Monthly Archives: July 2015

Cecil the lion – why it’s our fault.

The Cecil the lion story has taken over the internet (except for those concerned with a tiff between two rappers? what the hell is that all about?). It took a while, though. I first saw the story last week in the Spanish press, where the hunter was claimed to be Spanish. I posted a link and a comment on my personal facebook page, that it seemed there was always some dickhead waiting to give good hunters a bad name. And he was a dickhead for luring the lion out of a protected area – never mind the huge amount of money he paid to the outfit.

Anyway, the story evolved and was picked up by the media and then the internet got hold of it. And now we can’t avoid hearing about it.

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We never heard of you before, Cecil, but we’ll never forget you…
Copyright @DeGeorgeous/twitter, taken from an interesting article:

And some have rightly questioned why we are all so up in arms over one lion when there is so much more “important” (it’s an opinion, after all) stuff going on.

The media are to blame, in large part, because they like to push these heartrending stories. To take our minds off the really important issues, of course.

And there are too many of those more important issues to list here.

But you know what they are.

So why do we allow the media to sucker punch us?

Because we don’t want to focus on those more important issues.

It would be too much.

The media don’t control facebook (exactly). People have shared and liked those photos all by themselves.

Why?

Because they can manage their rage at one dentist. They can see a cause and effect, a perpetrator and a victim. It’s easy to transmit all their feelings of rage and anger and helplessness into that and think they’re doing something for the planet.

It’s a natural reaction, understandable and human. We can’t deal with such huge statistics. Our brains don’t take it. That’s why I wrote a post about one little boy being snuck across a border by his dad rather than the seven hundred people who’d drowned that same week, after having said goodbye to fathers and sons and everyone else in the family to trek across the Sahara to an overloaded dingy in Tunisia. It’s why we can feel extreme sadness reading The Diary of Anne Frank, or watching The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas but are numbed when we see film of Auschwitz, and the idea of six million people in similar circumstances is just incomprehensible.

The broader issue is that though lions are not currently endangered in Africa, their future is not bright. But the fact that this lion could be hunted outside his reserve is more important than the fact he was lured outside. It shows us that protecting our large animals is not going to work with just a few reserves. The lions of Africa cannot only survive in a few national parks, just like the wolf cannot exist only inside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. It must be protected everywhere.
Cecil had a name and he was old and he stayed inside his reserve where he could be seen – he didn’t need to hide. But how many of his offspring had already left that park? How many of them, or other lions born in that reserve, were already hunted? How many are waiting, hidden from humans because they are not protected, ready to return and take over his pride?

But can we do anything to make African nations increase the size of their parks? Can we stop multinationals and other nations getting these African (and other nations with stunning biological diversity) to intensify their agriculture, to plant cash crops, to build more roads and railways that will carve up the remaining wild land so there is no hope of survival for an animal that leaves a park when it becomes overcrowded?

No. But we can call some trophy hunter names.

The future is not bright for a whole lot of species, especially the large ones like rhinos and elephants. Thousands of them, with and without names, are being slaughtered for their products. There are only thousands of them left. Or five of them left, if we’re talking some rhinos.

And we know this.

But it’s so fucking hard to do anything about it.

We watch helplessly as numbers of extinctions rise, as coral reefs bleach, as dams are built to drown swaths of rainforest, as jungles are cleared for palm oil plantations.

We watch helplessly as our elected politicians (I won’t use the word leader) fuck around in multiple planes. They fuck around shouting at one another, fuck around blaming people who walked half way across Africa, or Central America for their country’s problems while they eat caviar on the deck of some billionaires yacht. They fuck around with shit that’s just not important in the grand scheme of things and wash their hands of their blame for all the problems what are, indeed, important to the lives of their citizens.

And we wring our hands a little because, well, we are all a little to blame, too.

We know the electricity our computers and internet use is partly responsible for the coral beaching. We know the trip we take to go visit animals like lions, while giving money to the local economy (just as hunters do) to stop the locals just killing these lions and be done with it, is also making the Arctic melt. We know that buying shampoo and other stuff with palm oil is going to make it harder for the orang-utan babies we love to actually move out into a rainforest. We know that buying all those great cheap throwaway clothes in big retailers is contributing to global warming and poverty.

But what are we to do? We’re caught in a whirlpool that just drags us down with it.

One thing we can do, which I’ve done, is be concerned for all endangered animals. Not just one old lion, but all lions, all African megafauna, all species facing the threat of annihilation, along with their habitats.

