Category Archives: Guest Posts

Muzzle Solves All? A Response to Linnea and Aspiecatholicgirl’s Comments

Remember this post?  Two separate commenters have suggested that a muzzle would be the solution whenever we take Dicky out for a walk. In case you chose not to click on the link and read the post, let me sum it up for you:

A guy who owned a golden retriever, allowed it to run off the leash at Salem Commons. Salem Commons is not a dog park, just a park where people walk their dogs and are required to have said dogs on leash by law. Dicky, like many dogs, does not like to meet people or other dogs, especially when he is on leash and we often have to restrain him as his natural instinct is to bark and lunge at the offending animal. The golden retriever tried to run up to “meet” our dog and we had to shout several times at the inconsiderate owner to call his dog back as the incident very nearly ended in our not so friendly dog shaking things up with the friendly (yet irresponsibly trained) golden retriever.

Keeping in mind that I do not wish to discourage people from commenting on my threads, I am only quoting the posters in this post because I felt that a full post would be a better way to address them. I don’t wish to encourage a “flame” war. If you disagree or agree with their comments, feel free to post your replies, but always in a respectful manner.

Linnea’s Reply:

I see many dog owners in park situations using a muzzle for their unfriendly dogs. You might try that. Your walk should be relaxing, not spent trying to make sure your dog doesn’t bite.

Aspiecatholicgirl’s Reply

I do think that people shouldn’t let their dogs run up to yours, willy nilly. I do agree. But the fact is that such a thing will happen, it will, and a muzzle could prevent something bad.

An analogy: other people shouldn’t drive drunk. They shouldn’t. But some of them will, and you should wear a seatbelt so that when you do get hit by a drunk driver, the results won’t be as bad.
You wearing a seatbelt doesn’t mean you’re excusing the other person’s drunk driving. Your dog being on a muzzle doesn’t mean the other person should let their dog just run around.

Even if it were my decision, I would not use a muzzle on Dicky. Admittedly, my experience is limited to my time as Dicky’s owner and what little I have learned from my friends who are professional dog sitters, as well as what I have witnessed from other dog owners.

Perhaps there are times when a muzzle is necessary. I don’t feel this is one of those cases and here is my reasoning.

In the first place, using a muzzle is to assume that there is no other way for a dog to cause harm to another. Dogs still have claws. Larger dogs can hurt other dogs simply by jumping on one another. And that’s not addressing the issues of dogs jumping on children or other people sharing that same park.

But let’s look at Aspiecatholicgirl’s seatbelt analogy in another way. A seatbelt is a safety restraint that is required by law to prevent or minimize injury of the driver and the passenger in the event of a collision. As dog owners, John and I already use a safety retraining device that is required by law for the safety of our dog and of others: That is the leash.

People also like to try to pet our dog, even after we have told them repeatedly that he is not friendly. Should those people be made to wear handcuffs every time they leave the house because even though violating a dog’s personal space when the owner has clearly told them not to is not okay, it’s going to happen anyway? That logic doesn’t sound so fair when you apply it to a human being, does it?

The issue in Salem Commons was not our dog. It was the owner of the Golden Retriever. Not only was he breaking the law, that was clearly stated on several signs, yet unfortunately not enforced, but he was making the decision on our dog’s behalf that his dog was going to meet ours. I am not going to punish my dog because someone else has decided that it’s perfectly acceptable to let their dog run loose and violate our animal’s space.

Salem is a dog friendly town. I see dogs barking and lunging for each other all the time. I do not see them wearing muzzles, but rather, I see their responsible owners pulling the dogs away from each other. Because that is the sort of thing dogs do and subsequently, that is what responsible dog owners do.

The Responsibilities of Truth and Trust ~ A Guest Post by Dare Mick With a Forward by Nathanielle Sean Crawford

I took a hiatus recently. What I didn’t count on as I revisited some old memories from the early days of my adulthood was how much of an effect they might have on me as I was recounting them as clearly as if I had gone back in time. My brother Daryll was kind enough to lend me his words of wisdom once again and it seems an appropriate place to start the creative juices flowing once again.

~Nathanielle

This story is a bit older, and I’ll admit poorly captured, but I learned a lesson out of this jumbled mess that I feel deserves repeating. I hope that after reading this short piece from a day in my life you gain two things; the first, an understanding of the complex nature of moral decisions in everyday life; and second, that when given a thought you CAN learn from your mistakes and shortcomings. Thanks for taking the time to read this. -Dare

I started out today with a lie, and the intent to write about the truth.

I opened a book I had no real intention of reading to page 109, and the first paragraph I read settled any debate I might have been having. The paragraph mentioned that “philosophers use convincing arguments to bend people into believing what they want.” This caused me to make several decisions all at once, and then to immediately analyze them. The book, being of a business oriented, corporate nature, designed to train people in better ways to market and advertise to consumers by playing on psychology and emotions, was against my cause.

