Posts Tagged ‘Animal Rights’

Historically, Thanksgiving for the Froio Clan was just an excuse to get together, grub on some reasonably overcooked factory farmed poultry, and sit around and bitch about whatever there was to bitch about. All in good family fun that I am sure most of my readers find hauntingly familiar!

However; today, Thanksgiving Day is more, to me, about how I am slowly becoming less of a problem to the world. I now look at Thanksgiving from the point of someone who is starting to learn that equality is not a term which should be confined to human terms, and that those factory farmed birds which I used to relish in devouring every November, also had feelings and caring souls. If you don’t believe this, watch PBS’s Nature series, there is an episode titled “My Life as a Turkey” and then you might realize that the impression you held of the traditional bird, is not likely to meet the expectations that your upbringing placed inside you.

Is this a post about turkeys?

No, it’s about what (or maybe more specifically, who) I am thankful for:

Those who continue to touch my soul – the non-humans:

  • My darling cat: Ms. Gretchen
  • My babies who still bless this Big Blue Marble with their presence: Scully, Neo, and Bob

Then there are the two humans who have stuck by my side regardless of the madness, savagery, and discord my existence has wrought upon their otherwise normal world:

  • Susan – my ex-wife of 16-years, my first deep, ridiculous, overwhelming love
  • Laurie – my ex-girlfriend, who over the course of 4-years (2 as my girl/2 as my estranged ex) has stayed a constant in my bewildering tale of life

So, on this Thanksgiving Day, I want to be thankful of those who have continued with me, as they know that I am more than the sum of my previous actions, and that I have a potential, which I often hide, but which they have seen and are there to pull out of me – at any and all costs.
I love you all.

Happy Thanksgiving Family!!



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As a garden enthusiast, July generally signals the start of Summer (the Summer Solstice is officially June 21-ish; however, that day is already taken with my ex-wives birthday). My mind starts to think about the beautiful weather to come, potential vacation destinations (someday I may actually get around to going to such fun places that my mind’s eye pictures), all of the new plantings for the warmer months here in Northern California; and of course, harvesting fresh strawberries!

Strawberries!! Yay!!

However, this year, July 1, 2012, signals the date which the production and sale of foie gras becomes prohibited by law here in California (CA Senate Bill; SB 1520). Foie Gras is a product that the world no longer needs to produce. cultural heritage and national pride (hello France) are not reason to support the torturous methods used in the production of foie gras (gavage: the process of force feeding – link to Wikipedia for details).

I feel that this text, taken from the 4/27/2004 California Senate Committee’s Bill Analysis, tells the story better than I could:

With the above in mind, I would like to dedicate this post to a Muscovy Duck named Brandon, a rare survivor (by virtue of clandestine rescue) of the killing field’s that were Sonoma Foie Gras farms.


Now, on to the garden!!! Sadly, there really is not a whole lot transpiring in the garden at present! The ripening of a number of my June-bearing strawberries has been a long-awaited gift lately. The indoor planter produces enough for me to pick about 3 or 4 each week, with the outdoor plants (still eluding Mr. Squirrel’s attention) also produce an additional 2 – 3/week!

Strawberries, almost ready for breakfast Monday morning!

Ready, today!

The garden definitely needs another pruning/weeding/thinning pass through, as evidenced in the following photos. However, the vibrancy of the flowers mask the issues nicely, as long as you don’t look too close! Ha!

One of the many pansy’s which are currently gracing my patio

The viola continue to provide a lovely color palate that range from bright white to these violet varieties

Bright white voila

Golden yellow viola with delicate purple daisy in the background

The blue and purple hydrangea continue to fill in and make a lovely anchor to the frame which surrounds the picture that is my patio garden.

Purple~y / Blue Hydrangea

Beautiful blue orbs float above a sea of green foliage

I leave you my friends with the usual parting shot: This week is the first sign of life from one of my orchids which I divided and replanted last year – I have no idea what the variety is, they were a gift from a friend who decided it was time for a long ‘walkabout‘ – peace!

Ms. Orchid begins to wake!



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Reader’s note: This post is completely off-topic & has no gardening content other than images. I will be back with updates from my patio garden after this ~ since you’re here, please read & feel free to comment if you’re so moved. Thanks, Noah


This is not the wall, don't get excited

You Know that Wall?

(‘What wall?’ You probably asked yourself right about now, yes?)

I am glad that you asked. The wall which I will be writing about is a type of wall that even the least skilled mason can construct with relative ease.

Such walls, most built without even a rudimentary understanding of construction basics on the builders part, are built everyday, everywhere, by just about everyone. Even with the utter lack of wall building acumen involved in their construction, most of these walls are surprisingly resilient and difficult to break down (I’m talking Fort Knox strong).

No, this is definitely not the wall

So, You Know that Wall, right?

Yes, you do. Each of us, at various times in our individual journeys have knowingly, or unknowingly, been through a journeyman apprenticeship program in the construction of these walls. It’s our wall, we are the wall, each of us builds our wall according to our needs at the time of the first brick laying.

