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Stuffing Chris Christie Into a Gestation Crate

Illustration by 11-year-old artist Zalthunya Brickledread

“Chris Christie in Gestation Crate,” by 11-year-old artist Zalthunya Brickledread

“When we first starting working together,” my therapist said, “you were the angriest person I’d ever met.”

Somehow, it pleased me to hear that.

“You’ve made amazing progress over the past decade and a half,” she said, “but today, I sense an old, familiar rage.”

I sipped my agave-nectar-laced tea and waited for her to ask a question.

She reached into a desk drawer and pulled out a single piece of thick, white paper stained with an ink blot.

“What do you see?” she asked.

“I see Chris Christie stuffed into a gestation crate,” I told her.

“Do you see anything else?”

“I see pus oozing out from the massive folds of skin that the outsize bastard can’t see or reach,” I said, not needing to look again at the ink blot. “I see flies and other insects gorging themselves on his rancid flesh. And I see him slamming his ugly face into the metal bars as fear and depression grip his mind.”

I was being honest. It is, after all, the best way to make progress in these situations.

“That’s quite a vivid image you’ve described,” my therapist pointed out.

“I suppose it’s something of a waking dream,” I told her.

“Why are you so angry at Chris Christie?”

“Because he’s a fucking asshole,” I said.

I explained that Christie had for the second time in as many years vetoed a bill that would’ve banned the use of gestation crates in New Jersey. And I told her that in his insulting veto message, the arrogant prick suggested that “humane standards have put New Jersey at the vanguard of protecting domestic livestock from animal cruelty.”

“He’s just another monster who has no problem telling animals they’re allowed to range freely until it’s time for their execution,” I said, “just another heartless piece of shit who’d promise to cut an animal’s throat with a clean knife.”

After railing against Christie’s callous claim that Senate Bill No. 998 “is a solution in search of a problem,” I pulled out my smart phone and read aloud the following passage from his predictable veto message: “I have every confidence that the State Board (of Agriculture) and the Department (of Agriculture) will continue to closely monitor and study modern and appropriate techniques for the humane raising, keeping, care, and treatment of all domestic livestock, and will propose amended regulations if, and when, modern science and evidence demonstrates a need for modified agricultural practices.”

“I’m so sick and tired of the bullshit that distracts the majority of our society from the absolute evil being perpetrated without pause,” I said, infuriated anew that the word “humane” is good enough to make an unabated holocaust look, to those who are steadfastly committed to avoidance, like a goddamn Norman Rockwell painting.”

“Why do you think your anger is directed right now at Chris Christie?” my therapist asked.

“Because his callous attitude, which is shared by so many, begets unimaginable suffering,” I said.

“You need to work on finding a healthy way to process situations like this so they don’t trigger that rage.”

“I’m glad I feel the rage,” I admitted. “I wish more people did.”

“The darkness isn’t a good place for you, David,” she said.

“It’s not good for the animals who’re being bred into slavery and brought into this terrible world to be terrorized, tortured, raped, and brutally slaughtered,” I snapped.

“We’ve worked really hard to find productive and satisfying ways for you to live out each day,” she said, calmly asking, “Can you think of a way you can keep this from haunting you? Could you write a song about Christie’s veto?”

“I’d like to lock the loathsome blowhard in a gestation crate and let him rot there — like the scene depicted in the Rorschach test,” I said, matter-of-factly.

“Obviously, that’s not very realistic …” she began.

“Sure it is,” I said. “I’ll lure the pandering slob into the cage by telling him there are Iowa caucus voters in there, and a refrigerator.”

“You know that I’ll have to tell the authorities if I believe someone’s life is in danger,” my therapist warned.

Millions of lives are in danger, and millions more are being stolen,” I pointed out.

“Do I have reason to be concerned?”

“No,” I said, somewhat sadly. “I don’t want to be locked in a cage.”

Two Jewish Vegans Walk Into a Bar

Photo by Cathy Yuhas

Photo by Cathy Yuhas

That headline isn’t the beginning of a joke. It’s the start of a story about statistical improbability — a story that just happens to be true.

However many months ago it was, a friend asked me to play drums in her band. And though she didn’t need to, she sweetened her pitch by telling me that I’d really like working with the other guys in the group.

“They’re both Jewish and vegan,” she explained.

What are the chances? I asked myself, eager to associate with such like-minded folks.

Before I started working with the group, the guitar player bailed on the project and wasn’t replaced. What had been a quartet was suddenly a trio. Still, that two-thirds of the band is Jewish and vegan seems like something of a statistical anomaly.

As it turns out, the bass player — now a close friend whom we’ll call “Dan” — has a degree in statistics, of all things. Naturally, we’ve started scrutinizing the numbers.

