Saturday, August 27, 2011

Storm in a Teacup

Once upon the time there was a very naughty Meteorologist called Peter who liked all the attention and coverage he got when Hurricane Season began. He would spend all Summer giving the same forecast every day:
Yesterday: Scorchio
Today: Scorchio
Tomorrow: Scorchio.
No one listened to him and nobody needed him because they knew it was scorchio. It made him sad. He fell into a depression. A Tropical Depression. Show time! When the Hurricane season started he realised people got very excited by the threat of a Hurricane and the disaster it would bring.
Every day he would spin out a yarn about a tropical depression out in the Atlantic that may manifest in to a huge bad hurricane. The people got scared and exited and rushed out to stock up their Hurricane kits for the on coming emergency. Each time he announced a new threat the hardware store would run a BOGOF on generators and plywood. Shop keepers would make small children cry with tales of woe about the hurricane that would hit hard if they were not ‘prepared’. When the Naughty Meteorologist spoke, locals would fill all their pots and pans with water. Shops would sell out of granola bars (whatever they are) soup and rubber gloves! There was also a rush on Ruby slippers. Everyone would brace themselves for a storm and would be relieved when the storm didn’t materialise into anything more than ‘piss and wind’!
The very naughty meteorologist would thank God (who else) for sparing the good folk of NC from a Hurricane before announcing the next flutter which could at any moment gain strength and translate from a bit of a cloud to a force 5 hurricane and threaten damnation.
When it didn’t materialise people forgave the hysteria the TV Meteorologist and his chums had created through their 10 minute updates on the storm progress: _...we have a cloud in The Bahamas…Someone’s beach towel has blown away… Oh no! it has become a tropical depression 500 miles out to sea… Poor Nemo! They forgave the overly cautious forecasts because of the major fuck up the Naughty Meteorologist had made in 2005. They had failed miserably to forecast the path of Hurricane Katrina as it didn’t go in a straight line. Who knew?! When it weakened it didn’t stay weak. In fact it went from a tropical depression to a force 3 in days and then to a force 5 in hours. This wasn’t God – HE wouldn’t do that! It was bloody Mother nature, contrary bitch! How could a meteorologist warn against that? Peter was well pissed off. From now on he would behave like every storm could become a Katrina at any moment. A little bit late for New Orleans but it got him unprecedented airtime.
When a tropical storm kicked off a bit, the meteorologist got very excited. They named the storm Irene and became very hysterical for a week. It even gained the attention of the BBC. Some Brits considered driving to the coast to watch Irene from the safety of their cars, eating sandwiches with a flask of tea. Some locals took the warnings seriously and didn’t do any housework. Prudent, given their house might blow away. Some locals couldn’t be arsed to go out and buy generators and book their cats into Pet hotels for the duration of the storm. Some didn’t take it very seriously at all and went pole dancing. This was clearly the work of the Devil – or Peter the Naughty Meteorologist. Either way people had stopped listening!
 Peter the Naughty Meteorologist was right to warn everyone.  Irene could have been a massive disaster, being the size of Texas! She was a force 3 but thankfully by the time she hit she was a 1. Apparently, according to Peter the Naughty Meteorologist, this still made Irene a ‘doozy of a storm’! Desperate to keep the spot light and drama he tracked Irene’s every act of cruelty in painstaking detail, merely adding insult to injury to anyone hurt by the storm!
The danger with Irene was that not everyone listened because Peter had been hysterical all season long. They thought it was just another storm in Peter’s tea cup! If Irene had gained in strength and hit even harder too many people would not have been prepared. Peter the Naughty Meteorologist should see that less is more and be more sparing with the hysteria – that way – people might hear more than ‘ scorchio’ every day!

And the Moral is: Meteorologists and liars: even if they tell the truth, no one believes them

Monday, August 22, 2011

Every cloud!

