Narcissus' Echo

Thoughts, tears, rants, ruminations, hopes, fears, love(s), and prayers of just another being passing through this wracked sphere...

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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Friday, October 14, 2005

China's Shocking Dog and Cat Fur Trade

Note: The contents of this entry are disturbing. Readers with weaker constitutions may choose to skip this.

Dogs killed for their fur, which is often mislabeled before being sent to other countries for sale as trim on jackets.

Not a PETA supporter here, but this is another one of their remarkable exposé videos:

"Man's best friend" killed for fur? No, it's not just a bad dream. PETA recently conducted an undercover investigation into the Chinese dog and cat fur trade to show you what the industry is so desperate to hide. Even our veteran investigators were horrified at what they found: Millions of dogs and cats in China are being bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and strangled with wire nooses so that their fur can be turned into trim and trinkets. This fur is often deliberately mislabeled as fur from other species and is exported to the United States to be sold to unsuspecting customers in retail stores.

All of J.Crew's fur is imported from China, which means that shopping there potentially supports the hideously cruel dog and cat fur industry. PETA has pleaded to meet with J.Crew CEO Millard Drexler, begging him to consider the plight of animals being tortured and killed in unthinkable ways overseas; yet our pleas, and the animals' cries, have met with silence and inaction. The bottom line is, because dog and cat fur is so often mislabeled, if you're buying fur from J.Crew or from any other retailer, there's no way to tell whose skin you're wearing.

Inside a Chinese Animal Market

PETA went into an animal market in Southern China and found cats and dogs languishing in tiny cages, visibly exhausted. Some had been on the road for days, transported in flimsy wire-mesh cages with no food or water. Twenty cats were forced into a single cage. Because of the cross-country transport in such deplorable conditions, our investigators saw dead cats on top of the cages, dying cats and dogs inside the cages, and dogs and cats with open wounds. Some animals were lethargic or frightened, and others were fighting with each other, driven insane from confinement and exposure.

Up to 8,000 animals are loaded onto each truck, with cages stacked one on top of the other. Cages containing live animals are commonly tossed from the top of the trucks onto the ground 10 feet below, shattering the legs of the animals inside them. Many of the animals we saw still had collars on, a sign that they were someone's beloved companions, stolen to be made into fur coats.

Click on the image or source to watch the video:

Dog being skinned alive.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Silence is golden. STFU.

-Note: "You" = hypothetical "you."-

Miss E.'s recent entry on her blog (always a refreshing read) directed me to The Purdue Diaries. Perusing the write up of a train wreck of a relationship, the follow paragraph struck a chord with me:

Z had a major exam to study for and was trying his best to do that. D was unable to see past that and wait just one more day to pick a fight with him, constantly harassing and repeatedly calling his cell phone leading him to seek refuge with good friends who managed to keep her away from him long enough for him to concentrate.

Not taking any sides here (after all, I do not know either Z or D), but that has been one of the primary reasons why I adamantly refuse to leash myself to a cell phone. I deeply treasure my privacy. I do not want to be disturbed, ever. I enjoy being uncontactable. If a plane flies into the building you work in, or if a bomb blows up the carriage of the train you are traveling in, or a bar you are drinking in, trust me, I will read about it in the papers the next day. That's a promise. And I will dress up--i.e. wear a suit--to your funeral and leave flowers by your grave. I do not require a blow-by-blow, first-hand account from you. No offence, but trust me, you are not that important.

To anyone following my blog for any appreciable length of time, my deep-seated disdain for cell phones is old news, the paragraph from The Purdue Diaries though, reminded me of an unpleasant conversation with a stranger at a campus event recently:

SHE: What's your cell [number], by the way?

ME: I don't have a cell.

SHE: WHAT? You don't have a cell?

ME: Yes, I don't have a cell phone.


ME: I don't see the need to.

SHE: What about keeping in touch with your friends?

ME: I have a land line and an email address and IM, ICQ.

SHE: What if you are not home?

ME: Well, then they leave a message.

SHE: THAT'S RIDICULOUS! What if you are outside and need help in an emergency?

ME: I don't. I make it a point to be self-sufficient.

SHE: OK... What if YOUR FRIENDS need YOUR HELP in an emergency?

ME (beginning to get pissed off): My name is "Ben," not "911 Emergency." I possess neither red cloak nor red briefs, nor phone booth to duck into to change and take to the skies to save the lives of countless innocents. If they can wait until I get there, then that is not an emergency.

SHE: Look, I was just asking. Why are you being such an asshole?

ME: Because, Trish... I don't have a cell phone. [Spots a professor I want to talk to]. And, if I had one, I would be an infinitely bigger--and louder--one. You should really consider a career with Verizon. It's been such a pleasure meeting you. Take care. [Ducks away].

I guess I've made an enemy.

