Opening night of Water for Elephants--it's time to educate the disgusting sea of humanity! Your help needed!
Megan needs a break from the elephant beat so I’m stepping in because I think they’re fucking awesome, too. I’m just a worse and less-motivated human being than Megan. Ugh, I hate talking about my many failures as a human being. Let’s also just say I have a nice rack and a cool dog. Okay, even-stevens!
One more time with the real point of this whole post I am so very tired: Tomorrow night, do a solid for the ellies of the world by educating the masses! You’re the best! I’m taking off my top and shimmying in your direction!
I just went to see the new animated movie Rio and you guys? Go see the movie! It is so insanely cute! So cute, other things that you once considered cute will now look just averagely cute in comparison. Like, my own kid suddenly looked kind of ragged after we saw the movie and I was like “Dude, you better step up your cute game or I might have to rent your room out to a cuddly little blue pelican who talks like Mark Zuckerberg and does the samba and drinks hot chocolate with a straw.” Whatever, wouldn’t you?
But, there’s more to this review than how damn cute the movie is. Yes, it gets better! I won’t give anything important away, but the basic premise of the movie is that Blu (the Mark Zuckerberg-voiced* bird) is savagely ripped from his beautiful home in the Brazilian rainforest as a little baby and taken to freezing cold, depressing Minnesota to be sold in a pet store. Sorry, Minnesota peeps, I’m sure it is a very lovely state but not for a bird from Brazil. I mean, have you ever been to Brazil? I haven’t either but damn it looks beautiful.
Blu is like the last male of his entire species alive on the planet, which is not really an exaggeration because we just love to destroy birds’ natural habitats, don’t we? So he has to go back to Brazil. When he goes back, all sorts of shenanigans occur. Of course, along the way he meets all kinds of little bird friends and they sing little bird songs because hell, this is a kids movie, and some of them rap. Little rapping birds? ESSENTIAL. In typical Disney-esqe fashion there is an all-encompassing moral which is basically: Hey kids! It may seem cool to have exotic animals as pets, but really? Animals don’t like to be in cages! They have feelings just like us! They want to be free and fly around the rainforest and rap and stuff!
I think this is fantastic. First there was Wall-E, which was all, “Humans are destroying the planet! Stop!” And now the animal rights movement gets a Disney movie too. And I really think movies like Rio can be a great tool to increase awareness about animal rights issues in children. I was even surprised that the movie chose to so bluntly illustrate (pun not intended but, bonus!) the evils of the animal trade, even making a point to show some sad-looking injured birds that were rescued from trappers and being rehabilitated. The viewer really feels strongly for the all of the animal characters in the movie, and wants them to break free of the cages and live out their lives in the wild where they belong and are obviously happiest, and for children this is an incredibly important lesson, creating a basis for rejecting current socially accepted forms of entertainment/animal abuse like the circus.
Go see Rio. If you don’t have a kid to bring with you and you feel like a mega-creeper going to kid’s movie, borrow someone else’s! Just make sure you ask permission first.
Full disclosure: I was not compensated in any way by the creators of Rio for this review. But I would totally accept it if offered because I’m broke. Twentieth Century Fox, what up? Call me.
*Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t actually provide the voice of the bird. It’s that kid that played Mark Zuckerberg in the Facebook movie. I think. But whatever, I don’t even know his name but I do know Mark Zuckerberg’s name so that is how I am referring to him because I am efficient like that. [Ed.: it’s Jesse Eisenberg, my total boyfriend.]
Rachel Gary is from Connecticut, where she spends most of her time pretending to be a ninja with her son, hiking, tricking her family into eating delicious vegan baked goods and avoiding doing laundry. As her responsible adult alter ego, she gets paid by a major grocery chain to educate its customers and employees about the benefits of a plant-based diet and how to cook awesome vegan food. IShe is kind of a slacker so she has no website or Twitter account to refer you to. But she will soon, she promises! Maybe!