When I told people my Mom was visiting me from the UK for 6 weeks I saw the look of fear, the whites of their eyes as they said ‘Oh lovely’ in a completely unconvincing way. It wasn’t my Mom they were afraid of (they hadn’t met her at that point) It was the fear every 40 something has at the thought of spending more than a day with their mother, having not spend more than six hours together for the previous 25 years!
I, however, was looking forward to my Mom’s visit. She is one of those helpful sorts of Moms who does your ironing and makes lots of cups of tea. I did have some reservations and I had voiced my concern to several ‘witnesses’ that I might end up killing her before the six weeks was out. You can imagine my dismay when I almost succeeded just 3 days into her visit.
As a treat I had taken my Mom to Wal-Mart and MacDonald’s with the kids. I bet at that point my Mom was thinking ‘OMG I have 6 weeks of this shit, Kill me now!’ I was driving back when a car pulled out from a stop sign across a crossroads. I managed to swerve so I didn’t hit the side of the car head on but I did hit it. Hard! Ironically, I narrowly missed a stop sign! I felt like someone had punched my shoulder, very hard. I knew I hadn’t killed my mom because she had let out an involuntary cry of pain upon impact. My children were hysterical. They were all vocal! I felt there was no immediate danger to anyone in the car.
A witness stopped and got out. I got out! I didn’t mean to swear quite as much as I did in front of my children and the witness! He confirmed that yes he did see it and no there was nothing I could have done to avoid it. He declined to agree with my appraisal of the other driver. I said all of this with a chicken nugget in my mouth! I suddenly found that I could not multi task to rant and eat the nugget at the same time and was virtually sick! The witness called the police – perhaps because of my tirade and littering the street with chewed up nugget but also because it is state law to call police when more than $1000 of damage is caused by a road traffic accident. It was certainly more than that! The witness left his contact details and drove away quickly!
All this time the other driver did not get out. I heard wailing and felt bad – I thought there was a small child in the car. The police arrived and moved the debris of cars to the side. They informed me that the wailing was in fact the other driver. Not a small child but a very small person – maybe even legally a midget (4’ 10” and under). She had not looked right when crossing the intersection at all so the impact came as a shock to her. Whilst I had looked and had milliseconds to prepare, it came as a bit of a shock to me too! She had the audacity to wail! The police man said perhaps she had not seen me because she was so tiny and couldn’t really see over the steering wheel. I guess given the USA aversion to swearing I was lucky not to get arrested for saying ‘Well she should sit on a f**king cushion then’.
The police were very surprised that I did not wish to call an ambulance. They were quite happy to establish blame there and then given she ran a permanent red stop sign with a flashing red light over head and we had already suffered some pain on impact. Where there is blame there is a claim and this didn’t just have the potential to be whip lash but American whiplash, super sized!
My car driver side wing had crumpled onto my wheel making it virtually un-driveable and the force of impact had broken my seat belt. Sadly the airbags had not deployed. Apparently you are $$$ in if they go off! The nice police man followed my car as it limped home to make sure we got there safely. The POPO (as my son calls them) were superb!

