Thursday, 5 March 2015

BLACK RABBIT WITH ATTITUDE.

Why does Easter make me feel sad? Many adults buy bunnies for their children for Easter without realizing what they're getting into.  Most likely, many once-loved bunnies will be surrendered to animal shelters or cruelly dumped outdoors to fend for themselves. Some will be "loved" to death while others will end up exiled to a lonely cage in the back yard.

With resources such as The House Rabbit Society website, people lack the excuse that they couldn't find information on house rabbits. In fact, many folks believe they don't need to learn anything about how to care for these mentally-complex creatures.

As I found out, bunnies are like other pets. They get into mischief and some have attitudes. In When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies), I wrote about one little Netherland Dwarf with a big ego.

Because he was small and black, I named him Neutrino. It was partly because he was so hard to see in semi-darkness but also because of my favourite Klaatu song, The Little Neutrino

My little fur friend had a stubborn streak. One of his bad habits was to pee in front of places he thought needed marking. Though Neutrino had been neutered, he still defied the usual bunny stereotype of being perfectly litter trained. When I placed litter boxes where he wet, he nosed them aside and peed on the same spot. No amount of cleaning and spraying with strong-smelling cologne detered him.

I should add that most rabbits are better behaved than Neutrino was. Even so, some are strong-willed and, as a result, are surrendered to shelters or dumped outside. Many otherwise-loveable bunnies die or are euthanized as a result of feckless humans who should have done their homework.

When a Man Loves a Rabbit is filled with many more fascinating stories of life with house bunnies. These vignettes range from the tragic to the hilarious. Please click on the link to my books for details about both of my paperbacks. You're also welcome to contact me directly for more information.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

THOU SHALT NOT STEAL

How far does Exodus 20:15 go? What about copying and pasting articles to friends' e-mail addresses? Is that stealing. Thanks to my friend Don, I realize that I'm guilty of thievery.

A few months ago, I joined an  e-mail group called Blind Conservative. One thing which is popular there is to copy articles from web sites and post them verbatim to the list. I found it quite handy. Instead of going to a web site and fighting with the screen reader so I could hear the article, I could sit back and let the computer read it to me as I sipped my morning coffee.

But what looks right in our sight is often wrong in the sight of God. Don brought to my attention that copying and pasting articles deprives writers of their income. News outlets depend on advertising revenue. Stories are the bait that brings in traffic to their pages. When articles are bootlegged all over the place, it results in fewer page views. And fewer page views means reduced advertisement revenue.

Thanks to Don, I realized that I was ripping off advertisers and news outlets, some of which also need donations to continue their work of bringing us stories from around the world. My zealous redistributing of their work to my friends was in effect stealing advertising dollars from these organizations.

Another point Don made was that all these e-mails I've been sending out clutter up people's IN boxes. Some folks have only a limited amount of mail storage space. It never occurred to me that I was depriving friends of their valuable space with the full-length articles which I posted.

In Christ's Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapter five to seven), he said that even contemplating  sins is morally the same as committing them. Since this is so, and since I'm representing Christ to the world, I must make sure everything I do and think is faultless. Therefore, I resolve not to bootleg any artistic work. The laborours are indeed worthy of their hire.

Since it's such a trial for blind PC users to navigate web pages, I'll only send them the articles that I feel would be of interest to them. I'll also include the web site link and the name of the author so the writer will get credit. Sighted folks only need the summary of the article and the link.

In my most recent book called How I Was Razed, I wrote of the time when I used to trespass on railway land to shorten my walks to the post office. I no longer do that since it's illegal. In fact, the heavenly Father corrected many more of my errant notions. Read more about his wondrous providence at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN

Easter Sunday is on April 5th this year but chocolate bunnies and Easter candy is already appearing in stores across the land. One store I went to before Christmas even had those Cadburry Mini Eggs on sale.

As much as I love those chocolates, as well as all the bunny-themed items on sale, one aspect of Easter gets me down. Far too many under-aged rabbits are sold to gullible parents who have no clue how to look after these creatures.