Now I mentioned I started the day off with a lie and by that I really mean there are several lies as well as truths that decided the day. To start, the book in question was acquired under false pretenses because I wanted to use it selfishly as a replacement swap for another book from a “Little Library” (a DIY, free library created to promote book sharing and literacy in communities). I hadn’t even seen what was available for swap in the Little Library, I just assumed there must be something I wanted. So I set to the task of getting a book I planned on losing in exchange, not caring what its content was or even if anyone else might like it. All of this was pointless from the start because the etiquette of Little Libraries does not require that one leaves a book when one is taking a book. Regardless I felt bad that I would be taking one and not leaving something for somebody else so instead of that one foul I began a streak. 1) I lied to my mother-in-law so she would get me a book from an (unrelated) free library. 2) I lied to myself thinking this was better. 3) I lied to any future Little Library patron that might be looking for a good read, by substituting a “junk” book. So, in my anger at lying so much; at the thought of putting this “evil corporate book” in a place where free minds congregated in the hopes that I could selfishly attain something for my own benefit; after reading what I had read in the business book and considering destroying it, which would have been censorship (the opposite of truth and freedom); I came to the conclusion that I needed to write.

I resolved to write about that book, the part that falsely represented philosophy at least, and how although I am in opposition to the information and goals represented in it, that I couldn’t censor its content and make myself an enemy of truth.

It also happened on this day that I had an appointment with a particular party to keep but had cancelled it in favor of a better opportunity. This also freed me up to use the extra time to write about the truth, which started the lies all over. I lied to a separate party (aware of my appointment) so as not to disappoint them and to avoid any unwanted conversation it would cause. Again, selfishness. One mishap and lie led to another leading me to consider what I was doing and that again I found myself opposing what I was trying to represent, the truth. Eventually I did come clean and all was fine (for the duration of this story) and it even seemed silly to have lied to begin with. Yet despite the reprieve, after separating from the second party and not wanting any further conversation, I decided to travel a road I don’t normally use, as it would prevent me from running into them again. I almost paid for it in blood.

I had simply wanted to avoid a conversation and instead I put myself in real danger. On the walk to the Cafe I decided to go through a neighborhood I don’t normally walk through, and away from the main road. I’m still not certain if I should have chosen differently but I know what fear feels like, and I felt it. (Warning I am writing the curse words that followed. Again, no censorship.) There was a man walking on the same road, headed in my direction but on the other side. I didn’t pay any mind since I walk everywhere and so do other people. I’ve passed thousands of people without incident. Not today. The man changed sides of the road to be on mine although there were no cars or reason to, so I changed sides to avoid running into him. He then changed sides again to come towards me. I tried again and he mirrored again, except that now he was shouting at me!?

“Hey! You wanna fight me!” He shouted. “Hey you, do you hear me? I said you wanna fight me!”

He angled towards me and I froze. I couldn’t believe this, I didn’t do anything threatening and this guy was threatening me. He screamed this time,

“Hey Fucker!! I’m talking to you, you FIGHT me! Are you listening to me?”

I heard every word he said, but I couldn’t understand why this was happening. He started to corner me and put his hand out, telling me to take it. I turned away and started walking towards houses, anybody’s. I walked to the nearest house with him right behind me. He started shouting again,

“I can’t believe it, you won’t take my Fuckin’ hand?!”

I walked faster and then ran for the door of some stranger’s house.

“Fuckin weirdo!” He screamed at me, but I was already in another yard. There were dogs barking at me and a car parked in the drive and I’m certain someone was watching me from the window, but I would rather have explained the situation to a sane person than risk another second with this madman. Finally he walked off muttering to himself and I was grateful to get far away from him, and the yard.

I learned two lessons from this and they were Truth and Trust.

The lesson of truth I know will be one I have to learn and relearn again and again. I think in the struggle to find truth and share it, you have to live it. You have to catch yourself in lies and correct yourself. If we want truth and justice then we must stop ourselves even from little lies, abusing trust, manipulation, the pursuit of personal gain and self advancement. We must reject these even if they seem necessary to meet a goal. If truth cannot be achieved without deceit then it is a lost cause from the start.

The lesson of trust was frightening and enlightening. I trusted myself; I trusted familiar situations; I trusted a stranger with shared similarities; I trusted unearned peace. Trust should be guarded. My struggle for fraternity makes me naive on occasion as I hope that men in my position will share my hopes and desires for brotherhood and peace. I forget that men in my position are bound. They feel the binds of labor, of oppression, of injustice and unfair treatment, of inequality. They feel chained like animals and often lash out at the world, even against someone who might be there to free them. Trust, unlike compassion, should not be freely given but reserved. I will continue to find truth in my daily life and help to spread it, and I will trust only when it is mutual.

To read more posts by Dare Mick, you can click these links:

What You Do To Make You

Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

World’s Largest Metaphor Crashes into Iceberg

I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t make a post on the anniversary of the Titanic disaster. So many misconceptions surround that event that have recently come to light with new research. Here are some fun facts.

Credit to SoloMoon of Nanowrimo.org for researching and correcting the misconceptions, which are in bold.