Car insurance is one of those things you do not consider before shipping your life to the USA! They don’t give a shite if you have been driving for 25 years and have a clean licence and umpteen years ‘no claims discount’! It means Jack here! The first insurance quote I got for my newly acquired gas guzzler when I arrived was $7000 a year. I challenged this so they asked for proof that I had been insured for more than a year I the UK. Difficult, given I had moved twice in said year and changed cars twice and left all the documentation in the attic of my house in the UK, now occupied by Chinese ex-pats! Bugger! Still – you never pay the price quoted in America– you usually pay more – but we got it down to $1200! Still way too much.  What is good here is that if the accident is not your fault you don’t have to involve your insurance company at all! You just blame the other driver and file direct with their insurance! Bingo! They don’t have Drivers legal protection here like in the UK – pay a tenner and get a lawyer. Here it is hire a lawyer and pay all your comp to lawyer! I didn’t hire a lawyer. I made it clear I just wanted my car fixed - which only took two visits to repairs to get the door to match the wing!
There was an issue with filing the claim when I said the ‘driver’s wing’ was damaged. Whilst being American she clearly believed in Angels but the insurance agent didn’t seem prepared to take that leap of faith and believe that as the driver I had a wing and was therefore an angel! I am no angel. She also would not accept that my car had a wing! They don’t call car wings ‘wings’ here. It was the driver’s front side wheel arch fender bender or some shit like that. She said I needed to be more precise with my description. I restrained from pointing out that if the USA hadn’t bastardised the English language my description of the damage to the car would be perfectly clear.
The damage to my mother, whilst not extensive, caused her some misery. She couldn’t laugh without pain (and given how funny I am she was suffering a lot!). She couldn’t cough, lie down to sleep or do the Hokey Cokey. She couldn’t do some of those things before either. I took her to the doctors – she had a bruised sternum that would take 6 weeks to heal. That was her stay tarnished then!  If she had medical insurance the bill would have been $270 dollars. I paid cash and the bill was $140. I know it took me 4 attempts to pass O’level maths but something doesn’t add up! Bit of an insurance scam going on state side!
Talking of which, I had good old whip lash …in my shoulder! Really! Almost bad enough to visit the chiropractors!
I’m not sure what benefit a lawyer would have been and I asked for no personal injury compensation but they offered some anyway. I hate that whole claim culture crap! Still, my mom had suffered and deserved some compensation. Would you believe it – the amount they offered my mother was enough for her to come back and stay again for around…SIX WEEKS!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cow Pats!

I wrote a 'guest blog' for a website about Britian. I regurgitated it from a number of blogs I had written. I submitted it and I haven't heard from them since! I guess it was shite... a big cow pat! Still waste not....

