Friday, April 23, 2010

Idaho. Dugout Dick. Cave Living. Simplicity and Self Reliance.

I am presenting this video in celebration of Earth Day which was yesterday. Dugout Dick passed away today. I believe he was 94, having lived in a cave for more than 60 years. His real name was Richard Zimmerman. In this video, Dugout Dick's caretaker who lives in the next cave speaks about the simple life, the extremely simple life. Their hermit-like perspective and the extraordinarily bare living conditions that they call home point to a level of asceticism not commonly found today. Unlike them, we have become so deeply meshed with the accouterments of modern living that without them we begin to speak of survival. Thoreau's independent spirit and minimalist philosophy are well and alive in these children of the Earth.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Jersey. Long Beach Township. Richard Shackleton. A Man Time Left Behind.

This poor old man. Withered, made salty and bitter by life's tramplings, unrepentant about calling a couple of women the " C " word... A shooter of pigeons for sport... what a life.

" Honey, I'm home. I shot two dozen pigeons today. "

He proudly refused to apologize for the C word when asked to, citing his Freedom of Speech. Shackleton aside, the First Amendment has been amended itself to include responsibility for our spoken or written words. The First Amendment does not protect irresponsible, fraudulent, criminally negligent statements. We can't shout, FIRE!, in a movie house. We can't threaten the President of the United States. We can't intentionally make false claims against someone.

Mr. Shackleton may argue that using the C word is still within bounds of our freedom of speech. I could concede that point to him. But, echoing those now famous words to come out of the McCarthy hearings many years ago, I could say, " Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency? " Shackleton may be beyond redemption, but Long Beach Township could still improve its image. It's time to let him go, and get someone more tolerant and acceptable.

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/breaking/article_afce0684-4ce2-11df-8f88-001cc4c03286.html

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/breaking/article_239cf92e-4d94-11df-9579-001cc4c03286.html




View more news videos at: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/video.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nellie. Pit Bull. Home At Last. Her Day has Come.

Some excellent news! Nellie, a young female pittie, finally went home after one year and three months at the shelter--- that's fifteen months, or approximately 455 days of shelter life. Think back, even for a year, in your life. Imagine, if you can, every hour of that time. Nellie spent all that time a homeless, family- less dog, living in a hard and uncomfortable kennel, waiting for someone to make her a member of their family. In the course of that time, Nellie developed some health problems and she was taken to the vet several times. She received a strict diet to address her problem. Even her cookies were specially tailored to her condition. Frankly, there were hints at euthanasia but the volunteers collectively staved off that idea. Perhaps, the byproduct of her being a longstanding resident of the shelter is the special status, a special consideration for a loving dog whose only shortcoming was not even her fault. Two adopters considered her, but no cigar. Her escape from a life of virtual solitude vanished as quickly as it came. Nellie was akin to that proverbial dry twig at the edge of the bonfire. Just waiting for her turn but somehow always overlooked. The situation looked bleak, but there was always hope. Nellie was a flickering light that the darkness could not overcome.

Have a great life, sweetie. No matter how much we love you, we don't want to see you again at the shelter! It was nice to see your kennel empty. Mwah.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Bears. New Jersey. Flat Rock Nature Center. Presentation. Bear Education and Resource Group. 2010.

A very short notice here...I am cross posting an announcement for an audiovisual presentation about New Jersey's bear situation. If you haven't visited the Flat Rock Nature Center in Englewood, then this is a great time to come. Arrive early and explore the grounds and then attend the presentation.


===================================

Sierra Club North Jersey Group

Presents:

“Living with Black Bears in New Jersey” - an audiovisual presentation by Janet Piszar, Director of the Bear Education and Resource (BEAR) Group, about almost everything-you- ever-wanted- to-know about black bears. Her program will cover New Jersey's bear situation and the controversy over the proposed bear hunt and bear population statistics.

Piszar will explain the history and evolution of black bears, their nature, temperament, biology, ecology, social organization, diet, habits, and more. She will discuss current bear management practices, dos and don'ts when encountering a bear, bear proofing and other precautions, and simple lifestyle adjustments to keep bears from being attracted into human environments.

The nonprofit BEAR Group was established in 1992 to dispel the myths that give rise to unfounded fears of black bears. BEAR Group volunteer activists have been educated by the world renown bear expert Lynn Rogers, PhD.

Bring your questions!

Thursday, April 22
7:30 PM
Flat Rock Brook Nature Center
443 Van Nostrand Avenue
Englewood, NJ 07631
Directions - scroll down

FREE. Everyone is welcome!

For more information, please call 201-461-4534 or e-mail BetsyKohn@aol. com

DIRECTIONS

> FROM NJ TURNPIKE (1-95) NORTH:
Take NJTP/I-95 to end -- to exit 18. Stay on 1-95 North. Follow signs for George Washington Bridge and New York.

Please note: always stay in the LOCAL lanes to the right.

