New film can’t whitewash the sordid story: P.T. Barnum exploited animals and humans!
By John Di Leonardo
Make-believe is Hollywood’s stock-in-trade, but the producers of The Greatest Showman are spending $84 million on a lie — that the life of P.T. Barnum, the con man who ushered cruelty to animals in to American circuses, is something to celebrate.
Who are they kidding?
A movie sanitizing Barnum’s sordid legacy won’t fool anyone who cares about animals, and although Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been consigned to its rightful place in the dustbin of history, other circuses still adhere to the business model that he created more than a century ago: Chaining, caging and beating animals until they perform.
That’s one reason why I won’t go see The Greatest Showman and why I’ll urge my family and friends to skip it, too. The other is that Barnum would stoop to any level to fatten his wallet, including exploiting humans. It was all in a day’s work.
Before waking up to the suffering of nonhuman animals and joining People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, I managed programs for people with developmental disabilities on Long Island, New York. I was drawn to psychology because one of my best friends since kindergarten has cerebral palsy and learning disabilities. We met on the playground one day, when I saw some bullies knock him down and kick sand on him and I made them stop.
Nearly all of my clients had multiple disabilities. Most were autistic, and many also suffered from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or a combination of mental illnesses. In other words, had they lived in a different time, they could have been fodder for P.T. Barnum’s exploitative shows.
Although the movie tells a very different story, P.T. Barnum was more like the playground bully than the hero that Hollywood is making him out to be.
Here’s what didn’t make the final cut: Using the tagline “What is it?” and hyping him as “the connecting link between man and monkey,” Barnum, who also performed in blackface for minstrel shows and exploited African-Americans, exhibited a caged human with microcephaly, in addition to exploiting conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker and even a distant cousin who had dwarfism, General Tom Thumb, who was 25 inches tall and accounted for nearly a quarter of the 82 million tickets that Barnum sold in his lifetime.
He had the same disdain for animals.
After chartering a ship and abducting nine elephants, including a calf, from their families in Sri Lanka, he imprisoned them in the cargo hold for four months.
The elephants got no fresh air, and it was so crowded they couldn’t take a single step in any direction. One elephant reportedly died.
To break their will and make them complacent, handlers shoved a hot poker up their trunks.
Barnum didn’t stop there: He was known to have beaten elephants with sharp, metal-tipped bullhooks until they cried out in pain.
Circuses still use bullhooks today.
Barnum also confined animals to the basement of his New York museum, including two beluga whales who were boiled alive in their tanks alongside other trapped animals during a fire.
P.T. Barnum was no humanitarian, and for a movie to try and portray him as anything other than what he was — a cruel manipulator whose sole motivation was cold, hard cash
— is outrageous.
Pymatuning Deer Park, a roadside zoo in Jamestown, Pennsylvania. Two bear cubs forced to live in a tiny concrete cage, separated from their mother. Video by PETA, December 12, 2017.
Editor’s note: The revamped, but still-a-shithole-to-the animals!, Southwick’s Wild Animal Farm in Mendon! Worcester’s very own Ecotarium! (It has and is building more animal enclosures.) Welcome to Worcester County’s “premier” roadside zoos!
END THE ANIMAL ISOLATION AND SHOWS in these Woo “family-friendly” tourist spots! They teach children nothing about the grace and brilliance of God’s creatures!
Let’s enact a law exactly like North Carolina’s: Citizens there can sue private animal owners on grounds of cruelty to animals.
– Rosalie Tirella
******** The following was originally published on PETA.ORG on December 19, 2017:
It’s taken years of inspections, complaints, and citations as well as a lawsuit — but today, all that matters is that two bears are saying goodbye to their virtually barren concrete enclosures at a decrepit roadside zoo and are headed to their new home in a spacious, sprawling Colorado sanctuary.
One look at the “before” photos of Ben and Bogey at the Tregembo Animal Park in Wilmington, North Carolina, will tell you everything that you need to know.
In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the roadside zoo after PETA reported that Ben was suffering from severe lesions on his eyes, nose, and mouth.
The damage was so significant that his corneas were permanently scarred and his vision is likely impaired.
Bogey paced incessantly in her tiny concrete-floored cell and bit the bars of her cage. Both types of behavior are well-known signs of zoochosis, a psychological disorder caused by extreme distress from intensive confinement.