Hello, my name is Miss Daisy (it is a long story) and I’m an ex-pat! There – now I have confessed. It has a horrible ring to it, ‘ex-pat’ sounding like, but far colder and less endearing than ‘cow-pat’. ‘Ex’ as in no longer belonging to my homeland! This is made harder by the fact that I don’t belong in America either. I am a legal alien. Most days I just feel like a space cadet!
I and my delightful sprogs followed my husband to
Azalea Lane
in North Carolina (think middle class suburbia with manicured lawns, supersized, in sub-tropical temperatures) for a temporary 3 year contract with his work. It took me 6 months after he had left for the States to finally pack up our lives and join him. I have found it difficult to ‘assimilate’ and have taken to amassing Union Jack Paraphernalia and saying ‘Good Morning’ in a pompous British accent to cashiers in Wal-mart where I spend most of my days, with the rest of the ‘bewildered of America’! I have spent my first year in exile blogging furiously about all the things I dislike or find strange and weird. In turn Americana has supplied me with an endless stream of material.
I have been asked to give you my top ten list of all things that drive me mad about being a Brit in America. That is a tough call. How can I narrow it down so much? I’m mean but I am not Simon Cowell…I can’t dismiss all the contenders for top spot! There are soooo many to choose from. It is time for the couch. Not quite therapy. I mean time to lie down on the settee and have a think about my negativity. (I recently told an American child to stop jumping on my settee. He paused, said ‘It’s a couch, not a settee’ and dive bombed over the back of it again. I made it quite clear as I turfed him out that it was a settee in my house!)
I’m mean about the USA as being ‘nice’ isn’t funny. I’m mean about the USA so that my friends and family think I’m having a rotten time and feel sorry for me. I’m mean about the USA because it isn’t home! When we were offered a temporary move to North Carolina it was a tough decision as I really did like my life in England. It was one of those ‘opportunities’ you had to take for fear of regretting if you don’t. (They say it is better to regret the things you do that the things you don’t. I can think of lots of examples where that is just bollocks! – I can say Bollocks in America because they don’t use such terminology – I can also say wanker, tosser and knob without causing a stir! I like that about America!)  I perhaps didn’t embrace the adventure fully. If something is long term you look for reasons to love it. If something is temporary you don’t want to make those emotional attachments so you look for reasons to dis-like it. It is fundamental to self preservation. I found lots to dislike but perhaps I should start with the things I miss (of which there are many) about Britain:
I miss tea! Of course!  
I miss Ribena. I drove a 30 mile round trip because I heard on the ex-pat grape vine that an Indian store sold Ribena. I can’t tell you how excited I was when I not only found Ribena ($8 for a £1.99 bottle – what sort of exchange rate is that?!) but also Vimto! I miss squash – I get sick of ‘soda’ even though I am a coke addict (cola! Although I might try the other sort). Water doesn’t do the job when you want squash! I don’t understand why Americans don’t have it! It is sugary and sweet but then it does require some effort – you have to mix the squash with the water… too much hassle for them if they actually have to do something! I have learned too that if you say you want a drink – they assume you mean alcohol. You have to ask for a beverage if you want a soft drink! How English!
I miss Heinz baked beans. I found them in a store called ‘World Market’ which sells things from around the world that no one really wants but they assume is representative. It has provided me with a few things I miss, such as marmite. Last time I went I got 4 cans of beans to stock up ($2 a can!).  The cashier said ‘I find these heavy’. I agreed, ‘Yes they can give you terrible wind’. I didn’t realise she was talking about the weight of the cans!
My mom posts me packets of gravy mix. You can get it here but there is a vomit inducing amount of salt in it! Same with their stock cubes. They even inject their meat with a ‘broth’ which is, as far as I can tell, salt water. I pay twice as much for brothless beef! (I’m sure there is a joke in that somewhere!)
I miss a ‘full English’ breakfast. Their sausage and bacon just isn’t right. Their bacon is thin and fatty and smoked. Ok on a Caesar salad but not for breakfast. I found Irish sausages on the internet – you can order them and they get shipped from New York in some sort of freezer pack. I haven’t succumbed yet but I’m sure I’ll get desperate for sausage eventually (Yes! I know there is a joke there).
I miss M & S Toilet roll. You can only get white loo roll here. I always bring a pack back with me - Beautiful cream loo roll with gold swirly patterns. Stepford wives eat your heart out! I put it in the downstairs loo. It is purely for show! Too pretty for anything shitty!
I miss opening the windows! There are several reasons why I can’t open the windows:
-          It lets all the cold air out (with 40°C temps and ridiculous humidity, the air con stays on!)
-          It would let all the hideous nasty critters that live in sub-tropical conditions in
-          The windows are big and do not comply with British health and safety regulations. My 6 year old son could simply step out of his bedroom window and plunge to a probable head injury!
I miss Curry. I miss the omni-presence of a curry house! Unlike the Brits, America is not a nation of curry lovers.
I miss landmarks! In the UK if you give directions you could do so purely by using pub names (which I miss too). Places have obvious and unique landmarks. Here in the USA everywhere looks the same. ‘Strip malls’ have identical shops. Roads are in blocks and straight lines so you don’t even have bends and roundabouts (Not sure I miss them!) to distinguish and provide markers! Thank heavens for Sat Nav (which they call GPS!)
What I miss most is familiarity. I miss ‘belonging’. I dislike feeling like a foreigner!  One Blog I read said being an ex pat was about ‘Joyfully and fearlessly embracing your new environment in a friendly and respectful way’. Oh bugger, I haven’t taken that approach at all. I’m more ‘unfriendly and disrespectfully disgracing my new environment in a joyless and fearful way (I blog anonymously!) – I seem more cow-pat than ex-pat after all!

Monday, August 8, 2011

I never forget a face... I've sat on!

Warning: Contains Smut and religion (and it isn’t the bible!)

