Rep of Large Company Boasts About Animal Cruelty

The last few years have proven to be an age of outing. In recent news, several people in big companies and government agencies are being outed for doing or saying stupid, immoral, or illegal things. No one is perfect, and we all do and say stupid things – but there comes a time when watching what you say may cost you your job, reputation, or company’s reputation.

While I was having lunch in a restaurant the other day, there were two young women next to me that were difficult to ignore. Not only were we sitting close in proximity, one especially wasn’t the quietest chip in the bag. At first glance of the giant yellow company purse bag next to the woman sitting closest to me, I chalked it up to her having a lot of baggage. But then she announced what she does for a living. She represents a very large candy company with two initials – the one that sponsors a racecar driver – the one displayed on her baggage. I will refer to her as Miss Yellow Baggage.

I overheard the women’s personal issues and gossip about some people they knew, workplace drama about people being fired, the slight looks and whispers and giggles in my direction. I had to double check where I was because for a moment it seemed as if I were back in eighth grade.

While I didn’t get a very good look at Miss Yellow Baggage because she was primarily turned towards her friend and wearing a baseball cap, she was extremely loud – the type with a raspy smoker’s voice that certainly does not make for a nice, quiet meal. Miss YB boasted something so shocking and downright cruel that I will never forget: “I hate cats. If a cat is on the other side of the road, I will drive on the other side to hit it.”

I almost choked on my food, and it was obvious that she’d been heard, because Miss YB’s friend had been turned my way, noticed my expression, and whispered something about me hearing her. But Miss YB didn’t care. She just shrugged it off, snorted and laughed.

How could anyone think of doing such a thing to a harmless animal, much less boast about it in a public restaurant? I thought of my own baby kitties and how I had to bury one of them last year when he was hit by a car (perhaps Miss Yellow Baggage was in the neighborhood?). At that point I was ready to leave. My stomach was upset and I didn’t even enjoy the rest of my meal. All I wanted to do was get out of there and away from this big yellow baggage monster, and so I did.

I knew that if she were telling the truth about purposely running over cats, that she is or has broken the law, possibly even committed a felony. I looked up the statutes and I was right:

Florida Statute:
828.12. Cruelty to animals
(1) A person who unnecessarily overloads, overdrives, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter, or unnecessarily mutilates, or kills any animal, or causes the same to be done, or carries in or upon any vehicle, or otherwise, any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.

(2) A person who intentionally commits an act to any animal which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done, is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.

My entire drive home I thought about how awful that experience was. I wonder what her two-letter company would think about that? So I decided I would out her on my blog.

See, what Miss Yellow Baggage did not realize is that she was not sitting next to some ordinary person eating her lunch. She was sitting next to a cat loving, animal shelter volunteer who also just so happens to be a writer – and one that isn’t afraid to out her.

Child Abuse Related Incidents and Deaths More Than Doubled in Twenty Years

Why have these statistics risen?

In the early 1990s, I reported that child abuse related incidents and deaths were on the rise. The U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect had declared a “national emergency” in August 1990. That year alone, there were more than 1200 child fatalities related to abuse in the United States. Twenty years later, that number has more than doubled. There are nearly five deaths per day due to child abuse and neglect.

Child abuse doesn’t always mean that a child has to have apparent physical injuries – neglect, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse are all different aspects of child abuse. The numbers generally increase during the holiday season, and the numbers of neglect cases rise during the summer.

There are several different characteristics children may exhibit from various types of abuse and other statistics that can be seen here:

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD

Think Twice Before Purchasing a Memory Foam Mattress

Just under four years ago my husband and I decided to make an investment on a good mattress. Both of us had back and neck problems from sleeping on cheap mattresses, plus we wanted to upgrade to something bigger. We researched memory foam mattresses – which were getting high reviews at the time about how comfortable they were – and decided that’s what we needed. Shopping for one wasn’t difficult; a store only about two miles from us sold Sealy Posturepedic TruForm mattresses for a little lower than the other name brands. After purchasing the special box springs and frame, we had invested nearly $2000 on a king-sized bed that we had planned to last us at least twenty years. We considered this to be about right if we replaced a new $500 mattress every five years.

At first the mattress took some getting used to because my husband tends to get hot easily. (There is no air flow with memory foam mattresses.) The first year we had the mattress we both slept well. I had no complaints about not sleeping or having back problems like I do now. The second year, I started frequenting the chiropractor, yet I didn’t think it had anything to do with the bed. By the end of the second year, I was at the chiropractor’s office almost weekly.

My husband and I flipped the mattress, switched sides, and did everything we possibly could to get comfortable. Still not thinking the bed had anything to do with it, I slept crosswise in the opposite direction one night when my husband was at work. I noticed a lump in the center – in the exact spot where we did not sleep. I could not see it with my own eyes, but I could feel it when I was lying down. It was very obvious.

So I started doing a little research on memory foam mattresses. Lo and behold, there it was – tons and tons of reviews about memory foam mattress with the exact same complaints. The mattress we owned had numerous complaints as well. They all said the same thing: after two years, the mattress is no good, the mattress sags, the mattress has no support. After two years, no one really has a good night’s sleep, and some even said they’d rather sleep on the floor.

