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Posted on March 1st, 2010

Dave!I have mixed feelings about animals being held in captivity for entertainment value.

For the most part, I'm against it. I see animals chained up at the circus or animals trapped behind glass at the zoo, and can't imagine that this is an acceptable way to treat them. These animals aren't living, they're existing, and that's a pretty big difference. Even when the people keeping the animals insist that they're receiving the best of care and are safer than they would be in the wild... or if they're of the mind that the animals don't know any better and only understand about getting fed... well, it's still a far cry from living in the wild.

But... "the wild" isn't what it used to be.

Jungles are being deforested. Glaciers are melting. Rivers, lakes, and oceans are polluted. Natural habitats are being dozed over to make room for condominiums. Pretty soon, there won't be much "wild" for animals to live in.

So... what to do?

The only way to insure the survival of a growing number of species is to raise them in captivity. And not all zoos are created equal. A growing number of zoos are going above and beyond to recreate the natural habitats of the animals living in captivity. The San Diego Zoo has been working on this for years, and others are following suite.

Then there's Disney's Animal Kingdom, where they've really put in the effort in recreating an animal's environment. And today they announced the birth of a critically endangered gorilla who might not have even had a chance in the hostile world we live in...

Disney Gorilla
Now THAT'S an adorable baby!

But then there's the other side of the coin. Dangerous animals kept in captivity where it's easy to believe that we're the one's in control. We're the ones making the decisions. We're the ones making the rules.

And it makes for good family entertainment...

Shamu Jumping

Until we receive a very real reminder that the animals are, in fact, still animals.

The tragedy at Sea World comes as a shock... but really shouldn't. The shocking things is that things like this don't happen more often.

And again, it's hard for me to sort out my feelings here. On one hand, animals as entertainment is not something I'm ever going to be comfortable with. On the other hand, the money Sea World gets from the entertainment goes towards their substantial efforts in education, conservation, rescue, and preservation.

So... what to do?

I guess there's nothing we really can do except BELIEVE it will all work out somehow...

Dave and Hilly BELIEVE!

I wonder what this all means for those of us who have been indoctrinated into the Cult of Shamu?



Posted on December 31st, 2009

Dave!It's the easiest blog post of the year, when I get to re-visit all my entries for the past 365 days and see just how pointless and futile my life really is! Much like last year, a lot of my time was spent traveling. I racked up 164,000 air miles on seven airlines. Unlike last year, I had only minimal flight delays and cancellations, which was a pleasant surprise.

And now the traditional random Blogography snippets of crap from the year that was 2009...


Admitted I have a Twitter addiction.

Goofed around at SeaWorld with mah Hilly-Sue in San Diego, where we rode the Buckets of Death, learned to BELIEVE, and joined the cult of Shamu the whale...

Dave and Hilly BELIEVE!
Seriously, how cute are we in this photo?

Was traumatized when Ms. Sizzle and I were sexually assaulted by Etta James at her Seattle concert.


Was nearly brought to tears at the Nazi Documentation Museum in Cologne, Germany.

Traveled to the beautiful island of Mallorca in Spain to visit the new Hard Rock Cafe there and see the sights...

Looking towards the Palma Cathedral at night

Revealed ten honest things about me.

Suffered from my drug abuse.

Said goodbye to a friend and learned what is really important...

Dave and Lisa


Disapproved of First Lady Michelle Obama's wardrobe choices...

Michelle Obama Bad Weave

Spent a weekend goofing off in Seattle with my BFF Vahid.

Re-lived my life as one of the Spice Girls...

Had an absolute blast meeting up with friends in Davedon...

Davedon Group

Experienced the "magic" of Stonehenge...

Glowing Rays on Stonehenge!

Back to my favorite city on earth... Davenburgh!

Had the worst airport layover in the history of airport layovers.


More blogger meet awesomeness at Dave York...

Dawg, Poppy, Earl.
Dawg and Poppy with B.E. Earl.

Dave York 2!
Robin, Libragirl, B.E. Earl, Me, and Cissa!

Tried my hand at some inappropriate Broadway reviews.

Reveled in the glory that is TequilaCon Santa Fe...

TQ2009 Planning Posse Boots


Expressed my disappointment with the current state of Cracker Jack prizes.