The scenario is almost exactly the same in households across North America. The parents buy a bunny from a breeder or pet store. Then the kids won't look after him or her. The rabbit soon is put in the back yard in a tiny hutch. The parents quickly tire of caring for the one-time kids pet. Either the defenseless animal is dumped in the park or surrendered to an over-crowded animal shelter. Often times, the family dog or some passing predator frightens the bunny to death. Next year, many of the brainless parents will buy another hapless animal for their whining brood.

In the past decade or two, animal welfare proponents have advocated for rabbits to be treated with the care that dogs and cats receive. They spend considerable time and effort reaching out to people through the media. Often times, they set up booths at pet shops to warn potential bunny owners of what they need to do to have a long and happy experience with their rabbit.

But to the warnings from many worthy causes, some folks are just stuck on stupid. They hear all the public service announcements on such important matters as drunk driving and distracted motoring, yet they figure that's for other people. The same sadly holds true for warnings about rabbits at Easter.

If you feel tempted by breeders or pet shops to buy that cute little bunny, STOP! Visit House Rabbit Society and study all the information you'll need to decide if a bunny is for you and your family. As with any animal, rabbits need to be spayed and neutered. They require a special diet that will prolong their lives and keep them healthy. They can also be litter trained. Furthermore, bunnies aren't treated by every veterinarian but by the ones specializing in exotic animals.

I also have written a memoir of my experience with rabbits in my home. The paperback is filled with humorous stories and surprising facts about these long-eared companions. Check out When a Man Loves a Rabbit at Bruce Atchison's books page.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

WE'VE ALWAYS HAD WACKY WEATHER

It seems like people today think that the weather used to be so nice but now man-made pollution is up-ending the weather systems. The older I get, the more ridiculous that argument gets.

I remember riding the Greyhound bus home one windy day in 1970. An elderly man sat next to me and began telling me how strange this weather was in comparison to how things were when he was my age. I've heard many similar stories how today's weather isn't like it used to be.

A pattern is forming in my mind about these "wacky weather" reports from various people. Older people seem to forget the bad things in the past, generally speaking that is. This is why everything seems so good long ago.

It also seems to me that our senses diminish as we age. What once was an adventure now is an ordeal. To me, soft ice cream tasted better when I was young and summers were hotter. Now I realize it's just a matter of perspective due to decades of experience.

The leader of the cultic house church I once attended also made some wild predictions about the weather. One of his outlandish claims was that the southwestern United States would be uninhabitable by the turn of the century due to violent storms and earthquakes. Last I've heard, the western states of America are doing quite well. Apocalyptic claims have been made by other false leaders and haven't yet come to pass.

I'm sure the children of today will someday realize that we've had it good during the first decades of the twenty-first century. There will always be storms and quiet years. Winters will vary in length in severity, just as they've always done. The same goes for the other three seasons. Keep in mind that these cycles have happened for millennia and that our tiny contribution of heat is being compensated for by the environment.

My How I Was Razed memoir shows how wrong that rogue leader was with his supposed revelations. Check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

HOW COMPUTERS HAVE CHANGED OVER THE YEARS

Having just purchased a new laptop, I marvel at how quickly personal computers have developed.  When I was a child, there were only mainframe computers, the size of refrigerators, and only businesses or universities had those. The Apolo 11 crew had a portable computer for their Command Module but it was extremely primitive compared to what we now have. Microprocessors didn't exist until I was well into my adult years.

Do you remember your first computer? Mine was a Vic-20 that I bought second hand from a shortwave-listening club member. Instead of a hard drive, programs were stored on cassette tapes. To access one, you had to pop the correct tape into the player and type in a command to run it. Thirty years later, I still have the Vic-20. It might be a collector's item someday so I'm hanging onto it.

My first "real" computer was a used IBM clone which I bought in 1993 for seven-hundred dollars from a computer store. It had a 100MB hard drive and drives for 5.25" and 3.5" floppy disks. It also had 2MB of memory, too small to run Windows 3.1. A friend gave me an amber monochrome monitor and I bought a dot matrix printer from a friend at work. As I've written before, this computer opened the world of writing for me.

