Saturday, April 23, 2016

Carnivores and Casualty Lists - column

Mack Hall, HSG

Carnivores and Casualty Lists

At a Florida zoo there was until last week a charming young zookeeper who billed herself as “The Tiger Whisperer.” She cared for the zoo’s tigers and gave presentations about them. Sometimes she painted her face like a tiger.

So cute.

So adorable.

So dead.

The charming young zookeeper forgot the prime directive – no matter how many Disney cartoons you’ve seen, to a carnivore you are nothing more than lunch.

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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders used campaign contributions to charter a big ol’ jet plane for himself and his family to fly to Rome where he gave a ten-minute presentation on socialism. He may or may not have met the Pope. Then he and his family flew back.

Could you and I score a deal like that? We could fly in a chartered jet to conferences all over the world to talk about poverty (“Another glass of champagne over here, please…) and global warming (“Keep the engines running; we won’t be in Rome overnight.”).

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According to BuzzFeed (whatever that is), Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s speaking fees top $200,000.

$200,000 for a speech. Do you think someone might want a return on that someday?

Several years ago I gave a speech to the local volunteer fire department. They gave me supper, which was far more than I deserved. To you and me, dear reader, firefighters are heroes; to presidential candidates they are only a category of potential voters.

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But let’s be fair: Donald Trump still wears something funny on top of his head and Ted Cruz is still channeling Pee Wee Herman.

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The death total so far at a music festival in Argentina is up to five. Should music festivals feature casualty lists?

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A friend in Louisiana was displaced by the flooding and was given refuge in a location where he had no access to the intergossip. I wrote him a letter. A real letter, with heading, inside address, salutation, body, complimentary close, and signature. Then I had to find a proper envelope and a postage stamp. The experience felt so Little House on the Prairie.

How sad that there are now no letters and, really, no photographs. When today’s twenty-somethings are old they will not be able to joy in rediscovering shoeboxes of forgotten letters and pictures – and, thus, joy in rediscovering their youth - for everything is but electrical ephemera on the intergossip, deleted when the machine’s little brain is full, or lost when the gadget is stolen or traded.


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