A Patient Veteran, A Beloved Wife, A Sweet Irish Setter And Now My Life by Rick London c2016

By now most know Lee’s and my love for animals.  For much of my life, that meant domestic animals such as dogs and cats, and the occasional iguana or hamster, but for the most part dogs and cats and horses.

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I had surmised by the time I was ten or so that I may be the biggest animal-lover in the world, thanks to my late friend Dickey Randolph who, though six years older than me, took the time to teach me about dog care. I got my first Irish Setter from him.   And though I will never forget Dickey’s kindness and goodwill (we stayed friends until his untimely death several years back), I know now it was dogs and cats I loved.

I mention that as, I’d never had anyone explain anything that important to me in detail, that stuck with me throughout my lifetime, and became one of the most important parts of who I am; and most likely began my quest as being a vegan as I am now too.

Part of that “memorable miracle” with Dickey was that I was a disabled, but not diagnosed child with Autism (and now of course an adult with autism).  I was quite hyper, didn’t make good eye-contact, and my attention-span was dismal.

He didn’t care, nor did  it bother him in the least when he returned from Viet Nam, a multi-decorated hero, and very good man.  His guidance led me to the curiosity of nature and animals, and Lee took me to further explorations into the forest to see it in all its glory and how animals behave.  I never get bored with that and it has a very healing nature, very similar to the dog I got from Dickey, “Rusty”.

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I didn’t hate cows, pigs, sheep and chickens, but I dined on them.  Along with overcooked veggies that was my staple until college, at which time McDonald’s took over as “the family kitchen”.  I look back and wonder how I ever lived through that, and in reality, almost didn’t.  I was still 35 years away and two major heart attacks from “seeing the cruelty” in what I was doing.

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Having owned one of the first health food stores in Ms. with a $10K loan from the now defunct (like my health food store) Bank Of Hattiesburg, with a preacher from Glendale, Ms. who was later bought out by an ex-math professor at USM, I had an early curiosity of health foods, yoga, running etc.  It never occurred to me that something as simple as animal protein (including dairy and eggs) was not only holding me back, but eventually killing me, and how I didn’t die on at least 4 occasions has stumped all my surgical specialists.  I am a blessed and grateful man.

I went full-fledged into that business.  Most of my “education” came from salespersons with high-school degrees and books written by outdated writers.  Food science was moving forward as fast as one could turn a page.  The animal sciences were not far behind.  I was dedicated to trying to eat right, take the right herbs and vitamins, run marathons, and you name it.

I have since learned that cooked vitamins might as well go in the toilet.  To my knowledge there is only one firm that makes 100% organic vegan raw vitamins and that is “Garden Of Life” which we buy in powder form from Amazon or Ebay.  It is amazing and one can tell the difference immediately from the ones we see advertised on tv often which have had all/or most of the nutrients and more importantly live enzymes cooked out of them, so they are useless.

I learned that herbal tinctures, in most cases are far better than the tablets or capsules as far as potency. I also learned that organic and wildcrafted are every bit as important.  In addition I learned that “organic” in China would not pass for edible in the U.S. (for herbs and vitamins).  There’s still much more to be learned.  Not all of it works. Some of it is nothing less than miraculous.   More learning.  It’s neverending.

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Click To Enlarge

Enter Walmart, a new “box store” to the town and exit my store, an old overpriced relic.   I sadly closed my doors in 1981

So I spent some time educating myself regarding food sciences and animal science.

I was married in June 2010 to my beloved wife Lee Hiller-London (Lee Hiller of Hike Our Planet)who became a vegan one year later. I had already read the health benefits and how it helped the planet but that still wasn’t, for whatever reason enough for me. However I did go mainly vegetarian for a year before my conversion to veganism.

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It was impossible to watch Lee’s positive changes and not want that for myself.  I didn’t know if it could happen but I was surely willing to try.  She’d lost about 90 or so pounds and about 20 years of age.  I was astounded and still am.  But that was not her goal. It just happened.

She was very patient with me as my evolution kept going with at least some dairy or cheese and finally I said, “I’ve had it”. I thought she’d be surprised but she was not in the least.  She said, we’d both cook alternate days and eat as much raw as we could, and that is just what we did.  I had no idea I would not only actually like it, but crave it, and the thought of my old “food” never even crosses my mind.  I truly don’t think my body could absorb it.  Lee kept looking and feeling better and her mood became very kind. It was not an act.  I’ve seen lots of acts.  This was a natural evolution.  I wanted that too. (Still working on it  LOL).

The life changes are dramatic.  Forget the goodness to the planet, and though I am tickled to death that it happens, there is nothing that would take me back to my old eating lifestyle. I say that because there is no such thing, really, as a vegan diet. Veganism is more of a learning/lifestyle philosophy.

