in that process.  So deal.  You don’t mind that much anyway though–you can get the gist.

Anyhow, I’ve gotten off on some sort of grammar tangent, when I am trying to praise “effervescent.”  There is a nice variety of letters, and even another word inside, “scent.”  The formal definition (I happened to find) is:

effervescent  (ˌɛfəˈvɛs ə nt)
— adj
1. (of a liquid) giving off bubbles of gas; bubbling
2. high-spirited; vivacious

Translation:  Vivacious, gay, lively, and sparkling.  All things I like.  And I always like effervescent because it’s fun to say, and it makes me think of bubbles.  And who doesn’t love anything this fizzes or bubbles?

Vet School Interview [GRE Vocab from my App]

6 Dec

1.  cacophony-harsh and meaningless mixture of sounds.

2.  pungent-sharp, biting, acrid smell.

3.  decibel-unit used to express the intensity of sound.

4.  levity-lightness of mind, behavior, or character.  Lack of earnestness.

4.5.  earnestness-serious in intention, purpose, or effort.

5.  juncture-critical point in time made important by concurrence of circumstances.

6.  trajectory-the (curved) path (of a projectile) in air/space under influence of forces such as thrust,

wind, resistance, and gravity.

7.  coveted-to have a wrongful desire.

8.  conjure-to bring to mind or recall

9.  zeal-eager desire, passion

10.  musings-contemplation, reflection

11.  analogous-corresponding or alike

12.  convoluted– complicated

13.  bleak– without hope or encouragement.

14.  amass– to gather for oneself.

15.  garner– to get, acquire, or earn.

16.  volatile– changeable, mercurial.

17.  enervated– to lesson the vitality or strength.

18.  restive– restless, uneasy.

19.  aberrant– deviating from the ordinary.

20.  reticent– reluctant or restrained.

Insert Vocab

21 Aug

We huddled together in my dark closet, apprehensive to make noise, and worried he would return and do something worse than defacing property.  My roommate dialed 9-1-1 on her cell phone and told the operator in a wavering tone that our volatile landlord had assailed us by kicking in the front door during a fit of rage.  The operator got the address to our secluded basement apartment and ensured us she would send help.

This was just the latest in a series of escalating acts of harassment since 2004 began.  Preceding this, I heard a sound in my living room and walked out of my bedroom to see my erratic landlord had used his keys to let himself inside without prior notice, or even a knock.  I still have no idea what he was planning to do that day, and I began to use my chain lock regularly because did not want to find out.

My roommate went to stay with her boyfriend after our implacable landlord antagonized us by shouting invective through the window a few hours after he was arrested for defiling the door.  I had nowhere else to go, forty days left on my lease, and fall finals in one week.  I was fretful the arrest had inflamed the fractious landlord even more and he would come in while I was showering or sleeping and do terrible things to me.  I locked the screen door and the front door–not that it mattered as he had they keys to both.  Then, I barricaded myself inside by pushing my futon in front of the door.  After a sleepless night, I went to get a restraining order against my intractable landlord.  I was granted an ex-parte that kept him from setting foot on the property, I was still overwrought though.  I figured if someone was willing to break a door down, and was reckless enough to come over and have a tirade outside the window after being jailed that day for snapping the chain lock,  why would a piece of paper stop him from terrorizing me?

This atmosphere of paranoia and chaos was not conducive to studying, to say the least.  At the time, aside from being enervated from fear, I did not realize I had any recourse.  I assumed since the University of Missouri was closing for winter break, and that it would not have been possible to take finals later or retake all my exams, so I muddled through hoping for the best.  In my restive state, I bombed every test I attempted, probably dropping my grade about a full letter in each class.

If something extraordinarily aberrant like that happened to me these days I would inform my professors and at least attempt to get accommodation on my final exams.  This disturbing incident taught me how to be more self-sufficient and utilize the police, the courts, and the university system that are all there to help me.  I will no longer be reticent with my school when I am in crises.  I hate that I had to go through such a trying time, and especially that my grades suffered because of my resulting lassitude, but from that situation I learned the lesson to ask for help when I need it.