Berkeley Vegan Earth Day is Friday (that's tomorrow)!
Yo, all you vegans! And hippies! And people who enjoy having a great time! All of you will hopefully be served well at tomorrow’s Berkeley Vegan Earth Day! It’s actually not a whole day, it starts at 7 p.m., and I believe it’s a film screening and then a panel discussion? The site is a bit confusing and the about us page is just about the event planners, not about the actual event. I am bad at figuring stuff out, so that’s why I’m a blogger. Wait what? Anyway, it should be fun, and we’ll be on the scene doing some HARD! HITTING! INVESTIGATIVE! JOURNALISM! Or you know, eating cinnamon rolls from Sugar Plum Bakery. See you there!
Disclaimer: I am a columnist and the editor-at-large for VegNews magazine. I obviously have ties to the magazine and I am proud of my relationship with them. That said, I am not in the office for day-to-day decisions, and other than emailing my advice on how I thought this whole thing should be dealt with, I haven’t talked to them about it. Because I have ties with VegNews, I didn’t want to comment on the situation unless I could be 100 percent honest about my feelings, and I feel I can be now. Yay for expressing feelings! (I say that because I’m a woman.)
When the whole thing surfaced, I have to admit, I was taken aback. I knew that VegNews used stock photos (I mean, I have eyes) and honestly, I didn’t think it was a huge deal. I thought it was industry standard, and dismissed it as that. Bigger things to tackle, etc. Reading a lot of the insightful and brilliant comments on Megan’s post (our readers are the BEST. Even when you’re mad at us, I still love you for being all opinionated and sassy and on it!) and all over the internet, I realize now that I was wrong about the use of stock photos. Although I sympathized with VegNews' initial response, I knew when I read it that it wasn't the apology and commitment to change that people needed to hear. I think it’s understandable that VegNews responded the way they did because when you’re the target of an exposé!!!-style post like that, your natural inclination is to defend yourself. They’re human, just like all of us. I know I’ve said stuff here on Vegansaurus that was not right, and been called out, and had to eat shit and promise to be and do better.
But I’m telling you, I did not come around immediately! As it stands now, I’m super-stoked about their sincere apology and I’m ready to move on with them to become an even better and radder magazine. There are incredible, passionate people who work at VegNews—some of the best vegans (and people!) I know—and I would honestly say that even if I didn’t have ties. Hell, I wouldn’t be involved with them if I didn’t think that! Life is too short to half-ass it, know what I’m sayin’?? So, now you know what’s up with me, because my opinions are very important and that’s why I blog! Also, for the occasional free sample of candy. That is also why I blog!
But before I can move on, there are a few things I would like to clear up as a self-appointed MeatGate Scandal Expert (you love it) (maybe). A lot of information and misinformation has been going around and it’s hard to know who to listen to. Different authorities in the vegan community took different stances and I think that’s good and everyone should have their say. Now normally, your girl (that’s me!) doesn’t like to talk smack on other vegans—ex-vegans, bring it on! but vegans, not so much. But when someone is exploiting a situation and spreading misinformation, I gotta start flapping my gums. That’s why I want to address Erik Marcus’ whole reaction over on Vegan.com. I was disappointed and a little freaked out by how he handled things. He’s posted 10 times on this issue. For real, 10 TIMES. AS OF YET. To put this in perspective: Quarrygirl, the blog that “broke” the story, posted TWICE. Marcus? TEN TIMES. I mean, I guess it’s a break from his incessant blogging and reblogging of Jamie “save America’s fat kids via organic skinless chicken breasts!” Oliver and Mark “not vegan but okay we love him too” Bittman, but jeezus louiseus!
I’d like to respond to a few of the things he said. As someone who is involved with VegNews, I know some things the general public does not (read: I’m fancy), and so I thought it would be helpful to clear up some of Marcus’ not quite-truths and frankly kinda-crazy statements. Fun! Here goes:
I should offer some analysis: with the exception of the New Yorker, the Economist, and a handful of other periodicals, most magazines suck.
