Sunday, August 31, 2008


I find myself endlessly fascinated by the complexity of the human condition, how even what appears to be the most straightforward individual has layer upon layer of nuance that can complicate and obscure the essence the person. The intricate melding of memory and experience, the reality and impact of a life lived, the trials and tribulations that each of us internalize as we move through the world all combine to create a unique persona that cannot be grasped nor understood to any significant level.

Hell, I find that we can’t figure ourselves out at the best of times so is it any surprise that we can never figure out anyone else? In our misguided, human way we struggle to interpret and understand the changes in our lives and how those changes affect both our own lives and those close to us. But often, all that we see is the surface … placid, seemingly static, yet beneath passion boils and perceptions and understandings clash and form and are dispersed and reformed as something else.

For such complicated beings, we have truly been handicapped by the inadequacy of words given us to explain the complexities of our own souls, poor tools indeed to truly express our inner motivations and understandings.

Experience is a hard taskmaster. Most of us, however, are pretty stupid when it comes to learning from those experiences and instead, step blithely into the path of calamity again and again.

I’ve been struggling with how emotional angst can become corporeal in terms of physical actions taken in response to emotional anguish. How even awareness that we are taking physical actions in response to nudging from a damaged, anxiety-driven id cannot prevent us from putting our foot on that particular path again and again.

Do you ever question how many of your actions are driven by necessity and how many by rote or unconscious prodding fuelled by some form of emotional dysfunction?

I wasn’t sure why I was musing on this (other than the fact that I tend to muse pointlessly quite often on esoteric matters), but then it occurred to me that there were two motivating factors.

First, there is my own current inability to grapple with an eating disorder I’ve suffered from off and on my entire life and which I’m presently not dealing with very well. The second, is the news I got late last week that one of my oldest and best friends is going in for a heart bypass TOMORROW.

I realize the connection is that we are both aware of the self-destructive nature of our addictions yet despite being relatively intelligent individuals, allow the addictions to dictate our actions.

In my case, I am fully cognizant that the self-destructive eating patterns I have been indulging with of late are having a devastating effect on me on many levels. First and foremost, I have (more or less) successfully controlled the destructive path of type 2 diabetes by a rigid adherence to a high fibre, low carb diet combined with a slavish addiction to exercise. For five years I have managed to stave off a full blown diagnosis through this method, with minor setbacks here and there. But the past year has seen me embark on a destructive path of self-immolation … WHY?

Sarah, my sweet friend, suffered a heart attack 4 years ago at the age of 51, the result of too much weight, too much smoking and a sedentary lifestyle. And she hasn’t changed a damn thing since. Not even quitting smoking. I have been fretting, worrying about the inevitable effects of her pursuit of self-destruction and it finally occurred – 55 years old and a heart bypass!

I actually find it quite fascinating that an emotional lack can translate into a physical action – for what other explanation can there be for the pursuit of actions that any intelligent person can surmise will ultimately damage oneself?

Even cognitive awareness does not seem to stem the self-destructive impulses; which in itself is a fascinating observation as social scientists inevitably bleat how the “will to live” is pretty well the most basic of human motivations.

I actually find the perplexing reality that we continue on a self-destructive path despite full awareness, fascinating – and worthy of thought. I continually try to grasp the ‘why’ and find it possible to step back and watch my own actions with a scientific detachment that speaks volumes to how removed I am from the reality of my own emotions.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cool meme that I found at (Edge of Vanilla) and have crassly stolen.

“Someone” reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed. It’s not the Big Read though — they don’t publish books, and they’ve only featured these books so far. In any event . . .

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.

2) Italicize those you started but did not finish.

3) Underline the books you LOVE.

4) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 or less and force books upon them.