Prequel: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs + Vocab

29 Apr

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs


A well-known queen sits sewing at the window and gazing at the snow.  She pricks her finger with the needle and upon seeing three drops of red blood fall on the perfectly white snow, dreams about having an equally ideal daughter with white skin and red lips.  This child was exalted even prior to her birth!  Soon the queen is blessed with an illustrious child that is the paragon of all things beautiful with her snow white skin, ruby red lips, and black hair.  Unfortunately, the queen dies very shortly after and the king remarries a vein and officious woman.

This new queen has a divine mirror that answers her question affirmatively when she asks if she is fairest of them all.  The queen has been accustomed to hearing the felicitation, “You are the fairest in the land,” when she inquires, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”  When the baby, Snow White, reaches age 7, the mirror begins to auger that princess Snow White is fairest of them all.  Habituated to the former response, the queen naturally assumes the abnormal response is in error.  Seeking the familiar adulation, she disputes this fact and the mirror repeats that Snow White is indeed fairest in the land.  Another woman taking her place as the quintessential model of female attractiveness (affable and genial to boot) infuriates the queen and incites her to drastic action.

Severely agitated, with the mirror’s aberrant answers to her quarry the queen is fomented to eradicate her problem.  And she is furious that someone is challenging her pulchritudinous looks, so the queen propositions the huntsmen to take Snow White into the woods and kill her.  The queen is so unyielding in this request, the huntsmen has to choice but to concede to her wishes to censure the pretty princess.

To confirm the assassination, the queen relentlessly requests the huntsman bring the girl’s heart back.  Once in the woods the huntsman’s previously inured heart is warmed by the princess’ winsome looks and innocence.  He admirably takes pity on Snow White and tells her to run away and live cautiously.  To corroborate his tale of murder, the huntsmen brings a deer’s heart to the queen, and still in her inexorable fit of rage, she cooks and eats it.

In the woods, Snow White comes upon an anomalous family of seven dwarfs who offer her shelter in return for her to clean, cook, and sew while they are mining.  As a side-note, the dwarfs whistle while they work producing the most harmonious euphony.  They warn Snow White to be discreet and warn her to be provident about letting anyone in while they are out.  Meanwhile the dictatorial queen is infuriated when her mirror intuits Snow White living peacefully with the dwarfs–and tells her that the princess is still the fairest of them all.

The queen takes matters into her own hands and comes up with a ruse to kill Snow White.  She disguises herself as a peddler selling laces to gain access to the princess then proceeds to wrench Snow White’s dress so tight that she collapses dead on the floor.  The queen, warned by the musical trudging of the dwarfs flees the scene of the crime.  The dwarves are able to revive her.  Her first subterfuge unsuccessful, the queen plots again.  In her next murderous attempt, the queen dresses as an old woman and combs Snow White’s hair with a poison-laced comb causing her to fall to the floor.  Again, the queen is alerted that the dwarfs are on their way home by their pleasant melodies, and she gets out of there.  The dwarves again revive the princess.  In her final attempt to extinguish the girl’s life, the queen dresses as a farmer’s wife and offers an apple to Snow White.  Hesitant and foreseeing possible trouble, after her previous near-death experiences, Snow White demures.  Desperate to finally kill the girl, the queen cuts the apple in half and eats the white portion.  Seeing the apple is not noxious, Snow White eagerly accepts the other half–which is red and poisoned.  She falls dead to the floor and the dwarfs are unable to revive her a third time.

Unresponsive, Snow White is placed in a glass coffin.  A prince comes through town and is enchanted by Snow White’s august beauty.  The dwarfs relinquish the coffin to the love-striken prince and he begins to cart it home.  There is commotion when the coffin goes over some bushes, jostling it, and the poisoned apple is dislodged from majestic Snow White’s throat.  She wakes up and an extravagant wedding with a multifarious and diverse guest list is planned.

