Tuesday, August 27, 2013


 “If you don't like pictures of animal cruelty being posted on social media, you need to help stop the cruelty, not the pictures. You should be bothered that its happening, not that you saw it.”
― Marie Sarantakis

     Dog fighting is a felony is all 50 states and the District of Columbia. So while criminals are viciously fighting animals to their death for profit, local and federal law enforcement , the ASPCA, and the Humane Society of the United States are fighting for justice. Currently, the ASPCA is working with Congress to enact legislation making it a federal crime to even attend any organized animal fighting event. Along with 367 pit bulls officials in the national raid were able to seize weapons, narcotics, drug paraphernalia and 500,000 dollars cash used for gambling . The sweep was the result of a four year multi-state investigation.
     In March of  this year the ASPCA assisted the FBI,  The Missouri State Highway Patrol and local law enforcement in conducting a raid which covered several states and seized almost one hundred fighting dogs. These animals would have spent their entire existence from birth outside tethered with heavy chains,  bred repeatedly, tortured, starved, beaten, and then forced to fight to their death. According to several reports on the day of the raid the dogs were enduring the freezing temperatures  of a blizzard.
When you see evidence of dog fighting there is a 99% chance other illegal activity will be discovered. What can you look for in your own community as evidence of dog fighting? What do you do if you see it happening? What can you do if you know of or see a dog being chained or tethered and in distress.?  Below is a list of common warning signs of dog fighting compiled from resources including the ASPCA, HSUS, law enforcement and various animal welfare organizations.

Are there an unusual or inordinate amount of the pit bull breed dog in your area?

 Are the dogs kept isolated in one location, chained and un-socialized?

If you reside in an urban area are they confined to a basement or small area in the home?

Do you notice dogs with  cuts and scars especially on their faces and legs?

Have you seen dog fighting equipment outdoors such as tires or "spring poles" hanging from the limbs of trees?

Have you seen exercise treadmills or "breaksticks" which are used to draw open the jaws of a dog in battle?

Do you notice a high volume of human traffic in one secluded location at odd hours?
 Besides neighbors and concerned citizens many times a public works employee, utility worker or postal carrier will notice circumstances and behavior out of the ordinary.

Please, DON'T IGNORE animal cruelty. Human beings are the only voice they have. By reporting the animal cruelty you may be saving the life of an abused or neglected child or adult who is too afraid to speak out.

If you see an animal that appears to be neglected outside or one you suspect is being used in dog fighting contact your local humane society, animal control or law enforcement agency. Remember, we are their only voice.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones...."

“Music is what I have to do, I only answer the questions so that I can do it.”
― Jack White (The White Stripes)

     iTunes Store Top 10 Alternative Songs  (US) Radioactive by Imagine Dragons was originally released in December of 2012 but continues to rise in popularity from inside the United States to outside including the UK and Australia. This week the acclaimed anthem captured the number one downloaded song position on Apple iTunes.
     Imagine Dragons debut album Night Visions is where you can absorb Radioactive which like the song itself is filtered through a passionate revolutionary perspective. All music is left up to your own interpretation. As far as the true lyrical meaning some critics and fans argue it's about Wall Street, greedy corporations, a crumbling society or even an end of the world nuclear holocaust scenario. The video for Radioactive features talented Hollywood actor Lou Diamond Phillips and a few underestimated cute n' cuddly furry fighters.

1. Radioactive- Imagine Dragons            
2. Safe and Sound- Capital Cities

3. Still Into You-Paramore
4. Summertime Sadness-  Lana Del Rey


6. My Songs Know What You Did In
    the Dark (Light 'Em Up)-Fall Out Boy

7. Demons- Imagine Dragons

8. Sweater Weather- the Neighbourhood

9. Pompeii- Bastille

10. The is Gospel- Panic! At the Disco

Happy Birthday to Jack O. August 23rd!


Friday, August 16, 2013

"Where do we go from here?'

 “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” - President John F. Kennedy

     "You will be fine."  "Everything will work out." "How could they NOT hire you?" "You have so much to offer." "Don't worry.", words uttered out of sheer ignorant optimism. Believe! Those were actual phrases of positive encouragement written and spoken to my brother during the past ten months. Steve has proudly served his country as a member of the US Armed Forces for over twenty years. Serving or retiring from the military is an achievement that invokes pride and honor as an American citizen. Most American adults cannot or have never been given the opportunity to commit to any endeavor for twenty years let alone the United States military. He officially retired from the US Navy with the deservedly shiny hopeful attitude that along with his retirement benefits he would quickly secure quality full time civilian employment. Our country is miserably failing veterans.