Most walls are in a constant state of flux. Constantly being fortified. Perimeter sweeps are performed with precision and regularity. It would take Seal Team 6 & Chuck Norris to get thorough some of these walls (take that Hadrian!).

Yes, that’s the one, that wall.

Getting closer, but no, not the wall

Good, You Know that Wall.

Now that we are all reading from the same page, in the same chapter, in the same book, during the same class, at the same school, in the same town, let’s take a closer look at a couple of walls.

The following sentiments are those experienced by writer ~ the reader is likely to have a completely dissimilar experience

The whisper grew

My main wall is an old wall, the first bricks of the old wall were laid when I was around age six or seven following my parent’s bitter divorce. Now, at age 43, it is evident that I have been building on the base foundations for a decent amount of time.

I laid my first bricks on a foundation of broken trust and a wall rose from there. The trust wall grew larger and new walls were added.

Another important (at least to me) wall was built upon a foundation of pure cynicism, the foundation was solid and this wall too began its accent.

Both the cynicism wall and the trust wall seemed impenetrable to me. I searched often and weak links were rarely ever found. I was safe. My walls were strong. Hardened from years in a suffocating corporate environment and the seemingly never-ending assortment of random people who drifted in and out of my little town (MyLife, CA).

For the next 30+ years, these walls remained close and trusted friends (a word that has meant many different things to me at different times in my life).

My walls were, for much of my life, my only real constant. They did not leave when times got tough, they did not judge, they did not ask for anything, and they did not die, they just were.

A brick landed here

A strange thing happened recently

I noticed that bricks have been coming loose with a regularity that is quite noticeable. A brick landing here and another landing there. Why strange? Because I am not putting them back in the walls from which they fall anymore.

Lately, it has become evident that both the mass and scale of my personal walls no longer match the sentimental value I assigned them, nor do they warrant the high place of importance they once held in my life. They are unkempt. They are a mess.

The is not the wall - this is stronger than any wall - this is Change

I stumbled upon a video the other day over at wimp.com.

The video’s presenter, Mr. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, who is apparently a yogi (no, not the bear and not the baseball player, either), was selling a large-scale, life enrichment package. I am not currently in the market for such a product; however, I did pick-up the following trinket from the gift shop as I was exiting.

I will paraphrase as best I can:

(you can watch the video here if you are so inclined)

He speaks of the unrealistic perception of life many people hold on to, and that this view of life is often the basis of many of our fears. Adding that our general unwillingness to live and to die without trying to manipulate the outcome, keeps us from living our actual lives.

He illustrates his hypothesis with the observation that many of us obsess about the future, always wondering what is going to happen next. We look to our past, building on our fears of what is/or isn’t going to happen next, wondering if we did that, would this outcome be different.

We then turn these fears of our future into barriers (walls, if you will) to living in the present. He concludes with the fact that most of our fears are about things that have not happened yet; they may happen, they may not happen, but in the present reality of today, they simply do not actually exist.

soon, it was much louder

His point: (at least what I took from it)

The things many of us fear in our everyday lives, in all reality, exist only in our minds.

This conclusion caught me a bit off-guard. Realizing that much of what we all worry about, fear, or otherwise  occupy our present with, are no more real than the   ‘boogie man’ or ‘Government Intelligence’.

My fears existed in a distant past, my cynicism rooted  itself long ago when I was someone who I am not today. I spent a lot of time worried about the fears of my past reappearing in my near-future, causing me to completely miss the opportunity to experience the wonder of today.

Last Wednesday, my belief in human kindness and goodness was given a much-needed booster shot with a Random Act of… honesty, integrity, and kindness. It was a simple act and by no means extraordinary; however, it showed me that good people are still raising good children and that good still exists out there.

There will be no pictures of walls today

The world is not doomed, there is hope, we can make it better - together

What is the picture about? That is my cell phone. I lost the phone while on a hike in a public park last Sunday. On Wednesday, I received the phone in the mail. It was returned by a family that knows right from wrong . The family’s 8-year old grandson found my phone and took it to his grandparents, who checked the phone for a contact number of the owner. They saw a text from my friends, which was sent earlier in the day, asking that whoever finds the phone please call them. They called. Hence the picture.

My cynicism lived deep within me and echoed loudly that people were generally uncaring and that the world was on a crash course for self-destruction. Why would I want to do anything to slow the inevitable?

Let’s just get it over with already.

   A picture of a duck and a news story told me why I must do something

My trust issues were born from the problems of others. Yet, it was me, who chose to adopt them and raise them as my own. Over time, I convinced myself that honesty is simply a tool that the masses use to get what they want – merely an ulterior motive, if you will.

A carefully package box arrived in the mail last Wednesday, with a lovely card (which now sits proudly at my desk), and my cell phone. There were no expectations or hopes of financial gain included in the package – I checked.

A United States Postal Service box told me that honesty and good still exist

Thank you family from Sacramento, CA - I love the card!

