Saturday, August 13, 2011

Off the Top

I watched a few minutes of the Liz Murray story the other night, then changed channels.

Liz is the young woman (above) who grew up on the streets of New York, literally. Her parents were stone drug addicts; they died of AIDS. Liz slept in alleys and door ways. She ate from garbage cans. On the few days that Liz attended school she was mocked and bullied; she was dirty and her hair was filled with lice. Her clothes were hand-me-down hand-me-downs. There should have been no hope for the child, no possible way she could survive, much less rise. And yet. . . . Years ago I saw a documentary about Liz’s life and I never forgot it. It was so sad, compelling and so well done that the movie version this week—Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story--was a very pale version of the true life account. If you get a chance to see either the movie or the documentary, do. Liz Murray is my hero.


Please Let Me Off
—Is anyone else already sick and tired of all this Republican presidential campaigning? With the exception of Ron Paul (who media “experts” already declare has no chance at all of winning—at least they PRAY he doesn’t), all these other characters, women included, bore me to death. The “same-old-same-old” comes first to mind. All are career politicians (read: professional liars, hustlers and useless eaters), all smile from ear to ear (like car sales persons or TV evangelists, take your pick), and all strike me as not an atom better than the grinning zero currently sitting in the White House. All, save Paul, plan on more war, more taxes, less freedom, and less accountability in how “our” government operates. When/if aliens from another planet do arrive, I for one want to go with them. Almost anything would be better than this bad dream we Americans have endured dating back at least to Baby Bush, but perhaps even back to Bill and Hillary Flintstone.


More Words--I read an article in the paper the other day in which Florida will allow an Asian company to “harvest” our fresh water turtles. Seems some folks over in the Orient have a fondness for not only stewed dog and fried cat, but turtle pot pies and are willing to pay top dollar to get it.

But anyway, the above gets me to thinking on words and how they are used. Every so often I read in the newspaper or hear on the TV some very official-sounding buzz-cut referring to an upcoming hunting season somewhere and talking about all the deer, elk, pheasants, or whatever, that will be “harvested.”

Sorry, gizmo, but I find it offensive, obscene and Orwellian to talk of “harvesting” creatures who, like ourselves live, breathe, bleed, eat, sleep, play, nurse, nurture and above all, creatures who, like ourselves, feel pain. The use of this sanitized word, “harvesting,” is supposed to conjure wholesome images, I suppose, of yeoman farmers “bringing in the sheaves” and preparing for some sort of Thanksgiving. Actually, in the context of killing animals, “harvesting” is a very new word. It is corporate greed-speak for slaughtering. Simple. “Harvest” might put a candy coating on the bloody business and it might make the whole meat/hunting industry less repellent to modern men and women, but meat and blood is what it is---meat, blood and murder! To corporate America everything is a commodity to be bought and sold for profit. If a law was passed permitting it I am sure corporate America would “harvest” humans too, in a manner similar to the Chinese who “harvest” human organs.

Harvesting is a word that works well for wheat, corn, apples, and pumpkins. Slaughter is the more accurate word for killing deer, pigs, cattle, chickens, and virtually everything else that can’t stand up and speak for itself.


Pistol of the Day