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Helping Hands of Santa Barbara


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photo courtesy: CIMWI

Any outdoor enthusiast living in Santa Barbara is bound to gravitate to the beaches the city boasts, since diving into the wealth of activities our shores offer presents an irresistible allure. From swimming and sailing, to wind-surfing and surfing, sometimes the most rewarding experience can be found strolling down the strand that cradles the briny blue. I was on such a stroll this past Monday, heading in a northerly direction along Hendry’s beach, when I came upon a cluster of community members who had paused mid-ped to care for another kind of ped. A pinniped, to be precise, and for the layperson out there that means: sea lion–in this instance beached, and in significant distress.

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shot of the poor baby, used by CIMWI to insure staff came properly equipped

Sporting gashes on the left side of his neck, upper torso, and flipper—that latter the “feather-foot” to which the term pinniped refers—the mammal’s limpid brown eyes showed his exhaustion, while the simple act of beaching himself showed he was near the end of the line. Thank goodness for the sea lion there was a landline to be called for such situations, and citizens concerned enough to break routine and find it. Through a circuitous route of calls placed to government offices, a young lady by the name of Brooke was able to track down the number to the agency best suited to respond to emergencies of this nature. Indeed, the only resource that could help, as disturbing beached sea life is a federal offense unless licensed to do so.

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photo courtesy: CIMWI–sea lion pup on the road to wellness…

Though the recently changed number was hard to come by, once contacted, the Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute was quick to respond. Long established as Ventura County’s go-to for the rescue and rehabilitation of stranded marine mammals, the Institute took over this role in Santa Barbara County from the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center as recently as the end of June, but that didn’t stop them from jumping into action. Within an hour of receiving the call, trained professionals were on the scene, including CIMWI’s Chief Marine Mammal Veterinarian himself, founder and executive director: Sam Dover. Equipped with gear and know-how particular to the distressed animal, the compassion  the CIMWI staff exhibited was equal to that of those who had lingered to ascertain the mammal’s ultimate well-being.

And not just lingered. I myself ran to and from the Ranger’s station in search of help, while another lady approached coastal residences in an effort to find the correct number to call, while passersby were quick to leash their dogs when informed of the mammal’s plight. Brooke was the gal that spearheaded the connection between sea lion and sea help, spending close to four hours at the animal’s side until aid arrived.


a passerby offers healing energies

During this time, person after person stopped to express concern, and the outpouring of community caring was palpable in all ways, the most significant of which being Brooke’s persistence, and the availability of trained marine biologists and medical staff to take over when able. It bears emphasis that all the professionals working in this capacity are volunteers, and that the Institute itself is a non-profit organization reliant on charitable contributions to manage its considerable overhead of medicines, equipment, food, and facility. Its very existence proves that we here in Santa Barbara value the quality of life for all inhabitants, marine or marooned, and are more than willing to provide resources that enable this vital Institute’s continued ability to function.

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Brooke and volunteer vet: Sam Dover

I’ll end this SO with the phone number for CIMWI, (the institute’s abbreviated name) hoping all locals will enter it into their Smart Phones to be that much the wiser on their next beach-side visit should such a situation present itself. I’m including their web address, too, noting Paypal or credit card donations can be made directly from their gorgeous website that showcases what it is they do—and the beautiful sea life they care for—in more depth.

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photo courtesy: CIMWI

Rescue Hotline: (805) 567-1505

Non-emergency: (805) 567-1506



Such a Fancy Cowl


the derby, ‘stakes,

and preakness

beneath the glitz and sleekness

(nice hat)

is subjugated torture

from which they make a fortune

(phat cat)

no late day repercussion

concerned about concussion

(bone snaps)

just training, tricks,

and slaughter

(nice hat)

slow hooves consigned

to fodder.

(phat cat)

©Karen Robiscoe

Fighting to Free Blackfish

During the first hearing held Tuesday 4/8 in Sacramento concerning bill AB2140—a bill that would outlaw the importation, captivity and breeding of killer whales–Dem Richard Bloom of Santa Monica agreed to “revisit” his proposal for further study. As a result of Bloom’s acquiescence, the bill is dead in the water until additional hearings are held in 2015. A blow to animal advocates everywhere, but not an insurmountable one. As bill sponsor and AWI scientist Naomi Rose herself said, the long game may yet be won.