Take EXIT 71 (Broad Avenue Leonia Englewood). At the end of the exit ramp, turn RIGHT onto Broad Avenue. At the second light, turn RIGHT onto Van Nostrand Avenue and proceed straight up to the end (passing through a 4-way stop intersection at Jones Road). You'll see the nature center sign in front of you and the road leading up to the center. Parking available next to the nature center or below on Van Nostrand Avenue.

- - -

> FROM ROUTE 80 EASTWARD (to George Washington Bridge):
Please note: always stay in the local lanes to the right.

Take EXIT 71 (Broad Avenue Leonia Englewood). Turn RIGHT at the end of the ramp onto Broad Avenue. At the second traffic light, turn RIGHT onto Van Nostrand Avenue and proceed up to the end. In front of you, you'll see the nature center sign and the road leading up to the center. Parking available next to the nature center or below on Van Nostrand Avenue.

- - -

> FROM ROUTE 4 EASTWARD:
Take the JONES ROAD EXIT in Englewood. (The Jones Road exit is the exit that comes after Grand Avenue.) Turn RIGHT at the end of the ramp, go about a block to a 4-way stop intersection. Turn RIGHT onto Van Nostrand Avenue and proceed to the end (about four suburban blocks). In front of you, you'll see the nature center sign and the road leading up to the center. Parking available next to the nature center or below on Van Nostrand Avenue.
- - -

> FROM ROUTE 4 WESTWARD:
If you are coming from NYC and George Washington Bridge: take the center right lane to avoid being caught in far right lane traffic exiting onto the Palisades Interstate Parkway. (If by mistake, you go onto the PIP, continue and take Exit 1 and follow the directions from Palisades Interstate Parkway--scroll down)

Once you get to the NJ side of the GW Bridge, stay in the center right lane and look for and follow signs for Route 4 (Hackensack, Paramus). After the exit for 46, stay to the right and get into the right lane for Route 4. You'll pass the Best Western, four gas stations (Lukoil, Exxon, BP and Gulf) and Myrtle Road, all on the right. Look for the JONES ROAD EXIT (Englewood) which is not far beyond Myrtle Road.

Take the JONES ROAD EXIT. Turn RIGHT at the end of the exit ramp, go a block to a 4-way stop intersection. Turn RIGHT onto Van Nostrand Avenue and proceed to the end (about three suburban blocks). In front of you, you'll see the nature center sign and the road leading up to the center. Parking available next to the nature center or below on Van Nostrand Avenue.

(Flat Rock Brook Nature Center is about 7-8 minutes driving time from the GW Bridge.)

- - -

> FROM ENGLEWOOD CENTER (Intersection of Grand & Palisade Avenues):
Proceed east (up the hill) on Palisade Avenue to SECOND LIGHT (intersection with Jones Road). Turn RIGHT (south) onto Jones Road. After a half mile or so, you'll come to a first 4-way stop intersection at Linden Avenue, then a second 4-way stop at Van Nostrand Avenue. Turn LEFT onto Van Nostrand and proceed about three suburban blocks up to the end. In front of you, you'll see the nature center sign and the road leading up to the center. Parking available next to the nature center or below on Van Nostrand Avenue.

- - -

> FROM PALISADE INTERSTATE PARKWAY (PIP), NORTH AND SOUTH:
Take EXIT 1 (Englewood Cliffs, Englewood). Turn RIGHT at the end of the ramp and proceed straight (west) on Palisade Avenue, through two traffic lights (the first is at Sylvan Avenue/Route 9W, the second is at Summit Ave).

At the THIRD LIGHT (the intersection at Jones Road to the left and Brayton Road to the right), turn LEFT onto Jones Road and proceed south. After a half mile or so, you'll come to a first 4-way stop intersection at Linden Avenue, then a second 4-way stop at Van Nostrand Avenue. Turn LEFT onto Van Nostrand and proceed about three suburban blocks up to the end. In front of you, you'll see the nature center sign and the road leading up to the center. Parking available next to the nature center or below on Van Nostrand Avenue.


The Nature Center has directions also at:
http://www.flatrock brook.org/ about/directions .html


- - -

Sierra Club North Jersey Group
http://www.newjerse y.sierraclub. org/North

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Jersey. Bear Hunt. 2010. Public Hearing. Stop the Trophy Hunt.

I am cross posting an alert from the group, Protect New Jersey Bears, regarding the proposed bear hunt at the end of this year. As usual, if it is not kill the deer, it's kill the bears. Further, in Passaic County, Mayor Pat Lapore and the Board of Freeholders are getting ready to do a geese kill plus their eggs. This is the same gang that ordered the deer hunt at Garrett Mountain in February that was ultimately stopped due to irregularities in the tagging of the dead deer. And that hunt was stopped not because Pat Lapore and his cohorts realized it was wrong. The real reason was that the state Division of Fish and Wildlife had begun an investigation into the hunt. New Jersey has a serious empathy deficit when it comes to wild animals, treating them like a nuisance rather than our natural treasures. Now, the bears are in the crosshairs, again.