The queen’s mirror is asked again who is the fairest in the land and it responds, “You are fair my Queen, tis true, but Snow White is  a thousand times fairer than you!”  Never one to miss a grandiose event, the disgruntled queen attends the wedding, that is unbeknown to her, for the prince and Snow White.  The other guests show their disapproval that the queen impugned Snow White.  While there she is ostracized for being a demagogue and as atonement for her wrong-doing, is made to wear hot, iron shoes and dance until she dies.

And Snow White and the prince lived happily ever after. . .


for more (non-Disney) fairytales



Circus, Circus

14 Apr

In the late 1800’s there was no internet, television, radio, movie theaters–people had to physically seek entertainment.  Thus, dozens of circuses were prominent during that era and as such, traversed (the mid-west and northeast especially) in animal-drawn caravans.

The Cooper and Bailey Circus is notably significant for exhibiting, “Columbia,” the first baby elephant born in the United States.  The little elephant was born in Philadelphia, March 1980 and P.T. Barnum immediately (who was salient in his own right for having his own wandering circus) wanted to buy the live attraction.  When this was not possible, Barnum and Bailey combined forces and journeyed all over the U.S. for various circus shows before the elephant was euthanized (by strangulation [1]) for aggression in 1907.

Side-note paragraph:  As much as I always enjoy seeing animals, and am amazed at the feats they can be trained to do, I don’t like to think of wild creatures born in captivity, and (roughly, I’d wager) peregrinated from place to place.  It makes me sad to think of poor little Columbia being housed (in inadequate areas with poor nutrition and medical care, I suspect), and trained with (more than likely) questionable methods.  It is certainly not fair to a wild animal when it is made to perform in front of thousands of loud people, which is contrary to its natural temperment, then killed–probably for acting like a normal elephant.

I choose a cartoon b/c pics that came up devastated me and made me want to barf

At any rate, back before the 1966 Animal Welfare Act was signed into law this was not just acceptable, but highly entertaining.  The AWA marked a decided turn (for the batter!) in America’s history of animal use.  It is an outstanding and comprehensive legislation that regulates not only circuses, but zoos, research facilities–really any entity that transports, houses, cares for, or uses animals in any way.  This group of statutes provides minimum standards of care and really makes our country more accountable for the way animals are treated.

Back to the topic at hand:  By the time the elephant was murdered put to sleep, both Barnum and Bailey had died.  In 1907 the Barnum & Bailey brand was purchased by The Ringling Brothers to become the Ringling Bros & Barnum & Bailey Circus, or “The Best Show on Earth.”  The circus did well during the 1920’s and one of the five original Ringling Brothers purchased the circus, absorbing all five traveling shows, for $1.7 million.  Though the circus struggled through the Great Depression, like everything else, it was a really big deal for spectators to see the Greatest Show On Earth.

Despite WWII, until the fateful day of July 6, 1944, the circus seemed to have the world in its pocket.  The President had even allowed the circus to continue to travel on railroads, an anomaly considering the heavy restrictions enforced for the rest of the war-weary country.  All supplies went to the military first, and the circus felt that impact.  One example:  The circus officials were not niave about the possible consequences of tent fires in their big top and asked the army, repeatedly to spare fire-retardent.  The military had been given absolute priority on the material and refused to let the circus have any.  Ringling Bros & Barnum & Bailey perservered through any wartime hardships-moral of the country was at stake.  Though the delays and malfunctions due to staff and equipment shortages had become ever-present, tickets still sold.

Superstition as a Premonition:  Two shows were scheduled for the July 5 and 6 Hartford, Connecticut location.  Because of delays common in that WWII period, the train arrived late making the first show too late to set up.  It had to be canceled.  In circus lore, missing a show is an extremely bad omen.  The circus performers were on high alert the next day, half expecting some catastrophe due to the poor luck they had suffered.

