Lions and Tigers and The Real Animals: WARNING -Graphic Image Inside

I must make it clear that I am in no way an animal rights activist.

However, I recently have reopened my personal inquiry into the nature of the human-animal relationship. I was brought up with the belief that animals were, well, animals, and humans were a superior breed of species. We always had pets as I was growing up, treated them well -though make no mistake, our dogs or cats never received the types of amenities reserved for humans. If a cat needed an expensive surgery that we could not afford, well, it was time to start looking for a new cat.

At some very rudimentary level I believe in the human as the superior species as evidenced by our reaching the top of the food chain.  I believe this because if I were starving to death, I would have no qualms about killing an animal in order to survive…as I am quite certain said animal would eat my ass if it were dying as well .

I guess we still do live in a dog eat dog world.

As the victorious members of the top-of-the-food-chain sweepstakes we can now not only enjoy the benefits of such victory, we can also extend assistance to those on the lower chain rungs as well. As the champions we now have a responsibility to live in harmony with all the creatures -when and where possible- with whom we share this planet.

How far do I go in my beliefs to treat animals with respect? I do not believe animals have souls nor human like qualities; and while not there yet I am certainly open to the discussion.

All this provides a context from where I come from as I find the following picture repulsive, disgusting and making me sick to my stomach; all thanks to TV personality and killer of an African lion, Melissa Bachman, who posted this picture on Facebook on November 1 of this year:

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Really?

Really? Ted Nugent can’t even like this picture, can he?

Human being has a gun and shoots and kills an ultimately helpless African lion?  I have yet to see any animal win versus the hunting rifle. A majestic and beautiful creature that poses no threat to our existence? Or does it? Let the tension begin. I needed to do more research before my visceral reaction took over and seized any shred of reasoning and logic.

According to an article first posted on Facebook from an African conservancy in support of this killing:

“We do ethical hunting and all meat from animals hunted is distributed to the local community….funds generated from hunting goes towards fixing the border fence that was washed away in the 2013 floods, combating poaching, which is excessive in this area due to close proximity to Zimbabwe, and running a sustainable conservancy. We are not apologizing for facilitating the [Bachman] hunt. If you are not a game farmer and struggling with dying starving animals, poaching, and no fences in place to protect your animals and crop, please refrain from making negative derogatory comments.”

The argumentative fallacy in this article is quite simple: “If you are not a game farmer and struggling with dying starving animals, poaching, and no fences in place to protect your animals and crop…” you are disqualified from having an opinion, thus effectively shutting down the argument.

I disagree with the premise.

Not everyone is a speech professor yet you all know a bad speech when you hear it.

I may not be a game farmer, associated with poaching or one having no fences to protect animals…though I have a brain and, perhaps more importantly, a heart.

There are two sides to every story, hence, Jimmy is always in tension. I do not want to make an ignorant rant against this killing and I do want to educate myself -yet why does this seem so damn wrong at every level? It is this response within myself that intrigues me…and I think I may have figured out why.

The conservancy does make a valid point and I acknowledge it.  If this wonderful, beautiful, majestic creature had to be shot and killed in order to save dozens of other animals and perhaps people, I understand. I am a utilitarian at my core; that is, whatever brings about the greatest good for the greatest amount of people or animals, I will generally support –even if it includes killing a majestic creature. Does this hunt qualify as such? I have no idea yet for the sake of discussion let us assume it does.

What I absolutely do not support -justified killing or not- is the cheering, smug, happiness associated with this tragic event. Why would anyone be happy or feel a sense of achievement by killing one of the most beautiful creatures on earth? Why would you smile? Why would you put on make-up and have your hair done? Why would you even want your picture taken? If you must kill it, kill it. Then grieve, don’t cheer.  The animal did nothing wrong as it only followed its basic natural instincts.

If humans have indeed won the battle for survival-of-the-fittest and we are the superior species, with this superiority must come a moral and ethical responsibility.

It has been noted that in some cultures people would mourn -then honor- the animals they killed and consumed in order to survive.

Can we at least have the common decency and respect for the earth and all its inhabitants to grieve such acts, perhaps even necessary acts, that must be done in order to achieve the greater good? Have we not evolved at least that far? Hell, forget grieving the act -just do not celebrate it like a real animal.

I don’t know, maybe I am animals rights activist at some level. I at least know I am a humans-should-behave-decently-and-respect-the earth activist.

The real animal? You be the judge.

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Shocking! Amazing! An In-depth Podcast Conversation with Dr. Cheryl Marshall, President of Crafton Hills College

A behind the scenes look at Crafton Hills College with College President Cheryl Marshall. Find out how this brilliant and educated woman nearly flunked out of school, why she flipped pizzas after earning her degree, her message to students and faculty alike, and you might be amazed to find out her greatest weakness.

Cheryl Marshall

I Went to IHop, Forgot My Iphone and IGot Purpose

Sometimes trying to discover your purpose in life comes in weird packages.