1.The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
2. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
3. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
4. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
5. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
6. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
7. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
8. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
10. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
11. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
12. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
13. His Dark Materials (trilogy) - Philip Pullman
14. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
15. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
16. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
17. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
18. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
19. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
20. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
21. Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
23. Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
24. Animal Farm - George Orwell
25. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
26. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
27. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
28. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
29. Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
30. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
31. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
32. Complete Works of Shakespeare
33. Ulysses - James Joyce
34. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
35. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
36. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
37. The Bible
38. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
39. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
40. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
41. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
42. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
45. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
46. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
47. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
48. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
49. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
50. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
51. Little Women - Louisa M. Alcott
52. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
53. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
54. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
55. Middlemarch - George Eliot
56. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
57. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
58. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
59. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
60. Emma - Jane Austen
Persuasion - Jane Austen
62. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
63. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
64. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
65. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
66. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
67. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
68. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
69. Atonement - Ian McEwan
70. Dune - Frank Herbert
71. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
72. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
73. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
74. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
75. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
76. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
77. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
78. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
79. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
80. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
81. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
82. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
83. Dracula - Bram Stoker
84. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
85. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
86. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
87. Germinal - Emile Zola
88. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
89. Possession - A.S. Byatt
90. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
91. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
92. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
93. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
94. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
95. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
96. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
97. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
98. Watership Down – Richard Adams
99. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
100. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

some of these were INCREDIBLY difficult to get through - to this day, I consider getting through Ulysses and Moby Dick worthy of awards!

Quite a few took me some time to get through -althouth I remain the only person I know that truly LOVES Thomas Hardy! Jane Austen I read again and again - taht's my "candy" reading... while quite a few on here were fairly recent - and I actually only read several last year when my daughter took them for an International Literature course.

Watership Down made me cry - and that was 20+ years ago when I read it.

The Cronicles of Narnia INCLUDE the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe as well as several other books so I'm not sure why the Lion et al. were put out separately.

Also, Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale was probably the ONLY book of hers I really enjoyed!

Also, Shakespeare, I am pretty certain never wrote a BOOK called "the Complete Works" LOL - and if so, wouldn't Hamlet be considered PART of that !!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dark Ride (f-cynyr)

I found the promise
that branded your skin
as you shoved through the mist,
and rain.
Those were the days of walking
endless time,
when even whispers
lingered on the air and lips
body parts.

When the madness that I
carried in my pocket,
was freely shared,
when the blood racing was
and the chest hammering
was a
Friday occurrence and
the edge water crept
closer and closer.

I lost my sight that drooling night
when we spoke
names and spells,
hoping to capture
the elusive
and snare the faith that
would free our flesh.

But even lips tremble
on this dark ride and
the passing of days,
unbeknownst to hands
and caldron eyes, spool
away, with no regard of

With the sea surging
in my vision,
the ocean selkie was you,
the tides ebbed
and with the tide
we traveled from
water to memory.

Surviving the name choosing
and changing
that captured us,
froze us until
there were the entrails of prophecies
that we shared,
devouring it piece by piece.

Just before dawn,
bits of abandoned
night dissolve on tongue and
lips as the dark whispers into
our flesh,
and we
tumbled and shook
on this dark ride, till
we awoke.

When I was young, I quite liked roller coasters. The entire stomach churning experience from slipping into the remarkably flimsy car, the click as the carny guy checked to ensure the bar (inadequate protection at best!) was secured, the slow, methodical click click click of the wheels as the cable pulled the cars up towards the precipice then that moment when you sat, suspended, your eyes widening as you looked out over a distant horizon and tried to avoid the gut-wrenching sweep of spindly track which suddenly dropped below you … and then the RUSH … as the cars swept down, down, down and then careening wildly, swinging hard to the left, then the right and up and around and for that second, you’re upside down, then right side up and swoosh as you sweep around a corner, feeling as if in a cartoon, teetering on two wheels and the wind rushing in your open mouth and the screams of adolescent girls, and the triumphant, terrified yell of boys and the harsh bruising feel of your fellow passenger pushing against you, velocity and speed and simply sweet wild adrenalin …

I relished the entire experience from the butterfly fluttering in my stomach as the snaking line crept forward to the slight nausea as, legs shaky, I exited, breathing hard and giggling together with all the other shaking patrons of fear.

But as I matured, I grew, well, less fond of the damn things. Not scared, because fear was never a huge factor for me, it was the RUSH I craved, enjoyed, desired. But somehow, that RUSH became less of a RUSH and more of a …why am I doing this again? The banging, pressing hardness of the ride became an irritant rather than simply part of the experience and I began to think the big swooping RUSH was no longer really worth it … but I kept on going.

I never really thought about who was leading – you don’t when you’re young and just into the experience, the high, the excitement … you sorta tend to go with the flow, moving with the rhythm and the RUSH … but, but … I realized after a while, that I was getting more and more episodes of cranky stomach, that as I stood in line, my stomach was churning not with anticipation but an intrinsic dread …

I realized some time ago, I just don’t LIKE roller coasters any more.