I never understood the "need" to be constantly connected. I see people on their cell phones yakking, bitching, moaning, whining all the time. A constant blabber of nonsense and drivel. Who goddamn cares about what you ate for lunch; how many fields of spinach you got stuck between your teeth; which coworker farted in the elevator; if your boss wore white after Labor Day?

Read this: NO ONE CARES.

The fact of the matter is: your life is not that exciting. A second from now, what you have just blabbered into the cell phone won't matter. It didn't matter then. It won't matter now. It won't matter ever. You are not Rob Hall, dying alone in a crevasse below the summit of Mount Everest, and saying goodbye to his wife, Jan Arnold, with his last breath (and even then, he was using a radio ). You are just a pretentious, loud, little fuck strutting about a city street / train / cafe / park and annoying the living shit out of other people with your mindless prater. Get over yourself. Shut the fuck up.

I hope you get run over by a bus crossing the road with that goddamn cell phone glued to your ear, or T-boned by an 18-wheeler whilst driving your car and yakking away on your cell phone. May your cell phone work then, so that you would be able to make your first truly important call.

Forget about marching for world peace, just shut that fucking cell phone off.

Related articles and posts:

3 Healthy Cell Phone Tips

Cell Phones Swamping 911 System

Need I say I told you so?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Alien Redux

(Follow up from Customer service).
The chain tool sub-assembly replacement arrived yesterday:

According to the postmark, Topeak / Todson mailed it out on Oct 4th 2005, which is pretty impressive considering that I sent them the email on Oct 1st, Sunday at 10:30 PM.

These guys definitely have my loyalty as a customer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

2 states, 22 observations

Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana versus Hurricane Rita in Texas:

1. Texas: Productive industrious state run by Republicans.
Louisiana: Government-dependent welfare state run by Democrats.

2. Texas: Residents take responsibility to protect and evacuate themselves.
Louisiana: Residents wait for the government to protect and evacuate them.

3. Texas: Local and state officials take responsibility for protecting their citizenry and property.
Louisiana: Local and state officials blame the federal government for not protecting their citizens and property.

4. Texas: Command and control remain in place to preserve order.
Louisiana: Command and control collapse, descending into lawlessness.

5. Texas: Law enforcement officers remain on duty to protect city.
Louisiana: Law enforcement officers desert their posts to protect themselves.

6. Texas: Local police guard against looting.
Louisiana: Local police participate in looting.

7. Texas: Law and order remain in control: 8 looters challenged it, 8 looters arrested.
Louisiana: Anarchy and lawlessness break out. Looters take over city, some even shooting at rescuers. No arrests made. Gun-toting criminals end up having to be shot by federal troops.

8. Texas: Considerable damage caused by hurricane.
Louisiana: Considerable damage caused by looters.

9. Texas: Flood barriers hold, preventing cities from flooding.
Louisiana: Flood barriers fail due to poor maintenance and faulty design, allowing city to flood.

10. Texas: Orderly evacuation away from threatened areas, few remain behind.
Louisiana: 25,000 fail or refuse to evacuate, many end up relocated to another flooded area.

11. Texas: Citizens evacuate with personal 3-day supply of food and water.
Louisiana: Citizens fail to evacuate with 3-day supply of food and water, and had to do without it for the next 4 days.

12. Texas: FEMA brings in tons of food and water for evacuees. State officials provide accessible distribution points.
Louisiana: FEMA brings in tons of food and water for evacuees. State officials prevent citizens from reaching distribution points and vice versa.

13. Louisiana: Media focuses on poor Blacks in need of assistance, blames President Bush.
Texas: Media can't find poor Blacks in need of assistance--currently looking for something else to blame on President Bush.

14. Texas: Coastal cities suffer some infrastructure damage. Mayors tell residents to stay away until cities are ready for repopulation. No interference from federal officials.
Louisiana: New Orleans is destroyed. Mayor asks residents to return home as another hurricane approaches--has to be overruled by federal officials.

15. Louisiana: Over 400 killed by storm, flooding and crime.
Texas: 24 killed in bus accident on highway during evacuation. No storm-related deaths.

16. Texas: The incarcerated are relocated to other detention facilities outside the storm-affected area.
Louisiana: Prisoners are set free to prey on shops, businesses, residents, and homes.

17. Texas: Local and state officials work with FEMA and the Red Cross in recovery operations.
Louisiana: Local and state officials obstruct FEMA and the Red Cross from assisting in recovery operations.

18. Texas: Local and state officials demonstrate leadership in managing disaster areas.
Louisiana: Local and state officials fail to exercise leadership, requiring the federal government to manage disaster areas.

19. Texas: Fuel deliveries can't keep up with demand. Some drivers run out of gas on the highways, requiring help from fuel tankers strategically-placed beside the freeways, before storm arrives.
Louisiana: Motorists wait until storm hits, and the electrical grid fails. Cars running out of gas, arrive at gas stations that have no electricity to pump gas. Gas in underground tanks mixes with flood waters.