That should read, “With the exception of a handful of white-male-dominated magazines that I read when Mark Bittman tweets about them, all magazines suck, because I am an expert on magazines!” Did a magazine kill his mom? Really, it’s just bizarre and snobbish.
It’s the same kind of sociopathic know-you’re-gonna-get-caught-but-do-it-anyway behavior you would expect from a Ted Haggard, a Larry Craig, or a Bernie Madoff.
He just compared VegNews to BERNIE MADOFF. I’m sorry, WHAT? No, they are still a vegan magazine with a dedicated vegan staff, who are doing a lot for the cause. They are not sociopaths swindling people out of their life savings. Some perspective, please.
But enough about VegNews. Niche lifestyle magazines are for chumps who still think it’s the 1990s. They’re filled with ads for overpriced supplements and yuppie doohickeys, and the editorial content is typically assembled by short-timers who don’t give a shit.
Just a cheap, weird blow. Niche lifestyle magazines are actually doing pretty OK right now, and I’d love to know where he gets his intelligence. And this is rich: FILLED WITH ADS for OVERPRICED SUPPLEMENTS. All Vegan.com does is push supplements so Marcus can make money off the site! It’s called RUNNING A BUSINESS. As for the bit about “short-timers who don’t give a shit”, many of the contributors to VegNews are people Marcus links to all the time, including Mat Thomas and Mark Hawthorne. It’s clear to me he hasn’t read the magazine in a long time (maybe ever?). He later states that VegNews doesn’t pay its writers, and I know that to be untrue. I feel like he’s been holding onto some grudge toward VegNews for eons and saw this as the time to unleash his bottled up anger. Kinda like when you have all these things you want to say to your mom and then one day you just burn her house down? Kinda like that. And what really sucks about the whole thing is many of his posts could have just been sent to the editors at VegNews. As he was on the advisory board, he could have advised them a bit instead of posting 10 times. There’s something to be said for getting two sides to a story, too.
VegNews has always had the chance to leverage strong editorial judgment to bring you the very best of the vegan world, but they consistently squander that opportunity and instead give you lowest-common denominator crap like wedding issues, celebrity fluff, and popularity contest awards.
Again, he obviously hasn’t read VegNews in awhile (or ever), because they have some of the strongest, hardest-hitting reporting on vegan issues out there! Just a few that come to mind are Mark Hawthorne’s excellent “Injustice for All” piece on the human cost of factory farming, Marla Rose’s plastics exposé, Mat Thomas’ piece on food recalls, and “The Price of Free Speech” by Will Potter. Yeah, total fluff. Marcus also gripes about how their content isn’t available for free online. Again, they’re a business, and never claimed otherwise! If he’s as concerned about the trees as he says he is, they offer a tree-free edition. Also, they provide updated blog posts on their website every day. Honestly, about as many as Marcus does, with the added bonus of no begging-for-money posts. I get it, I make a little money off of Vegansaurus (roughly 25 cents a post, no joke) but I never attacked anyone else for trying to earn a living. Plus, he gripes about their celebrity coverage and writes about Jessica Simpson and Natalie Portman on the regular! I mean, so do we but we love that that shit and don’t claim otherwise! Methinks he’s upset he never won any of the popularity contests. :(
A post-mortem on this mess and its favorable conclusion: QuarryGirl and I—as well as everyone else pushing VegNews to do the right thing—got a lot of criticism for our efforts this week.
Uh, dude. Don’t count yourself in with Quarrygirl. They had the balls to BREAK the story and do not have a relationship with VegNews. Up until the day of the scandal, Marcus was on VegNews' advisory board. He needs to stop taking credit for something he didn’t do. I also enjoy that he refers to Quarrygirl as she, when it was Mr. Meaner, another writer on the site, who broke the story. It’s a website, dude, it’s not a “she.” I mean, if Marcus thinks he’s in the trenches with QG doing god’s work, he should at least come correct. Another difference between Quarrygirl and Vegan.com? Quarrygirl allows comments, whereas Vegan.com does not. Ironic that he should run his mouth about VegNews' commenting policy and not leave himself open to deal with public response. Uh, I guess you can comment on his Facebook page if you have an account and want to give him more “likes.”