We can join the amazing NGOs that are standing against these extinctions and actively protecting species.

Join your local wildlife trust (The Irish Wildlife Trust if you’re in Ireland).
Go to WWF and click a donation in the name of a lion, or a tiger, or a green turtle.
Become a member and get a sticker for your bumper to tell others that you’re doing sometime proactive rather than reactive like all this anger going around the internet.

You’ll feel much better about yourself, and a little bit better about the planet.

Release of One Night in Pamplona, by J.D. Martins

Today’s the day for J.D. Martins’ second novella.
One Night in Pamplona is now available for immediate download from all major ebook vendors.
However, the special offer pre-order price of 99c still goes on until Sunday, so you can ge it while it’s cheap. I’d say get it while it’s hot, but it’s always going to be hot…
If you’ve ever wondered about going to Pamplona for the Fiesta of San Fermines, you’ll only need one night to decide you can’t miss it.
http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martins_JD/one-night-in-pamplona.htm
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The Ecology of Lonesomeness on San Fransisco Book Review

Here’s a link to the review of The Ecology of Lonesomeness on the San Fransisco Book Review!
http://www.sanfranciscobookreview.com/2015/07/the-ecology-of-lonesomeness/

Haikus and other short poems.

Here are some more short poems and haikus that I said I’d post.
I will add them to the poetry page, too.

I haven’t posted recently becuase I’ve been away at home in Ireland, where I don’t get much of a chance to write, or read.
Mostly, I drink tea and beer and chat.
And that’s great.
Of course, afterwards it would be nice to be able to have a holiday alone and catch up on stuff. But summer with the children is on the cards, so only a few hours a day to myself and my pen will be my lot.
I will get a few poems and some chapters of my work in progress, done, though. I swear!

Snowdrop

Early Snowdrop
Still Bows
To the braver bee

Speed

Cyclist careening down
Mountain, crouching under wind
Ignoring the sky.

Daisy

Dark lawn lays an extensive frame
For a tiny dot of pink:
First brave daisy bursting forth
To herald the blooming March of spring.

Drifting

April afternoon
Aspen seeds
Drifting.

Bedtime

Ignored, strangers sight excite –
Wife’s sleeping form,
Pulls powerfully, still.

Saved by Death

High on the corner of a Midwestern cornfield
A family cemetery stands firm, the last
Testament to a town wiped from memory,
Like the soil that once stood below it.

Spring Park, Pamplona

The hinds abide,
While the cockerels cry,
Drowned out by the peacocks.

deer abide

Encapsulated

Narrow country road,
Hedgerow arches over,
Birdsong encloses.

The Birds of Summer

Swifts have disappeared,
Swallows are soon to follow;
Cuckoos long silent.

Rooks

Caged,
Crows’ calls
Echo
Open fields.

Sea Greeting

Surging up the sand,
Touching toes:
Gentle hello.

Original Sin

Originally,
Maybe our sin was seeing
Shame in nakedness.

On a Hilltop

Across silent landscape
Sounds
Reveal their source.

Ten Minute Interview

I am actually on a plane to Dubiin at the moment, but today I’m being interviewed by Ten Minute Interviews
http://tenminuteinterviews.com/david-obrien
for those with ten minutes to spare!
Hope to have a few poems when I get back from the island – since it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting a tan…

Interview with JD Martins about his book, One Night in Pamplona.

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DOB Today just before the festivals, I have the great pleasure of having a few minutes to chat to J.D. Martins about One Night in Pamplona.
Hi JD. Great to have you back to talk about your new book. Thanks for taking the time. I know you are busy getting ready for the festivals, so I’ll try keep this short.

JD Thanks. Good to be back. Yes, we are all excited about San Fermines starting in just a few hours.

DOB So, this book is another erotic romance in the City Nights Series? Why Pamplona?

JD Yes, like the other city nights books, including One Night in Madrid, my first novella, it is an erotic romance set in one city and has to tell a story over the course of just one day in less than twenty-five thousand words. I know some readers of One Night in Madrid were a little disappointed that the story did not continue, but that was due to the constraints of the series. Perhaps one day I will continue Danny and Aishling’s story… But to get back to your question, One Night in Pamplona is a more traditional romance of boy meets girl and they hit it off straight away. I chose Pamplona because I know the city well having lived there a while, and because it’s a really amazing place, especially during the festivals. It’s the perfect place for two strangers to be thrown together and have a great time together, sharing amazing experiences to lay down a foundation for their a common story.