20. Texas: Mayors move citizens out of danger.
Louisiana: Mayor moves himself and family to Dallas, Texas.

21. Texas: Mayors continue public service announcements and updates on television, with Governor's backing and support.
Louisiana: Mayor curses, governor cries, senator threatens president with violence on television, none of the trio having a clue what went wrong or who's responsible.

22. Louisiana: Democratic Senator says FEMA was slow in responding to 911 calls from Louisiana citizens.
Texas: Republican Senator says "When you dial 911, the phone doesn't ring in Washington. It rings at your local responders."

What if state and local elected officials were forced to depend on themselves and their own resources instead of calling for help from the federal government? Texas cities would be back up and running in a few days. Louisiana cities would still be under water next month.

Republicans call for action. Democrats call for help.

What's the liberals' anthem again?
Oh yes... Wah! Waah! Waaah!

Monday, October 10, 2005

It's not yet Halloween but...

it's never too early to start carving!

Severe myopia

Driving back home on the freeway one evening, I noticed a Volvo on my left. The rear of his vehicle was plastered with bumper stickers with empty slogans such as: "Support our troops! Bring them home!" "Impeach Bush!" "Support Air America!" Suddenly, without using his blinkers, the driver cut right across my lane, and then hit the brakes so that he could get behind the cars on my right.

When I finally pulled up beside him, guess what was apparent? The fool was on his cell phone.

I rolled down my passenger side window, honked, and when Mr. Oblivious'n'Obnoxious turned to look, I yelled, "FORGET WORLD PEACE, YOU FUCKING HIPPIE! LEARN HOW TO FUCKING DRIVE!"

As the words registered, the other driver exhibited this look of utter shock and awe. Within moments, they were replaced by a look of deep offense as he took the exit.

Man, did that feel good...

Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer (Samuel Langhorne Clemens).

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Fremont Older mini ride

Short workout ride on a Friday evening (have to remain in form). With a 600+ ft gain in elevation, climbing up from the dam below Stevens Creek Reservoir to the top of Coyote Ridge has the effect of stimulating the cardiovascular system somewhat. *wise ass grin* Technical-wise, Fremont Older is a beginner's ride: i.e. as long as you do not go off the w-i-d-e trails, descend faster than your skills (and equipment) allow, strip and dance naked in Poison Oak, etc., nothing bad will happen. On weekends, watch out for rangers with radar guns ($135 speeding tickets).

Track log of the ride. Blue diamonds are track points, 568 of them.

TOPO!'s elevation profile.

From Stevens Creek Reservoir Park: dusty fire road leading up to Coyote Ridge.

View from halfway up.

Top of Coyote Ridge (1000+ ft).

View of Silicon Valley (eastwards) before descending to Prospect Road.

Hunter's Point: elevation 900 ft.

Sounds of laughter, shades of earth are ringing
Through my open views inviting and inciting me.
Limitless undying love, which shines around me like a
Million suns, it calls me on and on
Across the universe

Jai guru deva om
Nothing’s gonna change my world,
Nothing’s gonna change my world.

I had a good day.

Total distance: Cyclo-computer 8.7 miles (13.92 km) / GPS 8.98 miles (14.37 km) / TOPO! 9.06 miles (14.5 km).
Total elevation climbed: Altimeter 1150 ft (350 m) / GPS + TOPO! 1029 ft (313 m).
Temperature range: 72 F (22 C).
Fluids consumed: <0.5 liters.

Hallmark cards you don't see

My tire was thumping.
I thought it was flat.
Then I looked at the tire,
and I noticed your cat.

Heard your wife left you.
How upset you must be.
But don't fret about it...
She moved in with me.

Looking back over the years
that we've been together,
I can't help but wonder...
"What the hell was I thinking?"

Congratulations on your wedding day!
Too bad no one likes your husband.

How could two people as beautiful as you
have such an ugly baby?

I've always wanted to have
someone to hold,
someone to love.
After having met you,
I've changed my mind.

I must admit, you brought religion into my life:
I never believed in Hell until I met you.

As the days go by, I think of how lucky I am...
that you're not here to ruin it for me.

Congratulations on your promotion.
Before you go...
Would you like to take this knife out of my back?
You'll probably need it again.

Happy Birthday, Uncle Dad!
(Available only in Tennessee, Kentucky & West Virginia)

Happy Birthday! You look great for your age.
Almost lifelike!

When we were together,
you always said you'd die for me.
Now that we've broken up,
I think it's time you kept your promise.

I'm so miserable without you
it's almost like you're here.

Congratulations on your new bundle of joy.
Did you ever find out who the father was?

Your friends and I wanted to do
something special for your birthday.
So we're having you put to sleep.

So your daughter's a hooker,
and it spoiled your day.
Look on the bright side,
it's really good pay!