“Vegetarian” is an Old English Word for “Bad Hunter”

I frequently don’t make the ethical choices that I feel I ought to make. This would be less of an issue for me except that I have a friend who consistently makes better choices; and, although, she never makes an issue of my failings, the discrepancy troubles me.

The easiest thing to fix is probably to stop choosing to eat other sentient beings. I’ve gone entire weeks eating nothing but peanut butter and Nutella, but every so often I want more.

I rationalize eating fish and fowl pretty easily because I don’t feel them. Even where I had frequent contact with them, I felt like they were just hanging around me because I fed them. If I wasn’t carrying the feed bucket or didn’t set about feeding them pretty quickly, they’d go on about their business. That’s not a death-penalty offense, but it seems to make them more okay for me to eat.

Eating other mammals is more of a problem for me. I’ve tried to rationalize it, but I can’t make it right. If I accept that all of humankind are one and any apparent distinctions no more significant than different categories of canines, then how do I make ethical distinctions between species? How is that different from racism among humans?

Homo sapiens isn’t the only species of mammal that has intelligence, that shows emotion, that shows thoughtfulness. I think it is only our hubris that allows some of us to declare that only humans have souls – however we define that. How can I ethically choose to eat them not from need but in preference to more humane food sources?

It’s not enough to say that I seriously love me some bacon. It’s not enough to say that I only “have to” have a big ol’ bacon cheeseburger maybe once every month or two. It doesn’t even work for me that many breeds of prey animals only exist because we have bred them for consumption. I really feel like I’m just rationalizing unethical inhumane behavior, and it says something about me that I don’t just stop it.

As I said, I’m less troubled eating fish and fowl, although I’d have difficulty defending making that distinction. There’s also the thing with eggs and dairy to deal with.

Really, I virtually never think about food unless I’m hungry, and sorting this out is just daunting enough that I’m probably just going to keep kicking the can down the road for awhile anyway.

“Heaven and hell suppose two distinct species of men, the good and the bad. But the greatest part of mankind float betwixt vice and virtue.” – David Hume

Posted in Morality/Ethics | 3 Comments

The Appearance of Political Polls

I’ve often said that a bi-partisan political system doesn’t work for me (or, apparently, for a lot of other people given voter turnout).

I took a poll of my compatibility with declared or likely Presidential candidates here, and the results were a little surprising to me.

On a macro level, I “side with” Hillary 89%, with Bernie 89%, and with Martin O’Malley (have to look him up) 69%. No surprises there, but I also “side with” Mike Huckabee 67%, Rand Paul 46%, Scott Walker 41%, Carly Fiorina 37%, Ben Carson 25%, and even Ted Cruz 15%. I did not see those coming.

On Foreign Policy, I generally side with Hillary and Rand. Is that even possible?
I mostly side with Hillary on Social, Immigration, Domestic Policy, and Education issues.

I mostly side with Bernie on Healthcare and the Environment.

In California, 46% share my views on Environmental, Economic, Domestic Policies, and Social issues. Among my neighbors in Fallbrook, 42% share my views on Economic, Domestic, Environmental, and Social issues. Only 31% of respondents in my Congressional District side with me, but I live in Duncan Hunter’s District so that actually sounds a little high to me.

I intend to retake the survey in a day or two. The first time through, I didn’t weight the relative importance of the issues, nor did I expand the poll where I had the opportunity to answer additional questions. Next time I’ll do both.

Posted in Politics | Comments Off on The Appearance of Political Polls

50 Years? Has it been that long?

I was driving around on errands today and feeling my arthritis a little when it occurred to me that I’m getting old. By this time in June, 1965, I had already graduated from high school and enlisted in the Navy Reserve.

I had a “plan” – because I was 18 and a freaking genius I suppose – that I was going to join the Reserves but go to the Regular Navy boot camp in September and then to Hospital Corps School and then do my two years active duty and then go to Iowa State on the GI bill and teach high school history. It was fool-proof! The guy who recruited me into the Reserve said it sounded good to him!

I went to my first drill, got my uniforms, hit the books and passed the Basic Seaman test with flying colors on my first try. Piece of cake!

It was at the August drill that I got called into the office where I was asked when I was available to go to the Reserve boot camp, and I explained the plan all over again for the Leading Chief this time. That’s when the scales were peeled from my eyes.

In order to go to regular boot camp one needs high enough test scores, and the tests were given at boot camp.

I couldn’t begin active duty until I was advanced to E-2 which happened on graduation from Regular boot camp but after 6 months as a Reservist.