It’s clear to me that Marcus has a bone to pick with the publication for whatever reason. Maybe it didn’t want to go to the prom with him? Tears!
I totally understand the need for everyone to talk about this publicly and to sort out their feelings. People need to be heard, changes needed to be made, and ultimately, it’ll make VegNews and the vegan community even stronger. And that’s exciting! Let’s take veganism to the Next Level, and I know VegNews will be there making the movement look pretty and smart. Now that this thing has been done to death,* I’m excited to put my energy into pushing forward the movement, too!** Of course, I had to get a word in on all this shiz because DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS FOR ME TO KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT!? I swear, I developed hemorrhoids from the strain. LAURA! GROSS! What? You wanted to know how I feel, and now you know! Now, who wants to get drunk and talk about kittens? Holler at your girl!
*Those of you who asked for my contribution, THIS IS YOUR FAULT. You know I’m one wordy bitch with THINGS! to SAY! Did someone say something about getting drunk? Because YES PLEASE.
**Like, check out these vegan geniuses who are already launching a vegan stock photo site! It’s the same geniuses behind Food for Lovers vegan queso, that Texas-style cheesy wonder food we love! Here’s to vegans coming up with solutions and making that shit happen. To you, I raise my plate of MEGA NACHOS and my Tofutti Cutie (breakfast!) because you’re rad!
Epilogue to this long-ass post because I know you’d like to hear more from me: Marcus is still at it! Just today, Marcus blogged about Nikki Bennoit getting arrested for leafletting at a community college and then goes on to basically bag on community colleges for being less than “real” colleges. Yuck. Way to make all vegans look like snob elitist jerks.
As you all are aware of, the oil spill in the Gulf is devistating [sic]. My mom has already donated a lot of money to help, but I have an idea that may also help. I am a decent drawer, and I was wondering if I could sell some bird paintings and give the profits to your organization.
OMGJesus how adorable? Olivia started selling her bird paintings and sold 500 in three weeks, garnering over $150,000. She’s now illustrated a book, Olivia’s Birds, the proceeds of which go to the Audubon Society’s conservation program. What the hell was I doing when I was 11? Watching Jem and eating Fundip. What a jerk.
Welcome to the dairy industry. This video was filmed over two weeks in March by Mercy for Animals at E6 Cattle Co., a dairy cattle ranch that raises calves for dairy production. The end of the video says “Go vegetarian” but that’s not going to help a dairy calf much, will it?
From Dairyherd.com,* “‘The actions in this video do not reflect the practices of the thousands of hard-working dairy farm families across the U.S. who care for their animals every day,’ the [Dairy Management Inc.] statement said. ‘Dairy farmers and their employees take this responsibility very seriously. Texas’ dairy farmers, as well as dairy farmers across the country, are as outraged by this video as the public.’”
Because that’s where we get our milk from, thousands of good old-fashioned dairy farm families. NOT.
From KCBD-TV** in Lubbock, Texas, “The owner of E6 Cattle Company issued a statement saying, ‘I take full responsibility for what happened in the video. I am embarrassed and disappointed. The four men in the video have been fired. This is not what we do at the ranch and it will never happen again.’”
"Embarrassed and disappointed" are not really the first words that come to my mind; more like "horrified and disgusted." But this guy is disappointed. I’m sure before he fired the four men, he made them clap erasers in the back of the classroom.