People from Hartford and smaller surrounding towns purchased tickets for the show.  It is difficult to know how many people from rural towns came to the circus, because at the time smaller areas kept poor residency records.  The circus also handed out an unknown number of free admission tickets in a wide radius surrounding Hartford.  There were also drifters spotted enjoying the show that day.  Total attendance was uncertain, but estimates place the number of spectators around 7,000.

About 20 minutes into the show, band-leader, Merle Evans, spotted a fire on the south wall of the tent and immediately cued the band to play, “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” the known distress signal for all circus personnel.  In those days, the circus tents were myopically waterproofed with paraffin wax dissolved in gasoline.  Maybe it seemed a good idea at the time, but anyone could see the potential for trouble with that method.  Though the ring-master tried to initiate a calm, exit of patrons, the power cut out and a short-sighted panic ensued.  Approximately all 7,000 people tried to leave the big top at once, melting , fiery paraffin raining down on them.  Just prior to the fire the big cats had been performing.  Their cages blocked two exits, creating a big problem.  Though the cats were herded through chutes to caged wagons, and only sustained minor burns, the people in the audience weren’t so lucky.  The tent collapsed in 8 minutes, trapping hundreds of spectators under the flaming tarps.  People were consumed in the flames, trampled to death by unthinking escapees, escaped narrowly but went back in the blaze to find loved ones, or were burned as they patiently sat inside expecting the flames to be promptly doused and the show to go on.

Emmett Kelly, in his quest to control the burn, was pictured holding a bucket of water and looking remorseful to the point of tears.

there must be a copyright on the most recognized photo w/the bucket

He is the clown forever immortalized as the symbol for this tragedy which became “The Day the Clowns Cried.”  Fittingly for the troubled times the circus faced after the fire, Kelly’s persona was “Weary Willy” a figure that embodied many depression era hobos.  People were outraged and circus employees were called into question.  The city of Hartford was also challenged in the form of lawsuits by 600 families of victims.  The circus management, deeply sorrowful about the episode and came to an agreement with city representatives to pay all damages resulting from the fire.  On July 7, charges began flying.  Five officials of Ringling Bros were indicted on involuntary manslaughter.

The aftermath of one of the worst fire disasters in the United States was discordant.  Many of the bodies were charred so badly (cremated, if you will) they could not be identified–even with today’s DNA tests.  Because the attendance records at the circus and in the rural areas were so poor, there were people that perished and were never missed.  Mix-ups ensued as loved ones tried to identify bodies burned so badly that they were unrecognizable.  Dental records were scrutinized.  Some families accidentally claimed victims as their relations mistakingly.  Other families never found a loved one, because either there was just nothing left of them or someone had previously claimed them.

Any of these scenarios could be likely in the case of “Little Miss 1565” whose picture was tirelessly used to identify her unclaimed, well-preserved body.  The number was assigned at the morgue when nobody came forward to claim the blonde girl in a white dress.  It remains unclear to this day, who the little girl was–though many people have theories on the matter.

In 1944, when the five contrite men were tried, four were convicted to prison terms.  The judge allowed the men to continue with the circus to Sarasota, FL to help get the show back on its feet, and were eventually pardoned all-together.  By 1954, the apologeticRingling Bros Circus paid a total of $5 million to the city of Hartford.  This money had been all circus profits since the fire, which had been set aside for the purpose of paying relations of the victims.  They took responsibility for the tragedy, but not the fire itself.

It seems there are more questions than answers in the case of the Hartford Circus Fire.  It has not been proven how the fire started.  Some think a cigarette was carelessly flicked, others believe it was arson.  One man, Robert Segee from Ohio, with known, mental illness, confessed to arson then later recanted.  We may never know how the blaze began, or if it was arson, who might have been responsible.

