Friday, September 25, 2015

French Animal Rights Activists violently 'steal' destitute immigrant's dog, are selling it for almost R 3 000.00

It is uncertain if it is the visibly destitute man, or his tiny dog, that is howling.



He has nothing, and has been assaulted. What little he has, he leaves on the side of the road - in a moment and with no hesitation. He leaves all he has, unattended - in a desperate attempt to get his beloved puppy back. The dog does not appear malnourished, nor do the attackers claim it was.

His attempt to rescue what seems his only friend in the world, is doomed to fail, as pedestrians pass nonchalantly by.

One witness, however, videoed the brazen incident, one which the bold and proud perpetrators performed with no fear of any punishment. There is no talk of charging them for their profitable exploit against a member of a vulnerable minority group.

The indigent man had been mercilessly assaulted, and wrestled to the ground, as the two men and a woman collaborated to remove his dog from him. The group the trio represent, have since offered the dog for 'adoption', for One Hundred and Seventy Five Euros (which at present exchange rates is: Two Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventeen Rands), according to the Daily Telegraph.


Towards the end of the footage, by-passers simply keep walking, as though nothing has happened.

The group responsible, Cause Animale Nord, has consistently emphasized that the man they took the small puppy dog from, was a Roma, the official word for a member of the Gypsy ethnic group.

Caritas Internationales, the word's largest charitable umbrella body, has consistently noted that gypsies are often targeted by citizens and governments alike to suffer under hate crime, in Europe. Just recently, mass sterilization campaigns and other attempts to ethnic cleanse the group have emerged to daylight.

Some in France compare the Gypsies to stray dogs, but it seems even stray dogs are not to be owned, or for that matter, cared for, by the down and out members of the group.


Cause Animale Nord, according to the Daily Telegraph (25 September 2015), took to Facebook to say:

“We intervened because it was an urgent situation for the animal. There was no violence at any moment.”

“The person had thrown himself to the ground, crushing the puppy. The puppy was stunned, had dilated pupils and was staggering around,” it went on in a post.

"We took (the dog) away from a Roma who was using it for begging. The police don't do anything, we act,"

In other words, they claim to have taken the law into their own hands. However, if the animal had dilated pupils, perhaps a picture of this claim should have been used to back it up.

The animal does not look stunned in the video, and it can either be stunned or staggering around, not both.

Furthermore, they claim there was no violence, and yet the destitute gypsy has clearly been wrestled to the ground - which cannot be defined as anything but violent. Why would someone throw themselves onto the ground? It seems odd. With the puppy up for adoption for almost Three Thousand Rand, the enterprise is definitely profitable for the animal rights group in question. Some want their use of their finances to be reviewed.


It seems no criminal investigation is pending against the group, despite over One Hundred Thousand signatures to a Change Dot Org petition to bring them to account for the incident.


[URL of a Video on YouTube of the Incident (It adapts the video originally posted to Facebook) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pKb29VHwb8 ]

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Calm your horses, before they trample you!

I wanted to run. I wanted to get up and rush to the exit, maybe I'd get away, perhaps if I sneaked. They said boredom never killed anyone, but I didn't want to take any chances. I am sure school assemblies were similar for you. Fortunately, neither of us raised our backsides from the chair and fled those monotonous voices... Not in high school anyway... in Grade 2 I had decided enough was enough, and landed in trouble. As adults, we know the importance of self control. Children don't quite yet have the potency of will.

In the adult world, though, the same sort of urgency is still common enough. It is just generally better justified, latent, or expertly hidden. People get this sense of urgency, urgency becomes desperation, and keeps its annuals in stress. Whenever I have done something I whole heartedly regret, that urgency egged me on. I am told I am calm in most emergencies... I certainly didn't used to be. I thought self control would be a useful skill to master. I didn't realise quite how difficult it would be until I realised that I had never been guilty of a faux pas without that nagging sense of urgency. Patience is not merely a virtue, it is the power by which self control has a foothold in our lives.

When you want to do something you shouldn't: to eat that creamy chocolate cake that calls your name during a diet, to respond to an insult when you just know it would cause a fight... to say things you really shouldn't say... have you ever done anything you regret that was not accompanied by an unusually potent sense of urgency?