What these four men did is appalling, but making them take the brunt of the blame irritates me. A company that is in charge of the life and death of living beings should be able to supervise and manage their own house. Know what I’m saying? But instead of cleaning up the industry, I’m thinking Texas might be the next state in line to ban undercover videos. It’s especially repulsive because this systemic abuse is revealed again and again, and it’s always blamed on rogue employees. Dude, you can’t put people in a factory farm or a slaughterhouse and not expect them to become a shell of a human being. Yes, I blame the workers who did this, but mainly I blame everyone who sits down to a tall cold glass of misery-mucus milk every morning. It’s the human demand for the milk of another animal (gross!) that leads to this kind of behavior—every asshole with their bowl of morning cereal is directly responsible for the gross abuse you see in that video. It’d be less gross to milk your dog and just drink that shiz. 1) PUKE and 2) You know it’s true!
For a little chaser, so we all don’t go crazy and start chopping heads, let’s watch the story of Billy, a little calf who was rescued from a similar fate by a very caring average Joe:
In 2009 UC Berkeley had a total of 1,155 animals: 15 cats, 32 guinea pigs, 683 hamsters, 174 rabbits, 18 non-human primates, 26 hyenas, 29 moles, 7 squirrels, 80 tuco tucos, 51 voles, and 40 wild mice. Their labs are completely underground and go unnoticed by not only anyone just walking by but especially to their students. They are expanding their laboratories which means even more animals will be tortured and killed behind closed doors.
So you should go if you can! And you can contact email@example.com to help plan an event in your area. I didn’t see any in NYC, does anyone know anything about that? I know NYU does some screwed-up shit. And I’m not just talking about allowing Laura to graduate! Sorry, it’s hard to be funny when talking about such awful sad stuff but if we don’t laugh, we’ll jump off a bridge, ya know? And then no more Vegansaurus and how depressed would you be? The answer better be VERY DEPRESSED or I’ll jump off a bridge!
If you want to read all about the shortcomings of animal testing, go to PCRM. The US Department of Health and Human Services has info too. There are such better ways to do things but, as always, money makes people go cross-eyed in the face of ethics. Gotta love humans! Or you don’t. Whatever.
Discount for Vegansaurus readers from Bourgeois Boheme!
Hey pals! Bourgeois Boheme is giving 15 percent off all non-sale items to Vegansaurus readers until May 31! Yay! Party! They are based in London and I actually visited their showroom when I was there last year. It was way the hell out but I got some dope shoes. I’m pleased.
They have a lot of boys shoes so you guys should take a look. For chicks, I’m into this heel:
But I haven’t asked my sister’s opinion so I could be wrong about it. There’s also a lot of animal print stuff which I’m quite fond of
Bonus! “The Bourgeois Boheme ranges are completely leather-free, with no animals harmed during production; eco-sustainable materials used include microfibre faux leathers and suede and Fair trade natural and organic fabrics.” Yay! Fair trade! Sustainable! Party!
To get your discount, just enter the coupon code “BoBoVS” and wham bam! Discount!
Vegan Cuts launched today with 40 percent off a vegan skin care kit from Moxie Organix! Vegan Cuts is kind of like Groupon but just for vegan stuff. And I know you vegans are some poor mofos! Every good vegan loves a deal, and every girl band deserves funding. Two Universal Truths.
From the company:
Vegan Cuts makes it easy and fun for their members to discover new vegan companies and shop vegan. Member receive weekly emails featuring exclusive deals from vegan companies. Most deals will be open to people living in the U.S., but some will also be extended to Canada or online shoppers.
Vegan Cuts is run by a vegan couple, John and Jill, who want to see more people shopping with vegan ethics. They feel a commitment to buying vegan food is a great start, but know people can also make a positive difference by choosing vegan options when purchasing clothing, shoes, accessories, body care products and everyday household items. This is why Vegan Cuts will feature a range of vegan products and encourage members to shop vegan by promoting opportunities to save money while eschewing animal cruelty.
Sounds like a good opportunity to BUY BUY BUY while supporting vegan companies. I’m pretty excited! I hope they get SHOES. Maybe they will expand and be a barbershop/coupon website. Because that logo could totally work for a vegan barbershop. Am I right? Or maybe like a vegan plastic surgeon.
