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Actor, Not Fish, Should Have Been Used for Asthma Ad

Perhaps you’ve seen the 30-second television commercial included above. In it, a child’s voice, describing what it’s like to experience an asthma attack, says, “I feel like a fish with no water.” The voice-over plays while an actual fish out of water struggles to breathe.

The ad was produced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which insists that “no fish were harmed during the making of this public service announcement. Fish handlers were present at all times during the shoot to manage the care and well being of the fish on hand.” That same language appears on the website to which viewers are directed, noattacks.org.

The EPA’s claim that “no fish were harmed” is as absurd as it is insulting. The fish in the ad is struggling to breatheThat’s the whole goddamned point.

The creeps behind the PSA tortured a fish to show people what it’s like to struggle for breath and then hid behind a pile of total nonsense.

Obviously, the heartless bastards who created the ad weren’t about to film and show a child having an asthma attack. They chose instead to cause another species to suffer, needlessly, and for that they ought to be ashamed. The very inclusion of the above-mentioned disclaimer is an acknowledgment of exploitation. The language itself is an outright lie. The fish in the commercial certainly isn’t acting — which begs this question: Why didn’t the folks who made the PSA simply hire an actor?

Selling Caskets to Hunters, A Dream Job

Screenshot (click to watch)

Screenshot (click to watch)

For the past 24 hours or so, I’ve been enjoying a beautiful daydream in which I’m a clairvoyant casket salesman pushing a new product on a soon-to-be deceased Ted Nugent.

The daydream was inspired by an OutdoorHub.com story titled “More Hunters Opting for Hunting-themed ‘Camo Caskets,’” which explains that “one of the designs on the market is a hunting-themed, camouflage-lined casket.”

One company that’s producing burial boxes for the drooling class is an outfit called ’Til We Meet Again, whose name is as ridiculous as some of the products it sells. In a video advertisement for a “hunter casket,” a voice-over encourages potential future customers to “be remembered as you lived.”

Naturally, I think all hunters should be remembered as the worthless, bloodlust-full psychopaths that they are. Their ugly carcasses should be left to be snacked on by scavengers, burned with other types of trash, or stuffed and mounted in the Dead Hunters Museum Theater.

But I digress.

In the above-mentioned ’Til We Meet Again video advertisement, a shotgun-wielding knuckle-dragger standing in front of a “hunter casket” and identified on screen as “Steve” says, “I’m a hunter, and when it’s my time, this is how I want to go.”

Believe me, Steve, I can’t wait till it’s your time. In fact, I sincerely hope that demand for these burial boxes greatly outpaces supply.

I should be honest here and admit that in addition to inspiring my most enjoyable daydream, the OutdoorHub.com story has given me an idea for a business venture that would involve designing caskets for hunting-accident- and animal-attack aficionados like myself. The caskets I would market and sell through The Daily Maul, as part of a product line called the “Eternal Schadenfreude” series, would be wrapped in and lined on the inside with photographs of hunters who were fatally mauled by their would-be murder victims or who died as the result of shooting themselves or being gunned down by one of their fellow savages. The casket wraps and linings would reflect the design of the wallpaper with which I hope to soon decorate my office.

(Note to self: Get into the specialty wallpaper business.)

But let’s get back to my beautiful daydream, which finds me on the phone with Mr. Nugent, letting him know that he’ll soon suffer a glorious death after accidentally blowing one of his own legs off and then being disemboweled by angry and opportunistic hogs.

“What’s it going to take for me to get you into one of these?” I ask him, gleefully.

For Royal Savages, Boxing Day Shoot Goes Wrong

Screenshot (click to watch)

Screenshot (click to watch)

NORFOLK, ENGLAND, TOMORROW — Law-enforcement officials in Norfolk, England, are searching for a man they suspect had something to do with an “unfathomable” Boxing Day hunting accident at the queen’s estate in Sandringham that claimed the lives of all the royals who participated in an annual pheasant slaughter. Police on the scene also believe that the editor of an irreverently provocative animal-rights blog called The Daily Maul was somehow involved in the incident.

“At first glance, it looks like they turned their rifles on one another,” one constable said. “But no one here believes that’s how it happened.”

“We don’t think it’s a coincidence,” a detective explained, “that on this day last year The Daily Maul ran a commentary telling Prince William, ‘It’s time to put an end to your family’s barbaric traditions. The next-best thing, of course, would be for you and your bloodthirsty kin to gun one another down in a hunting accident of royal proportions.’”

Monty Gelstein, a mentally unstable animal-rights activist and a good friend of The Daily Maul’s editor, David Brensilver, is suspected of orchestrating the bloodbath.

A semi-trustworthy local drunk named Malcolm Stisp told detectives that Gelstein bought him several glasses of whiskey at a nearby pub on Christmas night.

“He kept saying, ‘Brensilver’s right. The only thing that’s going to stop this madness is a hunting accident of royal proportions,’” Stisp said. “He seemed particularly incensed that Prince William would ‘prance around the world speaking out against the killing of certain species while personally slaughtering others.’”

Stisp said that Gelstein kept mentioning a December 17 Daily Mail story that chronicles the royal family’s murderous legacy and features photos from the “trophy room” at Sandringham House.

Gelstein was “downright frightening,” Stisp told detectives, explaining that “he kept making reference to a ‘very special .22 caliber circle jerk.’”

And then Gelstein was gone, Stisp said.

Reached by telephone in the United States, Brensilver said he hasn’t “the faintest idea what Boxing Day is” and “had absolutely nothing to do with the royal savages’ deaths.”

“I’ve been home the past few days, eating vegan Chinese food,” he said.  “I haven’t heard from Monty since November.

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.