Explained a problem with my MASSIVE NOZZLE.

Gave a behind-the-scenes look at the Blogography Show when Whall was a guest...

Lil' Wayne Hall enters the stage...

Took a trip to Savannah, Georgia and visited the magnificent Bonaventure Cemetery.

Released the most important iPhone app ever...

Ask Dave! App Ad

Visited mah Hilly-Sue in her new home of Orlando where we got to be pirates and then go see Jesus at The Holy Land Experience.

Started up the Lil' Dave and Lil' Wayne MAC VS. PC cartoons...


Told ignorant asshole Paul Marx of the Baltimore Sun to go fuck himself.


Attended the spectacular ConFab blogger event in Lexington, Kentucky.

Debuted Baby Dave and Naughty Monkey for a guest-post on Anissa's blog...

Baby Dave and Naughty Monkey


Finally saw Duran Duran in concert with my sister.

Took a look at my wild-and-crazy days of youth...

Alcoholics Not-Anonymous Here We Come!

Revealed the secret of How to Blog the Blogography Way.

Joined in on Blogathon 2009 where I live-blogged new DaveToons every half-hour to benefit Doctors Without Borders.

Had the opportunity of a lifetime when I went to see Hayao Miyazaki speak in L.A. with blogging buddy Howard from The Web Pen Blog.


Ah, the wonder of exploring the biggest rock in the world and the joy of attending Davelanta3...

Everybody except Julie at Davelanta 3

Explained the Love Equality Formula and said NOH8 the best way I know how...


Had the adventure of a lifetime when I guest-posted at Puntabulous...

Super Viagra and Vagina Girl

Gave evidence as to why I was the most adorable baby ever.

Another fantastic blogger meet, this time at Daveorado...


Got to see my favorite band ever, Depeche Mode, in Salt Lake City with WarpedGirl 16 and Marty from Banal Leakage!


Hit Las Vegas with the TequilaCon Planning Posse for event planning, debauchery, and ELVIS...

TequilaCon 2010 Planning Committee with Elvis

Took an amazing cruise to Alaska where I walked on a glacier, then went rafting with eagles, and ended up hiking with bears...

Lazy Bear

Got to see one of my favorite bands, the Pet Shop Boys, at their Seattle concert.

Explored my virtual career path...

Astronaut Dave!


Just one word: pooferflargen.

And then there was the life-altering experience of attending Bitchsterdam...

Bitchsterdam Group

Showed off my HUGE package.

Said my peace on equality.

Finally got to see the adorable spawn of The Bombshell and The Ninja in SoCal.

Could there possibly be anything better than three days at Disney World with mah Hilly-Sue?

Dave & Hilly on Big Thunder at Walt Disney World

I dunno. But swimming with dolphins with Robyn and Rachel comes close...

Swimming with Dolphins

And so does a wild night at Avitaween and non-stop pussy...

Avtaween 2009 T-Shirt Design

Went Hard Rock Cafe hopping in Washington DC and Baltimore.


Learned the Tao of Bullshit with Josherz...

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave drops his ice cream cone. THIS IS BULLSHIT!

Made some tentative plans for 2012...


Back to Atlanta for time with friends and Freestylin' Coke.


Not a lot, really. I did write this massive blog entry though.

And that was 2009. Everybody have a safe and happy New Year as we head into 2010, and thanks for reading!


Day Five: Discovery Cove

Posted on October 23rd, 2009

Dave!Today I went to Sea World's Discovery Cove with Robyn and Rachel. It was a lot of fun.

Discovery Cove is a different kind of theme park. It's an interactive experience with sea creatures (and birds) that has strict visitor count limits to insure everybody has an opportunity to do all the stuff they have available without being crowded out of anything. Because of this, you can't just "show up" and expect to get a ticket... you have to make a reservation in advance. And while it is quite expensive, it's also all-inclusive, so your food, wet-suit, and snorkel gear are all included (photo/video packages and souvenirs are extra).

Just as you'd expect from the people at Sea World, Discovery Cove is beautifully appointed and immaculately maintained. A lot of thought went into exactly how everything would work, and there is a massive work-staff to make sure visitors are safe and well cared for. The food was all very good, with plenty of choices and some vegetarian options.