DOB So the story takes place during the festivals?

JD Yes, from ten in the morning on the 6th, to ten the following morning.

DOB That’s an intense twenty-four hours! I’ve experienced them myself and you can fit a lot of life into that day.

JD Indeed! The city goes twenty-four hours a day during the festivals, so there’s no need to stop partying if you have the stamina.

DOB I’m guessing your characters do?

JD Ha! Yes, they’re both young and energetic.

DOB Tell us about them.

JD Well, Jeff is from Boston, where he works in a law firm. He’s on a tour around Spain and has of course read his Hemingway and knows he needs to stop in Pamplona to run with the bulls. He’s on the look out for a lady friend to spend the day with, and he meets Idoia, a local girl who’s up for some fun with this tourist. Unfortunately, Jeff only has one night there, which is a disappointment to Idoia. What really upsets, her, though, is that he wants to run with the bulls, something she thinks is reckless and idiotic.

DOB I see. We’ve both run with the bulls, though, JD, so I can’t fault the man.

JD That’s true, but, as Idoia says, not the first night without any sleep or idea of what to expect. We spent a few mornings watching the Encierro, and we knew what it was about. And I for one, had a good night sleep before hand, and was stone cold sober.

DOB Me, too. Sounds like a strong-minded young lady, Idoia.

JD She is. One of the important themes I wanted to have in the book, without being obvious about it and ruining the fantasy of it, is something that has been given a lot of attention last year and this year in San Fermines – sexual harassment by drunken men who think they’re having a bit of fun when really, they’re overstepping the mark by a long shot. Idoia’s is always in control of the situation. She knows what she wants from him and asks him for it. He is very willing to give her it, of course, and readily follows her lead, only going as far as she is comfortable with.

DOB Sounds like a strong character readers will identify with.

JD Hopefully so.

DOB Apart from a bit of nookie, what else do the characters get up to during their night?

JD As you know, there’s a hell of a lot to see and do in San Fermines besides drinking and running with the bulls. They see a few sights, watch the giants in procession, see the Peñas – the marching bands for readers who don’t know them – and of course watch the fireworks in the Citadel.

DOB A complete day! So, does Jeff run with the bulls in the end?

JD I’m afraid I can’t say. He has to weight up the ambitions and desires of a day and a lifetime, let’s put it that way.

DOB I think that is a good way to put it. I’ve read the story myself and I just wanted to see how you’d answer. Any more novellas in the pipeline?

JD Perhaps after the festivals I’ll start working on a One Night in Boston. I will be set in the snowy cold, though, to make a change from the sultry nights of Madrid and Pamplona.

DOB Well, what better excuse than the cold to make a couple cuddle close? Before you go, let us know where we can get our hands in One Night in Pamplona.

JD Yes. The novella is out on July 29th, and it is on pre-order now at the reduced price of just 99cents on Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZMO4226
if you order it before publication. You can also get it from various vendors via the Tirgearr Publishing website. http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martins_JD/one-night-in-pamplona.htm
You can find me on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JDMartinsauthor

DOB Sounds like a great deal. Well, JD I’ll let you go and put on your white and red clothes and have your almuerzo before the rocket goes off. Feliz Fiestas, as they say.

JD Cheers for having the chat and have a good festival yourself, David. And careful with those bulls!

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Pamplona: with or without Hemingway

As we gear up for the festivals once more, thought I’d reblog this. I also know of a new book set in San Fermines – called One Night in Pamplona, by my friend JD Martins. http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martins_JD/one-night-in-pamplona.htm
It’s on Pre-order for 99c, and it’s a pity you can’t read it until after the festivals becuase it’s a great guide to the city and the party, with little lust thrown in.

David JM O'Brien

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Pamplona is gearing up for the Fiesta, the annual festival of “the running of the bulls,” made internationally famous when Ernest Hemingway set his 1926 novel, The Sun Also Rises – also called Fiesta – there. The 8 day homage to San Fermin kicks off on the 6th, and the city is preparing for the influx of tourists from every other corner of Spain and the earth. The giant big wheel is in place, the funfair setting up, temporary bathrooms have been trucked in, the carpenters are fixing the barriers along the streets in preparation for the stampede, fences are being placed around decorative park gardens and potentially dangerous city walls, bars and shops are stocking up on booze and grub, as are citizens, and, most importantly, the access permit for my car to drive through the pedestrianised old town has arrived!

As a writer, writing in the English language…

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