     Have you ever been unemployed? Chances are if you are a member of the American work force you have been unemployed at least a year or more in your lifetime. From manufacturing to education, from Internet technology to health care you have known or will know what it feels like to be laid off, let go, forced to retire, forced to resign or experience a reduction in compensated work hours. It's reality. It's a real fact of life for those on the front lines of the American workforce. If you haven't experienced any form of unemployment, age discrimination, pay reduction, loss of benefits or general work related coercion consider yourself extremely fortunate. You may have a great deal of difficulty sympathizing with the typical American worker and I'm sorry you do because that may indicate you're not part of the solution but a huge part of the problem. Ignoring or berating the needs of thousands and thousands of unemployed or under employed American military veterans and millions of out of work civilian's is a disgrace to this country. Unemployed, educated and skilled civilians are routinely forced to reexamine options, consider alternatives, soul search, dedicate their time, funds and effort to discover meaningful livable wages and push forward. You can't afford or be afraid to ask for help if your future plans entail more than just daily survival. There are over 400 organizations (not all reputable) in the US that were designed to assist current, returning or disabled veterans but like most things in life, to stay afloat they are swimming in endless research, jumping through government hoops or drowning in piles of bureaucratic paperwork to find organizations  that best serve their needs. One of the most important things we can do, military or civilian is bring about change through education and awareness. My brother deserves more. We all deserve more.

 Here is a link to an article I contributed regarding five outstanding nonprofit veterans organizations:http://lkmore01.hubpages.com/_1ohrv6clpciqg/hub/5-Nonprofit-Veterans-Organizations-You-Need-to-Know

      Among veterans who served during the post-9/11 era and who have a service-connected disability, the unemployment rate during 2012 was 8.0 percent reported the Labor Department in March. Many believe that percentage is much higher.  It's surreal that our government allows United States veterans, who have served our country by promising the ultimate sacrifice, to continue struggling and sacrificing the rest of their lives. Let's continue to question and ask ourselves and our government why this is occurring in one of the most prosperous nations in the world?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

"it's something unpredictable but in the end is right. I hope you had the time of your life."

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”-Steve Jobs

      Delivered a week ago in the mail was a beautifully crafted invitation which stated "The Faculty and graduating Class of Kent State University announce that Brianne L. Masirovits is a candidate for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Communications in Communications Studies at the Commencement Exercises Saturday, August Seventeenth Two Thousand Thirteen at Nine-thirty in the morning. Held at the Memorial Athletic Convocation Center." Holding the official ornately engraved keepsake in my hand, reflecting on the passage of time my eyes welled with tears,  proud of my niece's accomplishment.

     The Steve Jobs quote featured above are words of wisdom frequently shared. The thoughts expressed emphasize the fact that although we may be considerably loved and cherished by others,  the love we're most likely to experience in our lifetime is exclusive and conditional. There is a moment on this unpredictable adventure when all of us must accept full responsibility for our own fulfillment and happiness. There's not a single man, woman or child on this earth who knows you better than you know your self. You have to trust and believe in your own inner voice.  Business, government, educational institutions, families even people who love and adore you will manipulate your heart, thoughts and actions for their own selfish motives. At times this control is well intentioned, unconscious, cleverly disguised as tradition, inheritance, a condescending reality check, unsolicited advice or calculating concern. Control is a heavy burden of weight keeping our spirits anchored down and silent. Our time is limited. Your time is limited. Don't be so willing to give up your own power. Have the courage to follow your heart and follow your own intuition. Live the life YOU were born to lead.

     Congratulations! Love, kisses and hugs surround Bri and especially her incredibly loving, dedicated parents who have ensured her a proper foundation and quality education to survive a  test of being thrown to the hungry wolves. My sister Les has meaningful conversations and actually listens to her adult children. Over the short span of their lives together she has lovingly, painstakingly documented dance recitals, vacations, friendships, band concerts, soccer games, births, deaths and family gatherings in captivating creative memorials and scrapbooks. Her children Bri and Andrew will undoubtedly shed tears, reflect on and treasure these momentous photo storybook gifts forever. My brother-in-law Chuck has provided knowledgeable business foresight, arranged inspiring experiences and instilled hard work and confidence while introducing valuable future connections for Bri. Both Les and Chuck have worked overtime, weekends, extra shifts, lost hours and hours of sleep, given up simple pleasures and comforts and endured considerable hardships because they love their kids. Good parents develop a child's enthusiasm and learning potential. Good parents hold tightly to hope while letting little hands go, giving a child the freedom to explore. Great parents encourage and understand while accepting their children as unique beings separate from themselves. Children instinctively know when they're wanted and loved. It takes an excruciating amount of endless energy, effort, determination and sacrifice to be an effective parent. Positive results are not guaranteed for either parent or child. Bri has worked extremely hard to earn her diploma while overcoming personal, financial setbacks and challenging course work to focus and obtain her goal. After years of passionate  pursuit she is on her way to realizing her dreams. She is an amazingly intelligent talented young woman with a wonderful future and exciting career prospects ahead.