Reading about the circus fire was enlightening.  This is exactly the reason I have a fire-phobia.  It made me happy that there are more rules for animal welfare.  It also made me think twice about going to see trained animals of any kind.  I am motivated to learn exactly how the circus treats their creatures too–I know it is a LOT easier to find PETA’s misinformation online than it is to find true facts.

Ridiculous and Uneducated

I wasn’t only concerned for the animals–I also thought about the people that may have been exploited in circuses from that time period.  I am now interested in finding some book about the “freaks” that were paraded from town to town for amusement of residents. Reading about the circus fire made me glad large shows have more guidelines to prepare for disaster.  I think circuses, concerts, and any large gathering has more of a contingency plan–not to mention better attendance policies.  I am also thankful that when there is a crises the Red Cross is so quick to step in and deal with it in an organized manner–it doesn’t sound like we had that support in those days.  Feel free to comment if you know of reading materials or other research relating to the subject matter above.

[1] http://www.elephant.se/database2.php?elephant_id=1013

An Oxymoron No More: Raped Policeman

7 Apr


This story is especially interesting in the context that our society tends to blame the victim for their own rape.  This mentality creates an even more negative environment for people who have already suffered something very traumatic.  A side effect of this prospective is a deadlock on actually preventing rape, a stalemate when catching criminals, and an impasse when treating victims.  Now that the tables are turned, and we have a strong, rape-educated, enforcement-officer man’s perspective we can recognize our flaws in thinking.  Changing our point of view is not only more salubrious for the nation, but curative for the consequences of this terrible and persistent crime.

I have included some popular doctrines regarding rape, which I do not see as hyperbole.  I wish these strong tenants, dogmas really, were embellished for effect!  According to examples from the media, laws in affect, and my real-life experiences this is how people in the United States think of rape.

Pre-Rape common misconceptions that tenaciously and stagnantly stay in fashion:

Women should not dress a certain way (perceived as “easy” or “slutty”)  if they don’t want trouble.  Nothing too gaudy, cheap, showy, or flashy should ever be worn by a lady.  And if a women chooses to dress that way she is also choosing the potential consequnce of getting raped.  Women should anticipate danger and not put themselves in a situation where rape is possible.  Females should be able to spot potential attackers and steer clear of them.  If they are not prescient in this matter, they are too naive to be out at all, so they should stay at home, preferably chaperoned by a stronger, more worldly man.  They should certainly not lose their wits by drinking or taking substances.  Girls should never find themselves alone.  If women don’t abide by these strict rules they are “asking for it.”

The creeds dealing with rape prevention are dangerous and gender specific, because it puts all of the emphasis on women.  Really, they are invectives against half of the population. In order to not be raped women have to occlude men’s behavior.  Not once, do the above views try to barricade the act of rape by regulating men’s behavior.  These misconceptions are not a denunciation of the rapists themselves, nor are they a revilement of the act of rape.  As it is written, the responsibility for rape-prevention lies with women.  If rape is happening, it is because women are not doing what they should to obstruct it.

This article profiles a police officer who went to brunch at a pub with a group of coworkers friends.  He became intoxicated as the evening wore on.  His friends left and he was enjoying himself so much that he stayed behind.  The officer interacted with his future attacker, but never felt wary of him.  He had no idea what the rapist was capable of.  Later, the policeman was raped by this other patron of the pub.

Do we think about this situation differently than if this male police officer was a woman?  If the officer was a female would we be told what she was wearing in the article?  Maybe he was particularly tawdry that day.  Why does it not matter to the editor of the piece since the victim turned out to be male?  After reading this would we pass judgement that the female victim had a lot to drink?  I know for a fact, readers would be screaming at the page if someone’s girlfriends left her alone in a strange pub while intoxicated–it just goes against girl-code.  Since this is a man, do we even think about that?  I would think that an officer trained in prevention of sexual assault would be the type of person to distinguishknow, and detect exactly what a would-be attacker would be like.  He was not divinatory in the matter at all, and if HE had no notions of the future violence, how are women expected to know?  I think our blame culture would react a lot differently if rape touched the lives of more (straight) men.

