Dear Jack: A Righteous Man Cares for the Needs of His Animals

4 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack: A Righteous Man Cares for His Animals

Dear Jack,

Saturday afternoon you slept hard for three hours while Mommy and I watched the movie Unbroken in the bonus room.

During the middle of it, I snuck in your bedroom to check on you and discovered such a sweet sight: You were cuddled up tightly with Bongo, your stuffed animal monkey.

Not to mention, your bed is always full of your zoo of all your other stuffed animals, which even includes an anteater.

After you woke up later in the afternoon, I took you to the Spring Hill Ham Festival, where you were able to pet (very tame!) farm animals; including a sheep, goat, cow, chicken, duck, rabbit, and a pair of pigs.

Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

I loved how unreserved you were when approaching the animals to softly pet them. I don’t know that I myself would have trusted them not to attack me.

This video I made includes some footage of you with the animals:

But your calm spirit assured them you were only there to nurture them, not to scare them.

I just recently became aware of a verse in the Bible that made me think of you:

Proverbs 12:10 says this:

A righteous man cares for the needs of his animals.

You love animals. You treat them like babies.

Literally, you wrap them up in blankets and take them with you wherever we go.

With that being said, I don’t see our family getting an actual real life pet any time soon. Our busy lifestyle and schedule would likely lead to not being able to show the pet enough affection and attention.

However, we can definitely enjoy everyone else’s pets and animals.

You are definitely built to care for others and to be a leader. It’s what is in your heart.

I believe you will always find a way to take care of others, especially those younger than you.




Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

4 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

Dear Jack,

Had you ever told me, “Daddy, I want to ride in a real monster truck,” I have a feeling I would have searched the entire state of Tennessee and the 8 other states it borders; only to possibly find some outrageously priced, yet tame version of riding in a monster truck.

Fortunately, this past weekend while “ridin’ low in that Corolla”, we just happened to stumble into a perfect situation.

Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

While ironically attending the Spring Hill Ham Festival (I say ironically since you’re a vegetarian and I’m a vegan), we saw a sign for monster truck rides; only $5 per person.

(Plus, it was free admission and free parking!)

Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

It was misting, overcast, and late in the day. There was no line and we were the only riders on that trip.

This video I made shows not only what it was like inside the monster truck, Predator, but also outside of it as well.

Seriously, this was no tame ride. Plus, we chose the best seats in the truck; right there at the edge of the bed.

I would have been terrified at your age to do something so intense.

You only showed one quick look of concern, at first; to be following by smiles and laughing for the rest of the ride.

Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

Needless to say, we had a great time; in what might turn out to be a once in a lifetime experience.

And again, amazingly- it was just 10 bucks total for the 2 of us to ride!

While we were there, you also enjoyed climbing up and sliding down the “jumpy houses,” as well as getting to visit the petting zoo… or farm, I guess I should say.

Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

You also asked to play one of the games.

Basically, you spun a big wheel in which all but 3 of the options were literally labeled “Free Pixy Stick,” while the remaining 3 were simply left blank.

Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

Going to the Spring Hill Ham Festival was such a great experience for us as father and son!

Lesson learned: Even if you don’t eat ham, go to the Ham Festival if you get the chance!



Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

No Pork on My Fork: Why I Decided to Go Kosher

I’m not Jewish.  But I am Jew-ish.

If vultures and possums were easy to sell and market to the public, and people enjoyed the way they tasted, would people still eat them? Surely not. Because those are gross animals. (I’m assuming.)

Hard to believe now, but from 2006 to 2008 I lived in a house full of 4 other guys. If a near cliché is needed here, it was the ultimate “bachelor pad”. A house where there was no such thing as “cleaning day”. The big screen TV was always playing in surround sound. The soonest anyone went to bed was around midnight. Cooking food ourselves almost never happened. Christmas lights on the roof and rotted jack-o-lanterns on the porch were not seasonal items, they were constant.

The owner of the house, Jared, always had a new “toy” that he exploited for all its worth. First it was a bread machine: “You haven’t had real bread until you’ve had my homemade bread…” A few months later: “Taste this beer- I made this stuff myself with this new kit I bought at CVS.” (I specifically remember him also inventing “twine”, a cross between sweet tea and wine.) But my personal favorite was the fruit juicer. He read to me all 67 benefits of drinking carrot juice from Wikipedia as I had a glass myself of it myself.

Juicing really can be a fun thing. I ended up going to Publix and buying grapes, apples, even a banana (which ultimately caused the juicer to disperse a mucus-looking substance). One day after work I was making a healthy concoction when I looked up at Jared at said, “What if we juiced a ham?” He said it would probably give us nothing but yellow fat water.