Last, but not least, I was in an Engineering and Hull unit so I was not going to be going to Hospital Corps school from there. I was going to be a “snipe.”

That’s how I came to be in the Regular Navy recruiter’s office the following Monday morning and through the AFEES in Chicago and at Great Lakes by midnight on August 24th as a newly-minted Hospitalman Recruit (HR).

I still had a lot to learn – including what it was exactly that Navy Corpsmen did for a living, etc. – but it struck me again today that I have been extremely fortunate. This life could have gone a whole ‘nother way at any number of points along the way. I try to remember that whenever I catch myself getting a little too retrospective.

I am deeply sorry for the people I have hurt along the way, and there’s that one woman who has never left my thoughts, but it’s all brought me here, and here is good.

Posted in Life | Comments Off on 50 Years? Has it been that long?

A Word About Denying One’s Id

Nancy Gordeuk revealed a bit more of her private self than she probably ever meant to the other day in Stone Mountain, GA. She’d already screwed the pooch by ending the graduation ceremony of the school she founded before the valedictorian’s speech. Most likely off balance and seeing the fruition of her prize achievement going sour, she blurted out a completely unnecessary observation that “all the black people” were leaving. Hate when that happens. Sucks to be her.

Here’s the thing: that crazy person who temporarily lost her poise was the real Nancy Gordeuk, and she’s a racist. I want to tell her that, in my opinion, that’s okay. She’s given kids an opportunity to finish high school who might otherwise not have graduated. That’s a good thing. When she denies that in that moment she was her true self devoid of poise or pretense she only makes it worse. She’s never been more herself than in that moment. I like to make believe I’m a better person than I am, too. Doesn’t make it true.

Personally, I think society goes too far when it expects our ids to be innocent. I’ve quit drinking, quit smoking, try to be a good citizen and not piss people off, but sometimes when I’m driving down the road I’ll fly off the handle and rant a little bit. It doesn’t usually last long and then I reflect on how I came to lose it like that, knowing as I do that whatever screwed up the traffic wasn’t about me and someone up the road was having a much worse day, but there exists a part of me that wouldn’t win me any popularity contests.

Nancy, try using note cards instead of a program. I tend to lose my place in a program but putting one agenda item per card and putting each card on the bottom of the stack as it’s completed has worked for me.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


There are things that I might write about here, but I appear to be unable to focus. I’m in the process of yet another migration; this time a bit south into San Diego County.

Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook post after Dave Goldberg’s funeral made me a bit reflective, and there are other issues popping up on my radar, but thoughtful analysis – which is what I’m going for here – isn’t going to happen until I’m into my new place. I hope to be settled in down there by May 21st. It could happen!

Keep up the good work; I do stop in to read now and then.

“Heaven and hell suppose two distinct species of men, the good and the bad. But the greatest part of mankind float betwixt vice and virtue.” – David Hume

Posted in Life | Comments Off on Distractedness

Thoughts on Parenting

I am mindful today of violence and destruction.

On the one hand we have a 7.8Mw earthquake that has taken more than 4000 lives and destroyed Nepalese cultural artifacts dating back hundreds of years. On the other we have whatever the hell is going on in Baltimore. The events in Baltimore are more tragic to my thinking.

I am mindful of the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” I am also mindful of the words of Rev. Jamal Bryant yesterday: “This is not what the family asked for, today of all days. For us to come out of the burial and walk into this is absolutely inexcusable.”

I get the protests and everything that drives the protests, and I’ve spoken about the violence of modern police tactics – that’s on us – but that is separate from the gangs who routinely take advantage of the protest environment to loot and pillage and destroy the community resources. To my mind, that is also largely on us.

I kind of liked that mom who picked her son out of the crowd and followed him home smacking him upside the head the whole way. We can talk about her violence, but we cannot argue against her ownership of the problem and her commitment to deal with it.

I was an absentee parent. I’m not proud of that, but there it is. My choices meant that others were left to raise, to nurture, to influence my children. That has been the norm for the past 50 or 60 or 70 years? How long have we been talking about the disaffected kids these days? Could there be at least a correlation?

Who was raising my kids? How was their day in school? What were they eating? Who were they playing with? Where were they going? What were they doing there? What were their hopes, their dreams? What are their values? Where did we go wrong?

How do we fix this?

Posted in Life, Non-violence, People | Comments Off on Thoughts on Parenting

Is Jimmy Coming Out?