Oh, I still went on them, pulled reluctantly yet with a surface appreciation of their qualities – a thin veneer of agreeableness, a fa├žade of indifference.

But I’m done now.

I’m not going on any more damn roller coasters.

I’m sick of them. I haven’t lost my nerve; actually, for the first time, I think I’ve finally FOUND it. I’m not going to get into that damn little car and experience that stomach-churning, vomit-inducing ride again.

I’m watching now; from the ground. The sticky sweet smell of the carnival swirls around me, lights flash and bells ding and a cacophony of shouts and noise and colour and chaos fade into the background as I watch the cars click click click toward the top … and I wait, even here, with bated breath as I imagine in my mind the sweep of thought before him – the stomach dropping, gut churning KNOWLEDGE that the very earth was dropping out from beneath your feet and only the thin, hammered metal possibility between your legs was keeping you from death and destruction.

I wait right now, at least in this moment and watch the cars sweep around, flashing silver and gold and blue and red in the flashing lights of my nightmare and the heads bobbing and snapping back and forth and the arms waving and the distant yells are muted and distant and I feel remove and isolated, an island in the midst of a churning, angry sea ….

I wait. For now.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Heat. Cloying, smothering, licking sweat along the nooks and crannies of body, rubbing moisture into the swell of hip and the delicate hollow at the back of your knee. Heat. Glaring light glancing off roads which sway and glitter in the midday sun, black tarmac puffing hot, oily breath into the still air. Leaves hang motionless, dispirited, sagging from parched trees, while sunflowers turn emaciated, drying faces to the glaring, muted yellow of the sun which hangs like a malevolent spirit behind the clogged, smog-ridden air.

Summer clings with desperate fingers to the waning August days, scrabbling with dry withered fingers to the fading of the days as the implacability of night makes almost imperceptible gains with the sweep of each rotation.

The enervating midday conflagration of vapid heat belies the increasingly cooler mornings when autumn breathes a clean, astringent promise that hints at the edge of consciousness of the beginning of the change, while night brings with it breezes which sting promise into enervated spirits.

This time of year carries a powerful and often poignant emotional blow to me. Probably more so than any other season. Prose and poetry often cite Spring as the bridge to new tomorrows, the traditional beginning as it were of life, change and possibilities. But for me, Fall has always held the singular position of being my time of new change and new starts.

I have spent a considerable part of my life adjusting to change and making new starts; less so here, now in the latter part of the fading detritus of a life lived. Lately, however, I sense in the drifting scent of possibilities, the tug of restlessness that burrows into the enervated reality of my day to day existence, a hint that the implacable march of change is occurring.

Gossamer strands of possibility drift just beyond the reach of eye and spirit, trailing sticky threads of maybe across eyes blinded by the harsh midday realities.

As always, I struggle to ascertain what is truth, what is perception and what is reality. For ultimately, there are no absolutes. My truth is valid only to me, from the narrow perspective of my own universe it allows no empirical evidence of its singular correctness. I find a wry enjoyment in this newfound revelation – that truth is never absolute but instead simply another phantom possibility and only one of a myriad of possible paths.

I find a measure of …what? Contentment? Pleasure? Bitter acceptance? In the knowledge that regardless of my own obvious motivation, things are moving forward and change is occurring – for better or for worse- it is inevitable.

I don’t care for summer. I am glad to see its imminent demise and find in myself a small measure of pleasure in the contemplation of the coming autumn.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

You can't fix broken people

You just can’t.

Not one person gets through their life unscathed. Each of us collects scratches and dents, a few bruises, a little chip here and there.

But some people are broken.

Early on in their lives, these people were seriously injured. They were hurt, battered, bruised, ripped, torn and kicked. They were shattered and broken and while the pieces were picked up and glued back together, if you look closely, you can still see the edges, the scars which crawl over the surface of skin and soul. For while skin may stretch - translucent and apparently whole - across the scar of the hurt, run your fingers along the deceptively sleek surface and you will feel the uneven places where bones have knit and egos have tried to mesh.

But it is fragile, this “fixing” and temporary. Push, even a little pressure, and your fingers will break through and the gaping wound will reopen, the blood start to trickle.

My eldest daughter chose damaged boys for her first serious relationships. The saviour in her, the yearning, caring part felt the cry of their pain and wanted desperately to assuage the agony.