Post-Rape Misconceptions:

There is not time to flag after being a victim of rape.  Any women who is truly raped would go directly from the scene of attack to the police station to report the incident.  If the victim showers or cleanses herself it is because she has something to obscure.  If the victim goes anywhere else, it is because she is not upset and therefore did not actually get raped.  A woman who does not press charges right away just regrets a consensual sexual encounter–she is making the whole story up.  No one is allowed time to dwindle into grief or slacken into shock.  Even if a female does report the incident, you must scrutinize her accusations carefully.  If she does not remember every detail,the tale seems opaque, or if her story is not consistent each time of telling it, even after many, many tellings she is probably lying.  If a women does all of the above correctly, you still have to be suspicious of her motives and consider her overall character.  She may just want attention, or she may just be a slut who actually wanted the sex.

Society calls for victims to act mechanically–even under the great stress of being violated.  To ebb afterward is to try to thwart the truth.  Again, women are the ones called into action.  It is she who must not be apathetic to this crime.  The rapist is not addressed is the post-rape misconceptions, and the female victim needs to act in a routine manner to resolve this unfortunate blemish.  If the woman does not act automatically, or if a step in the process is wrong, it is her own fault if justice is not served.  Even if the female victim does everything right, it is not likely a man actually perpetrated a crime without reason.  It is her fault it happened. . .  if it occurred at all.

This police officer could not remember how he got to the scene of the attack.  After the rape, he did not perfunctorily arrest his attacker as he was warranted to do as an officer of the law.  The victim also did not go to a police station for fear of being recognized–he went to a private clinic.  Importantly, despite being on the other side of the rape investigation countless times, this police victim chose not to press charges because he was scared of the consequences, didn’t want to be victimized further, and just wanted to forget about the incident.  Even when pressured by officious fellow police-officers to aid in an investigation, the police officer was obdurate about pressing charges against his attacker.  Suddenly, his perspective changed from being motivated to put rapists in prison to preserving his own sense of self.  In turn, his buddies at the police station wereunyielding about hassling him about working with investigators to get the rapist off the streets.  They were too helpful to the point of meddlesome in their raped cohort’s healing process.

Do we think of this police officer as careless because he ended up at a strange man’s residence at the end of the night?  Is the guy blamed in our minds because he got himself in that situation?  As a reader do we think differently of a man that chooses not to report this crime than if it were a woman?  This trained officer of the law, wanted to remain reticent about his attack because he found the consequences of letting the rapist go unpunished to be less severe than the consequences of the world knowing how he was raped.  I think it is especially telling that an investigator of rape who knows the system well and has a close support group of experts would choose not to pursue an arrest.  Something is terribly wrong when victims of serious crimes would rather remain laconic than face the scrutiny of “justice.”  Obviously, if this is true, it means the enforcement and judicial systems are equivocal:  Asking that victims come forward, yet giving them implicit signs to keep taciturn. Of course, such an ambiguous message is detrimental.  Who is the system helping if it is not victims of rape?

The worst thing about the attitude towards rape in this country is that it sets rape up to be a natural inclination of men to be avoided by women.  If our society is predispositioned to set rape up as something that women need to take the steps to avoid it removes responsibility from people with a penchant for sexual violence.  It makes female members of the system control the situation without giving them any real authority to do so.  Analyzing a male police officer and rape-prevention and correction specialist is valuable for precluding the deleterious point of view that rape is the victim’s own fault.  We should be looking for ways to amend a flawed system and improve the environment for victims of rape.  Becoming ossified in our views and sticking to what we know is not working.    Ameliorating the problem of rape requires a change of heart for the way we think about the crime (and women) in the U.S.