You may -but probably do not- know that Jimmy Carter is one of a couple of well-publicized people I think I’d like to have coffee with.

In 1976 the guy who brought us home while leaving the South Vietnamese to their fate had recently resigned from office, and the guy who pardoned him lost the election to Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter was looking pretty good except that his commitment to his faith was widely known. Welcoming home those who chose not to serve their country was a little hurtful, but the thing I was never comfortable with was his overt religious commitment. On the other hand I don’t believe he ever played me or lied to me and I respected that.

Well, now I read that he’s leaving his church because he feels they have distorted and misrepresented the Bible to promote and preserve gender inequality. (This reminded me of Rain Trueax’ recent post and using the Lord’s name in vain.) I see his lips moving, I know he’s religious, I hear him call bullshit on organized Christianity. What is up with that? Does it matter?

This is why I wanted to sit down with the guy. He struck me as a guy I could relate to, but sometimes he made no sense. Now he’s repudiating what I took to be source of much of what made no sense.

I’m still not okay with giving those who fled their country to avoid wartime service a pass.

Posted in Civil Rights, Morality/Ethics, Religion/Spirituality | 2 Comments

Openly Secular?

I put a daily almanac up on Facebook for no other reason than that it amuses me, and I noticed that Thursday is Openly Secular Day. It didn’t make the cut for my almanac since I was already out over 430 characters for Thursday. This morning someone made reference to Openly Secular’s Facebook page where they  are talking up a program to “Tell One Person” on Thursday if I’m “openly secular.” Honestly, that makes no sense to me.

There is a lot of stuff that we probably don’t need or want to know about each other. People tell me things I don’t want to know all the time and I think I experience that with pretty good grace, but I don’t feel a need to reciprocate. I put this in the category of those posts where a graphic says “I love my dog. Repost if you love your dog.” No.

It says here that: ” Secularism is a principle that involves two basic propositions. The first is the strict separation of the state from religious institutions. The second is that people of different religions and beliefs are equal before the law.” It goes on to say that: “If you believe this, you are secular regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs.”

I am not religious. I am a non-believer, in almost any sense of the term: “non-believer.” I know of absolutely no religious people , zero, who can leave that baggage at the door. If a Grand Poobah of your particular religion has expressed an opinion on a topic, my experience tells me that will influence your opinion on that topic. If I am aware that you are religious and you tell me that you are also “secular,” I will not believe you.

In fact, I don’t want to know whether or not you’re religious and/or secular. Unless you’re the person who told me about John Davidson “coming out” on Openly Secular as being secular, I don’t care.

This whole thing sounds a little creepy to me. Who “comes out” as being secular anyway? Why would people just volunteer that stuff?

Posted in Life, Religion/Spirituality | 1 Comment

Work Gives Me a Context

Ronni Bennett posted today on how folks manage retirement. Not speaking for her, but she is engaged in blogging and issues on aging. Others take jobs, and still others appear content to be still. There are no wrong answers, it seems. I need to work, but only as a volunteer.

My (former) boss mocks me at times because I would never have willingly worked the hours for pay that I now work as a volunteer with the Red Cross. What I recognize about myself is that I am socially awkward. The only way I know anyone outside of family is from work. (Okay, that’s not entirely true, but it’s probably about 97% true. I’ve lived in four apartments in the past nineteen years and never knew any of my neighbors by name.)

Work gives me a frame of reference, a context. My role is defined, and I know what I’m supposed to do and how I’m supposed to behave. I understand how to interact with co-workers in their various roles, and how to interact with customers. Happily, since I stopped cleaning out roof rain gutters in 1962 (acrophobic), I’ve done work that I enjoyed and/or was pretty good at. Since retiring, if I’m being honest, I’ve actually enjoyed working with animal rescue even more than with the Red Cross because my role in animal rescue was primarily working with the animals being rescued.

I’ve tried a couple of meetups but they’ve gone off script pretty quickly with coffee before or after, or barbecues, or something else where I’m trying to ad lib with strangers. Even in internet communities, sooner or later, someone will want to meet up. People have suggested various strategies to “fix” this, but I’m going to be 68 in a few weeks. I’m better off finding work that needs to be done; there’s plenty of that.

Posted in Life, Relationships | 1 Comment

Happy Birthday, Ronni!

If you’re reading this and haven’t read Time Goes By, you need to fix that. Ronni Bennett is one of the main reasons I started blogging. She’s not only much better informed, but she also knows people.
Happy Birthday, Ronni!

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