Instead, pressing up against these boys, the sharp cutting edge of their broken souls cut new scars into her fragile skin, sliced into her tender heart.

After the second time, I sat her down and talked to her candidly, honestly.

I explained to her - you can’t fix the really broken people, no matter how much love you use to salve the wounds. You can’t heal broken people, no matter how much of your own soul you use to try to stem the hemorrhaging tide of need that threatens to overwhelm your own sanity.

Only they themselves have the ability to forge some semblance of normality. Only they know where to find, deep down, the wounds that caring eyes can’t see, the ones which ache and throb and bleed internally and are the true reflection of their damaged psyches.

All we can do, we who love them, is to gently rub cream into the sore muscles and use band aids to cobble together the torn flesh …and in the doing, understand and accept the wounds inflicted on our own fragile lives by the sharp, jagged edges of their broken souls.

Monday, August 11, 2008


The world spills before me in a biblical configuration of cloud and colour and light and deep, roiling dark. Sitting in the wooden seats at Woodbine, I feel as if I could reach out and grasp the sweep of City before me. Building spires sway insubstantial in the distant landscape, embraced by the swollen, restless underbodies of cloud and mist. Yet to the left, light spills out through clouds tinged pale white and streams to the ground below, translucent and sparkling, splashing up a rainbow of refracted hope back into the lowering sky. Ribbons of dark waver and quiver to the right, vomiting thick streams of moisture capriciously, while a mere street over, cerulean blue peaks through and exhales warm summer breath in a humid mist.

The horses pound past, the thud of hooves distant and insubstantial in the drifting sky, jockeys clinging like burrs to a slip of saddle, bodies moving rhythmically and perfectly with the undulating song of speed. Colours in the muted twilight of a summer storm are wavering and insubstantial, flash of red and yellow, the dark bay of straining muscle, flicker of deep royal blue.

A cool mist eddies around us, swirling pale wisps of certitude on the reality of sky and track. Light flickers in the distance as lightning among angry clouds grumbles sparks into the uncertain sky. Turning slightly, I drink in the pouring golden stream of sun that spills along an eastern shore, sparking painful clarity from the distant lake, obscured a scant quarter turn away from its painful beauty by the incessant pounding of the endless rain which embraces this, the summer of our discontent.

I find this capricious summer reflects well my own stormy emotions, which swing from the thunderous cacophony of rage and thunder to pockets of perfect encapsulated time, where I can stand and gaze into the painful intensity of a blue sky and find a measure of peace.

I’m not sure any more whether it is age, experience, fractured emotions or simply temper that finds me increasingly reluctant to reach within and find forgiveness for the stupidity that seems to run rampant through the dreary reality of days. I find even my forays into escapism in people’s words online no longer provide solace or even a measure of contentment but instead, restless, I find myself turning ever inward, seeking within a damaged mind a trickle of hope.
There are only a very few (and you know who you are) who I still seek each day, finding in their words, their insight and erudite meanderings, pleasure and a sense of companionship as well as a measure of spiritual solace.

My tolerance levels for the other 99% of what is out here are almost nonexistent and I find myself constantly running herd on words which crowd and fight behind lips zipped tight against pointless meanderings or counterarguments to silly speculations and illiterate ramblings. Not for one moment do I believe my own pap is any better, but what is palatable in small doses becomes toxic in depth.

I have always kept tight words which might wound or elucidate, words which can illuminate or rend, I find even my online voice is still these days. Where the need to vomit forth the prurient emotions of a tortured soul once found relief in the pointless tap tap tapping of key and the mouse scratch of virtual ink, I no longer feel a desire to even try to understand the inexplicable curiosity of middle-aged angst.

I watch as the horses, slender necks arched and nervous, sweat sheening on healthy flanks, trot to the start as the next race begins, their pony outriders soothing companions to overbred sensibilities, impossibly slender legs moving restlessly, great hearts beating strongly as the adrenalin starts to surge.

I breathe deep the mist-laden air, drawing the smell of rain and fractured sunshine deep within my lungs and begrudge the 20th Century necessity of being so far from the reality of sinew and flank, of sharp flashing hooves and the pungent, sharp smell of competition. I want to be down right at the rail, and feel deep within my bones, the pounding of these beautiful creatures, to close my eyes and feel the hot wild breath of their passage.