That mental image has disturbed me ever since. It also helped me realize I’ve never been a fan of ham anyway. Ham is pretty much an accessory to the main dish. I can’t think of many times in my life seeing ham as the main meat of meal on a restaurant menu, with the exception of places like Cracker Barrel.

I may even go as far to say that ham has become an irrational fear of mine. Just the thought of touching slimy, sliced ham. Sickening, really. But everyone else seems to be cool with ham. So what’s the true issue?

I had to accept that one of my destinies in life is to not eat ham. This calling eventually would lead me to learn way more than I or anyone else would want to know, and that knowledge I would gain would be so shocking and unbelievable that those who heard it either A) believed it and acted upon it, B) scorned my stupidity, or C) were intrigued, yet indifferent.

It all started last November when I began going regularly to a hydro colonics specialist in an effort to clear up my eczema. Ultimately, it’s the glorified version of the ancient Egyptian practice of getting an enema. Throughout my many visits, several worm parasites were released from my body. The biggest one was comparable to the size of a human finger. It was clear with a black head.

Of course I asked the doctor what caused this. My two summers in Thailand? My visit to a Korean sauna? Nope. The mostly likely cause of a human having parasites in their digestive system is from eating undercooked pork.

While this incident that happened to me is nothing less of disgusting, it does raise a great question: Which is worse, A) to hear someone tell about pork-transmitted worm parasites that were released through something as weird and socially unacceptable as hydro colonics, or B) to go on living knowing that the chances of having the same worm parasites are pretty favorable, yet doing nothing about it?

With some research, I read that at least 1 out of 3 people in America are living with a similar kind of parasites that I had; some sources stated as high out 7 out of 10. But what good are statistics? Eighty-two percent of statistics are made up anyway, right? The proof was in the pudding (pun).

After sharing my personal results with them, I convinced at least 5 other people to see the hydro colonics specialist. Four out of the five had at least one parasite worm (if not several) come out of them. So all but one out of the six people (myself included) had parasite worms. I’m not good at math. But 5 out of 6 (83%) people is much more definite than 1 out of 3 (33%), as prior estimated statistics had predicted.

Growing up in a Baptist youth group, I always thought it was funny to hear the youth minister pray over our fast food dinners: “And Lord, we pray You will bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies and our bodies to Your service…” Really? French fries, cheeseburgers, and soda? All that saturated fat, sodium, and sugar? I see why that would be a necessary prayer, but seriously…

Wouldn’t it make more sense not to eat crap? Speaking of eating crap, I think it’s a little ironic that thousands of years ago God instructed the Jews about certain foods they should not eat. He set apart certain animals to serve as the “clean-up crew of the Earth”.

They eat the rotting carcasses and/or feces of other animals. In plain English, these scavengers include, but are not limited to pork and shellfish (shrimp, scallops, lobster, crabs). Similarly, there are also catfish which are called “cleaner fish”; they feed off the dead skin and parasites they find on other living fish.

Catfish find rotten blood appetizing.

Is it any coincidence that so many people are allergic to shellfish? (Thanks to Dwight on The Office, many Americans learned that the black vein on the spine of a shrimp is feces in its digestive track.) The scavengers of the sea often have a higher level of mercury, commonly being the main cause of allergies in humans. For me it was hard to look past the wonderful taste of these creatures. But if you are what you eat, and especially if you are what shellfish eat…

Going back to those lovable piggies, the more I learned about them the more repulsed I became at the thought of eating one. They are different creatures, physically structured to carry out the task of be custodians of the ecosystem. Pigs have a very high tolerance to toxic substances. They can be bit by poisonous snakes and usually survive.

Instead of toxins traveling through their entire body, they go to the animal’s fat and are stored there. And oddly, they don’t have sweat glands. They are not able to “sweat out” poisons the way most mammals do. Therefore they roll in the mud to cool themselves off. Eventually, humans eat the fat which stored the toxins the pig consumed. What’s really weird is that pork fat, when consumed by humans, remains pork fat, instead of converting to human fat like other animal fats do. It’s hard for me to think of bacon the same way.

We eat these...

But not these.

This is my destiny, to eat like a Jew. My wish for the world is for everyone to continue enjoying sausage, pepperoni, bacon, shrimp, scallops, lobster, crab legs, and catfish as I did for 28 years. But since May 2009, I have chosen to take this whole thing a little too seriously.

Below is a word from a frenemy. This is one thing I can agree with him on.