Sitting around waiting for a meeting downtown today, I perused an old issue of Newsweek [November 29, 2004].
Did you know that PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] has a director of vegan outreach, Bruce Friedrich, who is spearheading the Fish Empathy Project [??!!].
“No one would ever put a hook through a dog’s or cat’s mouth. Once people start to understand that fish, although they come in different packaging, are just as intelligent, they’ll stop eating them.”
Fish are people, too.
Frederick Paffhausen, director of the Bay County, Michigan, library system, who wants to have patrons that rack up big fines face criminal charges and jail time, contends, “We want to go after some of the people who owe us a lot of money. We want to set an example.”
Better re-attach those mattress tags.
FYI -- That new videogame, JFK: Reloaded, the interactive Kennedy assassination thrill created by the wonderful folks who gave you that knee-slapping riot simulator, State of Emergency, and the carjacking hit, Grand Theft Auto, comes with instant replay.
Yep, you can review your shots from a variety of locations like say, the grassy knoll. Oh, and gamers who come closest to replicating the actual assassination have a chance to win a $100,000 prize.
Twin Towers is next. No, really, somebody is working on it.
My Turn, the weekly essay relinquished to readers, has a young, very philosophical rabbi suggesting that in our culture of excessive individualism -- “the radical pursuit of our own needs and desires” -- we have abandoned our commitment to community.
He came to this conclusion schmoozing at a wedding celebration for a young nomadic couple in Mongolia. Too many cheese curds and fermented mare’s milk if you ask me.
Ask any foreign traveler in the United States how open and welcoming this country is compared to the rest of the world. How easily we share our homes with perfect strangers, inviting them to dine with our families after just meeting them.
I think self-reliance is at the core of the American character, and the confidence we have in our ability to successfully go it alone is what enables us to share what we have so magnanimously.
With all due respect to the rabbi’s hypothesis, our country’s community efforts on behalf of the tsunami victims have already upended his theory.
Finally, Anna Quindlen on the last page has The Last Word.
She writes that the public debate on abortion is the one that has advanced least during the last fifteen years. [On the other hand, she feels gay rights has come the farthest. Has she talked to Albert or Judi lately?]
Into this polarized arena that pits morality against reality, there steps an unlikely arbitrator, Frances Kissling, the leader of a group I never thought could exist -- Catholics for a Free Choice.
In what Quindlen describes as a "wise and provocative manifesto," Kissling, who favors legal abortion, raises compelling questions in her group's journal, Conscience:
"Is it helpful to concentrate solely on legal arguments when moral imperatives are so much a part of the equation for many people?
"Is it useful to refuse to consider the emotional pull of the fetus even as we conclude that the rights of the mother ultimately take precedent?
"Is there a dangerous disconnect between our public positions and our private sentiments, a disconnnect the public suspects is dishonest?
". . .Is there nothing that concerns pro-choice people about abortion?"
Quindlen also points out that a "new senator from Oklahoma is an obstetrician who believes abortion should be outlawed and the death penalty applied to abortionists. . .Yet he performed two abortions himself on women with heart disease."
Let the discussion begin.
Catholics for a Free Choice, huh? Now that’s a radical notion.
One final tidbit. Anyone with post election blues who still wants to leave the country will want to pick up "So You Want to be a Canadian." Test the waters to reveal whether you have what it takes to be a true blue Canuck. Or if you're just a wanna-be. You'll be happy to learn that Toronto is "London with better teeth." And Canadian cuisine includes such delicacies as moose stroganoff and roasted beaver tail.
Old issues of Newsweek. Ya gotta love 'em.