 Looking for even more inspiration? Keep in mind, there are a number of Communications majors we may already know and love.

   Stephen Colbert-  one of my all time favorite Communications majors comes from Comedy Central’s political satire, The Colbert Report. His communication degree was earned from Northwestern University School of Communication.
    Alright, alright. Matthew McConaughey may have made a name for himself playing likeable hunky leading men in romantic comedies but he also earned his communication degree from the College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. JK living, man.
    Gary Larson, the clever cartoonist who created The Far Side, has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Washington State University.
     David Letterman, the comic host of television’s Late Show with David Letterman is also a producer. His communication degree came from Ball State University, where he has established a scholarship for "average" students because he claims to have been one in school.
     David Boreanaz became famous playing the role of Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the show’s spinoff, Angel. Currently, he is cast as an FBI agent on Bones. He is also a producer and director. Boreanaz got his communication degree from Ithaca College.
     Brandi Chastain, professional soccer player with the California Storm and former midfielder for the U.S. women’s national soccer team earned her communication degree from Santa Clara University.
      The late Emmy award winning, James Gandolfini,  who brilliantly portrayed Mafia don Tony Soprano received his BA in communications from Rutgers University.
     And of course one of the most successful Communications majors of all time is Oprah Winfrey who received a degree in speech communication and theater from Tennessee State University. She received a full scholarship and graduated with honors.

      With or without college degrees or economic obstacles, each and every one of us has the power to use our own creativity to pursue and accomplish our goals. Let no one convince you "you can't." or "you won't".   Around the globe there's a significant advantage in having responsible parents provide, guide and sacrifice for their own child's future. Supporting a child to adulthood and beyond is a path you choose when you commit to having children. Being a parent is a life altering choice which must be carefully contemplated. Parents must surrender their own independence, time, income and a part of their very soul so children have a measurable head start and adequate survival skills for a world that doesn't care. That's called LOVE. And parents who willingly give love,  provide shelter, nourishment, discipline, education, financial assistance and guidance for their children are doing it right. There are plenty of people among us who didn't have good parents, had only one parent or no parents at all. Despite neglect or abuse many people have managed to forgive, overcome the past, learn from mistakes, take inspiration from role models and gain powerful insights examining their own painful histories. Some people even go on to produce loving, caring successful little human beings. Congratulations. Humanity reaps the harvest of responsible parenting and we should express our gratitude. Exceptional parenting may produce the next Albert Einstein, Mohandas Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Stephen Colbert, Steve Jobs or Bri Masirovits. Thank you. Your conscious choice to deeply respect, love and nurture your own children has made the planet a better place for us all. Now it's time for your children to be who they truly are, discover their own strengths, build upon their own abilities and live the life they have always imagined.

 With all my heart I love you, Bri. I love who you are now and I love the woman you will become.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves..."

 “Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind's capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense because they don't; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us.”
― Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy
     Quickly! You hear a crowd screaming as flames  shoot out of a second story window. Panicked, you have to make a split second decision. In one smoke filled room is a crying six month year old infant tragically abandoned by it's mother and in another room is a highly trained yet injured three year old German Shepard police canine trapped under debris. Who would you save?  Most people may be reading this in disgust saying to themselves "what a ridiculous question" of course I would save the baby. Instinctively,  human nature dictates most of us would grab the child and immediately flee from harm. This is a no brainer for fire and rescue teams, right?  Human life will always take precedence over an animal. However, the most heroic of us would be determined to save both baby and dog. Increasingly, many of us would do nothing at all. We don't try to save the baby or the dog. We rationalize good parents wouldn't abandon a baby in a fire. Why should I care about some strangers kid? We rationalize that an animals life is considerably less valuable than a human life, not even worthy of our concern or assistance. So both the baby and the dog are asphyxiated by the smoke and die. The end.

      Unfortunately, we see a society of  not "either or" but "neither".  The previous scenario was written to demonstrate a point regarding animal rights activists and advocates. It has been my experience that some people insinuate you show less concern for children, women's and human rights when you are empathetic and speak out for animals. Since when does being the voice for animals mean you care less about your fellow human beings? That kind of superior thinking lacks compassion and understanding and only demonstrates our own arrogance.  When you choose to protect and honor animals rights, you ARE caring for human beings. The truth is there are many people who love and trust the companionship of animals more than most humans. Do you blame them?  For the first time, many people are able to express deep love and emotion without judgment or criticism with the aide of service and companion animals.  They are able to find comfort and heal wounds inflicted by human cruelty, trauma, illness, developmental disorders and loneliness with the unconditional love, companionship and security of a pet.  Human beings are brutal, selfish, greedy, hurtful and manipulative. The animal kingdom does not exist for our pleasure, exploitation and amusement. We have an obligation to the earth, the beautiful creatures of our planet and each other. We do see the kindness and love in others. We see what can be. We know we are capable of the greatest most unselfish love and  incredible sacrifice. Why do we want to exclude animals and nature in our most urgent government policies, religious faith and philosophies? Many animal lovers, animal rights activists and advocates honor and recognize that we are ALL entrusted to care and protect animals not destroy their habitats, disturb populations use them for cruel science experiments or unmercifully kill for sport and greed. We are only a drop in the great ocean. We are only a thread of the great intricate web.

