Day 342 6/12/14: Tell Groupon to Drop SeaWorld & Ringling Brothers

Please sign this petition to ask Groupon to stop offering deals to the circus and to SeaWorld.

We’re all well-versed in the evils of SeaWorld by now, but in case you didn’t know, this is how Ringling Brothers starts training its elephants. (Baseball bats and lit cigarettes are not pictured)

Now for something uplifting: Click here to see Sunder the elephant in his beautiful new home!

 

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Day 338 6/8/14: SeaWorld Defends Itself and Fails…Badly

Check out this story about a recent roundtable debate in which SeaWorld finally agreed to defend its policies in an open forum in San Diego.

Day 341 6/1/14: Two Weird Orca Stories for a Sunday

This first story is about how orcas around the Farallon Islands up by San Francisco keep the local great white population in check. Nature is brutal, and orcas are smart, dispatching our heroes with “stuns” and “karate chops.”

The second piece is about the World Wildlife Fund’s support for SeaWorld. While I recognize that it’s impossible not to be a hypocrite in this world (To cite one example out of many in my life, I oppose industrialized fishing and factory farming and yet participate in by buying food for my cats), some of these ethical conflicts are really glaring and galling. It’s good for SeaWorld’s image to support the WWF, but how can the WWF fight to protect the vanishing habitat of wild animals with money from an organization that keeps whales in swimming pools? If you’re not too burned out, please sign the petition asking the WWF to end its relationship with SeaWorld. images-4

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Day 330 5/21/14: Empty the Tanks: Worldwide Protests for Captive Orcas (& Others)

empty-the-tanksSorry for the late sharing, but I just found out about the Empty the Tanks protests happening all over the world this weekend!

I’ll be going returning to SeaWorld San Diego. Click here to find an event at at marine park or zoo near you. Please share with fellow activists, Blackfish fans, and kids who instinctively sense that SeaWorld is a bunch of crap.

Oh, and Taco Bell has severed their relationship with Seaworld. All hail the power of Blackfish!

Day 257 3/10/14: Stop SeaWorld: Support the Orca Welfare Act!

The USDA has just busted SeaWorld for violating the Animal Welfare Act.

Let’s keep up the momentum created by Blackfish. Remember, as media attention moves elsewhere, the whales are still endlessly swimming in their 20 x 20 tanks. Unknown-2

PLEASE sign this if you believe it should be illegal to keep orcas in captivity!

Day 210 1/21/14: Orca Tuesday

orca_spyhopping-noaaI found several interesting orca stories today.

First, let us consider the mysteries of killer whale behavior:

1. Orcas find kayakers fascinating!  The audio is a little irritating, but the point of view is kind of cool.

2. Orcas follow Kiwi swimmer to the beach.

Next, more trouble for $eaWorld:

3. Is SeaWorld racist?

And lest we forget:

4. SeaWorld is complicit in Japanese dolphin slaughter.

Day 203 1/14/14: Poetry & Impermanence: A Rant

Keats-Bright-StarPoetry is a brutal art. One (meaning me) slaves for hours and hours trying to finish a poem that is nearly there. What am I not doing? Am I thinking too much?  Pursuing instead of waiting? Filling up instead of emptying out?  Oh the pressure of the final stanza! Oh the need for transformation, the weighty promise of the unwritten. I wanted some sharp outline of the knowable unknowable. I wanted a final image that resonates in the body as much as the mind. I wanted a poem that shimmered with intellect like T. S. Eliot regurgitating The Upanishads, its edges limned with a the ghost of Robert Frost holding a delicate pane of ice over a swollen stream in March. That kind of poem. All that suffocating desire.

So I stopped writing poetry and wrote an e-mail to my school asking them not to offer employee discounts to SeaWorld. I wrote and rewrote the e-mail. I added things and took things away. I wondered what magical syntax or brutally economical description would be enough to make Recreation Connection re-think the idea of a killer whale living in a cracked aquarium. I started off cheerily! Happy New Year! Thanks for adding Whale Watching to the list of Employee Discounted Activities! Sure beats watching the aforementioned animals perform tricks in a chlorinated pool!  I didn’t use so many maniacal exclamations, but I did make an attempt at friendliness (HelloI am not insane and soon you will warm to my politics). 

I wonder about all the writing we do. All the many non-poems, non-public pieces that we nevertheless compose with compassion and conviction. I think of the journals occupying the shelf on my closet. I think of burning each one, records of my life made long before “journaling” became a verb.

Keats had the best epitaph: Here lies one whose name was writ in water. His epitaph is better than any line of poetry I will probably ever write. A name writ in water is then inscribed in stone. Moss fills the letters.  E-mails vanish into the ether. The blog posts accumulate behind burning links.

If I destroy those journals, will I  stop feeling the weight of accumulated unread years? I’ll wrench pages from spines and light them on fire with adolescent glee. Or maybe just toss them casually in the garbage or donate them to Goodwill and dream of some hipster finding them. But first I’ll transcribe a line or two. A few words from each entry. A record of each vanished day. Some sort of path from there to here.

Day 191 1/2/14: A Medley of Sea Stories

Here’s a hodgepodge of the odd, sad and inspiring:

19 arrested (including a12-year-old girl) protesting Seaworld float in Rosebowl Parade.

Terrified swimmer chased by fake fin!

Shark Terror Down Under Leads to Indiscriminate Slaughter.

Over 300 Sharks Now on Twitter!Marine Life Image Gallery

Day 167 12/9/13: REO Speedwagon: A Call to Action

It’s been a very long time since I wrote the words REO Speedwagon. In fact, while I admit to a brief but intense love affair with journey circa 1981, I never cottoned to REO. But at age 46, I have written my first URGENT missive to the band and I hope you will do the same. Please sign this petition asking REO Speedwagon to cancel plans to play at SeaWorld. Joan Jett, Willie Nelson and others have already asked the dreaded “park” to stop using their music during lame shows like Shamu Rocks. Let’s keep the tide of protest going.

Speaking of protest, great whites in Australia could use your help too. Shark attacks are a tragedy, but shark hunts or “culls” are no way to solve the problem of shark-human encounters. The “offending” shark(s) has probably long split the scene and sending fishermen out on a mission to find and kill endangered white sharks in retaliation for attacks on humans, will only compound the tragedy. Thanks!

The Essential REO Speedwagon

The Essential REO Speedwagon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)