Both bears’ minuscule enclosures were about 0.0004 percent of the minimum range that they would occupy in nature.
They did not hibernate in the winter and had nothing to occupy the long days behind bars except begging tourists for peanuts.
But today, everything changes.
Under North Carolina law, citizens can sue private animal owners on grounds of cruelty to animals. So animal advocates Caroline Byrd and Lorraine Moe stepped up and sued Tregembo.
They were represented by lawyers from PETA and two North Carolina–based law firms. The suit sought to have the bears transferred to a reputable sanctuary where they could roam, swim, and receive the care that they desperately need. Tregembo agreed to settle by releasing the bears if the plaintiffs agreed to drop the suit and arrange care for the animals, and the two women wasted no time in settling the case and securing the bears’ transfer.
Now, 14-year-old Ben and 15-year-old Bogey are on their way to the serene Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, where they will finally be able to run, roam, climb, swim, and den. They’ll have the opportunity to hibernate this year, likely for the first time in their lives.
If Tregembo attempts to acquire more bears to imprison as roadside amusements, under the terms of the settlement agreement, the plaintiffs can challenge in court any future acquisitions of bears as well.
Ben and Bogey will bring the total number of bears PETA has rescued in the past five years to 65. We’ll have updates to share with everyone who helped us win this victory for the bears as they settle into their new home.
On New Year’s Eve, whether you’re hosting a party for many or a party for one, you’ll probably want festive treats. And one of the most popular routes to go for New Year’s Eve party food is an assortment of appetizers. Party appetizers can be inspired by cuisine from around the world. The great thing is that anything goes as long as it’s small or it can be shared. One of my favorite types of cuisine for appetizers is Mexican.
In addition to the standard chips and salsa, guacamole, and bean dip, you can add mini-tacos and crispy taquitos to the party platter. And, I must tell you, faux-chicken taquitos are always a hit, whether your guests are vegetarians or meat-eaters!
Happy New Year!
Soy Chicken Taquitos
1 lb. vegetarian chicken, torn into small pieces
3 Tbsp. canola oil, plus additional oil for frying the taquitos
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium Anaheim peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. oregano
2 cups faux chicken broth or vegetable broth
Salt, to taste
18 to 24 corn tortillas
Heat the oil in large sauce pan and add the onion, peppers and garlic. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the vegetarian chicken and continue cooking for 3 more minutes.
Blend the crushed tomatoes, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and oregano in a blender and pour the mixture into a pan.
Bring to a boil and add the broth.
Cover the pan and simmer over medium heat about 25 minutes.
Season with salt to taste.
Wrap the tortillas in a damp cloth, place in the oven, and heat through, until soft, under low heat.
Strain the sauce and place 1 Tbsp. of the mixture in the center of each tortilla.
Roll the tortilla tightly and use a toothpick to hold it.
Repeat for the remaining tortillas.
In a medium sauté pan, heat enough oil to cover the taquitos two-thirds deep.
Fry the taquitos for 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel.
Remove the toothpicks and serve with your favorite salsa, nondairy sour cream, and guacamole on the side.
Mix the eggs and flour together, adding the milk and water slowly.
Add the salt and butter and whisk until smooth.
In a hot skillet, add a tsp of butter, or cooking oil for savory crêpes coat well.
Add ¼ cup batter for each crepe and tilt the pan so the batter swirls out – the back of a ladle also helps to spread it out.
Cook for about 1 minute or until the sides are brown. Lift with a spatula to loosen it and cook the other side.
Stack them on top of each other and cover with a cake pan (for height) or a piece of foil.
Crepes can be savory (salty) filled with ham and melted cheese, or sweet, say filled with Nutella or something as simple as strawberry jam.
Today: Wusta in winta
This is the easiest cookie recipe you will ever need for your entire life! The base is magic! And the fillings are what you want. When you make them from scratch, it takes 20 minutes and costs less than 20 cents a cookie. So bake a batch for your loved ones – they are nutritious and healthy.
You can add cinnamon, raisins, chocolate chips, dried fruit, glazes, frostings. Or you can roll this cookie dough out and get creative with cookie cutters. Or just roll into small balls for the perfect cookie!