A Robin Williams Tribute Cartoons from 2003 by LTCartoons.com

A Robin Williams Tribute Cartoons from 2003 by LTCartoons.com

Well, Lee retained the good looks, common sense and brains, and I got to feel human maybe for the first time.

Because nobody gets it perfect (I was told that would happen by Ed Begley, Jr.) on Twitter….. (It’s a long story)….I’ve decided not to become a militant vegan, and that fits me well. While I would love the planet to all turn vegan, I also know as Ed told me, “It ain’t gonna happen”.  I would love to live the rest of my life on the planet not killing any animals, but again, it’s not going to happen.  Even in the making of my computer animals are killed.  Lee and I kill insects for instance on our hikes, our ride to the grocery, etc. but not on purpose of course.

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Click To Enlarge

So I wish the Gandhi-wannabes good luck, and let me know how that turns out.  When curious persons are ready, they usually ask us questions. Lee has come up with the idea to have them start with a Meatless Monday which is now a worldwide movement.

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As time goes by and they are still interested, I often direct people to YouTube to watch Sir Paul McCartney’s “Glass Walls”.  Any time I’ve growled or gotten snarly, they ran they other way and ate more meat, with guilt, more meat, nevertheless.  They didn’t want to be much like me and who was I to blame them.  So I changed, and hopefully so did they.

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Meantime I’ve put together a collection of my favorite animal cartoon gifts and tees and I have a lot more in the store collection.  A percentage of each sale benefits various animal and/or vegan causes.

Also for yet even more entertainment, there’s plenty on my cartoon website.

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Happy laughing…and eating….and hopefully shopping!

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Rick London is an author, songwriter, designer and cartoonist.  He is best known for launching Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts from an abandoned tin warehouse in rural Ms.  He is married to his best friend and hiking buddy, his beloved bride Lee Hiller-London who owns the nature photography blog Hike Our Planet. Though of course cetaceans are animals (Dolphins, Orcas etc.) Rick keeps a separate section for his ocean mammal friends (gifts).

Tilukim, Orcas And Freedom by Rick London

What is it about whales and dolphins?  I’m sixty-one and as an aging boomer was brought up like most other aging boomers, to believe cetaceans (whales, dolphins etc.) were happy campers in tanks/pools.

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“Can’t you see them smiling, Rick?”  Why would a ten year old question the sage advice of ones parents?  If I’d known then what I know now, I’d be questioning quite a bit more.  But c’est la vie.

Fortunately my parent’s distancing and eventual abandonment of me, eventually led me to the love of domestic animals and later wildlife and nature and now all of the above.    Meeting my wife Lee reinforced that love of nature and wildlife and we explore everything together.  One couldn’t ask for more. I thank God daily.

I’ve thought about them and created cartoons about them long before they re-evolved into the news.  Seaworld’s “pride and joy” Tilikum, a bull orca, is dying.  He was their prize catch back in the early 80s. He’s weighed 12.5 thousand pounds. More than half the orcas now at Florida’s Seaworld share his genes. Imagine how much money that saved them in pursuing more.  They became a “puppy farm” so to speak, being every bit as much in the orca breeding business as in cruel entertainment.  

And though my beloved wife Lee and I live on the ledge of a National Park/Forest, it is very easy to forget when one lives inland, in the mountains as we do, that Orcas and dolphins are every bit as wild as the creatures we have grown to love in our forest.

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Cetaceans must live in the wild.  In their case it is the ocean.  That is for numerous reasons.  A few but surely not even close to all are their need to swim for miles (sometimes 30-50 per day).  Another is that they communicate via very high pitch shrill sounds.  When communicating in a tank/pool, that sound echoes off the concrete walls, driving each of them insane.  So when they kill or injure a trainer, it is not because they are vicious animals, it is because they are tortured and in terrible pain.  The type attacks do not occur in the wild. In fact, quite the opposite.

Though I’ve done my share of reading, given my Autism, I don’t always retain it. However, my patient beloved wife Lee, has a way of explaining it to where it is not slanted, but simply independently researched (and double independently researched facts).

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That is one reason I have taken it on as a personal cause. Without going into detail, I experienced narcissistic torture as a child well into adulthood.  Without the help of 29 years of therapy and my wonderful wife Lee, I am not sure I could have gotten past “those dark ages”.

I hereby offer a percentage of all my orca gifts in my RickLondonGifts.com/LTCartoons.com line to benefit cetacean captivity.   And I won’t stop in my lifetime until/unless Orca/Dolphin captivity prisons such as Seaworld et al close their doors.

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Rick London is a writer, musician, designer and cartoonist, environmentalist and animal activist.  He is best known for launching Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts from a metal shed in rural Ms in 1997.  He is married to Lee Hiller-London (Lee Hiller) who is a nature photographer and designer and owner of the popular nature/wildlife blog Hike Our Planet.  To see Rick’s orca gifts whose sales benefit orca causes visit his Orca Store.

