Two recent headlines prompted a reaction in me that, I’ll admit – was not nice.
In fact, I’ll go so far as to say…
I may have been mean.
Here’s the first headline; Part II follows:
My first thought was, “Wow – that’s one for the underdogs.”
And it’s true: No matter how mighty the elephant, or how fierce the lions, when faced with the wrong human with the right weapon, all animals are the underdogs.
But it appeared that this time, the underdogs got the better of the top dog.
The story: In early April, five men entered Kruger National Park, described as “the largest wildlife conservancy in Africa.” “Conservancy” meaning “concerned with the preservation of nature, specific species, or natural resources.”
The men allegedly entered the park illegally, armed with unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
According to CNN, “An elephant ‘suddenly’ attacked” one of the alleged poachers and killed him.
Three of his suspected buddies were caught by police, who said the men “claimed to have carried his body to the road so that passersby could find it in the morning. They then vanished from the Park.”
Police looked for the body, but all they found was a skull and a pair of trousers. They believe the dead man was eaten by lions.
The three suspects were charged with “possessing firearms and ammunition without a license, conspiracy to poach and trespassing.”
The “conspiracy to poach” charge is based on the fact that poaching – which means killing – is widespread in Kruger National Park and other African parks. The target is frequently rhinos, more specifically, rhino horns.
The animals are brought down with bullets, the horn is hacked off, and the rhinos are left to bleed to death.
Why are rhino horns desirable? According to SaveTheRhino.org, rhino horn has been used in Asian medicine
“…for more than 2,000 years and is used to treat fever, rheumatism, gout, and other disorders… the horn could also cure snakebites, hallucinations, typhoid, headaches, carbuncles, vomiting, food poisoning, and ‘devil possession.’”
Never mind that rhino horn is composed mainly of keratin – like our fingernails – and has no known medicinal value:
So there’s the market. And what’s the motive? From another online source:
“On the black market in South Africa, the horn of the white rhino sells for up to $3,000 a pound, but on Asian black markets it wholesales for five to 10 times that, and retail prices can go up astronomically from there.”
The horns of African rhinos weigh on average about three to six and sometimes eight pounds. Do the math, and one horn is enough to feed a very large family for a very long time.
And the system is efficient; one source suggested that the horn can go from the dead rhino to the Asian market in as little as 48 hours.
So I understand why people kill rhinos, and I understand I should feel sympathy for the family of the man who was killed.
It is one for the underdogs.
Part II: The March 30, 2019 headline:
My first thought was, “Maybe it’s time for old rockers to get rocking chairs?”
And Mick Jagger, 75, isn’t the only one facing health issues; these days there’s practically an epidemic involving old rockers:
- In early April the rock group Fleetwood Mack (group’s median age: 69) announced appearance postponements and cancellations due to the illness of lead singer Stevie Nicks, 70.
- Around the same time, Ozzy Osborne, 70, postponed all his shows for the rest of the year “as he recovers from an injury sustained while dealing with his recent bout of pneumonia.”
- In March, Jerry Lee Lewis, 83, cancelled his upcoming appearances following a stroke.
- In November 2018, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, age 68 (group’s median age: 68), cancelled his fall tour after being hospitalized with breathing problems.
- Also in November 2018, Bob Seger (73) and his Silver Bullet Band resumed their Runaway Train Tour after Seeger had cancelled the earlier tour dates “due to his vertebrae issue.”
- In April 2018, singer Bonnie Raitt, 69, cancelled the first leg of her tour due to an “unspecified medical condition” that would require an “unspecified surgery.”
- Also in April 2018, Huey Lewis (68) and the News canceled all of their 2018 tour dates after the singer revealed he was suffering from Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder.
- Yet another in April 2018, the L.A. Guns “announced they are unable to perform” at the upcoming M3 Rock Festival. “No reasons have been given,” but I’m betting “unspecified health issues.”
Now I, personally, have never hear of the L.A. Guns, described as “sleaze rock veterans.” But since the group was formed in 1983, I say they also qualify as old rockers.
So what is it with old rockers? Why doesn’t Mick Jagger just hang up his skin-tight leather pants or Jerry Lee Lewis settle down and marry another 13-year-old female first cousin?
These rockers sure don’t need more “gold” for their “golden years” – not after such long, lucrative careers.
So is it their need for the adulation from their fans? Fans, perhaps three generations of them?
Can’t you just hear it?
“C’mon, Bradley, it’s time to leave for the Rolling Stones concert!”
Perhaps Paul McCartney (76) spoke for all old rockers when he offered this simple reason for why he keeps on rocking:
“Once you get in front of an audience…it’s a charge. It charges your battery. It just turns you up to 11. So it’s great…And the audiences seem to like it. So there doesn’t seem to be any reason to not do it. That’s the thing.”
And maybe my earlier remark about “old rockers and rocking chairs” was mean.
So I’ll say to all rockers, old and otherwise: