Lies vs. Mistakes

I am compelled to write today about an issue that’s been bugging me for what seems like most of eternity. Lies. I’m not talking about little white fluffy lies like, “I like your new hair cut!” when really they look like members of “Devo” who have just removed the flower pots from their heads.(although lying is never a good habit) No, I’m talking about the kinds of lies that can make you want to test the pedestrian height maximums of car-to-pedestrian impacts.

 The thing that really tipped the scale of my “I-have-to-blog-about-this” o-meter was when I got a call from my mom the day before yesterday. She’s a retired school teacher on a fixed income and still has health insurance through her school district. She said they’d made some changes to her prescription coverage and that she was having trouble making sense of all of the new paperwork, so she had called them. She was pleased to find that the nice man who took her call seemed knowledgable, and very patiently explained all the details. She said that she was able to mark each med’s cost on her list so now she’d know exactly what her monthly out-of-pocket expenses were going to run. Don’t you love it when that happens?

It seemed like a reasonable request, inquiring about the cost of one’s medications, and it seemed that the cubicles of the health insurance company’s support team were in confident, capable hands. But then, madness ensued! The next day she called them back to ask about something else, and after being passed around from one department to the other like a gift in a game of “dirty santa”, she found that the information from the previous day was all wrong, was told new information again, and then had the next person in the “whirlwind of uncertainty”say that was wrong too. When I spoke to her after that call, she told me that it was too hard to explain, was going to be really expensive, and she was going for ice cream. (which I think is code for “hummmm”) So which was it then? Had it all been a smoke and mirror job? Had she entered into the “Twilight Zone”? Had it been a cruel prank played on an unwilling victim, or had she fallen asleep and actually only dreamed of this “happy place”? Had the nice man intentionally lied to her the previous day? Hmm. Provocative.

Lying goes hand in hand with incompetence, (and they both grate on me like a wool jacket with no shirt under it) but incompetence is more of an, “I’m too lazy to be concerned with finding the right answers” and “I lack self-discipline and I’m unwilling to take any initiative” type of attitude. (Just reading that makes you feel whiney, doesn’t it?)

Because I only know mildly incompetent people up close, I speculate that the little angels and devils that sit on the shoulders of those who are “medium” to “mucho caliente” on the incompetency scale must be very “Ben Stein-ish”, (yes, that’s an adjective:) since they obviously find no joy in accomplishing anything or helping anyone. Selfishness is obviously a major player, since they lack granting their fellow-man the most reasonable of common courtesies, and I’d be willing to bet that there’s more sparkles in flat Ginger Ale than in their personalities.(if we had a device to measure such things) That’s probably the main reason why I don’t know more people with elevated levels of incompetence up close, now that I think about it.=D

So lying is the intentional deceit of someone who needs or wants the truth for the liars own personal gain . (my own definition) Obviously there can be many reasons someone might lie. The elevation of ones ego, malice, the fear of embarrassment, shady dealings, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. The problem with lying is that it chips away at your self-respect, your respect for others and your reputation. You lose your credibility because no one can trust you. You cause pain to others and yourself, and people I know don’t typically like pain. You don’t stand for much, you become shallow, void of substance and your relationships suffer.

Mistakes are a totally different beast. Generally, a mistake is when you do or say something stupid and then kick yourself in the butt for it later. I have forgiven many mistakes and made many myself. Mistakes aren’t chronic, everyone makes them, and if it was really a mistake, it generally doesn’t happen twice. If you do it over and over then you’re not making mistakes, you’re a liar. FYI, a good saying I picked up is-“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.

So was the nice man at the health insurance company a liar, incompetent, or had he simply been misinformed by one of the two? That’s something I’ll never really know. I hear about and have to deal with these frustrating people more and more often these days and it really ticks me off. If I had a deserted island I’d send them there where they could have a big “lie fest” together and stop screwing things up for the rest of us. It’s imperative that we teach our children quality characteristics like accountability, credibility, responsibility, respect, self-discipline, and HONESTY. They deserve a shot at a decent quality of life just for showing up if you ask me. If not for their sakes, do it for your own. It’s not about you, you say? Consider this. Who’s going be taking care of you when you’re too old to take care of yourself? Chew on that for a while.

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The “Flush Me” scene from “Men in Black II”

I was looking for some music on “Youtube” and was reminded of this clip from the 2002 movie, “MIB II”. I absolutely love the “MIB” series and  everything Will Smith does. “Pursuit of Happiness” is my all time favorite drama starring Mr. Smith. Anyway, This had me rolling the first time I saw it!

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Hunting is not cruel. Mass producing animals for meat is cruel.

I was disturbed the other day (and I’m always being disturbed by someone. lol) when my 17-year-old daughter told me that someone had posted somewhere that hunting was cruel and that people should just go to the grocery store to get their meat. Hello? Obviously they have no clue where meat comes from, how it gets from the “calf”, “piglet” or “chick” stage to their supermarket, and if one person’s that confused, I’m willing to bet a lot of people are. Thus the topic of this post.

For the record, I have no problem with vegans or vegetarians. Please feel free to eat what ever you want to! I however, am definitely a meat eater. Give me a thick, juicy steak or a slab of ribs and a glass of sweet tea I’ll make a meal of it . I respect and care about the humane treatment animals, and that’s why I’m all for hunting as long as you are going to use the animal in a respectful way. (eg. consuming the meat, needing the warmth of the pelt, etc.) Also, the way I see it, if our creator didn’t want us to eat animals he wouldn’t make them out of meat. Still say “Contradiction in terms” ? Read on.