You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter if you want to get modern about it. And I know you vegans are some modern mofos!
At my house, Jesus didn’t have much of a presence during Easter. But candy did! We always did the little hunt with our Easter baskets and whatnot. To bring back that nostalgia for you Easter-celebrators, here’s some vegan Easter candy!
Rose City Chocolates has a ton of Easter stuff and it’s all totally adorbs. Except that big bunny in the middle keeps undressing me with his eyes. Goddamn buck-toothed perv.
PETA put together this nice basket of goodies. The work is all done for you! Lazy bones.
A chocolate basket straight from Sjaak’s! What a coincidence, that’s my favorite kind of basket! Plus, it’s organic and fair-trade. Holler at your ethics! Most of their other vegan Easter stuff is sold out so don’t procrastinate.
From Chocolate Decadence. This link wasn’t working for me today but hopefully it will be up later. Because those eggs are three inches of pure vegan yum! Ew, that sounds gross, Megan.
From Sweet Earth Chocolates. The dark chocolate caramel are vegan. They have little vegan chocolate bunnies too! Plus they are also organic and fair trade. That makes it taste better!
From NOWheyCandies on Etsy. Isn’t this guy cute? I just want to eat him up! And I could! Because it’s chocolate! This one is also gluten-free for our gluten-free pals. Congrats!
I think I’m just spinning between bands and announcements so, essentially, I’m TOP BILLING. But don’t worry, I’m going to be so good, everybody will die. But not before eating delicious vegan food from V-Spot, Gonepie and more!
Here’s the skinny:
Tuesday, May 10, from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Southpaw, 125 5th Ave. Brooklyn, NY
It’s $15 and 18 and over. Yay, kids! You can hang! The event has a Facebook page and you can buy advance tickets on Southpaw’s website. Southpaw kind of rules so this should be fun! It’s only a few blocks from me so you might see me wheeling my records over. Say hi!
If you want a preview of my skillz, you can check out and download (for free!) a few of my mixes on Last.fm.
As a gentile who has been called a shiksa by more than one grandmother, let me say to you from the bottom of my heart: HAPPY PESACH! And also, “Whatever, your grandson can date who he wants! I kid, don’t murder me!”
I’m hearing lots of vegans talk smack about Kathy Freston, and I get it. I don’t think I’d want to hang out with her (or maybe I would, do you think she’d buy me a Prius if I lost 10 pounds?) and I don’t totally understand her kooky rich-person ways but DAMN, she’s reaching a shit-ton (technical term) of people! Do I wish someone else repped veganism on Oprah and Martha? Yes, I do. But I’m also beyond stoked that she’s out there doing it. The fact is, if Kathy Freston weren’t on Oprah, NO vegan would be on Oprah. They’re friends, I think her husband might own part of Oprah’s network/soul, and you know what? I trust Oprah. Call me crazy but she’s motherflipping OPRAH. She knows what she’s doing! You don’t become Oprah without knowing a thing or two about EVERYTHING.
I know the Oprah vegan episode wasn’t 1/20th of what a lot of us wanted, but you can be damn sure that many people went vegan that day. And you know where they’re gonna head? To the internet to learn more! That’s more people buying vegan cookbooks, reading vegan blogs, and becoming radder people. It makes me want to service Freston sexually. Seriously, the vegans of the world should all be going in on some kind of gift for her. If you don’t think I’m sexy enough (SCREW YOU I’M SEXY), how about a pool boy? Some stock in Gardein? One-tenth of her next salon visit? Let’s brainstorm!