Since the warranty only covers “visual sagging” the manufacturer’s 20-year warranty is no good. Although memory foam loses its density over time, it visually pops back into place. What a ripoff! We did more research and found out that the larger manufacturers are using cheap materials and selling at high cost – typical of big companies.

Because I could not get comfortable, I hadn’t been able to sleep well without pain. My health insurance does not cover chiropractic care. I estimated that we have spent more in chiropractic care over the last couple of years than we did on the bed itself.

Due to my experience with this mattress and name brand and warranty ordeal, I would never purchase from Sealy ever again. Sealy Posturepedic TruForm Memory Foam Mattress – I rate this a big fat ZERO.

Alternative Foods for Corn and Egg Allergies

Having food allergies can put a real cramp in making dinner plans with friends because most people don’t understand the seriousness of food allergies. Sometimes planning an outing is difficult, so I must be sure to bring some of my own bread, ketchup, or Vegenaise. It took some getting used to at first, but now I am used to it. It’s the other people around me that have the problems. 🙂

I often get asked what I do when going shopping or out to places that serve food that I can’t eat. It’s taken some time, but luckily, there are some great products out there I have found.

Ketchup – Most ketchups contain corn syrup. I found an organic store brand (Publix) that does not. There are many others becoming available, mostly in the organic food sections.

Mayonnaise – Since mayo is made with eggs, there is no way around it. Most mayo also contains corn syrup. I found Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise – it’s lighter but pretty much the same consistency of regular mayo, and it’s made with grapeseed oil. It’s not as flavorful as regular mayo, but it does the job.

Bread – Most store bought breads contain corn syrup or another form of corn, so I try to stay away from them. However, fresh bread does not last long without preservatives, and I don’t eat it every day. Pepperidge Farm Whole Wheat Deli Flats are excellent, as is Toufayan Whole Wheat Pita Bread.

Sports Drinks – I used to love Gatorade before I found out about the corn allergy, but I had to give that up, too. Living in Florida, it’s important to keep hydrated, and sports drinks are a great way to do so. So far, Powerade Zero is the only sports drink I can find that does not contain corn ingredients.

Chips – Obviously, corn chips are out of the question, and many regular potato chips contain corn oil. Two great brands are Stacy’s Pita Chips and Kangaroo Pita Chips. I also enjoy the salted Genisoy Soy Chips.

Cheese – I also have a milk allergy, so ordering pizza is a crisis. I have found, however, that some of the more expensive deli cheeses (not the name brand packaged kinds) are okay. Someone also suggested that I try raw cheese or organic cheese, which I did both, and was able to enjoy them in small amounts.

Tacos – Since tacos are generally served on tortillas and other corn-related foods, I either substitute a taco shell by wrapping up the ingredients in a large piece of lettuce or take a whole wheat tortilla and lightly singe it in oil for about 30 seconds (enough to slightly harden it) and use that as the shell. It’s healthier both ways and still tastes just as good.

Pre-packaged foods – I’m generally out of luck with anything pre-packaged, even when it comes to canned soups. However, one of my favorite canned soups is Amy’s Lentil. Many of the Amy’s brand foods are safe, as long as I read the ingredients.

If your grocery store doesn’t carry these products, ask them to. All you have to do is go to the customer service desk and put in a request. Most of the time they listen.

Caring for a Pet Requires Responsibility – and Love

Most people already know that I’m an animal lover. Sometimes I volunteer at my local animal shelter, even if it is only to play with the animals to exercise them out of their cages. It’s hard not to leave the shelter feeling guilty that I didn’t take one of them home with me, but I have acquired enough of them to keep me busy.

Many of the animals brought to shelters are strays, most likely without any vaccinations or “fixed” from breeding. A pet’s vaccination is almost as important as a child’s immunization. Since most shelters offer mandatory vaccinations and spay or neutering with the adoption fee, all a new owner needs to do is keep up with the yearly vaccinations.

Vaccinations/Spay and Neuter
Around the ages of 12-16 weeks, a cat or dog should start getting its mandatory series of vaccinations. Worming for dogs can start as early as two or four weeks old. Other vaccinations for cats and dogs that are not mandatory include Lyme disease, kennel cough, feline leukemia, and infectious peritonitis. The earliest to spay or neuter a pet is around four months old. There are many affordable shot and spay and neuter clinics available for pet owners that don’t want to pay for the full cost of a veterinarian’s office visit.

If deciding on a regular veterinarian, consider asking these questions: Is a labwork fee included in the visit? Is there an overnight stay? Ask what is included in the price. Most younger animals only need minimum labwork.

Some veterinarians suggest using a name brand food for the first year of the animal’s life, because generic foods may have an imbalance of nutrients. Pickier pet owners may want to use organic foods. Many veterinarians now recommend reading the ingredients on the pet food labels, and if one of the first three ingredients is corn, stay away from it because like humans, animals have a difficult time digesting corn.

