PETA: Arguably the Worst Goddamn Organization on the Planet

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  PETA is the most manipulative organization on the planet.  The very acronym brings forth a wave of disgust in me each time I hear it, and I find myself choking back a sick combination of tears and vomit.  In my personal life, I am an avid lover of animals.  And I don’t just mean the cute and cuddly ones.  I love cats and dogs as much (or more than) the next person, but I am also fascinated with insects, birds, aquatic creatures, and everything in between.  I even have a passion for watching spiders eating and spinning webs.

PETA claims to be advocates of fair animal treatment.  They are widely known for organizing protests against such things as killing animals for fur clothing and the inhumane torture many animals experience on farms and ranches.  Although their methods are…questionable, to say the least and have gotten them into a bit of hot water, they sound like they’re trying to do the right thing and put a stop to the unnecessary murder of innocent animals.

Unfortunately, PETA doesn’t practice what they preach, a fact that has become well-known over the years but largely ignored.  Reports are constantly surfacing about the amount of animals they kill and their methods of how they attempt to place animals into homes (fun fact: they don’t).  However, these things aren’t the worst thing to me, as awful as they may be.  Although PETA claims to stand for animal rights, they take millions of dollars in donations from like-minded individuals, most of whom are undoubtedly unaware that their money is not spent on helping animals – instead, their money is used for their genocide.

Now I’m not blind.  I know that some animals need to be euthanized due to a variety of reasons ranging from overpopulation to general inability to adapt to a cooperative life with humans.  But this does not give PETA the right to make that decision in a matter of seconds and carry out executions on “unsuitable” animals.  While thousands of people trust them to use their donations towards the common good of fair animal treatment, the company decides it would be better to build a $9,000 freezer used to store the dead animal carcasses before throwing them into black trash bags like nothing more than a pile of discarded tissues.

My main problem is this: although all of these facts are widely available to anyone willing to listen, why isn’t anything done to stop it?  More importantly, how do I spark the necessary catalyst?  I know writing this blog doesn’t help any changes take place, but at least I can farm for ideas.  So…thoughts?  Anyone?

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A Recorded History of the Death of the English Language, Part 2

Yesterday I criticized the usage of incorrect homophones in specific situations. It is quite possibly my biggest pet peeve in the world and I could easily write a few thousand more words on the subject. But since I’m not one to beat a dead horse, I’ll move on to something equally important, something I touched on yesterday without going into any great depth: spelling.

Like I said, I’m not the best speller, but I’m far from the worst. I sincerely expect people my age to be able to spell certain words without a second thought, but it appears that is not the case. I used to think it was another form of shorthand typing, but now I’m wondering if they’re just so used to spelling particular words that way that they’ve become irredeemable.

Some examples that come to mind:

“My sister just had a babby.”

“My fone is being stupid.”

“I lyk everything xcept that.”

“I was gonna go home but den I got lost.”

“I definately misspelt that.”

“I’m so kewl.”

Seriously, come on.  Is it incomprehensible that “PH” can make a sound like an “F”?  Because if you can’t wrap your mind around that, you should go back to phucking school.  And the irony behind misspelling “misspelled” never fails to amuse me.

Which reminds me, how do people that type like this pass any classes anyway?  When I was younger, these words weren’t even an issue.  We had to focus on words that were actually challenging, like the one day we had a substitute teacher and she thought it would be fun spending the entire day teaching us how to spell pneumosilicovolcanoconiosis (which I don’t even think is an actual medical term, but I digress).  I’m sure there were days where I had to learn words like “dog” and “child” but that was probably in the first grade.  If you can’t spell “phone” then my logic tells me you haven’t made it to a first grader’s level of intelligence.

Saying that spelling isn’t beneficial to you is like asking how math is going to help you later in life.  It is an invalid argument, immediately dismissed by every adult in the civilized world.  Misspellings can lead to accidental meanings that weren’t your intention, just like failing to learn how to do math can result in you getting audited or being the unlucky winner of a speeding ticket.  It is the fundamental element of language: without letters there are no words, and there are no words if the letters aren’t correct.