Sae World is a fucking evil coorporation

Inspired by the controversial movie Blackfish; a film released through both Sundance Film Festival and CNN, the bill argues that such captivity is more than inhumane to the highly intelligent mammals, it’s a breeding grounds for aggressive behavior, as well—directly resulting in death and bodily injury to trainers at their various marine parks nationwide. (most notably: the 2010 death of Dawn Brahcheau, a trainer killed during a killer whale show at Sea World Orlando)

Sea World regards the postponement as a huge victory, but guess what mega-corporation: we live in a world where we can be proactive about legislation, and not just be legislated. We can influence what laws are made. The incidence of the bill alone is proof of that, being the end product of a petition signed by over 1.2 million concerned citizens. Delivered to the Assembly on Monday morning by schoolchildren who had themselves successfully protested an overnight field-trip to Sea World, the petition shows just how wide a reach social networking has opened up to the public.

Sea World isn’t taking the assault to their finances lightly. Recent tax filings show a dip in attendance since the film debuted. They’ve launched an epic PR campaign against Blackfish, including a website that counters the film’s merits, critical Tweets, and full-page newspaper ads. Eh, methinks that bloated whale of a cash cow protests too much.

But we can’t. We can and must protest this abomination to God’s creatures. To stay idle is to condone—so do not be idle! Stay informed. Stay in touch. Stay incensed. Don’t let time lull you into forgetting what’s at stake here. The immutable laws of nature have been muted.

Let’s hear the whale song again.

Bidding adieu as it dopplers into the depths where these animals belong. Free in their world, as God intended. Write democratic, assembly member: Richard Bloom. Tell him he must stand strong. Send the Blackfish back to the sea.


Richard Bloom Contact Info:

Capitol Office:
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0050
Tel: (916) 319-2050
Fax: (916) 319-2150

District Office:
2800 28th Street, Suite 150
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Tel: (310) 450-0041
Fax: (310) 450-6090


Related Posts & relevant links:

sign petition against naval sonar testing <<hearings already underway! please HURRY to sign this!!

Latest on international ban on Japanese whale-hunting

A Whale’s Wail  <Blackfish in greater depth



USDA Approved

the dawn stipples blackness

edging yellow

filming my eyes—

another hopeless day of agony…begun.
lacerations on my pink skin

crusted orange

growing over

and around

the rusted

bars of my gestation crate,

metal that bites deep into red sinews that would resist if they could but






for a moment’s relief before bleeding out into pork chops.

mmmm…pork chops.

Not even once





my babies from the constant forced pregnancies

Not even one

since my babies are bacon.


Brand new life smashed into concrete walls like tetherballs

except tetherballs don’t bleed


& think.

i hear their agonized cries, breaking teeth to chew madly on prison bars
dying a death more cruel than death, and–





green comes in hues other than infection,
until a sledgehammer beans me into the blue

not the first time, though.


hits kicks and cuts me






again (remembering that son of a bitch that cut him off in traffic)

my vision clouding in a new sort of violent violet pain

underscored by brutish laughter

(and score of last night’s game)

and I cross the Rainbow Bridge

to find

death sweeter than dawn.

©Karen Robiscoe

daily prompt: colors

a Whale’s Wail

1024px-Blackfish_documentaryI saw the movie Blackfish the other night, and man it was hard to watch. Tears streamed down my face from the get go–every bit as salty as the sea wherefrom the killer whales showcased in this documentary are harvested by Sea World. Commissioned by the mega-marine-park corporation, rogue fishermen herd killer whales into coves by use of speed boats, bombs & nets, drop open ocean barriers into place, and then net the baby killer whales—the babies!!—as so much future revenue for Sea World. Whales die in the process—and it’s illegal, or has been made illegal as a direct counter tactic in many places—but they do it, anyway. Once freed, the pods of mommas and poppas—aka devastated families—stay for the duration in the vicinity, calling to their babies in the most heart wrenching songs of distress, as their progeny is kidnapped, and toted away like cargo.