Now, it is late in the day and I have rambled enough, tomorrow is tomorrow, yesterday was yesterday and today, today I gave my hock and trowel back. I never really liked masonry anyway, I am going back to the garden to tend to my plants.

and... there you have it!

Thank you for reading this post – please feel free take from it what you will (all, some, or none).

HTTP 404 – see you in garden, Friends.

~ Noah

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Today, I visited my local farmer’s market to pick-up some garden fresh produce to make potato/mushroom/arugula soup, and to say hello to my friends who were having a vegan bake sale for Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary in French Camp, CA (San Joaquin Valley).

The baked goods were delicious!

Today, this flower smiled at me

Today, I visited a friend in the hospital. My friend is 27 years old and has 11 bullets in him. The result of a disagreement at a club in Vallejo, CA last weekend. The club, is roughly 7-blocks from the house we bought in Vallejo in 2000, the home where my ex-wife and dogs still live.

Today, a purple flower grows with a Jade plant

Today, I reflected upon my garden, I realized that I was both smiling & shedding tears

  • The smile was for the flowers, for the good people in this word (for my wonderful friends), and just how fortunate I have been in my life and career
  • The tears, for many things, my friend, of course, but mainly for the pain and misery we humans cause upon this world and its inhabitants

    Today, this flower was frowning

Today, I realized that until we change how easily the 1% are allowed to sweep the problems of the 99% across a bridge (or to ‘the other side of the tracks’) and until we change how the world’s agribusiness leaders view their products (the animals that end up at Harvest Home or other sanctuary’s) that any real and lasting change will be slow in coming.

Today, this flower told me to not give up hope (I listened)

Today, I looked at the photo’s I took of my patio when I got home from the farmer’s market this morning and realized that change indeed happens – it sometimes happens painfully slowly, but change definitely happens if enough people get involved and say enough already. Sadly, all of the bad things that currently plague our society will continue to occur during such periods of change.

Today, the snapdragon just enjoyed the day

Today, I realized that this is only the world I live in at this point in time, I realized that I can help fix it, I just have to be patient and enlist a solid support group of friends.

Today, this anthurium changed

Today, I am glad, that today, is almost over.

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Time continues to fly faster than a SR-71 over the Ukraine in the middle of the Cold War! I can’t believe that there is less than one-week remaining in 2011, where did the year go?

I want to take a look back over my year and what I feel is important to share with the world from my perspective.

  • This is not an official statement from an Organization
  • This is merely an opinion by a person who thinks many people should re-evaluate their perception regarding their species omnipotence

2011 was a very good year and I am looking forward to 2012 and to continuing my career path with PETA. In my working life, I have worked in many industries and for many companies, both private sector and non-profit, and can unequivocally say that I have never been happier at work than I currently am with PETA. It took me a long time to realize that an organization’s mission was far more important than the dollar amount on my paycheck.

Each and every day, I know that my work directly helps further our organization’s mission of ending animal cruelty and suffering worldwide. With every victory; from the U.S. Army stopping its outdated chemical agent testing on monkeys, to NASA’s decision to cancel cruel radiation experimentation on Spider Monkeys, to barbaric animal labs being shut down and felony charges being brought against staff members videotaped beating and torturing animals by PETA undercover investigators, to the banning of bullhooks being used on Elephants by Ringling Bros., as well as helping provide evidence which led to Ringling Bros., being fined $270,000.00 for animal abuse violations (the largest fine ever against a circus), I know that we, as an organization, have made suffering, fear, and loneliness only a bad memory for thousands of animals around the world.

Sure, there is still a long way to go, but for every dog that now gets the chance at the life it was supposed to have from the beginning, such as these dogs rescued from Professional Laboratory & Research Services, and for every cat that no longer lives a life filled with fear and pain at the hands of uncaring humans, such as these cats PETA rescued from Sacred Valley Animal Sanctuary, the journey to a compassionate world for all is that many steps closer.

Is it really too much to ask that the 21st century world be:

  • A world where animals no longer endure the pain and suffering of needless testing that can be better accomplished by computer models or artificial substrates
  • A world where animals are not forced to perform for us and are beaten mercilessly if they resist
  • A world where mega-farming no longer exists – where animals are no longer brought to this world only to be brutally killed to appease the appetites of a thoughtless populace
  • A world where beautiful, gentle animals will never have their skin and fur ripped from their bodies while they are still alive, only to be discarded and left to writhe in pain and agony and to die in what must be the most terrifyingly painful death imaginable (imagine your skin being pulled from your body, starting at your feet, ripped all the way to the top of your head, while you are conscious, with no sedation or painkillers) for nothing more than a bad-fashion statement

I look forward to the day when the world we live in treats a cow the same as a domestic cat and a pig the same as the family dog. Let’s hope we get there sooner than later.

May your 2012 be more compassionate than your 2011 and your 2013 more compassionate than 2012. The animals we share the planet with are marvelously complex and caring, don’t underestimate them just because we don’t speak the same language.


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