========================================

Please Attend the Public Hearing and Oppose a 2010 Bear Hunt in New Jersey

Please RSVP here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=112351662121242

Date: Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: New Jersey State Museum
Street
: 205 West State St.
City/Town: Trenton, NJ
View Map

Description .The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has approved plans for a black bear trophy hunt this December, following a 60-day public comment period.

This is your last chance to oppose the initiation of the first bear hunt in the state since 2005, and only the third bear hunt in the state since 1970.

Please join us in Trenton to voice your opposition to the trophy hunting of bears. You will be given an opportunity to speak at the hearing. We need as many people to show up as possible to demonstrate that the majority of residents oppose the hunt.

Did you know that in New Jersey's previous hunts, trophy hunters were permitted to shoot cubs less than a year of age, as well as mothers with cubs? Cubs would remain with their mothers and often continue to nurse for six months after the proposed hunting season would end.

In the 2003 bear hunt, about one in six bears killed was a cub. In 2005, about one in eight bears killed was a cub.

Did you know that in New Jersey's previous hunts, trophy hunters were permitted to bait bears to their tree stands with piles of food, and shoot them in the back while they were feeding? The US Forest Service, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management all warn against the feeding of bears because it can result in conflicts with the animals.

Did you know that most conflicts with bears in New Jersey are related to garbage, and that by simply making garbage and other human food sources inaccessuble to bears, most conflicts would be averted? Proper garbage management, enforcement of no-feeding regulations and use of aversive conditioning are the most effective means of reducing problems with bears. Shooting bears at random will not reduce conflicts.

Did you know that hunting will not reduce conflicts with bears? Hunting only provides a temporary population reduction, followed by a population increase. Further, no one has claimed that bears have exceeded their biological carrying capacity in New Jersey.

In 2003, 328 bears were killed by hunters. In 2005, 298 bears were killed. Authorities estimate that more than 400 bears could be killed in 2010.

For more information on the history of New Jersey's bears, please visit our website here: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/bear_hunting/timelines/new_jerseys_bears_timeline.html.

For more information about why hunting doesn't reduce conflicts with bears, please visit: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/bear_hunting/facts/bear_hunts_no_solution.html.

For more information about how to reduce conflicts with bears, please visit: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/bear_hunting/tips/bear_conflict_resolution.html.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Arizona. Camp Verde. Hunting Accident. Pine Tree Destroyed.

Out in Camp Verde, Arizona, a 27-yr old elk hunter named Skylar Stock from Queen Creek, Arizona was killed when a 70-foot pine tree snapped and crashed down on his tent. High winds buffeted the general area at that time plus an ant infestation was observed at the point where the tree broke in two. Stock's hunting buddy called for help after he wriggled his way out of the tent uninjured. Stock leaves behind a wife and three kids.

What a waste!

Pine trees are one of the most recognizable and much appreciated trees on this planet. Heck, we even use their young as the center of our Christmas celebration at home. Back when I was a small boy, my dad would take the family up to a resort town at about 4300 feet in elevation where fog, cool temps, and the sweet-smelling pine trees constituted a complete reversal from our lives in the concrete jungle below. Those trips surely helped instill a love of nature in me. Let's hope that no more pine trees fall victim to nature's fury.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Possum. Respect All Animal Life. I Brake for Animals.

Animal rescue usually means saving an animal for an abusive situation or grave physical condition. We have seen the dramatic and tear-inducing photos on the web, and I have displayed some of them here in this very blog. But, animal rescue could also mean preserving an animal in its good health and form. I reckon in this form it can generally be considered respect for animals.

Last week, I rushed out to get some urgently needed medication from the drugstore before they closed. This unplanned foray into the night put me in a frantic pace that built on itself even after I have made it to the store before closing. Sometimes, you can find yourself whipped into a frenzy and you just keep on going, and going.

Evidently, I had my foot on the gas pedal a bit too much as I came down the hill leading to my home when I noticed that familiar pig-faced animal called the possum in the middle of the street. It must have judged that it was safe to cross the street then, for no one was in sight. But, lo and behold, I was there in an instant and it froze in its place rather than continue on to the other side of the street. Many moons ago, I have resolved in my conscience that I will never run over an animal with my car.

I haven't slammed on the brakes that hard since God knows when. The screeching sound of the tires reverberated between the houses as my car came to a sudden and complete stop approximately five feet from the possum. As if on cue, the possum came into view on my left side as it continued on its way into the darkened bushes of the house across the street. Possums are not good-looking animals but they must be respected nevertheless. They have a life that is meaningful to themselves, and their young. Unfortunately, there are some among us who will not brake for animals, as if stepping on the brakes is an arduous task, or a couple of seconds is too much of a delay even if it meant saving an animal's life. Believe it, we live among people who will not make the effort.

Well, I don't know where that little fellow is now. He must be somewhere in the bushes and most likely he was out again in the last few nights. Such is his life, and I am glad that I didn't take it away that dark night last week.