Conflict Resolution is not a Veterinarian’s Strength

10 Mar

You would think it would be.  They are compassionate enough to want to work with animals.  School trains them to be sagacious in dealing with clients.  They are astute when dealing with health crises.  Maybe all of these attributes just don’t extend to staffing issues.  I have seen some vicious parleys between veterinarians and their subordinates almost everywhere I’ve worked.

I walked into work Monday to see a nasty note reprimanding my performance on Saturday.  My cheeks reddened with embarrassing at the public admonishment, and my temper became incarnadine with fury at the unfairness.  Apparently I had not “gently mixed” the ruby blood sample well enough, and the numbers were askew as a result.  Seriously–you can just tell me on the day it happens.  You do not have to enumerate my every mistake in a missive for all to see and send the other doctor to lecture me about it two days later.  It ruined my whole day–right when I set foot in the door.

When I am a veterinarian, I swear, it will be a hard and fast rule to only chastise staff in private.  It is a real problem in small animal medicine at least.  At my first job, Mary saw every decision she made as self-evident truth, and would regularly bark, “Don’t think!” if someone attempted to explain their (perceived) wrong actions.  At Noah’s Ark, the doctor would lose her temper (I postulate it was because she was stressed and they COULD be shit-heads) and scream at staff members in front of everyone.  I hated it–even if it wasn’t directed towards me.  At the emergency hospital, the doctor’s adage was one of anti-social behavior.  He was surly, scary, and short-tempered in general. . .  In Seattle, one of the vets used an axiom of sarcasm, and mean-spirited banter, as well as losing all patience (and mores) and screaming while strewing things of shelves, and generally making a huge scene.

So this current passive-aggressive public humiliation is not the worst, but I think all of the above behavior is out-of-line and counter-productive.  I wish the veterinarians I have worked for could just slake their aggression and talk (calmly) to the staff.  I think co-workers and authority figures should moderate their tempers even if they are super-annoyed and work closely together.  And if they can’t–they should hire an office manager to satisfy disciplinary issues with poise.

While we’re talking about authority figures I want to bring up another power issue.  I venerate the veterinarians I have worked for.  Even if I think some of them are total tool-bags as people, I respect all the hard work they had to do to get in, and pass veterinary school and their boards.  They are obviously perspicacious if they have made it this far.  That said, I refuse to grovel at their feet.  I am a person too, and that should also garner a little respect.  I am hard-working, plucky, and human.  I have many attributes and though I am not a doctor, I should never have to kowtow just because of that fact.  I absolutely HATE when veterinarians have some power/dominance issues and require me as staff to boot-lick and defer to them in ALL matters.  Doctors that get their self esteem from making their staff humble themselves constantly are high maintenance!

All of these concerns would be mollified if veterinarians would learn to treat the staff like people.  As a leader, the doctor should be conciliating problems that arise instead of exacerbating  them.  In a crucial anesthetic moment, does the surgeon get stressed (well of course they do, we ALL do) and panic rather than buckling down and taking steps to correct it?  Staffing should not be any different.  Logic should not take a back seat to emotions.  When I am a vet, I plan to have high expectations, but when things go wrong, I will pacify my anger and deal with them.

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Twin Topics: Feminism and Weight Loss

3 Mar

My favorite (relatively recent) activity is to get up at the crack of dawn, pour some Starbucks coffee from the coffee press my boss gave me for Christmas, and read blogs.  Side-note:  Getting up at the crack of dawn is not new to me nor is it especially enjoyable, but my entire life I have been unable to fall back to sleep once I have awoken (to the chagrin of my bedmates).  But as a connoisseur of coffee, I like having the time to sit and enjoy it.

After perusing many blogs, I have found I am drawn to the feminist writings and weight loss blogs.  No, no, don’t get the wrong idea–I am still a gastronome who loves to eat any and all food (except french fries).  Even though I am in no way trying to lose weight, I have never in my life been overweight, and I am the antithesis to health nuts, I find their motivation compelling.  Just reading about someone trying so hard to do something makes me want to jump up and study for the GRE, makes me want to clean the house, makes me want to DO something meaningful!