  • The captain was an idiot and/or caused the wreck somehow and/or ignored iceberg warnings and/or failed to save as many people as possible
    • Several different witness accounts corroborate on the fact that he was a highly experienced captain who expressed concern about the maneuverability of a ship that large and not only refused a spot in a lifeboat twice but also formally released his crew from duty to allow them to run for the last few spots on lifeboats when he knew nothing else could be done to save the ship.
    • The “women and children first” procedure was just Victorian SOP
      • The decision to save women and children before men was made spontaneously by the crew when they realized that the ship was going down and there wasn’t enough space in the lifeboats for everyone–it was nowhere in any instruction manual, and was also only followed on one half of the ship.  The crew also prioritized women with children.
        • only followed on one half of the ship.  The crew also prioritized women with children.
      • First-class passengers got saved at a higher rate because the crew was prioritizing wealthier customers over less wealthy ones
        • This is probably the most ridiculous piece of crap that I have ever heard about Titanic, because it just doesn’t even make sense.  Let’s just review: THE SHIP WAS SINKING INTO THE OCEAN, THE ENTIRE CREW KNEW THEY WERE ALL GOING TO DIE, and yet for some reason they made a decision to say “we could save everyone we can find as fast as possible regardless of class, but nah, let’s save the wealthy people first”?  What the ever-loving hell?
        • The reason more first-class passengers than second- or third-class passengers escaped is that the crew was frantically running into hallways, banging on the first doors they came across, and dragging people out of bed to demand that they get into the nearest lifeboat, and the first-class rooms were located on higher decks than the second-class ones.  It was faster and resulted in more lives saved to just grab the nearest people and start stuffing them on boats, which happened to prioritize the first-class passengers.  The decision had nothing to do with classism.
      • J. Bruce Ismay was a terrible human being who caused the Titanic disaster and deserved to die in the wreck
        • J. Bruce Ismay committed the unforgivable sin of happening to be one of the survivors, and therefore got branded a villain and accused of everything from dressing as a woman to sneak on board a lifeboat (thank you, James Cameron) to deliberately wrecking the ship to collect on the insurance money, none of which are true.  I’m pretty sure he only gets blamed for everything because people don’t feel as comfortable blaming those who actually, y’know, died horribly.
      • John Jacob Astor was a terrible person who deserved to die
        • J.J. Astor committed the unforgivable sin of inheriting a company from his father, developing a new steel-refinement technique that sped up the development of American railroads, and giving thousands of dollars to the arts every year.  Oh, yeah, and then he chose to die rather than take a lifeboat spot away from anyone else.  So he was basically the real life Tony Stark of 1912, none of which explains why history has chosen to crap all over him.
      • The second mate pulled a gun on the passengers and/or shot passengers and/or shot himself
        • This one comes straight from the James Cameron movie, which speculates about the survivor reports of “gunshots” around the time the ship was going down (widely believed now to be loud bangs caused by internal structures of the ship collapsing) to portray the second mate (who died saving a bunch of random strangers and didn’t deserve this crap) shooting passengers and then himself.  No basis in reality.

Espresso Shots: A Guest Spot By Zeek61

On one of the forums I frequent, I posted a poll asking people whether they feel hot or cold coffee is more effective. This response was very informative and with the permission of the author, Zeek61, I have used it as my blog’s very first guest post, with some editing to make it concise and shiny.

I just like a good cup of coffee in the morning. I find that coffee doesn’t really tend to wake me up that much, it is more the warm beverage that helps me. On days where I am really out of it [like back to back double third and first shifts] coffee does give me a little bit of a boost and I have begun having triple shot espressos.

People tend to have misconceptions about how coffee should be consumed. If you want the healthiest option, then black coffee is the best. But as soon as you add milk or sugar you pretty much make a healthy drink into something that is the worst for you, such as adding the fat from the dairy milk and processed sugar. I do still drink my coffee with full cream milk, but I tend to not use sugar. If I need my coffee a little sweet, I prefer that it be unprocessed. Although vanilla lattes tend to have just enough sweetness that I don’t have to bother with sugar.

The other thing is that unless you have your own coffee machine (+ grinder and supply of varying beans) then it can be hard to appreciate good coffee. Most places you buy coffee from use a café dark roast. There tends to only be two or three different kinds that a café may use and then they’ll pick one and stick with it for cost reasons. The only time you might have a difference is when you go to a specialty café. So most of the differences you will taste between coffee places is more just the skill of the barrister and the way they grind their coffee. It is amazing how much difference in flavor you can get buy altering the grind, water pressure, volumes used, etc. It is quite an art to get a good cup of coffee, as I have discovered by experimenting with my own espresso machine

Also, if you want a coffee that has the most punch then you should really be looking for coffee that is a lighter roast then the usual dark roast that is used. The reason why a dark roast is used is because the flavor is not as bitter and thus there are more people that are able to stand the taste of it. A lighter roast has more caffeine but the trade off is that it is also significantly more bitter.

It’s a lot of fun to try out different blends/roasts/grinds/styles of coffee. Coffee is great, so try some of the other blends and you may find that they give you a better kick.