There are times for urgency... it might be wise to run if you are late for an important exam. It can be pretty urgent to get out of the path of an elephant or of an out of control truck. Urgency has a place, but generally its place is limited. When I am about to make a mistake, I might not realise that I am being foolish at first. What is always obvious to me is that sense of urgency. I just have to do it... I must... When my thoughts become urgent, I take a slow deep breath and ask myself if there is any real reason to be urgent... usually there isn't, and once calm, I see the fault in my thoughts.

Some of the more famous saints of the Catholic canon are famous for doing all sorts of exotic things to maintain their self control. Scary things, like jumping into a painful thorn adorned bush to undo their naughty lusts. I imagine they transferred the urgency they felt to do naughty things, upon an urgency to jump into a nest of thorns. No doubt that pretty lady who wanted them, noticed their passion, and regretted asking a monk to coffee or a date. The same desperation for company redirected, caused the painful jump, and with their desires cleansed, they limped away from their floral friend. Thomas Aquinas, who every lawyer learns about, was among such saints... when his family hired him a prostitute against his wishes, he directed his excess passion to chasing her out of his chambers with a fire poker... yes, that Aquinas, every lawyer learns about. And yet, in a non-medieval society, it is not socially acceptable to jump into someone else's perfectly pruned roses, or chase our fellow man with a fire poker... Deep breathing exercises and logic will have to suffice for the modern professional.

They say the wolf you feed is the one which grows. Over the years, a focus on calm and patience has truly reduced my levels of stress.

Even when urgency might be warranted, I find a calm has come over me... the less you stress, the less you are controlled by it. A few years ago I was halfway up a steep staircase, and saw what looked like paper on the step above me. I started to bend down to throw it away... next I knew, I was a few steps up, staring down at a snake... no paper had rested on the stairs. My voice sounded like that of a little girl's, but I stuck it out, just out of reach of the serpent, waiting for help without letting it out of my sight. If I had not learnt to fight urgency in my daily life, I might have run... and lost sight of my nemesis, the snake.

There is a place for urgency, but it is a very limited space.

Next time you feel just a bit too much stress, the child of urgency, ask whether the urgency is warranted... if it isn't, take a few deep breaths, calm yourself down, and passively continue with your day. I find that when I shelve undeserved urgency, I get far more done during any one spin of the earth around its axis.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Easy statements: how to damage your reputation overnight. (Unfortunate #Nedbank and #BudgetInsurance ads included.)

The annoying song blasts from the speakers. Advertisers purposely use annoying tunes, in hopes an earworm will play their song as you sleep. Computer generated cartoons prance about as Budget advertises their insurance product.

Buy the wrong insurance, and when something goes awry, you may be left in the deepest of dark holes. People I know, people you no doubt know, have experienced this. Insurance comes down to trust in a provider to be that safety net. I don't know much about Budget, I am sure I could look them up at the CIPC, the FSB, or the Who Owns Whom database, but their actual business is not what I am discussing here. I will note that the unfortunately ruined people I know were not insured with them, however, with the consequences of any doubt in the reputation of an insurer, their advertisement makes a terrible mistake, which harms their credibility in a field where trust is everything... they make an unnecessary absolute statement, which is easily verifiable as entirely wrong.

It swiftly reminds me of a Nedbank campaign where a well-spoken voice, seemingly of a white male, tells you, and newly wealthy black Nedbank client, Eugene, to be 'more savvy' with your money... The phrase 'more savvy' is far from unused, and does appear in a number of newspaper articles. A search of all major dictionaries via a specialist search engine, only sees the phrase appear in quotations on news media (3 results) in one specific online dictionary, namely Dictionary.com, and in Wikipedia entries. A search for use of this phrase in the Oxford Dictionary of English, however, turns up no results whatsoever, suggesting it is not proper English in regular usage. Oxford Dictionary of English would have us use the generally accepted word 'savvier'... in their advice on word use.

Clearly the advertisers thought they were being clever, and maybe they were: people I met suddenly began to speak of being 'more savvy'... rather than being 'savvier'. As for the Budget advert... the dreadful cacoffiny of the horrendous commercial always ends with the same phrase: 'nothing rhymes with premiums'. Absolutist statements are fine if they are verifiable and correct. Unfortunately, very many words rhyme with premiums. I will list some of them for you a bit later, below.