When weaning cats and dogs, use soft food and then gradually switch to hard food. Hard food decreases dental disease. Since dogs are more prone to dental diseases than cats, some owners like to get a weekly cleaning. Although most of us are guilty of giving little “treats”, constantly feeding your pet table scraps can be unhealthy because it’s not a balanced diet. Most of all, never feed chocolate to a dog, because it acts as a poison.

If your animal does not have a flea problem, do not bathe it in flea dip. Instead, use baby shampoo or other pet-qualified shampoo, and try to keep its ears dry to avoid infections. (I like to use Mane N Tail shampoo and conditioner on my dog.) Always use lukewarm water and keep them warm after a bath. Cleaning their bedding is also important.

Just like humans, animals need love in order to live happily. Dogs can protect us; cats can comfort us. Animals can be some of the best friends we will ever have. Taking care of them as they will us can help keep them around longer.

Presidents Throughout History Have Served, Improved This Country

How many people know that Presidents Day is actually George Washington’s birthday?

In honor of Presidents Day, tributes are paid to some of the most famous U.S. presidents. Four of the most influential men to hold the highest position in the executive branch of the government were George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt – all of which served a form of military service.

Washington, the “Father of Our Country”, was known as the Army’s father and leader. The following, written by Washington on June 26, 1775 – eleven days after being appointed as commander-in-chief – may be one of the best examples of leadership:

“…When we assumed the soldier, we did not lay aside the citizen; and we shall most sincerely rejoice with you in that happy hour when the establishment of American liberty, upon the most firm and solid foundations, shall enable us to return to our private stations in the bosom of a free, peaceful, happy country.”

Jefferson, the third president serving the United States, wanted to “form a more perfect union.” On March 4, 1801, Jefferson said in his inaugural address, “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.”

Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, was a strong believer in freedom. He proved that by signing the infamous document that freed the slaves. In an annual message to Congress in 1862, Lincoln said, “In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free – honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve.”

Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt became president in 1901, and being known for his delicate words, the teddy bear was named after him. During that year, his speech included words that are repeated and widely spoken today by other presidents and leaders throughout the world: “Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far.”

The writings and teachings of all of these men continue to be studied and followed over time. But who will be the next well-known and liked president that is admired like these four?

Single on Valentine’s Day? Better Than Being in a Relationshit

Valentine’s Day is here and you’re single. So what? For singles that dread this day of phony love, V-Day is just another reminder of those horrible, yet unforgettable, relationshits (type-o deliberate).

Sometimes, old relationships linger in minds forever, stabbing at the corners of brains, causing fear of even the most prospective future mates. While there are probably too many to name, everyone can probably identify with these few types of (pri)mates: Sponge, Leech, Casanova, and Hang-Man.

Sponge is the one that calls on occasion – usually when he has nothing better to do, needs a ride, money, or any kind of help or service that you are ready to provide. This person tells you everything you want to hear until he absorbs everything from your wallet, your sex drive, your convenience, and your soul. When you finally take off the blinders and see how things truly are, it’s usually too late.  Sponge has absorbed your life – and you are left a hard, dried up brillo pad.

Leech is a parasitic creature that won’t go away. At first, he appears to be a really nice person and makes a great friend, so you give him the benefit of any doubt – and your phone number. Leech destroys all of your hopes of ever finding anyone else because he won’t leave you alone – he shows up at parties, at your work, during a girls’ night out. Because he’s always hanging around, people think you and Leech are together – and that’s what he tells them. You avoid his calls, his Facebook messages, his 450 texts over a two-day period – but Leech still doesn’t get it. The Leech is also known as the Stalker.

Everyone has heard of Casanova. He’s the one that makes you feel like the sexiest person alive. He usually dashes in like a thief in the night, takes your breath away, and tells you everything that dreams are made of. You are sure he is THE ONE. After your exquisite evening together, Casanova is never heard from again. You make excuses for him – like maybe he lost your number or maybe he’s just busy. Nope, not at all. That is just the way this creature works. Casanova isn’t seen or heard from again until you bump into him at a club – locking lips with another victim. Casanova is another name for man-whore.

How many of us have heard of Hang-Man? I’m not talking about the kid’s game, although this guy likes to play waiting games. He hangs out with you at his own convenience, but never seems to make real plans. You wait and wait for Hang-Man to make decisions, whether it be from what you’re planning to do over the weekend to what you want to eat for dinner. No matter what, Hang-Man always keep you hanging and wondering. Ranging from being consistently late to standing you up completely, Hang-Man acts as if you’re supposed to wait for his superior ass self. Hang-Man is probably keeping you waiting at this very moment.

There is one thing in common with all of these characters, besides the fact that they self-centered, arrogant, selfish people out for their own interests – they are each the types of men you can learn to easily avoid. Do yourself a favor – your dignity is worth more than any of these creatures and their false hopes – so don’t find yourself in a relationshit on Valentine’s Day!

Instead, order some sushi, sit in the tub and cuddle up with your pet – the one who really does love you.