According to a July 2012 Gallup poll, 2 percent of adults in the United States “consider themselves to be ‘vegans.’” And according to figures presented in October 2013 by the Pew Research Center, “2.2% of American adults” consider themselves to be “cultural Jews — those who say they have no religion but who were raised Jewish or have a Jewish parent and who still consider themselves Jewish aside from religion.”

While I can to some degree identify with the term “cultural Jew,” I consider myself an “antitheist,” to borrow a word used regularly by the late Christopher Hitchens. But I digress ….

Information from City-Data indicates that “adherents” of Judaism represent 3.5 percent of the population in New London County, Connecticut, where Dan and I live.

Now, I’m not good at math. Fortunately, Dan has the above-mentioned statistics degree and has promised to figure out, statistically, just how unlikely it is that two Jewish vegans in southeastern Connecticut would find themselves playing in a band together.

No matter what the numbers bear out, working with Dan has been and continues to be nourishing — figuratively and literally. Instead of fetching each other drinks on the gig, we exchange vegan snacks between sets.

If someday we’re able to convert the band’s leader to veganism, we’ll almost certainly have a solid argument for changing the name of the group to Oy Vegan.

Turkey Farms Should Invite Children Onto Killing Floors

Screenshot from WVIT story.

Screenshot from WVIT story.

The Connecticut NBC affiliate, WVIT, aired a story late last week about a death factory called Gozzi’s Turkey Farm, which for decades has been breeding animals for slaughter. What sets this killing floor apart from others is that its operator encourages children to see the birds not as victims but as fantastic curiosities.

In his voice-over for the story, NBC Connecticut News reporter Jason Hawkins explains that “Bill Gozzi’s turkey farm is a fall attraction. … Gozzi’s breeds and sells over 15,000 turkeys a year, but, every Thanksgiving, they do something a little different.”

Off camera, Bill Gozzi says, “We put a bunch of colored turkeys out in a pen for kids,” while video of children gawking at bright orange, blue, green, and yellow birds plays on screen.

Hawkins interviews one youngster who says one of the turkeys “bit” him.

“I think it knows you want to eat it,” Hawkins tells the kid, later asking a group of soon-to-be-slaughtered turkeys, “You guys excited for Thanksgiving?” The manipulated video seems to show one turkey shaking his or her head “no.”

Obviously, what Bill Gozzi is selling at his Guilford, Connecticut, death factory is the American tradition of selfish avoidance and the promise of more suffering and death. For their part, Hawkins and the NBC Connecticut News team are simply selling out as complicit partners in the perpetuation of that sinister tradition — a tradition that might someday cease to be observed if children are invited onto the killing floor. Those children just might grow up to view Gozzi as the vile monster that he is. And they might demand that their local news outlets spend less time celebrating the holocaust and more time reporting on the countless atrocities that are happening around us every day.

Hunter Mowed Down in Inspiring Accident

Photo by Rastrojo

Photo by Rastrojo

I was screaming into a pillow when the red phone rang. It was my good friend Monty Gelstein, calling from what sounded like the inside of a lawn mower.

“What is that goddamned racket?” I shouted, tortured enough by the noise in my head.

“It’s my new combine,” Monty explained. “I’m taking it for a spin.”

“Combine?” I asked. “What the fuck is a combine?”

“Most people use it for harvesting grain,” he said.

“But you’re using it for …” I interrupted, eager for him to get to the point.

“I’m going to use it to accidentally mow down hunters,” Monty told me, matter-of-factly. “Surely you read about the Illinois bow hunter who was mowed down by one of these machines earlier this month.”

The news, which I hadn’t read, was good enough to brighten my mood.

“He was walking along a roadside wearing camouflage,” Monty said. “It was after sundown, so, apparently, the combine operator didn’t see him. And no charges have been filed — because it was an accident.”

I knew where he was going with this, and, frankly, it was temporarily improving my outlook on life in this terrible world.

“What typically happens when one hunter is accidentally shot by another?” he asked.

“Nothing,” I answered. “Usually, no one faces prosecution.”

“Don’t you see?” he demanded. “As long as a hunter is wearing camouflage, his death can always be ruled an accident. We can always say, ‘Honestly, your honor, I never saw the bastard.'”

We?” I asked.

“Oh come on, Brensilver,” he snapped. “You’re never any fun.”

“I’ll leave the harvesting to you,” I said. “Just make sure you put a dashboard camera on your new combine.”

Again, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Claims Hunters are Victims

Photo by Patrick Doll

Photo by Patrick Doll

One cannot take pleasure in killing and at the same time bitch about being bullied. But we’ve come to expect that kind of pants-soiling whining from the brain-dead thugs at the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance.