So I urge you, learn how to spell.  If not for yourself, then do it for others.  Have some respect for yourself, and I might learn to respect you in turn.

A Recorded History of the Death of the English Language, Part 1

I’ve become convinced that the English language is dying. Not evolving, as some may be saying, but being brutally murdered on cell phones and message boards all across the globe.

It’s “for” not “4”.

It’s “could have” not “could of”.

It’s “too” not “2”.

It’s “someone” not “sum1”.

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point clear enough. I have a massive amount of respect for written words; my kind is a rapidly declining breed. Texting and typing have slaughtered both our collective intelligence and our ability to differentiate words. They’re called homophones, people. They’re all spelled differently. Please use the correct word in a given situation, or I will immediately think less of you. It pains me in every sense of the word when I see someone trying to prove their point while using nearly illegible speech. If I have to take an extra few seconds to decipher what you’re saying, then clearly you haven’t put much thought into it and I’m already dismissing your argument on that basis alone. I am often referred to as a grammar Nazi, though I’m not sure why. I don’t correct 99% of the mistakes I see, and the ones I choose to edit are for the sake of education. It’s not a big deal if you can’t spell it. There’s plenty of words I don’t know how to spell.

For instance, I used to constantly misspell “ridiculous” (which I wrote as “rediculous”) and it wasn’t until my cousin corrected me that I realized I was erring. Did I get mad and call her a Nazi? Of course not, that’s preposterous. I listened to her and I haven’t misspelled it since. I learned from being told I was wrong and now I apply that knowledge every time I use that word, and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I’m not asking for much here. I’m not saying everyone should know how to diagram sentences properly or pick up a thesaurus just for the sake of learning a new word (though I wouldn’t object). I’m just asking for the proper use of a homophone. Not even a homonym, mind you; that’s a whole other ball game.

For, four, fore.

Their, there, they’re.

To, two, too.

Once you’ve got that down, tackle some harder ones:

Principle, principal.

Capital, capitol.

Complement, compliment.

Or continue living in ignorance and contribute to the destruction of a language through laziness. I know it can be difficult stretching your finger to hit all the letters. I’m sure you’re far too busy playing Atari or braiding your hair, or whatever the hell it is you people do all day. Hey, that’s another one. Hair, hare. See? English is fun! Show it some respect. You can even make it more fun by inserting random profanity if you damn well feel like it.

Meet, meat, mete.

Buy, by, bye.

Damn, dam.

Oh, and try to embrace the beauty of punctuation while you’re at it. Or at the very least, capitalize (not “capitolize”! See, it is fun!) the first word of a sentence and throw a period on the end. Trust me, it goes a long way.

Oldie but a Goodie

I forgot this thing existed.  I wrote it almost three years ago as an entry into a story that had to be under 500 words, so I went ahead and made mine 499.  You may notice I was heavily influenced by Fallout at the time.

Enjoy.

The two of them looked at one another with desperation, each hoping the other had a solution to their current dilemma: their food supply was depleted. They’d been in the shelter for weeks, but in the solitude of the cold, damp shelter, dimly lit only by a single lamp in the center, there was no way to distinguish the end of one day and the beginning of another. After two days of deprivation, they decided to go above ground, casting one final glance toward the bodies of their long-dead parents before exiting the shaft.

It took some effort to open the outer hatch, but once outside, they encountered a sight not previously imaginable. What was once a city was now reduced to rubble, the once-tall buildings now collapsed, some still aflame and illuminating the smoke overhead which was blocking out all signs of the sky. The children made their way over the giant concrete boulders and steel beams for over a day, spotting no signs of life, food, or water. With all hopes of survival abandoned, they soon found a restful area in the form of an office building, the undercarriage of the shattered desks providing the tiniest bit of security, which was more than either of them had felt in this past month.

She awoke before her sibling, and, fearful of leaving her new dwelling, threw a small stone at her brother’s desk. His head shot out immediately, his face gray from his concrete pillows. Wordlessly, she pointed out and over her desk. The boy arose and took her hand, leading her out to where she claimed she heard something move. Desperate for food, he grabbed a small, sharp rock and clutched it firmly in his hand, but quickly froze in place as the sounds came again. Together, they listened as something on the other side of the rubble mountain clambered down the side in what seemed to be a hurry, followed by a low growl, silence, and then—

Crrrack!

