Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Race Jumping/Steeplechasing: a rose by any other name

So, I came across a bit of incredibly self-serving, biased fluff in defense of steeplechases yesterday.  In case you're not familiar with the sport of steeplechasing, let me post this for you:

The argument that it's "tradition" is specious.  Slavery, child marriage, and genital mutilation of children are all "traditions," too, but that doesn't make them good or right.  Barbarism is barbarism, regardless of cultural swing.

The most common "defense" I've seen of steeplechasing/race jumping?

"The horses love it, too--they must, ever try to make a horse do something he doesn't want to?"

Oh, stop.  Hush.  Do you REALLY believe that's meaningful?  Horses are animals, and animals can be (and often are) trained to do dangerous things ALL the time.  Through the basics of conditioning, not only can they be trained to do dangerous things, they can be trained to WANT to do them.  They don't perceive the danger the way we do, they don't understand the risks.  They don't GET that they're being abused and endangered.  Hell, you can train a dolphin to be happy about carrying a BOMB on its back.  Doesn't make it a good thing.

I'm no PETA member.  I occasionally eat meat.  I occasionally wear leather (from non-endangered creatures).  I see the difference between chicken sandwiches and cock fighting.  One is food, and the other is the willful torture of animals for the sole purpose of entertainment.  I put jump racing in the same category as pit bull fighting.  Arguing that you "love them" rings disingenuous when you're putting them in danger every time they're on the track.  Serious, immediate, potentially life-ending danger.  Love?

I don't think so.  I think you're having fun, the casualties be damned.

And yes, I feel the same way about horse racing in general.  This is like that, plus awful.


Hoping to hit a new cemetery or two this weekend while the boy is playing paintball.  We got him a marker and barrel for his birthday, but he's been sick for a couple of weeks now, hasn't had a chance to play.  We didn't get him anything fancy (we can't afford that), but he says these products are good and will do the job.  I hope so.  

Here they are, in case you're curious:

That's a link to Amazon, where we bought it.

Another link, also to Amazon, where we purchased.

I'm hoping this turns out okay.  There is, of course, the fear that it's crap, that it won't work, that it'll break, etc.  I sometimes fantasize about what it would be like to just not worry about that stuff because you have the cash to replace things that break.

I don't fantasize for long because I've never been there.  I don't have a frame of reference.

Anyway, one of the cemeteries is an old pre-Civil War to 1900 jobber.  Used to be a church cemetery until the church blew away to Oz.  Looks like it might be tick-heavy and poison ivied, but it's only 40% photographed, and I'd like to make a difference.

Hopefully my back and knees will be kind.  Hopefully there won't be any bear traps.  

Or banjo players.

An update here:  the landlord is booting us, has given us 60 days notice to vacate.  This isn't an eviction--he says we're the best tenants he's ever had, has offered a glowing reference.  But he's selling, and he needs us out so he can do that.  Which leaves us utterly screwed and possibly facing homelessness.  Truly.  So please.

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