Saturday, June 13, 2009

Three Totally Unrelated Posts In One!

First off, the last bit of hockey news for two weeks (the draft is coming! The draft is coming!)
Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins on their Cup win. They earned it.
Even though I picked the Pens in 7 in the pool at work (which landed me in third place, the same finish I managed last year), after Game 2 I regretted making that prediction. When the Wings are on their game, they're unflappable and unbeatable. That the Pens got Detroit off their game in four of the next five games is most impressive.
Congratulations to Evgeni Malkin, the first Russian to win the Conn Smythe. One of these days somebody will recognize that the great Sidney Crosby isn't even the best player on his own team.

Before I launch into this next topic, I'd like to state for the record that I am extremely sensitive to cruelty in all its forms, but perhaps most especially to cruelty against animals. This is a trait I've always had, but ten years with Eva has hardened it into an absolute. I don't mind admitting that violence against, or neglect of, pets pretty much unmans me. To perhaps give you an idea of why, I'd like to relate an anecdote, attributed to Dr. Robin Downing, DVM.

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owner, his wife, and their little boy were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family there were no miracles left for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, the owners told me they thought it would be good for the four-year-old boy to observe the procedure. They felt he could learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. The little boy seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.
Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.

We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
The little boy, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, "Everybody is born so that they can learn how to live a good life - like loving everybody and being nice, right?" The four-year- old continued, "Well, animals already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

I am thoroughly disgusted with the Toronto Humane Society. My only direct dealings with them were most unpleasant for all involved; now stories about just how inhumane the place actually is are in wide circulation, thanks to a series of investigative reports by The Globe and Mail. They have a strict "no-kill" policy...only defensible to those who think sickness and suffering without hope of healing is likewise defensible. And the most recent installment shows the powers that be at THS know how wrongheaded their policies are. (An employee tells the Globe that when a van full of OSPCA investigators "raided" the shelter, front desk staff hid sick cats from view. He himself was asked to assist, and he declined.)
In the wake of these allegations, which come from more than just the one staff member, a spokesman for the THS said no animals were moved during the inspection. True. They were moved just before the inspection and again just after. "If there were any animals that were moved", he said, "it was part of daily operations." Yeah, as in: here's the handbook detailing SOP for when OSPCA investigators come calling.


On the same page of today's Globe there's a story called "Brunch is hell". The executive chef at the Air Canada Centre is quoted as saying "everybody wants to go to brunch. Nobody wants to work it."
And why not?
One reason is cited by a co-owner of another restaurant in Toronto. "I hate not being able to go out on a Saturday night," he says. "If I do, I just watch the time tick over until 3, knowing I have to get up at 8".
There are so many things wrong with this sentence I hardly know where to start. First, the speaker is the co-owner of a restaurant, which tells me (a) he's probably not nineteen years old and (b) he understands better than most the vagaries of the service industry, having invested a career in it. I would expect that little speech from a teenaged waiter; perhaps this gentleman should consider selling his stake.
And who puts the gun to his head and forces him to stay out until three in the morning? You party animals out there, can you explain this line of reasoning to me? I mean, at some point between seven in the evening and three in the freakin' morning, don't you think it'd go through your head that hey, I have to get up at eight? He even admits as much!

Pshaw. Get up at eight. I get up at FIVE.

Something about this reminds of of the cashier who called in one day to say he wouldn't be coming to work "because it's raining." Like I say, we get a lot of this in retail...either work ethic wasn't installed in many of today's teens or a grocery store doesn't count as a real job, I'm not sure which. (Me, I've always thought if you're paid, it's a job, and you show up and you do it to the best of your ability, but what do I know?)

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