 © Dr Michel Royon / Wikimedia Commons

© Dr Michel Royon / Wikimedia Commons

This movie documents the plight of killer whales kept in captivity as related to trainer deaths at Sea World, and as a person that once worked as a tour guide at the San Diego Sea World, I can tell you the smoke-screens this corporation blows are even more substantial than their nets. I was absolutely instructed to keep an eye out for “dolphin molesters” at the petting pool (I’ll leave you to guess what that is) to say that dorsal fin collapse is entirely natural in killer whales (it isn’t) that animals were simply engaging in “social behavior” when they were patently fighting or having sex (the walruses all the time) and absolutely no animals ever died at Sea World (except they do, and far sooner than their naturally habituated counterparts) they were sent to “our Ohio park.” That, and a host of other half-truths so substantial I took notes.

Karen Robiscoe dba shenanigans

actual notes I made and studied for this gig

Because the actual truth didn’t bear scrutiny then, and it doesn’t now. Marine “parks” are barbaric to the animals imprisoned there, worse still than Zoo cages & circus rings combined, and an abomination our species must cease to support in all ways. Confining naturally far-ranging, animals to bathtubs, and a life of imprisoned servitude is as great a moral desecration as the gestational crates for factory farmed sows, the veal crates for factory farmed baby cows, or the killing and caging of people in wartime—and perhaps worse.

Sea World is a fucking evil coorporation

How it’s supposed to be…

Worse because these amazing marine mammals have a more highly developed limbic system than ours. A limbic system is the area of the brain that regulates emotions. Let’s make this even easier to understand. You know how cats lack the necessary cones in their eyeballs to see more than shades of greens and blues when they look at the world, whereas human physiology is such we’re able to see a much broader spectrum of colors that includes a multi-colored rainbow? Like that. We can only feel blue and green, but these animals are feeling a spectrum of emotions the nature of which we lesser developed beings can only imagine.

So in effect, we are caging God.

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; User:Zaui

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; User:Zaui

For 3 shows a day, and a bucket of mackerel…

how it should be...

how it should be…

A whale in captivity will die a full 50 years sooner than his/her wild brethren. Watch the movie and be convinced that these “parks” are anything but a park.

Official Blackfish site

National Geographic: SeaWorld vs. the Whale That Killed Its Trainer

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sea World

Bare Naked Ladies Cancels Concert at Sea World

Macy’s Parade Features Sea World Float Despite Backlash

Sea World Trainer Death Debunked as “Pony Tail” Tale…

India First Nation Ever To Acknowledge Dolphins As Nonhuman Persons; Outlaw Cetacean Captivity

Furget About It

Hollywood. For most people, the word conjures up images of marquee lights, red carpets, and fur-clad movie stars. Well, maybe not so frequently fur-clad, anymore, and as of 2 days ago, you can rest assured any holdouts won’t have purchased their shame-y duds in town. The animal kingdom can rest easier, too, since the ban barring the sale, distribution, barter, import or export of any fur product within city limits remains in effect for 2 years. A long time in coming, the ban was legislated into law in November of 2011, and includes all apparel, but not accessories, weirdly enough, so while you’ll have to get your Ugghhs elsewhere, (shoulder) bags of wool are still available, but I wouldn’t advise it. Those proud Cally folk view their city as the “Humane Capital of the United States”, a much-deserved honorary title. One of eight California cities to pass an ordinance prohibiting the declawing of cats, they also allow and regulate chicken cages in Hollywood.

To this chicken, that in itself is worth a gold star on a cyber sidewalk.

Go Holly, Go Holly,

Karen Robiscoe dba CHARRONs CHATTER

Go Holly, go!

Whichyer bad self…

Her Himmies

My Himmies

–more Herries—

are family

though furry


The dame

was Cielo

we hired

the fellow

big_ready, steady....awe!!!

The 3

in this snap

came from

those cats


Look at those whiskers

Check out  those paws!

These buckets of fluff

are well worth applause.


huey_full shot

And now some years later

It’s dwindled to two

The others live on

inside me—they do!




A big SO to JK Bevill of Lost Creek Publishing, for the nudge to post these pics of my sweet girls; Baby Huey (yes…she’s a girl) is on the left, and Dharma–better known as Dar-Dar–is on the right. When it came time for Mama Cielo to give birth, she didn’t know what to do, so I actually rubbed their little bellies to make them breathe–removing the membrane and everything. All at 4 in the morning, of course. I wouldn’t have it any other way; I’ve never had pets I love as much as these buckets of fuzz, fluff & love! I hope you all agree these are the best kitties ever.


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