Either way, many would be loath to do any business with either Budget Insurance or Nedbank... brands in industries requiring extensive trust from their customers... for the simple fact that they made statements which in hindsight should have nothing to do with their ability to do their business.

The world is filled to the brims with armchair experts, and bush enthusiasts. Experts are usually loath to give an opinion on anything they have not researched. The law changes so quickly, that unless you carefully monitor it, or have a specific area of practise, utter caution is often much needed. I pay a lot of money every year for access to up to date information of various areas of law, as do many in my field. A mere ill thought tangent can permanently damage your brand, even if it is an ill-conceived statement which is entirely unrelated to your field... This mistake has been made by many an architect commenting too rashly on car design, or lawyer - on stock picks.

Personally, one of my favourite things to do is to research and authenticate information. When I speak, I have usually read up on what I am saying. Often, I have consulted the word of an expert or two. The process of finding out the truth gives me a bit of a rush, especially if the real answer is unexpected. I have gained access to many specialised search engines, tools, programs and databases, some I have made myself... just to satisfy my own curiosity. A proper fact check via sources not every Joe knows how to access, can be mightily fun to do.

It is, however, essential to do some basic research into what you are saying before you attach your integrity and your brand to an ill begotten mast.

Below are two advertisements from the respective campaigns, and explanations as to some of what is wrong with their presentations.

Nedbank "Savvy"


URL for the video of the offending Nedbank advertisement: https://youtu.be/A4BY8m5A0Vs



The Budget Insurance advert, and below it, words that rhyme with premiums:


URL for the video of the offending Budget Insurance advertisement: https://youtu.be/gEgk5GNxP1I


Take a quick gander at a list of 31 words, which in British (and South African) English, rhyme with premiums (from the phonetics program, PhoTransEdit). I imagine that advertisers couldn't complete their rhyme, and so decided to make up their absolutist claim:

premiumsː ˈpriːˌmɪəmz

compendiums /kəmˈpendɪəmz/
condominiums /ˌkɒndəˈmɪnɪəmz/
craniums /ˈkreɪnɪəmz/
crematoriums /ˌkreməˈtɔːrɪəmz/
delphiniums /delˈfɪnɪəmz/
emporiums /ɪmˈpɔːrɪəmz/
encomiums /ɪnˈkəʊmɪəmz/
euphoniums /juːˈfəʊnɪəmz/
geraniums /dʒəˈreɪnɪəmz/
grahams /ˈɡreɪəmz/
graham's /ˈɡreɪəmz/
gymnasiums /dʒɪmˈneɪzɪəmz/
harmoniums /hɑːˈməʊnɪəmz/
honorariums /ˌɒnəˈreərɪəmz/
hyams /ˈhaɪəmz/
idioms /ˈɪdɪəmz/
mediums /ˈmiːdɪəmz/
moratoriums /ˌmɒrəˈtɔːrɪəmz/
museums /mjuːˈzɪəmz/
pandemoniums /ˌpændɪˈməʊnɪəmz/
planetariums /ˌplænɪˈteərɪəmz/
podiums /ˈpəʊdɪəmz/
praesidiums /prɪˈsɪdɪəmz/
presidiums /prɪˈsɪdɪəmz/
prosceniums /prəˈsiːnɪəmz/
requiems /ˈrekwɪəmz/
sanatoriums /ˌsænəˈtɔːrɪəmz/
sealyhams /ˈsiːlɪəmz/
stadiums /ˈsteɪdɪəmz/
symposiums /sɪmˈpəʊzɪəmz/
trapeziums /trəˈpiːzɪəmz/

Oxford Dictionary is clear on the related forms of the word 'savvy', 'more savvy' is not among them:

RELATED FORMS:

savvy (noun)
savviness (noun)
savvinesses (plural noun)
savvy (verb)
savvies (third person present)
savvied (past tense)
savvied (past participle)
savvying (present participle)
savviness (verb)
savvinesses (third person present)
savvinessing (present participle)
savvinessed (past tense)
savvinessed (past participle)
savvy (adjective)
savvier (comparative adjective)
savviest (superlative adjective)
savviness (adjective)


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