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Monday, August 11, 2014

Mental illness and being aware

Robin Williams died today, and the cause is likely to be suicide. It's not confirmed, but because the cause of death was asphyxiation, it's likely.

I suppose I'm a little more torn up about it than I thought I would be. Williams played a substantial role in my childhood, and he voiced a character named Batty in one of my favorite movies of all time, Ferngully

I think the movie of his that stuck with me the most was probably What Dreams May Come. It's a film about mental illness and about dealing with grief and loss. I remember thinking it was an odd few, but it's popped into my head a lot throughout the years.

What I think is important to take from this is to use it as a reminder that mental illness happens to everyone, and that it's important to take care of the ones you love and never condemn someone for having one. Mental illness is surprisingly common. And it doesn't always manifest in obvious ways.

Historically, mental illness has been regarded as a taboo, as something that is discussed, but perhaps not often enough and not in the correct way. Harmful words that I have also been guilty of using, such as "crazy" and "insane" should not be used, and it's important to regard everyone's state of mind, even when your own isn't the best.

Anyways, I don't feel like going into detail much, let's just not turn this into another actor tragedy. Let's look upon this as a reminder that life is short, but every life is precious and incredibly important.

Please, everyone, appreciate your loved ones for everything in their soul, dark and light, and never lose hope.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Market Basket madness

Market Basket is owned by the Demoulas family. Two cousins are shareholders in the businesses Artie T. and Arthur S.

Artie T. is known to be the beloved champion of the worker. Artie S. wants to wrangle control from him, and did indeed successfully oust Artie T.

This made Market Basket employees angry because they like what Artie T. has done for them, providing fair wages, benefits and bonuses.

The warehouse workers and truck drivers are on strike, so no fresh produce or meats are making it to the store. The employees of Market Basket have even started a fund to help the warehouse workers weather the storm of the strike. You can donate here.

More information on this issue can be found at

My thoughts go out to the striking employees. Good luck!

Oh, and like them on Facebook.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Steven Wise is a pancake?

In one of my older blog posts, Warning: mental overload, I briefly discussed something I had stumbled upon called the Nonhuman Rights Project, a group trying to secure legal rights for other species. 

Needless to say, I was a fan immediately. 

Currently, they're working on securing legal rights for chimpanzees, and they are using a particular chimp, Tommy, to achieve this. Other Chimps are also currently in court to secure the writ of habeas corpus, meaning they cannot be detained without reason. They would have rights to their own bodies. 

So I got an email from them yesterday from the project saying that one of the heads of the project, Steven Wise, would be appearing on the Colbert Report. You can watch the interview here.

Fun fact, Jane Goodall is a member of this movement as well.

The website talks about achieving rights for non-humans, not Chimps specifically, but when Colbert asked in his typical devils advocate style about giving rights to all animals, Wise said they were only advocating rights to Chimps, and that he didn't believe all animals should have rights.

Wait a minute. What? It's called the non-human rights project for goodness sake!

The website says, as its mission statement:

The Nonhuman Rights Project is the only organization working toward actual LEGAL rights for members of species other than our own. Our mission is to change the common law status of at least some nonhuman animals from mere “things,” which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to “persons,” who possess such fundamental rights as bodily integrity and bodily liberty, and those other legal rights to which evolving standards of morality, scientific discovery, and human experience entitle them. Our first cases were filed in 2013. Your support of this work is deeply appreciated.

So what's the deal?

I can understand why you'd start with chimps, because chimps have incredible similarities to humans, and will likely create more sympathy in other people.

But chimps aren't the only intelligent beings. Many non-humans have emotions and desires, and even the most simple creature has a nervous system capable of feeling pain.

I think that if Wise was going to go on Colbert as the face of the movement, he should have stuck to his guns.