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~



Thursday, August 1, 2013

"No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world...."

"Instead of teaching, I told stories.
 Anything to keep them quiet and in their seats.
 They thought I was teaching.
 I thought I was teaching.
 I was learning.  
― Frank McCourt, Teacher Man     
Close your eyes for a moment and recall  your favorite school memory. Be sure to envision the year,  your age, grade, your hairstyle, your art smock, the smell of Play-Doh drying on your finger tips and the enchanting sparkle of glitter shimmering atop a tiny table. Imagine the little girl or boy you had a secret crush on or the mischievous" bad apple" who would giggle mercilessly tugging at your ponytail. Who was the teacher you adored? Every one has a beloved instructor whose impression has burned deep into their soul. Think of them now and  be reminded how their influence is never truly lost. A teacher is still with you when you read, write, add, subtract, sing, dance or recite a poem. Every time I tie my shoelaces I'm reminded of my sister Laurie, now a teacher lovingly praised by her former students and parents. Patiently, one summer afternoon when I was three years old we sat on a blanket under a tree in the backyard. She was determined to teach me how to make loops and bows. And so it goes. Growing up both of my sisters taught me how to read and write while we played imaginary schoolhouse. What child hasn't sat backwards on a toilet seat and pretended it was their teacher desk? My sister Les earned her degree in Elementary Education and in my twenties I attempted the profession as an aide and substitute. It takes a special kind of personality to be an effective educator. Memorable instructors are sugar coated with mysterious magic, drink golden sunshine and bathe in rainbow light beams. Unfortunately, they are often surrounded by a world of cynical curmudgeons who hide under their troll bridges. Good teachers are generously sprinkled with a charming pixie dust and ride spirited singing unicorns each morning to care for  their class. The best teachers believe in destiny, discipline, fate and fairy tales and they believe in YOU. Their lessons are forever tattooed on your brain, the ever lasting finger paint of kindness and inspiration. Some educators secretly have the words..."I do this for the money said No Teacher Ever." inked on their inner arms by Crayola Washable Markers. 
  Believe it or not many schools started classes a week ago in July. When I was in school we began after Labor Day or officially the day after the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. The hours leading up to the first day of school were either intensely exciting or made you want to violently vomit. Either way you got to show off your brand new shoes. After hours of debating and throwing temper tantrums in the aisle of Kmart you smugly carried your carefully chosen lunchbox and thermos to check out. A lunchbox identified a child's social status like a smartphone or tablet does today. Happy Days and the Fonze?  Cool. Hardy Boys? Not cool. Dukes of Hazzard? Cool. Evil Knievel. Not cool. Charlie's Angels? Cool. Holly Hobbie?  Way not cool. You had to purchase new notebooks with adorable puppies and kittens on the cover, No.2 pencils, pencil coffin box, safety scissors that only crumpled paper, mini pack of Kleenex tissues, a plastic ruler you used as an airplane propeller, a protractor you busted trying to wedge your desk lid open and gigantic pink block erasers you would tear to bits and hurl at a classmates head. Spoiled, you may have demanded high quality Elmer's Glue and not the generic second rate tacky glue stick for heavens sake. Of course the Coupe De Ville of all sacred school supplies was the Crayola Crayon 72 pack. This was the two tiered box royale that featured fancy fresh color names like lemon yellow, carnation pink, burnt sienna and hot magenta. Crayola's were what an avid coloring book lover craved all year.

Even more important than our school supply stash was our teachers, rulers of a child's universe for nine months. Our teachers were the Captain, O Captains of the Class and the Kings and Queens of our curriculum.  From kindergarten to seventh grade and from high school to Hogwarts teachers guided our existence. 
Earlier I asked you to reflect on teachers past. What if you had the ability to choose your own teachers? Would you learn reading with Veronica Vaugh ? Would you debate sociology with Mr. Mark Thackeray? Would Gabe Kotter teach you American History or would Coach Eric Taylor prepare you for football under the Friday night lights? Now pretend you are the principal of your own school and you need to hire staff. Which teachers real or imagined would you choose?  Below is the link to an article I created after contemplating that question and choosing my favorite cinema instructors. Spoiler alert: The movie featuring my all time favorite teacher still inspires my YAWP.

A special Happy Birthday wish to Lorraine, August 6th!