Miracles do happen! They arrive in the post! Well, not exactly a miracle but the potential for one. It was addressed ‘Dear… Someone Connected with This Address’. I wasn’t sure if this makes me or the house special. It wasn’t a gift, it was a loan! Not entirely sure it will help me get a credit score in America and I am not entirely sure what the cost is. I suspect it will be high if I engage. I can use it and return it or return it and ask for extra help but I cannot keep it or bin it as an unwanted intrusion in my mail box.
The surprise package was a Prayer Rug. It wasn’t one you would want to put in front of your fire and rest your slippers on. It was a paper prayer rug. It wasn’t very big either – it was around A3 size. Just too big for me to scan into my home scanner to show you and I suspect it is copyrighted! Note - it is a rug, not a mat! Rugs are more luxurious than mats! Apparently the prayer rug has special powers. The accompanying letter is full of testimonials (as is www.biblicalprayer.com  - not sure you can get a rug from there but you can get a free cross!)
The prayer rug has a drawing of a man’s face with his eyes shut and a tear rolling down his cheek. It says I should ‘look into Jesus’ eyes you will see they are closed’ If I look long enough a miracle (or optical illusion) will occur and his eyes will open and look back at me. I should then go and be alone (not least because those sorts of optical illusions give me a migraine) and I should kneel on the Rug of Faith or touch it with my knees. It didn’t tell me this bit but I should remember to put knickers on at this point otherwise Jesus will be looking directly up my doodah! I wonder if that’s why his eyes are watering. Maybe the previous borrower of the rug had neglected to consider this. Maybe that is what is meant by cleanliness being next to godliness. Wash your snatch before kneeling on the lord! It can make his eyes water!
After all of this I should check my needs against the list provide and return the rug. The tick list includes asking for blessings and additional prayers for:
ü      My soul (beyond redemption – especially now I have dissed the prayer rug!
ü      A closer Walk with Jesus (how much closer can you get after sitting on his face?)
ü      Less Confusion in my home (I was less confused before this morning’s post)
ü      A home to call my own (perhaps Jesus knew I was going house hunting tomorrow! – Jesus – can you make sure it has a triple garage, whirlpool bath and a swimming pool please?)
ü      Pray for God to Bless me with This Amount: $______ (I love the use of capitals here! Fill in desired amount. Here’s the quandary – do you ask for more than you need cos God knows all. Does he appreciate the difference between need and want? Are you going to Gamble on more? Is that God’s purpose – Lotto God?)
Just in case I had any doubts about the power of the prayer rug, there were testimonials from people who had indeed been blessed:
‘I’ve gotton a new car and a job…I’ve been blessed’ Perhaps they should have asked for better command of the English language – I hate the use of ‘gotton’!
‘Our Lord…Has blessed us with a big 6 room house.’ Maybe my prospects for Houston are looking up, but Lord, I only want 5 bedrooms and only actually need 3 (but you already know that)!
‘God made it possible for us to buy 17 acres of land’. God the realtor (Estate agent!)
‘$10,000 in a financial blessing’
‘I was blessed with exactly $3000.’ Exactly? You know what? Not one God loving, prayer kneeling bugger amongst them had asked for anything for anyone else. No one said I prayed for the world’s sick, poor and needy... Should you be praying for $$$$ or a big house? Doesn’t seem very charitable at all to me.
My favourite was ‘HE went out and bought us a car’! God the used car salesman! I hope he want to a Mercedes dealer!
Being a girl with a highly developed and sophisticated moral code I’ve decided I am not going to use the prayer rug. People have to be my friend on facebook before I poke them so I am certainly not sitting on Jesus’ face! My rug won't be meeting Jesus' rug! I am not going to return the prayer rug either. It doesn’t give an option to tick a box saying ‘Don’t get God bothering me again’ so I am not prepared to go for the other two default options of having used it or needing more help. Neither would be true and I am honest! I have decided to offer it up to anyone else reading my blog who might appreciate it. You will fall into one of 3 categories:
  1. You are a God botherer too and want to use the prayer rug for some selfish and decadent end gain and return it so that you get a free cross and some special blessings (and land, money, healing, a fuck off big house etc etc)
  2. You don’t get out much and would enjoy a visit from the post man
  3. You will find it hilarious and really appreciate the comedy of the testimonials and seeing the rug for real – Because seeing IS believing!