You will need:
1 pound of soft BUTTER
1½ cups sugar
2 ¾ cup flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
Mix the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs and mix well.
Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Add flour mix in small batches – mix well.
Use a small ice-cream scoop to form round balls and place dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 15 mins in a 350-degree oven.
I make these cookies all the time for my daughter, and when she says, “Papa, I want a cookie!” I know she is getting good stuff.
Joey’s daughter! Go, Gigi, go!!!
From the Worcester Historical Museum
30 Elm St., Worcester
Take a break from the hustle and bustle and enjoy a less hectic time of celebration in the warm glow of a Candlelight Tour at the Salisbury Mansion!
December 22 and 29 from 4:30-6:30 PM. Adults $10.00; Museum members and under 18 years of age $5.
Passes not accepted for this special event.
Children can enjoy a cup of cocoa and hear a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” just as the youngest Stephen Salisbury did many years ago…
…On Saturday, December 23 at 2:00 PM. “Steevie is noisy and is just reading Twas Night Before Christmas to Mrs. W., who is here today” (1839). Adults $5; Museum members and under 18 years of age free.
From Chef Joey: a culinary blast from the past (with new pics):
Text, recipes and photos by Chef Joey
Thanksgiving! Ok, glad it is over – not going to lie. Same people, in two weeks for Christmas. However, there is a cathartic element about the whole turkey dinner. Growing up European, we made turkey and enjoyed the day off from school, but the whole ceremonious process was lost on us. When I married, to an American family, I was thrust into the warmth, love and “tradition” that did not exist in my upbringing.
After dinner: Chef Joey’s Gigi hangs out in her princess bedroom/home office with two of her four pups and opens up her laptop to read new emails.😉🌸 We love the tea pots on the adorable table – short and stout and tres princess-y!
Every family has their traditions, albeit different from the Pilgrims with their venison and eel – not Butterball and squash. Sorry, people! I have been to numerous homes where we were served relish trays before dinner. I’ve visited my Lebanese friends – homes with more hor’s d’oeuvres than you can imagine! Then dinner! I’ve dined with Asian families serving traditional dishes, then the “American Dinner.” It is all wonderful!
But the best part about turkey dinners: Leftovers! We all strive for the 25-pound turkey that is affordable. This bird is good for dinner, turkey soup, turkey pie, and let’s squeeze in a tetrazzini – or even croquettes.
So you have a turkey carcass:
Clean off as much meat as possible. Boil the bones in a pan that just covers the carcass …
Add 2 whole, peeled, scored onions …
… and 3 cloves of garlic.
Cook for at least 30 minutes.
This is the base of your turkey soup/pie/tetrazzini.
For the soup:
Take at least 1 cup of turkey meat, chopped up
Add carrots, celery, cubed potatoes with 6 cups broth
Cook until veggies are tender and there you have it!
For the pie:
Add peas and arrow root or corn starch to thicken
Toss a pie crust on top of your pie plate filled with yummies – and there is dinner 2.
Tetrazzini is the same as the pie. However, it has parmesan cheese (1/4 cup) mixed in and is traditionally served in a puff pastry shell. Let’s make it real and serve it on a piece of toasted bread. Starch, protein all on one plate.
Treat time: Gigi doesn’t get refined-sugar-y stuff but plenty of fruits, yogurt, cashews…
I mentioned croquettes …
Take your leftover meat and toss it into a food processor
Add 2 eggs per cup of ground meat
Add 1 cup cooked oatmeal or 1 cup WET breadcrumbs to the mix. Roll into balls and fry or bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Silly, easy, and cranberry sauce with a little mayo makes a tasty little dip!
Salisbury Mansion, located at 40 Highland Street, is Worcester’s only historic house museum.
Built in 1772 as a combination house and store, it served as the home of “gentleman-merchant” Stephen Salisbury.
The store closed after the Embargo of 1812, and by 1820 all of the space once used for the store had become living quarters. Salisbury Mansion has gone through many changes over the years, from a rooming-house to a gentleman’s club.
Saisbury Mansion was originally located at Lincoln Square. Through tireless research and documentation, Salisbury Mansion has been restored to the 1830s to reflect the time when it was home to the widow Elizabeth Tuckerman Salisbury.
It is considered one of the best documented historic house museums in New England.