As far as the honey-on-Martha thing, I think Megan’s response is spot on. Yeah, Freston should’ve said something, but she’s a person with flaws, just like you and me. I mean, Martha didn’t even trust Freston to supply her own recipe for the show: they made someone else’s! How sad is that? And what does that tell you? Martha does not suffer fools; clearly she was all, “FRESTON! STAND HERE! DON’T TALK! IF YOU MISBEHAVE, I’M EATING YOUR GENITALS!” You guys, no joke, Martha is fucking terrifying. I would not step to her, and I’m made of NO FEELINGS and cold, hard steel (underneath my layers of sexy chub!).
I agree, it’s annoying that Freston is basically a spokesperson for Gardein, but you know what? THAT SHIT TASTES GOOD. People already know about vegetables; what they don’t know is that as vegans, they can still have comfort food like mac and cheese and hot dogs! She’s like, “Check it out, you can have your cake and eat that same cake covered in facon and Vegenaise! BAM!” I do wish Freston wouldn’t harp on veganism as a weight-loss diet. It’s the only thing about her I have a problem with, and yes, I’ve heard her laugh. I think Freston fell into the trap because she’s naturally skinny and so she has no clue what it’s like to be fat. No amount of vegan food is going to make a fat person skinny. Uh, unless it’s a very small amount. Sure, if you were eating a REALLY unhealthy S.A.D. before going vegan, and you switched to a whole-foods diet with major portion control, you’re gonna drop the pounds,* but that’s a restrictive DIET. It doesn’t have much to do with veganism, and Freston freely admits that she’s ALWAYS been skinny. Girl, you know your weight ain’t got nothing to do with veganism so quit your frontin’, and let’s eat some vegan Twinkies.
Let’s face it: Rich, famous people rule the world and right now, Freston is our vegan lifeline. Maybe she’s not doing things exactly how I would but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be getting a tattoo of her face on my back. The thing I ultimately give a shit about is who is helping the most animals, and Kathy Freston and her cheesy (tight!) ass are saving a lot of them. We can make fun of Freston all we want (and how!) but at the end of the day, only one of us has a bestselling book,** appearances on Martha and Oprah that are convincing thousands of people to eat more meatless meals and go vegan, and is laughing all the way to the bank. Where she probably has them open the vault so she can roll around in her piles and piles of money. The rich get richer, for realz. I don’t totally accept that, but I understand it’s the current way of the world (we’re all going down in flames!) so to Freston I say: You go, girl. I’d Jazzercise with you any day!***
DISCLAIMER: I know this post is dated but I’m busy and sometimes it takes me awhile to get around to shit so you know, catch me in a couple of months and maybe I’ll have an opinion on who killed Laura Palmer!
*At first, but you’ll gain that shit back the second you discover Coconut Bliss VEGANS AM I RIGHT?! **Where is my g-d book deal?! I’ve got some motherfucking wisdom to impart! I’m over here dropping truth bombs and there ain’t a Simon or a Schuster in sight! And where’s Penguin?! I’m assuming that company is run by a very well read penguin with the power to make or break authors like Salman Rushdie and Shakespeare. Yo, Penguin! Holler at your girl! I will totally hook you up with a little top hat! ***Fit is IT, baby!
Lady Gaga didn't make anyone kill a cat, but this shit is still hella sad!
A 20-year old girl, getting ready for a bangin’ night out, goes through her normal beauty regimen. Glitter: check. Water bra: check. Whiskey flask: double check. Outfit splattered in neighbor’s cat’s blood: Ch-wait, what?
I guess pre-gaming is a little different these days. Angelina Barnes from good ol’ Oklahoma has been charged with animal cruelty, and being a fucking creep, after a series of events leading up to a Lady Gaga concert. Gaga, no offense, but this kiiind of trumps your meat dress.
A news report states a relative of Barnes came home, presumably to unwind with a nice Colt 45 and a little Idol, only to see a “completely dark house, with duct tape covering light switches.” [Ed.: creepy!] And there Barnes was, just hanging out in “a long coat with streaks of what ended up being cat blood on her face.” It puts the lotion in the basket.