Instead, I sit, forlorn, isolated in an antiseptic creation of man-made reality and watch a panorama unfold that holds no touch of reality but instead passes before me like a kaleidoscope of want.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I volunteer at a local animal shelter - a private charity-run shelter that is the largest in the City. I drop by after work (around 3:15) and stay to around 5:30 three nights a week and 7 a.m. Thursday mornings am there bright and early until between 10 and 11 a.m. - and I walk dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, mean dogs, sweet dogs, old dogs, young dogs.

When I first began there, almost a year ago now - we had several hours training, during which we were introduced to the "coding" system; green and yellow dogs are "easy" dogs, no discernible issues - great and easy to walk. Orange dogs had "issues" - not necessarily terrible ones but things you had to be aware of; maybe they were somewhat dog-aggressive, perhaps they jumped and mouthed, could be they were really really strong and pulled. Then there were the red dogs - BIG issues - serious ones you had to be aware of.

Then there was white level - and those dogs, those dogs had HUGE issues -

The group of us that trained at that point were all orange level walkers; primarily because there were very few green or yellow dogs. Several months ago, I was asked to - and did - train to be a red dog walker - a 3 hour session.

and I love it.

Dog walking is a meditative experience for me. No matter how stressed I am when I get there, an hour later, I am calm, focused, centered; the reality of park and air, of muscle and sinew, of simply being and enjoying the moment has somehow - through osmosis or the simple reality of their palpable joy - trickled into the complicated, stressed thing that is me.

And they're ruining it.

For me, for other volunteers, for the dogs.

When I began, sheets with the colour codes clearly marked were there. You signed out a dog with the time and your initials - you read the little information that was there so you were aware of what you were dealing with. Pens were clearly marked with the dog's name, number and a CLEAR dot that signified his or her "colour". Very little margin for error. Very little chance you were going to end up with a dog beyond your skill level.

Then the union came in - a much needed union I might add. Management at this "charity" is grossly overpaid. The manner in which they treated their $10 an hour professional walkers, their hard-working animal care workers is beyond appalling. Job descriptions were fluid and at the manager's whim; the tone in which these individuals were addressed was grounds for quitting as far as I am concerned.

And management was PISSED.

Management was FURIOUS.

And, they had broken a union before. The Teamsters no less.

So for the past several months, guerrilla and more obvious tactics have been employed in (my opinion) a concerted effort to break this union. Harassment, pressure, verbal beatings - I've witnessed it all - and watched as one after another left, was fired "for cause", got fed up and walked out ....

and the latest?

In the past week, with almost no dog walkers left (other than volunteers), with animal care workers in short supply, they "hired" a shitload of kids - students, a part-time job for $10 an hour.

and therein lay the decision.

For other changes have been afoot - now completely implemented.

Dogs are no longer assessed.

Dogs are no longer coded.

In short, you have NO idea what type of dog you are dealing with.

And into this mess, they threw a bunch of naive kids. Kids with no clue about the behaviour of dogs, what dogs are capable of, that in fact, so many dogs in this shelter are there because of their very serious ISSUES.

My heart was in my mouth this morning as I watched them walk dogs I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole - me, who has spent my entire life among dogs; who has dealt with a variety of dogs and has a certain level of confidence in my ability to "read them", to understand and anticipate their body language ...

I watched them blithely walk dogs that are, to put it baldly, are viscous, unpredictable and capable of inflicting massive amounts of damage. Unaware. Innocents. Not understanding the potential damage, horror that might ensue.

Another volunteer, one who has volunteered there on and off for two years talked to me. An orange level walker, she had no illusions about her own capabilities and had opted to stay at that level, happy to walk her dogs and do her part. Three times, she said to the manager, I am confused, I don't know who I'm walking - I need guidance! Three times she was ruthlessly, rudely dismissed ...

And tonight she at home with 81 stitches in her arms.

And I keep thinking of those little children and their innocent belief that all "puppies" are lovely.

And today (BEFORE my fellow volunteer called me to tell me how she had been attacked) I called the Workplace Health and Safety Complaint line and laid a formal complaint.

And I know that if they find out it was me, I will be thrown out and banned and my beautiful puppies will have one less person to walk them.

But I couldn't live with myself if one of those children gets mauled and I had stood back and not at least tried.

I'm sad tonight at what selfish, self-centred, narcissistic people are doing in the name of "loving" animals...

But all I could think of was children with managled faces.