So, it’s easy to eat a plate of food at your favorite diner and never give a thought to the condition that the ingredients were in prior to becoming Sunday brunch. They’re braised, stewed or crispy fried golden goodness now, familiar, colorful and appealing! When you get your McDonald’s do you ever stop to think, “I wonder if this hamburger patty came from a cow’s hind leg area, back or what?” or “I wonder how many chickens went into the making of these nuggets?” Nope, probably not. We grab our bag, ketchup packets and head out. Hey, ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power.

Now, on to the heart of the matter. First, why would someone say hunting is cruel? Because Bambi is frolicking in the meadow and life is good for him. He’s eating clover and drinking cool water from the brook and playing with little butterflies, right? And all of a sudden “boom!” a rifle fires, and then Bambi is dead. He is then skinned and cut into rump roasts and tender loins. Yikes! 

You only feel that way because you have been programmed to believe that death is painful, ugly and taboo, and that now you have robbed him of the accomplishment of growing old after living a long, fulfilling, blissful life. “Pain”, “ugly” and “taboo” are all relative, as death is relative. Everything lives and everything dies. We have no clue as to how long we’ll each live, so how is a long life even a logical priority? Whether you know it or not, why or how something or someone lived or died is more significant than the fact that they lived or died!  That used to be the general consensus of the nation. (and still is my belief) There are lessons to be learned from every life and death, long or short. These notions changed because society at some pivotal moment (in my opinion, as more and more people began to believe that there is no afterlife) decided that the “living” part is the ultimate goal, and that the quality of a person’s character isn’t nearly as important.  The unique and wonderful quality that we humans have is the ability to pass our legacy, experience, knowledge and values to future generations so that they might live quality lives.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. So 200 years ago, and for all of time prior to that, you either hunted or you starved. We don’t have to hunt to survive anymore.(well, obviously) That’s because in 1862 the government began issuing the dollar bill. Now instead of trading beaver pelts for supplies, you could use the dollar. You could earn a dollar and then spend it on what ever you needed. BIG milestone for our country. So, along the way, as times evolved, we could go and buy our meat already killed and dressed as long as we were willing to pay the price someone wanted to charge to do it for us. The gap between us and our food widened more and more over time. Now apparently some people think that the “meat genie” waves his wand and meat just magically appears in the meat section at Walmart, nicely wrapped in pink foam and cellophane. Not so. Which reminds me, there’s a great new show I recommend on The Travel Channel Called “The Wild Within”. Check it out if you get a chance!

Ok, where was I? Oh yeah, Bambi. As for the pain part. Minimal, probably even non-existent. Bambi would never know what hit him. (consider Gabrielle Gifford’s shooting for example) He wouldn’t be pretty to look at, but consider that all meat animals look like that when they kill them at one of the 5700 slaughter houses and poultry plants around the country.

Now, for the alternative to hunting wild game. Cows, chickens, pigs, and turkeys are Americas main “mass-produced” meats. Here are some facts to chew on:

1.During the past 30 years the number of hog farms in the United States dropped from 650,000 to 71,000, yet the number of hogs remains almost the same.(

2.Crated calves are tethered by the neck, pigs in severe confinement bite the metal bars of their crates, and hens get trapped and can even be impaled in their cages. These animals can barely move for months on end.(Humane Society)

3. Nearly all animals killed for food in the U.S. are chickens and turkeys—more than nine billion each year. They’re shackled upside down, paralyzed by electrified water and dragged over mechanical throat-cutting blades … all while conscious. Millions of birds each year miss the blades and drown in tanks of scalding water.(Humane Society)

There are 100’s of other tidbits I could list here, but you get the idea. I’m not going to shock you with horrifying videos of abuse. Although it would have a much higher impact, it would probably end up being like what happens when the commercials for abused animals come on TV with Sarah McLachlin singing “Arms of the angels” in the background. You’d change the channel.  All you have to do if you want delve into the severity of this issue is to Google “slaughterhouse cruelty” and you will find pages upon pages of articles, videos, investigations and groups about meat animal abuse. Are you beginning to understand that taking out Bambi in an instant after a life of frolicking in sunny meadows is 100,000,000 times more humane than the mass production of meat animals? See, knowledge is power!

If you can afford it, find and eat meat that is has been humanely raised and treated. If you can’t afford it, at least appreciate and respect the sacrifice that the animal you’re eating has made for you. Don’t allow meat to go bad in your fridge or freezer and then have to throw it out. Eat leftovers the next day. Don’t overfill your plate and get more than you’ll eat when your dining out and then leave it for the trash. To put it simply, don’t waste meat. 

There are 310,000,000+ people in the United States. If every one person trashes just one chicken nugget a day, that’s the equivilent of 51,666,660 six piece meals per day! Even a quarter of that amount is still a whopping 12,916,665 six piece meals thrown in the trash daily.(that’s tweve million, nine hundred sixteen thousand, six hundred sixty five. That would feed EVERY New Yorker (all  8,158,957) PLUS the 4,651,322 population of Calcutta, India and then some, every day!) How many chickens go through hell for nothing? Not to mention the money that’s wasted. What a difference that food would make in the lives of people who need it! It takes many, many drops of water to make a bucket full. Together we can make a difference. Like Nike says, “Just do it”!

When Grandma told you to eat everything on your plate, she might not have realized how profound the wisdom was behind her words and the potential impact that putting them into practice could have. I guess whatever your take is on the information in this article, it boils down to, once again, to the quality of your character.

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Do you think man has the potential to reverse global warming?

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Steve Miller Band-Livin in the USA

I thought it would be appropriate to begin this blog with Steve Millers “Livin in the USA” video. Enjoy and stay tuned for more to come!

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