Earlier this month, that wretched gang of twisted monsters rushed to the defense of a dim-witted terrorist named Jeff Thomason, who can’t understand why anyone would react adversely to news that he savagely murdered a mako shark.

As they are wont to do, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance president and CEO Nick Pinizzotto and his goose-stepping henchmen published a petulant complaint titled “Sportsman Harassed by Anti-Hunters After Legal Mako Shark Hunt,” which presents Thomason and his bloodlust-full ilk as victims and animal-rights advocates as ill-informed “extremists” (Pinizzotto’s word).

In their word-tantrum, the assholes at the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance defend Thomason’s legal right to kill mako sharks and feign alarm that animal-rights advocates would take to social media to wish the bastard ill.

Sonke Mastrup, the California Fish and Game Commission’s executive director, was quoted in the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance’s word-tantrum as saying, “Bullying people is never appropriate.” This from the head of a group that serves as a state-sanctioned death panel. Mastrup’s inclusion of the word “people” betrays the institutionalized arrogance that keeps other species under constant threat.

One cannot facilitate and regulate killing and at the same time profess to be anti-bullying. Assigning oneself the role of victim — while an actual victim hangs from a hunter’s scale — is the lamest and most pathetic trick in the PR playbook.

Obviously, the self-righteous fiends at the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance are full of shit. They and their despicable constituents are the ones with the deadly weapons and the psychopathic desire to use them.

Slaughtered Deer on Display in Syracuse “Art” Exhibit

Photo by Greg Thompson/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Photo by Greg Thompson/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

It’s common for art galleries to receive a fresh coat of paint between one exhibit coming down and another being installed. Come October 20, the Syracuse University Art Galleries are going to need a hazmat-suit-requiring floor-to-ceiling deep cleaning to remove any and all traces of the Neanderthals who might have visited the place to see a repulsive and inanely titled show called Deer Dear. Drool will need to be removed from gallery walls and traces of human flesh will need to be peeled off floors on which visitors’ knuckles dragged.

Deer Dear is a collection of deer skins used as canvases and video-projection screens. The “artist” behind Deer Dear is a troglodytic mouth-breather named Tammy Renée Brackett, who chairs the digital media and animation department at the State University of New York’s Alfred State College. A description of Deer Dear on the Syracuse University Art Galleries website reads, in part: “Brackett’s recent work combines the digital and natural world to explore humans’ relationship with animals. … The exhibition focuses on the White Tailed Deer, posing questions about population control, loss of habitat, and mortality.”

Better — and less-insultingly — said, the “exhibit” celebrates mankind’s breathtaking arrogance. “Population control” — like “wildlife management” — is a euphemism for “sanctioned slaughter.” Deer Dear doesn’t pose “questions about population control, loss of habitat, and mortality.” Rather, it depicts the bloodlust and brutality that accompany the monstrous notion that man is entitled to hold dominion over other species.

If the “exhibit” raises any question, it is: What kind of rational and compassionate person would promote or be drawn to the work of terrorists?

The victims whose body parts are exploited in Deer Dear were cut down by motor vehicles and by hunters, including Brackett herself. According to an article published in The Syracuse Post-Standard, “One of her pieces of work, ‘Good Shot, Bad Shot,’ is simply two tanned hides given to her by hunter friends. … One shows a hole indicative of a heart shot in which the deer most likely died quickly. The other, a ‘gut shot’ further back on the hide, is indicative of a shot in which the deer died a longer, more painful death from the hunter’s bullet.”

Needless to say, the deer deserved better, in life and in death.

The mission of the Syracuse University Art Galleries “is to enhance the cultural environment of its community and surrounding area.”

Obviously, my idea of culture is quite different from that of David Lake Prince, the organization’s associate director and collections curator.

In a video on The Syracuse Post-Standard’s website, Prince says, “We hope that Tammy Brackett’s exhibition, Deer Dear, attracts a broad audience of both people that enjoy art and hunting.”

Clearly the evolved members of the Syracuse University community deserve better than to have their “cultural environment” enhanced by the public presentation of Brackett’s disgusting trophy collection.

How Can Hunter Live With Himself After Shooting, Killing Brother?

Photo by Leupold James/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Photo by Leupold James/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

I was working on a novella called Baptism by Piranha when the red phone rang. It was my good friend Monty Gelstein, calling to update me on his search for a way to partially light the darkness.

“There was a fatal hunting accident in northeastern Utah over the weekend, and all I can think about are the bastards who live to hunt again,” Monty said, sounding despondent.