They both jumped at the sound, and decided to sneak to the top and have a peek. Upon cresting the hill, they were met with yet another horrifying sight, though this was much more revolting. Three men were sitting in a circle around what was clearly a human corpse, feasting on the raw, dead flesh like rabid beasts. Occasionally, one of them would finish a piece and dismember another section of the body, helping themselves to seconds. The group soon realized they had company, one of whom moved toward the children in a very threatening manner. The boy, panicked, threw his rock at the man, who them fell and tumbled back down the face of the hill, blood pouring from an open wound in his face. The others stared blankly at the boy for a moment, then moved to feast upon the freshly deceased man.

The children soon joined, and after having eaten their fill, informed their new friends that they knew the location of two more bodies.

Weakness, Regret, Submission, Acceptance

I don’t mean to boast.

But I’m a fairly intelligent person.

I honestly hate saying that.  Even the thought of it makes me feel like I’m acting superior in some way.  And the way I talk when I’m writing frustrates me at times, because I get the feeling that I sound like I’m trying too hard to sound smart when it’s really just the way my thoughts present themselves.  I see this as a problem, particularly in the area of my social skills.

I was never terribly good with people.  They make me uncomfortable, as I do to them, I’m sure.  I’m awkward and quiet, and often find myself making references that I think are funny but nobody else understands, which in turn requires me to explain what I meant and makes me look like an egotistical douchebag.  I don’t like that.  I don’t like most of what I do in my daily life.

Take arguments, for instance.  Specifically, ones I’m not directly involved in.  I can see both sides clearly, learn about each viewpoint in mere minutes, and I can completely understand exactly why each person feels the way they do.  This in turn makes me reluctant to take a side, instead opting for some lame excuse along the lines of “well, I see where they’re coming from, too.”  It’s nothing short of a cop-out when I think about it.  This attitude is often met with hostility from the conflicting parties.  There is no middle ground.  There is no agreeable solution that is beneficial to both parties no matter what I say, think, or do.  There is only “I’m right, you’re wrong” and I always feel like the wrong one, no matter what.

It’s not my intention to avoid taking a stand.  I simply refuse to accept that my opinion is ever irrefutably right.  Instead, I choose to look at things from other people’s perspectives, and like I said, I’m very good at it, to the point where my concession is one of frustration and anger.  On the occasions I say “I get that, but this is what they’re saying and it kind of makes sense,” I am instantly cast in the role of the villain.

This sounds much more dramatic than it actually is.  I just have a lot on my mind.  It’s been a long time since I had…you know, I’m not even sure what I’m missing.  I just know I’m missing something.

As (I think) I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this sudden move to Georgia has been difficult at times.  I spent a little over 26 years in Pittsburgh and only made a handful of real friends; I can probably count them on one hand.  Now I’m starting all over again.  Which was the idea, granted.  I wanted a fresh start, something new, somewhere I hadn’t been before.  I stand by that decision, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have regrets.  I gave up everything I’d worked toward for over two decades just to go somewhere new.  It feels selfish.  And now I have a whopping two friends in a 700 mile radius.  Granted, they’re great people, but the life I’m living now is almost the exact opposite from back home.  Before I left, I was working 50-60 hours a week, if not more.  I went to the bar almost every night after work.  Not to get drunk, mind you, but just to relax and hang out with people I knew, maybe shoot some pool or play a game of darts.  Hell, I even played a game of Scrabble on the bar one day when someone got me the board game for my birthday.

But now I work from home.  I never leave, except to go to Walmart, which is only right across the street.  I have plenty of time for video games, which is something I enjoy immensely and hadn’t been able to do for a long time.  I have all the time I need to write, read, draw, or do whatever I want.  But I’m disinterested.  I miss going to the Pig with my friends and bullshitting with the bartenders and the owner.  I miss my mom’s dogs and superb home-cooked meals.  I miss going to Pirates games with my dad.  I miss having to walk down the street to my brother’s when I felt like shaving my head.  I miss hanging out with RJ and doing absolutely nothing, but still loving every second of it.  I miss Peaches, Steve, Caleb, all of them.