It wasn't until November of 2000 that I bought a new PC with Windows 98 on it. Along with writing and research, I was able to record my music to its hard drive and burn my own CD-Rs. I also made tray and j cards for my disks, as well as printing labels for them.

In April of 2008, I bought a new PC with a much faster CPU and it was able to use USB flash drives. I made videos with it and the PC is still my main machine today. I'll have to upgrade to Windows 8.1 from XP but some of my beloved programs won't run anymore on it.

Now I have a laptop, fulfilling a dream I've had for years about writing outside during the warm months of the year. I can also take it with me whenever I travel. Though I'll have to get used to its flat keys, I feel confident that this helpful device will be of use when we get our lovely summer weather here in Alberta.

I've mentioned my computers and how I wrote them in my three memoirs. Read about the first two at Bruce Atchison's books page. My most recent paperback is at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and Powell's Books.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

DAD'S ARMY, A SERIOUSLY FUNNY TV SHOW

We've been fortunate so far here in North America. Up until now, we've had no devastating con tenant-wide conflicts. Europe, Africa and Asia have had horrific wars in the past hundred years while we rested safely in our isolation across the ocean. Though nuclear missiles were aimed at our major cities, none were fired during the Cold War.

Perhaps this is why I find Dad's Army to be such a hilarious television program.  Airing in the U.K. between 1968 and 1977, this comedy showed what life was like for the Home Guard during the second world war.

To me, far too many movies and TV shows have focused on the soldiers at the front. Seeing, even in a comic form, what other forces were doing during the war adds depth to a person's understanding of those times.

The Home Guard were a force of volunteers in Britain who were ineligible to fight but who wanted to defend their homeland. from German invasion. Check out the link to learn more about these individuals and how their group formed.

Much of the TV show's plots were based around real life events, though the town of Warmington-on-Sea was fictitious. The volunteers often had personal clashes due to class and regional differences. Adding to the hilarity, one member's mum made outrageous demands for her boy to the self-appointed captain of the platoon. The vicar and verger of the church hall also complicated matters with their objections to the training going on in their sacred space.

I highly recommend this TV show to fans of British comedy. The characters are engaging and the double entendre puns are clever. Check online or at your local video store for this excellent series.

Make sure as well that you buy the correct version for your region as some DVDs only play on PCs and region 2 players.

I can't think of a good segue from that subject to my memoirs so please save me from a bad headache by visiting Bruce Atchison's books, Amazon, , and Powell's Books.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

PROVIDENTIAL PROTECTION AND HOW WE OFTEN DON'T REALIZE IT


Listening to the news each day can make a person feel paranoid. From auto accidents to murders, we're bombarded with tragedies. I know of one case where the news made one woman so paranoid of being spied on and stolen from that it sent her to a mental hospital. Doubtless, you might know of similar cases.

I'm a slow learner when it comes to spiritual matters. Even so, I now understand the wonder and beauty of God's providence. Even a casual look back on my life shows how things could have been much worse.

When I was a security guard working the night shift, I was awakened by a house inspector who needed to measure the room I rented. He noticed that my headphone cord had fallen across the space heater and was beginning to melt. Had he, a fellow Christian, not come that day, I might have died in the resulting fire.

In February of 1981, another act of God's providence happened. I was hired by the federal government and stayed employed with them for fourteen years. The resulting pension I earned helps me live a comfortable life today.

Likewise, the equalization lump sum payment from the government in 2000 allowed me to buy a house in a small rural hamlet and put in a septic field. I have the perfect place to write, all due to the heavenly Father's awesome guidance of events.

No more will I fall for the faith teachers and their name-it-and-claim-it doctrine. God knows what is best for us and he works through providence to preserve us. And even when bad things happen, he makes good come out of it.

I wrote in How I Was Razed how I learned to trust God's providence rather than trying to work up my faith so I could received miracles. I feel so much happier as a result. Check out  my book at Amazon page for details.