In many ways the feminist blogs and weight loss blogs are opposites.  The feminists talk about ways women are marginalized.  They are mad about the smallest ways women are made second-class citizens (because it is the most ingrained actions that are most detrimental).  While the big girls just want so badly to fit in.  They would kill to buy “the clothes,” and die to look like the people portrayed in media.  The blogs are talking about the same thing–just from opposite prospectives.  It is not because of health so much that girls try to lose weight–I blame patriarchy.  That is a whole other discussion, so I digress.

Reading the blogs of self-proclaimed fat girls makes me angry for them.  Furious that I never have to think about these thigns, as a smaller person.  It makes me hate the media for accepting me, though I am just as unhealthy in my gourmet eating habits, over the heavy gals.  The highest weight that I have ever been in my whole life was 126 pounds–my first year of college.  I am 5’2″ so it wasn’t a great number for me, but still by most standards that is small.  And I could tell I was larger than before, but no one looked at me and thought”what a cow.”  It isn’t fair.  Under the ruse of health, we as a society are able to openly criticize the overweight.  I am an expert and authority on “bad” eating, yet because I look thin people leave my salubrity alone.  It isn’t right.

As I write this I am eating yellow cake with cream cheese frosting, and some whipping cream poured over it.  I told you–I am a total food epicure.  I know what tastes good and unabashedly eat it without guilt, and without worry.  Explanation for why I am eating such things:  The whipping cream is my milk replacement, because I do not like to drink plain milk (ever!  Ewwww), but a lot of recipes call for a little of it.  The whipping cream has a longer expiration date than milk so I buy it instead.  Just because it keeps better–I pay no mind that it is higher in fat and sugar.  The point is, I do not even have to think about my weight.  While the “fat” girls have to discriminate what is most curative to their thick bellies.  They count every calorie, go hungry, and forgo all that is good and awesome in the food world, I do not have to pay attention.

I do little to no physical activity either.  No therapeutic running or weights here, people–I am as unhealthy as they get.  I enjoy jog/walking, but only if the weather is above 60 degrees and there is no rain or snow.  And even then when my busy schedule allows.    I eat crap, do no exercise, and yet my figures looks lean.  It just isn’t fair to all those people that feel overweight and work super-hard to change that.  I admire their dedication to losing weight, even if it is spurred on my society’s bracing, narrow-minded interpretation of beauty.

Just Vocab

5 Feb

When I retire, I would love to eloquently write a series of books based on my life.

At work and in public I keep my trenchant observations to myself for the most part–I wait to unleash them on Kidron or to write them down.

It may seem like my books all have sour topics, but I am not bitter.

I do have some biting observations and acetous opinions, but I write them down so I am a more positive person.

I do not subscribe to the mentality that every shit-head acerbic person in my life has made me who I am today–I’m angry they marred me.

That said, without the more tart aspects of life,  would not have topics for my future best-selling books.

The piquant nature of my memoirs are going to really embarrass the people in them–but those fucks deserve it.

If you have been a pungent, negative influence in my life–watch out, you’ll be in one of my books.

The acidulous content in “Douche,” “As the Ark Floats,” “Cabin-Mansion,” and “Satan George” are sure to make them popular.

I will show integrity and propriety in the books, telling the truth about my poor choices or bad behavior as well as show-casing the terrible actions of others.

I will not be modest about the things I saw and experienced at the hands of others–those people do not deserve my pity.

Douche and Mary, especially do not deserve any sympathy on my part–neither of them showed me any decency.

I’m sure I will be accused of forgetting decorum and of lying in my books, but I will know (and so will those people) that I have written the facts as they happened.

I don’t really care about the appropriateness of telling these stories to the public, the people in them should have shown more restraint if they didn’t want their actions broadcasted.