I do enjoy having my best friend around again, though.  And I like my overly large bedroom and fancy new furniture set.  I like having my own space in which I can do anything I feel like doing, any time I want to do it (though, to be honest, I’m far too paralyzed by fear when it comes to making any sound that I don’t even like standing up and making the floorboards creak).  Perhaps it’s more accurate to say I enjoy knowing that the freedom to do such things exists, even if I don’t embrace it.

It’s a shame, too.  In the last six months, I’ve met three people whose company I enjoyed, but I seem to be incapable of continuing any form of relationship with them.  It’s a shame, really.  I’m fairly certain they would be fine with me texting or inviting them out for a beer or whatever.  I don’t know why I can’t.  I just can’t.

I suppose I have to face the fact that I’m getting older.  There are no more parties and having friends over all the time.  We’re all adults now.  Growing up, moving on, supporting ourselves however we can.  It just feels like I’ve allowed myself to get left behind.  I’m a 26-year-old who feels like he’s 40 and never wanted to age a day past 22 (sometimes 15, depending what day you catch me on).

Oh well.

To All You Religious Zealots Out There

I see a lot of religious propaganda on a daily basis, mostly involving the Church’s stance on various political issues.  While I don’t have a direct problem with this, I do take issue with the suggestion that the Church demands every member and follower of that faith absolutely must share these views, which would totally negate that stuff we have called “free will.”

If memory serves, free will was given to us by God as a gift and is rather self-explanatory: an individual is free to make his or her own choices in life without having to conform to a larger ideology.  This includes all kinds of freedoms in life, like the freedom to wear pants, be a vegetarian, or even not to believe in God at all if you don’t want to.  So, I ask: why does it seem like the Church is forcing its will upon its own followers?

I’m starting to wonder about the future of religion, specifically Catholicism. I’m personally not a subscriber of any faith, but I hold no ill will towards any that are.  On the contrary, I understand it completely and silently admire (envy, sometimes) those that are able to have faith.  Today, however, we are living in an age of wisdom and curiosity.  New discoveries are made all around the globe, progressing the collective knowledge of human beings as a whole on a daily basis, while the Catholic Church seems to be moving backwards, or is at the very least stuck in the past.  Now when I see religious content anywhere, I don’t see a group of people saying “Amen!” or “Praise be to God!”  I see harsh criticisms and mockeries being made of those that have found religion.  I find it very hard to believe that this may be a trend, but rather I see it as the evolution of the people’s thought of Catholicism as a whole.

“Evolution” is probably not the best word, considering their stance on that hot subject.  So I’ll put it in layman’s terms: the Church needs to grow up.  We as a people cannot survive by abiding to laws that were applicable over two thousand years ago; it simply isn’t possible.  Hell, we can’t even live like we did two hundred years ago.  Society is constantly changing, and instead of adapting and trying to overcome, the Church seems to be caught in a constant cycle of Condemnation and Forgiveness.  Thanks for acting like the good guy in the end, but seriously, you’ll just hate me for something else tomorrow.  What’s the point?

The Bible-quoting arguments are the ones that really make me laugh.  People that post random Bible verses in order to support an argument amuse me to no end, mostly because there’s only one of two possible outcomes: 1.) there’s a different variation on the interpretation of the quote you’ve selected, thus invalidating your point, or 2.) there’s a verse a few chapters down the road that completely contradicts whatever you just said.  People fail to understand the actual meaning of the Bible.  It is not a directive on how to live your life.  Not every word is meant to be taken literally.  It is a collection of parables and guidelines on how to live your life appropriately in the eyes of the Lord.  But instead of doing that, it seems preferable to be completely random at which exact rules to follow.  If you were born gay then you’re going straight to hell, all while nobody seems to care about the rampant murder, incest, and rape that takes place in the Bible.  Seriously, have you read that thing lately?  And I mean actually read it, not just listened to a few clergies here and there.  The Bible contains countless atrocities in vivid detail, a small example being the impaling and agonizing death of a man on a 70-foot-tall pole.  Granted, the man I’m referring to was Haman and he is regarded as being a bit of an asshole, but what happened to that “forgiveness” stuff I mentioned earlier?  That’s a pretty huge value contradiction there, wouldn’t you say?

