Archive for August, 2009

16
Aug
09

Michael Vick and the Amish: If we don’t forgive?

The news that Michael Vick signed with the Philadelphia Eagles left me feeling bemused and more than a bit conflicted.  Clearly, Vick was punished for his crime, that can’t be debate. Michael Vick lost millions, his reputation, a chunk of his pro football career and served 18 months in prison.  So in terms of payback to society one could argue Michael Vick paid his debt and I was close to forgiveness.

But then one of the ESPN commentators on the radio flamed the fires of revenge for me.  We were reminded that this wasn’t just a matter of fighting dogs that were tortured and killed, as though somehow they deserved that horrific fate but we were reminded of the cruelties to everyday family pets.  You know pets, those trusted loyal companions that functions as friend, family and companion.  We were reminded that small fuzzy, defenseless dogs were thrown into the pits to be killed as a sort of sick warm up for the main dog fighting event.  In fact, Vick had no qualms about sacrificing and killing his own family pets. As a dog and animal lover I find the behavior reprehensible and a form of betrayal belonging to a lower form of life, definitely bordering on the sub-human.  How could any sentient creature be so cruel?  Then I remembered, oh right, we’re talking human beings were acts of cruelty occur every day as if it was an integral part of our DNA. As we race to 7 billion being served, it’s not surprising to find that the deviants and sadists, even if they are the decided minority, are stilling teeming in absolute numbers. That’s the other cruel joke, that is when we assume global warming can be divorced from population control but I’ll save that commentary for another blog.

I remember some of the Michael Vick excuses.  It was the warrior culture Vick came from that engendered his behavior but hell after a losing game I don’t recall the fans stringing and hanging up the losing quarterback by his feet like they did to inferior fighting dogs?  Vick commented that this was the culture the adults in his childhood exposed him to but I’m sorry if Nazi Germany taught us anything it’s that as citizens we have a responsibility to know and do the right thing.  Torturing any creature is verboten in my book as it is for most of us despite what any given authority figure might say.

So, now I am agitated and upset regarding Vick and the other cruel sadists bastards that I have to share this once pretty little planet with.  Then I remember a transcendental moment a couple of years ago.  I think most of us vaguely remember the sad school massacre of five Amish children back in 2006, unfortunately these horrific incidents tend to blur into one another as the public become inured to the horror. The media was all over the story talking to the Amish parents who were trying to console the family of the man who performed the hideous crime.  One of the grieving mothers quoted a familiar Amish phrase, “If we don’t forgive, how can we be forgiven?”  Say it quickly and it almost sounds like a trite aphorism, light and somewhat soothing when you are dealing with some small slight from another person.  Say it when you daughter was just massacred because some deficient creature couldn’t get over the loss of his own daughter and it borders on sainthood.  And that’s was just what the Amish were saying as they embraced the grieving family of the mass murderer.

So should we forgive Michael Vick and his transgressions? Frankly, I think Michael Vick’s remorse is as ephemeral as Don Cheney’s Vietnam war record. And then I think of those words, “If we don’t forgive, how can we be forgiven?”

Cheers,

Erik John Bertel

Vick Media Update:  I listened to a few sound bites from the 60 Minutes interview and the Michael Vick mea culpa.  I could not force myself to watch the whole spectacle because I knew Vick was being handled and coached.  I wasn’t wrong because this morning ESPN reported that Vick has hired a media consultant team that has assembled a 42 page media crisis guide that will address the rehabilitation of Vick’s tarnished public persona. Listening to a few sound bites and reading between the scripted words he sounded more like he was sorry that he was caught rather than being truly repentant for his hideous actions in torturing dogs. When you realize that dog fighting is tied to gambling and organized crime well lets just say I’m rooting for the Giants anyway.On the plus side I don’t believe he will become a serial killer.

