Monday, December 31, 2018


Social media provides an open platform for speaking one's mind, and there are many who take advantage of this medium in order to express their thoughts and opinions.  It's a great way to share your feelings, communicate, and engage with a large audience, beyond just the scope of your own friends and family. In that respect, it's certainly a worthwhile use of one's time.

A word of caution, however: if and when that soapbox ever becomes a pedestal from which you are unable to listen to opinions that differ from your own, perhaps it's time to step back and take a break. 

An echo chamber may be a comfortable place to hold a conversation, but it's not a productive one.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Slaughterhouse Escapee Gives Birth Days Later

Last week, a cow in New Jersey made headlines when it escaped from a truck that was en route to a slaughterhouse, kicking her way out onto a busy stretch of Route 80.   She was rescued from the highway and sent to live out her days at an animal sanctuary in Wantage, NJ.

But her story didn't end there.  Today, it was reported that the cow, dubbed Brianna, gave birth to a calf, named Winter.

While I'm very happy that this cow had a happy ending to her story--both she and her calf will live out their days in peace at the Skylands Animal Sanctuary--I'm horrified that a heavily-pregnant cow was being sent to slaughter at all. That seems unusually cruel and inhumane, and it makes me wonder what supplier was responsible for even putting her on that truck in the first place.

It's a disturbing story, and I'm grateful to the animal sanctuary that rescued her.  Anyone interested in making a donation to Skylands Animal Sanctuary can do so at this link:

[photo credit: Mike Stura, Skylands Animal Sanctuary]

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Tattoos and Copyright Infringement: An intriguing debate

Came across an interesting article in the NY Times, about tattoos and copyright infringement.  The article details several lawsuits that have arisen as a result of video game developers using images of athletes and their tattoos. 

It never occurred to me that the tattoo artist retains his or her creative rights, even if the canvas upon which their art is a human being.  As a writer, I can understand the artists' desire to protect their work, but I always assumed tattoos would fall under a "work for hire/all rights" umbrella.  

Then, I did a little more reading on the subject, and found this article, about a lawsuit that arose as a result of a sight gag in the movie The Hangover II. One of the characters gets a tribal face tattoo that is exactly like boxer Mike Tyson's.  The artwork is distinctive and instantly recognizable--and the artist demanded compensation.   The movie studio eventually reached a financial settlement with the tattoo artist, and I think it was the right move.   It does raise some questions, though, about who owns the rights to artwork that appears on the human body--at some point, depending on the medium, does an artist relinquish their right to their art being reproduced?

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve 2018: Feast of the Seven Fishes....well, actually, 12

This year's menu...and yes, we decided that escargots does count as a fish, even though it is technically a land snail.  According to the Catholic Church, escargots is acceptable to eat on "meat fasting" days, so if it's good enough for the Pope, it's good enough for me. (For the sticklers out there, we also had a small dot of caviar on the deviled eggs, so if you must, you can consider that the 13th fish.)

Thursday, December 20, 2018

A "Belly Bomber" Abomination

Saw these in the grocery store and it shook me right down to my Brooklyn-born core.  

This is an abomination.

Seriously, though: I do enjoy a good veggie burger from time to time, and the Dr. Praeger's brand is good, You just don't mess with an institution like White Castle. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

R.I.P. Penny Marshall

"If in Heaven, we don't meet,
Hand in hand, we'll bear the heat.
And if it ever gets too hot,
Pepsi Cola hits the spot."

Laverne & Shirley was one of my favorite shows growing up.  My best friend's name started with an "S", and mine starts with an "L", so naturally we considered ourselves a NY-version of the Milwaukee besties.  I even had a white shirt with a script "L" on it, just like Laverne's, and yes, we once drank Milk & Pepsi just to see what all the fuss was about (it tasted kind of like chocolate milk, but it was...not good).

Of course, Penny went on to become an accomplished director (A League of Their Own and Big were two of my favorites), in addition to her memorable acting roles.   Rest in Peace, Penny Marshall.