Faith can be an extremely powerful thing.  It grants people the ability to overcome their fears and problems, gives them the strength to overcome adversity, makes them feel like they are not alone, and above all else, faith can make a person just feel happier.  Unfortunately, all I see these days is the use of faith to exacerbate fears and hatred instead of trying to dissipate them.  For all of you theists reading this, I strongly urge you to follow the Two Great Commandments instead of the original Ten (for unaware parties: the “Two Great Commandments” refer to “Love thy God” and “love thy neighbor as thyself”), because if you do, the other ten will fall right into place.  The way I see it, using God’s name in support of your personal beliefs on today’s hot topics and contradictory issues is the same as taking His name in vain, which in turn shows a complete lack of respect for your own faith.  I urge you to be more supportive and understanding instead of screaming your views and condemning people to hell all the time.  Disagreement is a part of life, and an important one at that.  Without it, we have no free will at all.  So don’t fight over the gift that God bestowed upon everyone.  Instead, share it with others, take pride in it, respect it and yourself; but most importantly, have respect for others in the process.

I Am A Crazy Person

I started writing this little….autobiography of sorts an hour or so ago.  I’m not sure why.  But it really got me looking back on my teenage years and I gotta say, I was out of my damn mind.  Comparing who I am now to who I was then is like night and day.

Well, maybe not night and day, but seriously.  I’m much more tolerable of…my own existence, I suppose would be the best way to say it.  I’ve learned to actually enjoy and appreciate things.  Not everything seems like the worst thing ever anymore.

…………one of my Spawn figures just fell over.  THE HELL WITH EVERYTHING.

Unexplainable Occurrences in Countless Murder Cases

Those who have known me for a while are probably aware of my interest in murder, with particular attention paid to serial killers. I’ve read all the cases I can get my hands on, meticulously reading every detail I can find. A gruesome and disgusting hobby, you might claim, and I would not argue with you. However, despite my interest in the matter at hand, there are some things I simply cannot wrap my head around.

Before I begin, I’d just like to clarify that my darkest days are long behind me in that I’ve joined adulthood. I think about killing people, sure, but in the same way you do: “man I hate that guy, I wish he was dead” or whatever. This entry in no way is meant to express any desire I may have to commit such acts.

Having said that, let’s get started.

1.) I can’t ever possibly imagine how a person could strangle someone to death, no matter what the circumstance. I understand that not all people are emotional or even have emotions, but to watch someone struggle to breathe mere inches from your face and knowing it’s your fault and you can stop at any time…it gives me chills. Clearly this is why strangulation, especially with one’s bare hands, is considered the most “personal” method of killing someone. It is an act driven completely by a passionate hatred, all-consuming and terrifying, the likes of which I cannot begin (or even want) to comprehend. Hell, I was watching The X Files the other day and Mulder began choking someone out of fear and anger, and the look on the other guy’s face was horrifying. And that was just an actor. I couldn’t possibly see how someone could want to do that to another person.

2.) How in the world do people kill pregnant women? It’s astounding how often a mass murderer’s victim tally says n+1, the n being however many were killed and the +1 being an unborn child. Why? What possible justification could your mind come up with for killing a woman’s unborn baby? I mean, I can even understand the desperation (“understand” isn’t the best word, but it’s almost 5 am, so deal with it) that can cause women to attempt to carve a baby out of a mother’s body and keep the child for herself, but to simply kill them and be done with it is…unfathomable to me. It’s just pointless. There is no possible reason it should ever be done, but it is. Rather frequently.