The first thing you do is get either a swim vest or wetsuit, snorkel gear, and some special waterproof sun-block that won't hurt the animals (but turns your hair and eyebrows blue-gray so everybody looks like an alien)...

Dave in a Wetsuit

Then you can explore all the different areas for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing...

Snorkel Cave

My favorite creatures at the park are the graceful and gentle rays, which are happy to glide right by you so you can walk up and pet them...



Petting a Ray

Spotted Ray

Spotted Ray

But there are plenty of fish to swim with and look at too...

Blue Fish

The on-site aviary is cool, allowing you to get all up-close and personal with some feathered friends...

Fluffy Bird

Dave with a Bird
Me looking vaguely alien-like with that blue-gray sun-block.

Feeding the Birds

But the biggest "claim-to-fame" activity of Discovery Cove is being able to arrange a personal dolphin visit and swim-along...

Hanging with a Dolphin

Kissing a Dolphin
I won't spoil it for Robyn and Rachel by posting their photos, but I will show them kissing a dolphin so everybody knows that I didn't go around randomly kissing animals at the park... it's part of the program!

Swimming with Dolphins

I am lucky enough to have previously visited Discovery Cove as they were just opening. It was a little more chaotic back then, but now everything has kind of settled down and operates like a well-oiled machine. I do feel that the park gets a little crowded in parts from time to time, but it's never seemed so overwhelming that you can't do something when you want to. And even though it's pretty expensive ($255 with tax), I also think it's a good value for the money given its all-inclusive nature and the unique experiences they offer (even more so when you consider you get unlimited 2-week admission to Sea World included in the package).

The only place where I'm torn is the idea of using living creatures as entertainment. On one hand, Sea World goes to painstaking lengths to ensure the health and safety of their animals, and they are better cared for and live longer than they would be in the wild. Staff is also quick to point out that all performance by the dolphins is strictly voluntary, and if a dolphin didn't feel like doing something they could swim away at any time. Most of the creatures are also bred in captivity, so the life they have is all they know. Others are rescued from situations where they would have died, so Sea World is giving them a new lease on life. On the surface (so to speak) it seems an idyllic life for an animal.

On the other hand, they're not free. Dolphins are highly intelligent, curious, and social creatures who need a much bigger world to live in than some fish tank at Sea World. I hesitate to apply human emotional states to them (hey, who knows?) but it seems difficult to imagine that they could be as "happy" in captivity as they could be in the wild. Sure they could swim away if they wanted to... but just to the other side of the tank. It's not as if they can swim out into the ocean (where they wouldn't be able to care for themselves even if they could). And while performing is optional, all those tasty fish they get for learning tricks and getting kissed by tourists seem to be a hard thing to pass up when there's not much else for them to do.

I can only hope that by being able to visit with these fascinating creatures up-close-and-personal in captivity, people will have more of an interest in preserving them in the wild. Maintaing our human lifestyles takes a massive toll on the environment, and habitats for the animal population are quickly becoming toxic cesspools incapable of sustaining life. If getting people to start caring for wildlife is a consequence of places like Discovery Cove, then maybe the sacrifice animals make by being trapped there is worth it.

In any event, if you can afford the steep price of admission and you're in the Orlando area, Discovery Cove is highly recommended.


Day Four: Sea World

Posted on October 22nd, 2009

Dave!Today Robyn and I went to Sea World. It was a lot of fun.

Manta Roller Coaster Sign

EXCEPT when we went on the "Atlantis" ride...

Sea World Atlantis Ride

We ended up so frickin' wet that you'd have thought we jumped in a swimming pool. There was not a dry spot on me, and I was thoroughly soaked from head to toe. Getting a little wet on rides like "Splash Mountain" at Disneyland is fun. Getting so drenched that your shoes are filled with water and you're miserable for the rest of the day is not fun. Sea World needs to seriously consider revamping this ride to make it less soaktacular. Oh well, the only thing we could do was laugh about it all, so we did...

Wet Dave and Wet Robyn

Sea World Dolphins

More Sea World dolphins.

Sea World Shamu Show

Shark Encounter Sign


Jake the Shark

Another day gone by too soon...

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