The Story Behind The Londons Times Cartoon “Orcastra” Cetacean Captivity

“Orcastra” by Google’s #1 Offbeat Cartoon “Londons Times Cartoons” (LTCartoons.com)

 

 

One of the things I love to do in life is play with words.  That’s easy.

One of the things I long to do in the world is make positive changes.  That is easier said than done.  In my college days, it seemed like I could wave a magic wand and change would happen.  That is part of the wonderful delusion of youth, but it felt good nevertheless.  Not voting for Nixon at age 21 was “really cool” and “helped create change”.

Today I realize all the legal jargon, kabuki theater, etc that keeps change from happening, that really should be happening.

Here is a for-instance.   When SeaWorld and similar entities launched their ventures, it was a good thing.  It was very difficult for humans to get close to wild sea mammals, and this seemed an ideal way to do so.

However, studies were being done at the time and it did not take long before oceanographers and other scientists realized that such animals have feelings very similar to humans, thought processes very similar to humans, and were basically family animals.  They also communicate using extremely loud shrill sounds.  When these sounds bounced off a concrete wall such as a pool, it echoes again and again driving the animal insane. Not some of the time, but every time.  Though we see smiles on the faces of Orcas and dolphins, those smiles are simply the structure of their jaw bones.  They are not smiling but crying miserably. Most are suicidal and some are homicidal as we have seen.

Investors have a great deal of money in these entities and are not about to let them go without a fight.

And of course being a “little guy” or a “cartoonist”, all I can do, at most, is speak out with my humor/cartoons and on social media to help gain attention to this atrocity. And I will continue to do my part until I can no longer do it.

Orca cartoon items are wonderful gifts and collectibles.

To view my Orca collection of clothing, eco-friendly bags, pillows, lamps, playing cards, mouse pads and much much more…..

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Orca Captivity The Story Behind The Cartoon by Rick London

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From The Londons Times Cartoons “Story Behind The Cartoon” Series 

All who know me know I love animals.  I’ve loved them since I was a young child.  And not just cats and dogs but animals living in the wild.  I spent a great deal of time outdoors in my youth, and that love of the outdoors and nature never left me.  

I’m fascinated with how nature works and continue learning about it, and the animals who are a great part of it, and I learn something new every day.

But just being there and observing is not enough. I grew up near the Ms. Gulf Coast and watched cetaceans such as dolphins and sperm whales merrily swim the beautiful waters. And though I don’t believe we had Orcas, I always imagined what kind of wonderful time they had in the wild.  After all most of these creatures swim between 30-100 miles a day just for minimal health. 

I still remember in my youth hearing about Seaworld and other such cetacean captivity environments and never could get answers as to why that was allowed to happen.  After all, these creatures communicate with a loud shrill sound, and such sounds bouncing off concrete walls seemed it would be aggravating. I would later learn it drives them insane, depressed, and suicidal.

I decided to research on my own (animal sciences) and sure enough Seaworld and other such wild animal prisons are truly nothing more than torture prisons.  I felt powerless to do anything, however.  I wrote letters to them and they would politely write back that they treated their animals with the utmost of care (yada yada yada).  I knew better. 

When I learned that I had “cartoons in me”, I decided I would do a series of Orca and dolphin cartoons which I’ve done and will continue to do.  And though that is just a drop in the bucket as far as letting Seaworld and others know they are running archaic businesses that need to be closed, every little bit helps. 

When such places opened 1/2 century ago, they were useful.  They were created to show people and allow them to observe sea creatures they would otherwise never see.  

However animal science has shown that such captivity is cruel and unusual punishment and these creatures are extremely intelligent and desperately need to live in the wild.  Seaworld has decided to ignore that science for the sake of profits. 

In addition, there are plenty of other venues now that don’t harm the animals in which people can observe and study them in their true habitat.   The entire “mission statement” of Seaworld and others like it is obsolete.  

I will be running more Orca and dolphin cartoons over the years and tweeting and mailing them to Seaworld.  Chances are they will not do a lot of good….on their own.  But if enough people send letters, cartoons, drawings, pleas, etc., finally they will have to listen.  Already their stock is plummeting.  That is a start.  It is just a matter of time before they are out of business.

The question is, will they go gracefully (its almost too late for that) but there’s still a small timeline, or will they go out of business kicking and screaming with a legacy of cruelty and obscene torture?   Only time will tell.   

Meantime, here’s a good chance to laugh at their latest tv commercial created to “change our minds” about them.  Didn’t work for me. Did it you? 

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Rick London is a writer, cartoonist, songwriter and designer.  He is best known for his Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts.  He is married to Lee Hiller-London aka Lee Hiller who is a popular nature and wildlife photographer as well as gift designer.