3.) Depression is often a driving force behind spree killings: misplaced anger due to rejection, some sort of perceived unfair treatment, etc. But why would you want to take the lives of dozens of strangers with you? I wrote an entry some time ago about my old suicidal thoughts, but never in my life have I said to myself “I really wish I was dead…guess I better go on a killing rampage before I kill myself.” Seriously, why? To punish strangers for those you feel mistreated you? To make sure you don’t die alone? I’m fairly certain it’s the former, the justification for which lies in the blaming of society as a whole instead of individuals, but then why not just punish the people you feel had personally wronged you? It doesn’t make sense.

Again, I’d like to take a moment to reiterate that I do not condone any acts of violence such as these. I’m just striving to make sense of it.

4.) How do serial killers forget so many details of their crimes? I’m pretty sure if I did kill someone, I would remember every single second I spent with them. I wouldn’t forget what day it was or where I buried the body. I used to think along the lines of “well, it was just part of their routine, like eating or breathing,” but I’ve come to see that’s far from the truth. If that were the case, there would be no attempt at concealing the murderous acts. If killing is such a necessary compulsion that you have to act on it and avoid being caught, how could you go about your life without remembering the murder and clean-up in detail? I get why they lie and say they killed more than they have – everyone wants to be at the top of the leaderboards. But there is no reason to lie after agreeing to assist in the retrieval of lost victims. They have truly forgotten their own crimes to an extent. It’s almost beyond belief.

That concludes this exercise in morbidity for today. Maybe later I’ll write a bit about the ridiculousness of serial killers getting fan mail, or discuss why Charlie Manson is far from the “greatest” serial killer of all time. That guy does deserve a retrial, though. Certainly hope he never gets out, but still. His trial was pretty screwed up. Til then, sleep well.

Review: Django Unchained

Dear Django Unchained,

There’s so much I can say about you. I loved you, I was fully engrossed throughout all two hours and forty-five minutes of your run time, and found the script to be wholly original and exciting. That’s not to say you were without your share of faults, however.

As stated, the run time of the film was just under three hours. Though I enjoyed the movie immensely, some parts did seem to drag for no apparent reason (the twenty minute trek through the wilderness to get to DiCaprio’s house, for example). Tarantino’s love of displaying text on-screen can also be distracting, as it was when “MISSISSIPPI” crawled across the screen for what felt like an eternity.

And while we’re on the subject of Mr. Tarantino, what the hell kind of cameo was that? We all know you insist on being in your own movies and we’ve come to accept it, but this one was by far the worst part of the whole film. Your chubby ass popped up out of nowhere as if to surprise the audience, but I was merely annoyed. Your presence completely removed me from my immersion in the story and forced me to shift uncomfortably until you went away. And what the hell was that accent? You made yourself sound like some sort of autistic Australian cowboy and apparently found it good enough to leave in the movie. Just stop, seriously.  I’ll be a happier man if you keep making good movies and I never see your real face again.

In summation, good movie. Great movie, actually. Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio all did fantastic jobs, and the screenplay certainly deserved the Oscar bestowed upon it. Go see it. Just…close your eyes when the director shoves his stupid ass onto the screen. You can open them again when you hear gunshots.

Sincerely,
Lose some weight and stop thinking of yourself as an actor, Quentin.

Review: Argo

Dear Argo,

Oh, where to begin…overall, I enjoyed you. I wouldn’t exactly call you Best Picture material, but you held my interest fairly well. The real problem, however, stems from the line that opens the film: “based on a true story.”

It’s always nice to do a movie based on some weird occurrence from a few years back, but it also limits your storytelling ability – at least, if you actually plan to follow the real-life story, which is frighteningly uncommon these days. Thankfully it appears Mr. Affleck had every intention of sticking true to the facts as much as possible, but this was sadly his biggest challenge. There was no climax, there was very little actual plot development after the first ten minutes or so, and I never even learned the names of the six people that were the focus of the entire movie. How can I possibly care about their well-being if I don’t feel connected to them in any way?

In summation, not a bad movie. The acting was superb (Affleck’s character at the airport front desk was memorably jarring, despite it being a very fleeting moment), the script stayed true to form, and Alan Alda was hilarious as usual. I just have a hard time seeing past the complete lack of any ups and downs for the characters whose names I still don’t remember.

Sincerely,
Call each other by name more often so I can feel bad for you later.