Comments, bids for prayer rug or additional testimonials below in comment box please!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A cashless system!

There are lots of things that don’t occur to you before you pack up your life into a sea container and ship it across the Atlantic. In the UK I had a job, a mortgage, a credit card, a car and car insurance in my name. I existed on lists. Special government lists that the Tea Party fear so much over here! Some people I have spoken to believe that store cards are sinister ways for special Government agents to track your every move. Can you imagine wading through all those Wal-mart receipts to spot a dodgy US citizen! I didn’t mind being on lists – I feel sure I wasn’t on any black lists. I occasionally forgot to pay my mail order Next bill but that was as far as my financial misdemeanours went. I don’t even have credit card debts. Ironically this means that people don’t like to lend you money – you pay it off and they don’t get much interest! It seems my prudence has cost us in America too!
We put in an application to rent a house in Houston. We did it in hubby’s name. He has a very good credit rating in the US. Everyone apparently has a number – over 700 is good, under 500 is very bad. When we got to America we were told to take out store cards, buy some stuff, pay monthly for a couple of months and then pay them off – this gives you a good credit score. Mad isn’t it? If you don’t borrow money and have no debts you are a bad risk! He passed the credit check requested by our perspective landlords, thanks to some stylish Dockers (is that a contradiction in terms?) from ‘Belk’ paid for monthly over two whole months. That and a very used and abused American Express card (well they give 2% cash back for all purchases- It shouldn’t cost them anything. They expect you to pay huge amounts in interest and must hate us when we pay it off every month and take their money instead!). The FBI, CIA and NFL will be watching us very carefully. FFS!
The perspective landlord wanted to do a credit check on me. Why? I’m not paying the rent! I am a kept woman these days! I had something worse than a bad credit rating. I had no credit rating at all. That really confuses them. I have no number! I have no debt in my name in America. I don’t really exist here (financially or otherwise)! No one it watching me! I have a social security number but as I do not (and cannot) work it doesn’t count for anything. Our rental application was turned down. We offered to pay the whole year’s rent in advance. It was still turned down. I was clearly too much of an unknown quantity. I pay. Where is the fun in that? There seems to be no logical explanation for their refusal. Our realtor decided the refusal verged on discriminatory as they would not actually give a reason.
There is one other possibility. This may seem more credible: ‘Is it because I is British?’ The house was owned by a family trust. The name was distinctly German. We have a surname reminiscent of Bomber command in World War 2. It seems to bizarre to even contemplate but why would you turn down a year’s rent in advance? Given the chance I would have explained that Dresden really wasn’t a family outing! Did they hear hubby’s dam buster ring tone on his phone? Whatever the reason (and there seems to be no reasoning!)  I was gutted. The house was beautiful and it meant a week’s house hunting came to nothing and we have to go back again. It will be harder this time because I have a bench mark. It is really hard when looking for a house to rent. It needs to be a neutral as possible otherwise you really feel like you are living in someone else’s house (which you are!).
On the plus side it now gives me an excuse to go shopping with money I don’t have so I can get a credit score. I think I will spend the weekend opening store cards and buying shit I don’t need. The shops already have Halloween stuff in and I have even seen some tinsel. I could do my Christmas shopping on credit. Why not? Everyone else does!
Once I have run up a credit debt of $10,000 I can apply for Government aid to help me pay off my debts. ‘They’ (them sinister government agents) advertise on the TV here every night. People who have massive credit card debts are poor victims. They need help. It wasn’t their fault they went shopping (a lot) with money they didn’t have to buy things they didn’t need and couldn’t afford. It is the American way! What better use of tax payers’ money than to offer these poor debtors some official help? Ahhh but then I am not American. So I don’t think I will qualify for help. Or maybe I qualify for some sort of special ops help – in American terms I must pose something of a quandary – no credit score, no debts and willing to pay, up front, in cash, in advance? Call the FBI!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

CATS! (Key West not West End)