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11
Aug
09

The Ebu Gogo Legend and Flores Girl Novel

Flo: A lead Character in Flores Girl

The Ebu Gogo (pronounced abu, rhymes with Paula Abdul) are the main characters in a traditional folk story told by the Flores Islanders. As the main characters in the island legends the Ebu Gogo are described as a small, nasty people with a voracious appetite that sometimes included the devouring of the occasional human baby. The Ebu Gogo were said to walk awkwardly and could be heard to murmuring in their own language and were said to be capable of parroting human speech. When they could tolerate the Ebu Gogo no more the Flores islanders drove the small people in the direction of the caves, perhaps near Liang Bau or perhaps they burned the survivors alive. In any case, these stories were probably told to keep truculent Flores children in line in much the same fashion as some western fairy tales are told.

Some scientists believe that the folk lore maybe a shared cultural memory of Homo floresiensis but there is no solid evidence to support that theory. However, legends have the Ebu Gogo disappearing about 400 years ago at the time of the arrival of the Portuguese explorers. Scientists working on the Homo floresiensis find have also referred to the Ebu Gogo as “Hobbits”. Followers of cryptozoology, the pseudoscience that studies legendary animals such as Bigfoot and Sasquatch, are also enamored of the Ebu Gogo legend. The Ebu Gogo are also the main characters in Flores Girl.   Their discovery by two American scientists begins a series of unfortunate events that has unforeseen consequences for all involved. For more information and images of the Ebu Gogo go to www.FloresGirl.com.

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Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot is an exciting speculative adventure story about the discovery of a new prehistoric people by two scientists, Sarah and Richard. Their discovery is threatened by both religious zealots and marauding industrialists. Download the e-Book in PDF, Mobi and Microsoft Reader formats. Honest it is free at floresgirl.com. Just click the chick!

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  • Okay, this first couple of weeks with Trump is getting confusing. Is Trump opting for a monarchy or a Home Shopping Network knockoff?Join the Flores Girl Twitters, Quotes from the Novel 6 months ago
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RSS Download the Free Flores Girl Podcast at Podiobooks

  • Exodus - The Final Chapter
    Sarah and Richard must fight their way off the island in this final installment of the podcast.
  • Your Hands are Stained with Blood.
    As death and chaos overtakes the island, Sarah and Richard try to escape Reggie.
  • An Unlikely Ally
    Reggie begins a reign of terror on the island that will leave nobody, including the Ebu, safe from his murderous schemes. Reggie's only challenge will be a visit from the biggest murderer in human history.
  • The Capture
    Sarah and Richard must make their escape after witnessing Reggie's brutal capture of the Ebu.
  • The Guardian Meets the Lab Rat
    Bill is presuaded by Reggie to meet with Karl.
  • The Guardian
    Karl's fever starts to takes a toll on his sanity as his efforts to contact the Ebu becomes a religious quest for him
  • New Friends
    Sarah's relationships with both Richard and Flo take a surprising turn.
  • Christian Soldier
    Reggies discovers the island of the Ebu and begins his assault but not before Karl makes his move.
  • The Cost of Weakness
    A senseless act of violence challenges Sarah and her tenuous relationships with the inhabitants of the island.
  • Weakness
    Sarah is stricken by a life threatening illness that triggers a strange personal odyssey for her.
  • The Princess Meets Flo
    While observing the troop, Sarah forms a friendship with one of the Ebu that she names Flo.
  • By the Sea
    Sarah makes a risky first contact with the Ebu.
  • 14. The Wait - Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot
    -In this episode: Sarah and Richard wait for the Ebu at a small pond.
  • Discovery
    Sarah and Richard begin their exploration of the island in search of the Ebu.
  • Resolve
    After losing everything to the pirates, Sarah and Richard face their own personal failure and decide whether or not they should return to the states.
  • Pirates of the Flores Sea
    As they begin to set out for Sarah's island, Sarah's and Richard's boat is boarded by dangerous high-sea pirates.
  • All Work and No Play
    Before leaving for Sarah's mysterious island Sarah and Richard head out for a night on the town in Flores.
  • The Boss
    Sarah and Richard put their expedition together and travel to Flores Island in search of the Ebu Gogo.
  • Higher Calling
    Unbeknownst to Reggie and Bill, Karl, the head lab assistant at GenTech, is busily sabotaging the pharmaceutical giant's controversial stem cell research.
  • Corporate Citizen
    Ruthless elements within a large pharmaceutical company make their own plans for the Ebu.