“You’ve got to try to focus on the positive,” I told him. “Let’s use the hunting accident in Utah as an example. Tell me about that incident.”

“Two brothers set out to murder pronghorn and one ended up shooting the other in the head,” he explained. “I mean, I’m psyched that one of the brothers won’t be terrorizing wildlife anymore, but the other — the shooter — he’s still out there, armed and murderous, with nothing to stop him from exercising his savage bloodlust.”

“You’ve got to be able to recognize that thanks to this incident the drooling class is down a member,” I said. “And any way you measure that the result is positive.”

“It’s just so hard to celebrate when I know the slaughter continues,” he said.

“What would have made the incident in Utah worth celebrating?” I asked.

“I’d be a pretty satisfied dude had the two brothers gunned each other down,” Monty said, “or had the shooter decided he couldn’t live with what he’d done and offed himself right then and there.”

“There!” I shouted. “That’s it!”

“That’s what?” Monty asked, less-than enthusiastically.

Hope,” I told him, with as dramatic a delivery as I could muster.

“Where?” Monty asked, as if literally looking around.

“We can hope that the surviving brother catches a bullet himself, the next time he sets out to murder animals,” I reasoned.

“Do you know the odds of that happening?” he snapped.

I was pretty sure he had those numbers at his disposal. Still, undaunted, I pressed on.

“We can hope that the surviving brother takes his own life,” I said. “That’s certainly within the realm of possibility. And there’s nothing stopping you from encouraging him. That would be a super-constructive exercise, don’t you think?”

Several seconds of silence passed before Monty abruptly announced the end of our conversation.

“I’ve got to go,” he said, his voice more spirited. “I’m going to call the surviving brother.”

I hung up the phone and created a Google Alert that will let me know when Monty has successfully convinced the surviving brother to take his own worthless life.

Hunter Falls to His Death; Oh, How I Wish He’d Been Pushed

Photo by Robert Shepherd

Photo by Robert Shepherd

If a hunter falls off the side of a mountain, does anybody hear him scream on the way down? It’s certainly a sound that would be music to my ears. And if I aim my ears to the west and listen very, very carefully, I can almost hear the echo of a vicious bastard named Theodore James Leach singing his final, terrified song.

According to an Associated Press report published in the Coloradoan, Leach recently took a well-deserved and fatal header off North Maroon Peak, in Colorado’s Maroon Bells, shortly after brutally murdering a mountain goat.

Needless to say, I’m glad Leach is dead. I only wish he’d fallen before he had a chance to kill. It would be much easier to celebrate his demise had the incident unfolded this way:

Theodore James Leach, a 42-year-old Neanderthal from Littleton, Colorado, was hunting mountain goats in the Maroon Bells on Sunday when one of his would-be caprine victims bravely stood his ground and pushed Leach off the side of the mountain. According to hikers who found him, the last thing the quickly expiring savage saw was an unrepentant mountain goat staring down at him with an expression that said, “I hope it hurt, motherfucker.”

Raise Money to Protect Animals, Let Wounded Hunters Die

Photo by Connormah

Photo by Connormah

Nothing would fill me with rage more than being stuck at an intersection where a bunch of mouth-breathing troglodytes were raising money to help the “victim” of a hunting accident. A few weeks ago, in Etowah County, Alabama, the community set out to do just that, in an effort to help pay a worthless thug’s medical bills.

On September 4, The Gadsden Times reported that a fundraising “roadblock” would be set up a few days later at a busy intersection, where friends of a terrorist named Cody Kuechle planned to solicit donations from trapped motorists.

A story published in The Gadsden Times on September 2 tells us that Kuechle was in “serious condition” at an area hospital after being shot the previous day by a goose-hunting buddy who lost his footing and accidentally discharged his lead-filled phallus. It’s too bad, obviously, that the shooter didn’t take himself out in the process of gunning down Kuechle. And it’s certainly too bad that the latter survived the incident.

Had he not, it dawns on me, his friends in Etowah County probably would have set up a fundraising roadblock to collect cash for the bastard’s funeral. Imagine getting stuck in that traffic and knowing what the holdup was. My road rage would have totally boiled over — unless, of course, I found a constructive way to deal with Etowah County’s drooling class.

And on that front I think there’s still time to give Kuechle and his water-headed pals something to think about. I think it’s worth looking into organizing a fundraising roadblock of our own. Ours, naturally, would be an effort to raise money to help protect other species from violent assholes like Kuechle. Maybe we’d get lucky and prevent an ambulance from delivering a wounded hunter to an emergency room in time to save his ugly life.

Monty Gelstein’s Haiku No. 8

Monty Gelstein's Haiku No. 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

A collection of Monty Gelstein’s haiku can be found here.