You could hardly call me an activist but I do take an interest in animal welfare. I was a vegetarian for years and a member of ‘Compassion in World Farming’ until someone slapped a medium rare fillet steak in front of me at a BBQ about 14 years ago. I don’t know what possessed me to eat it (perhaps I sensed the perfect partnership with the copious amounts of Shiraz I had consumed) but my compassion for animals no longer extends to not eating them! I’m a member of Greenpeace (to offset the guilt for the gas guzzlers I drive)  and until I left the UK I gave a monthly donation to The Blue Cross. Not exactly ‘swampy’ but I care!
On my recent holiday to the lush Keys of Florida I was confronted with a dilemma. Did I go to a hideously commercialised tourist attraction (under the misleading guise of a ‘research centre’) where you could swim with Dolphins? I did get up to walk out of a restaurant that had Dolphin on the menu until the waiter told me it was another name for Mahi Mahi. He couldn’t tell my why they just didn’t call it that instead. You’d never get away with it under the Trade Descriptions Act in England! Is it supposed to make you want to order the dish? I decided that I would feel too sad to see dolphins dragging fat tourists hanging on to their dorsal fins (even though it may well have been very entertaining for all the wrong reasons) and gave it a miss.
While in Miami I read a case of awful animal cruelty which puts the Dolphin Show into perspective.  A Miami man was charged with animal cruelty for leaving a menagerie of animals including roosters, pigeons, goats and a duck locked inside his ‘Bang Bus’. The Bang Bus is used to film a web porn ‘reality show’ where women are picked up to have sex with random men (all played by actors) in the back of the Bang Bus. Surprised there was room with all those animals for actors and a film crew! Raul Armenteros was charged with 22 counts of cruelty for leaving the animals dying in the Bang Bus, over-heating in the +90°F heat. This may be proof positive that there is a fate worse than death. The animals may have had a lucky escape. The perp has stared in 81 Bang Bus films and is known for his ‘prodigious physical talents’. Hanging of a Dorsal fin seems pretty harmless in comparison. I really have lead a sheltered life!
I came across another controversial animal entertainment act that could well be considered cruel (though not of Bang Bus proportions – which by all accounts are epic!). It was a street act in the famous ‘Mallory Square’ in Key West where street performers entertain at sunset. The act in question was a ‘performing cats’ act (not in the ‘Bang Bus’ sense). Cats that jump through fire hoops and perform tricks. Earlier that day I had visited the ‘Hemmingway House’, home of the famous noble prize winner. I saw a plaque that said ‘Dogs have owners, Cats have staff’. Hemingway loved cats. There were cats everywhere with 6 toes on each paw. Weird! I tried to stroke one and it bit me. Clearly the Hemingway cats were not there to literally entertain the tourists! Can you make cats do something they don’t want to do? I guess I myself was guilty of a form of cruelty, even if it was in my cat’s best interests, when I removed a tick from her bum with tweezers. The miaow was pitiful! If I watched the famous Key West Cat man’s show I could be accused of condoning cruelty. If I didn’t watch it I would be making judgement without evidence. I decided to watch. I have to tell you I was so sorry that I did. It is true that the cats seemed to have some sort of choice. They could have just run away but they didn’t, they performed and then climbed back into their little cages but it was so cruel on so many levels:
-          I had to stand in the most humid conditions I have ever experienced to observe the show. I could have been sipping cold wine, watching the sunset
-          I was surrounded by Jhorts of the most shocking kind
-          I could have just run away but I didn’t. Like the cats I seemed unable to make a break for freedom
I was a different person having witnessed the act. I wanted someonte to put me out of my misery. The nature of the cruelty? Well you should experience ‘Dominic the Key West Cat Man’ for yourself to understand it. No one should have to endure such torture and call it entertainment. …But you have to have the sound turned up loud to fully appreciate the nature of the offence. I should stress this is not a case of animal cruelty! The cats are clearly fine, well cared for and DEAF!
Enjoy the clip!