Last Wednesday night, Rene’ came in from her long commute from work—all of about 35 feet—(and don’t think this guy who drives 112 miles ONE WAY does not remind her of real commuting woes daily) to inform me she was not feeling well.  Knowing she had a long held breakfast arrangement in Burbank the next morning with my elderly Uncle and my eldest sister troubled her as she knew she would not be well enough in the morning to make it.

She then quite reluctantly asked me if I would go in her place.

Why reluctantly?

My Uncle is a good guy. He lives life on his own terms, never been married, and is very active in the local political community. I enjoy his company, as this 82 year-old man still lifts weights 4 days a week at about 1½ hours a pop. If I’m still tearing up the gym at 82 I will die a happy man.

My sister, on the other hand, ah, hmmmm, ehhh, well, let us just say we have had our differences over the years and do not converse much.  Yes. I will leave it at that. Family relationships are weird and complex. Let your imaginations take over from here as you all can do the dysfunctional family math. No need to drag family baggage to a blog.

Yet, I knew things might (would) be a bit awkward, I agreed to go to breakfast in Rene’s stead.

Deep into my drive to Burbank I realized I absentmindedly left my cell phone at home causing it to trigger—the dreaded 5 stages of cell phone alienation- denial (it can’t be!), anger (I am so stupid!), withdrawal (today will just be a waste of a day), bargaining (I can use my office phone) and finally acceptance (oh shit)- as I knew I was far too many miles into the trip to go back.  As I thought of the upcoming breakfast, the stark reality hit me that now when those odd moments of silent tension hit I would have no technological bailout. You know, to stare at my blank text/facebook/instragram message alert and pretend something was really there.

This breakfast would be old school.

Pleasantly, the rest of the morning went swimmingly, sans my electronic leash, and even in those awkward conversational moments with my sister, I used the conversational starter that every human being over 50 can use when scratching your head for something to say, “So, ah, have you gotten your colonoscopy yet?”

She even laughed.

This prompted a huge discussion on PPO’s, HMOs, Obamacare and colon health.

When in doubt, always play the colon card.

UnclelesMB

It was a lovely morning. Really it was. Afterwards I went to go say hello to my parents in Burbank when it hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt so happy and fully content inside as if someone reached inside of me, scraped out any and all anxiety and stress, and replaced it with a smooth elixir of tranquility and joy.

Being the critical thinking type and always searching for the cause and effect of life’s happenings, I began to connect the psychological dots in search of the cause for this wonderful feeling effect in terms of my day without personal, mobile technology. At first, my happiness mathematical equation went something like this:

Life – cell phone = tranquility and being fully invested in the moment.

Yet, as I thought more about the morning and felt the influence of a book I am currently reading entitled, The Undefeated Mind by Dr. Alex Lickerman, MD., I realized that morning/day of peace had less to do with technology and much more to do with kindness.  My updated formula went something like this:

Life + Acts of kindness – cell phone = tranquility and being fully invested in the moment.

Rather than waking up and begin serving myself (accomplishing tasks, going to the gym, “getting it on”), I woke up and began serving others with focus and without distraction.  True it was not a Mother Theresa level of kindness, yet taking a small step to mend a distressed relationship and picking up my Uncle for breakfast counts for something…even if it was somewhat forced upon me. Ok, maybe just a little something. Baby steps.

Lickerman writes of “provisional bodhisattva” defined in Buddhism as a person who dedicates himself to the happiness of others.  When one commits to this, not only does one enjoy greater satisfaction in life, but also, according to recent research, gains something that the joy felt from fleeting pleasures could not provide: Increased strength.

“But, Jimmy, you give to your students all the time. You dedicate your life to others in this way. You have always been about helping others. Nothing has changed.”

True dat and thank you omniscient third person.  Yet what you do and how you see yourself can be entirely different. I can be a guy who writes, though am I a writer? I may be a guy who plays baseball, though am I a baseball player? I may be guy who gives to others, though am I a giver? Is that who I am?

I guess I am that. Yet I am also one hell of a receiver as I love to feed myself everything good that life has to offer. I need to feed myself in order to help feed others.

So, thanks to Rene’s brief bout with a flu bug, an 82 year-old Uncle, a strained relationship with my sister, a forgotten cell phone and a stack of harvest nut pancakes at IHop…oh and the colon, I am in the early stages of developing my new life mantra:

“To receive graciously, to give daily with positivity, while helping others discover their voice.” Or something like that. It is a work in progress.

Yet that is me. That is what I do. That is who I am.

What is 112 miles one way when you get to live a blessed life with this purpose?

It’s nothing. Igot this.

Damn Illegal Aliens: A Jimmysintension Podcast with a Real Illegal, Undocumented, and Extraordinary Human Being, Celene’ Medina

“Damn illegals are ruining this country!!” I hear people close to me often say. Or are they? Take a listen as I chat with Undocumented Student, Celene’ Medina, who has quite a story to tell. We discuss culture, frustrations and things we take for granted among other topics.
Celene