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Showing posts from February, 2011

Van Saun Park. Bergen County, New Jersey. Humans Litter the Park. Human Trash.

In spite of the rain in the morning, this Monday turned out to be a very welcome prelude to Spring. I believe that the temperature hovered around 57F with the rain stopping in the early afternoon. I took my dog, Fidelma, to Van Saun Park for a long walk and she had a wonderful time. We strolled for an hour and a half, in a circuitous route, as usual, with the wet ground having no dilatory effect on her. We're back to old form, and it isn't truly Spring yet. The green lily that grows on Washington's Spring including the resulting stream was as green as ever, as it had been throughout this Winter. I suspect that the spring water is warm. The afternoon wasn't as beautiful and reassuring as I had wanted it to be. I walked around Walden Pond and took these photos of its southern end, the end at which the pond drains across and underneath Howland Avenue. The heavy rains of the morning raised the level and the volume of the pond. Consequently, loose branches and leaves sailed

Circuses. Zoos. Animal Performers. Prisoners With No Crime.

Animal-friendly Hiking Boots. Hi-Tech Cascadia XCM. Hike with a Conscience.

Finally, I found a pair of hiking boots that doesn't have any leather on it. This one is made by Hi-Tech, and it is called Cascadia XCM . It runs around $140-$160, depending on the seller and whatever discounts they are giving at the moment. The Cascadia XCM uses a waterproof but breathable membrane, seamless nylon uppers, brass hardware, and vibram soles. It also sports rubber toe protection. Several users gave it good reviews online, and I don't see any problem with giving it a try especially considering the rarity of animal-friendly shoes. Footlocker sells this model. I am dismayed at how difficult it has been finding hiking boots that do not have leather on them. I have looked at models produced by Asolo, Merrell, Columbia, LaSportiva, Mammut, Garmont and others. One can see that the prevailing attitude is that a good and dependable boot must have leather on it, if not entirely made of leather, at least some trimming. I think this is just more along traditional thinking and

The Outdoors. 2011. A Year for Hiking. The Perils of the Trail.

Nearly thirty years ago, when our son was just a toddler, my wife and I took to camping and hiking quite frequently. We camped mostly in the northeast, but we also made our way to the eastern shore of the Cheasapeake Bay. There was one night when we slept in a leanto without a tent, somewhere near the Canadian border, by a lake. At Cranberry Lake in the Adirondocks, we rented a canoe and spent a couple of hours getting back to our site simply because we paddled against the wind. In the White Mountains of New Hampshire, a bear cub came running along us in a trail. We explored Acadia National Park in Maine, loved Echo Lake, Bar Harbor, and hiked up to Bubble Rock. All these trips were captured in 3X5 color photographs that may have already melted together over time in a warm closet. I wish I could clearly remember all the details, but the fog of time and a declining mnemonic ability have robbed me of the specifics. Those were adventurous times by themselves, but even more considering tha

New Jersey State Library System. Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus. An Ill-conceived Alliance. February 2011.

Sometimes, a good thing is in wrong hands. Who would think that the New Jersey State Library (NJSL) would become business partners with Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey circus? It is antithetic to have any library system, widely perceived as a font of wisdom, push for a show that is emblematic of animal abuse, exploitation, and simply an insult to our intelligence. Who, out there, is truly entertained by animals balancing on balls, jumping through hoops on fire, or a quadruped wearing a skirt, walking on two feet??? I don't want to know you. Anthony Botti , Head of Friends of Animals United NJ , (FAUN) sounded the alarm and we now have to convince the officials of NJSL that supporting Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus is counterintuitive and outright wrong. Here's the pitch: Now, it is only fair to note that the NJSL partnered with the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSE

Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey. February 2011. Protest Schedule. Stand Up for the Circus Animals.

Once again, the stink we know as Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey is in the air. They will be in New Jersey this month, at East Rutherford and Newark Prudential Center. No shows at Madison Square Garden? None. The circus probably can't afford MSG anymore due to slumping sales. An increasing number of people have become aware of the inherent cruelty in captive animal performances. Even China, a country known for unspeakable animal abuse, last month, banned performing animals in zoos and circuses. But, Feld Entertainment , owner of the circus, continues to rake in the dough on the backs on imprisoned and enslaved animals. If you like wholesome family entertainment, Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus shouldn't be your choice. Below is the schedule of demonstrations at Newark and East Rutherford. Come help us educate the public. The animals need your help. See you there. ******* Prudential Newark Demos ******** DATE Show Time Demo Times Organizer Fri, Feb 25 7:30pm 6:00-8

Joy from the Animal World. Do Not Disturb. Leave Happiness Alone.

What happens when humans leave animals alone? Joy. I thought I'd feature this joyful scene just to ease the malaise that naturally develops around a website like this, one that continuously exhibits the gritty reality of animal abuse. I don't want anyone out there to typecast OLA as nothing but a depressing showcase of animal cruelty issues. There is joy in the animal kingdom, but that is often compromised by human interference. Sure, humans can bring joy and protection to the animals too. These goats and sheep seem to be under the care of a human, frolicking on property owned by a human. But, they don't know that. These animals here are not joyful because of that circumstance. They can't construct abstract philosophical ideas or highfalutin arguments. I suspect that they are incapable of conceptualizing good or bad fortune. Their thinking is uncluttered by greed or ambition. They live in the moment. So, what is their first and natural reaction when left on their own? A

Life and Death in the Animal Kingdom. Food Chain. Nature's Way. Do Not Disturb.

As the seasons change, so do shooting conditions. I am talking about photography, not hunting. But, in all seasons, there are good photo opportunities. That's why I always carry one of my cameras wherever I go. Walking in the woods yesterday, I chanced upon a hawk on the ground. Except for its swiveling head, this hawk stood there like a garden statue, unmoved by an approaching human. Birds are the most skittish animals around, but this one stood its ground. Soon, it became apparent to me that its claws held a squirrel, pinned to the ground, beneath a few inches of snow. Animals experience extreme hunger when Winter turns the land into a tundra. The hawk was not about to abandon its newly caught meal, in the snow-covered landscape of January, just because a human was in its proximity. I kept my distance and took some photos. The hawk spread its wings, stooped, and delivered the coup de grace on it hapless prey. It hopped around a bit, and then flew off to the top branches of a tree