Poor Whiskers. It’s clear this woman is very mentally unstable. Ready for some more of investigators’ findings? Purple hair dye/blood all over the bathroom; a drowned kitty-kins, belly cut open and “eyes mutilated; the cat’s liver was found in a makeup case on counter.” So Barnes was taken to a hospital, where she went all Girl, Interrupted and tried to slice a nurse with some glass. Her family claims she has previously suffered from depression, but this behavior was completely out of character. Not that anyone ever says, “Oh, yeah, I taught my kids how to appease the gods by offering up the blood of innocent critters. I also like them to use scented candles for ambiance.”
Of course, the media loves to blame famous persons. Especially famous liberal persons. If it’s not Josh Groban, it must be the devil. Fox was quick to correlate a young student’s suicide to an Obama speech on the same campus. So, like Marilyn Manson’s plight of the ’90s, Gaga must now pick up the burden on the fucked up happenings of her fans. You monsters. Barnes, I hope you have a nice recovery, and mental illness is a rough biz, but the cat didn’t do anything to you.
[Ed.: Now let’s all look at cute adoptable cats because 1. You know you’re already looking at kitty porn! and 2) I need to focus on something that’s not super fucked up so I can get out of bed tomorrow morning!]
It’s Anya! She’s up for adoption in Alameda (MY ISLAND HOME FROM WHENCE I CAME) and she’s adorable and you want to spoil her with awesome love and not drown her and smear her blood on your body. I know that normally goes without saying but as it turns out, you can never be too careful! Ugh!
This guest post was brought to us by Jessi Stafford! Jessi is originally from St. Louis…ish. She’s now squandering her fortune while freelancing in Baton Rouge, LA. A University of Missouri Journalism grad, Jessi uses her degree for cocktail-drinking. She loves hyperbole and whoring around thrift stores. Jessi’s becoming a regular (guest poster) on Vegansaurus and we love it!
I saw this saccharine Rice Krispies commercial showing a mom and some kids making these Rice Krispies treat Easter eggs and despite the ridic commercial, I totally want to make them! I am a product of this society SUE ME! You’d just have to substitute in some Sweet & Saras and Organic Earth Balance. Blammo! And for the filling, you could use some Whizzers instead of M&Ms. Bang! You could even fill them with vegan jelly beans if you like that sort of thing. Pow!
Any kid who wouldn’t prefer these over a hard-boiled egg is one to worry about. Has anyone already made these before?
Wolves to be removed from endangered species lists in five states. Go USA!
[PBS special: Hunting Wolves, Saving Wolves. Shows both sides of the argument. Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]
It’s official: in 50-some days, five states are set to take gray wolves off the endangered species list. This is the first time Congress has removed a species from the endangered list. This is not good. You would hope that an animal’s being removed from the endangered species list would mean that the species* had rebounded something fierce—that’s not the case here. The wolf population has recovered a lot from near extinction but that’s not why the wolves are being de-listed. In this case, politics triumphs over science. The Northern Rockies has something like 1,700 wolves and they are just making it too darn hard to hunt. The federal government has relinquished control and the individual states will now “manage” the wolf population on their own. I totally trust a bunch of hunters to manage an endangered species. There are a few super-duper legitimate restrictions; for example, under the new deal, Montana, who currently has a little less than 600 wolves, would have to keep a minimum of 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs. That sounds totally reasonable—75 percent of the species could be wiped out. It’s like, how few can we keep around so that we can rebuild the species once we deplete it again?
The whole thing is depraved. The way they went about it is just as bad as the motivation behind the de-listing. They slipped it into the budget agreement and it’s total bullshit. Why is that legal? And we can’t have realistically expected the President to refuse to sign the budget and shut down the government for wolves. Fucking Congress. I wasn’t aware of this because I’m not that into right-wing politics but according to the Washington Post, “The endangered act has long been reviled by conservatives who see it as a hindrance to economic development.” Damn endangered species, always getting in the way of making money. I’m sure the conservatives are super excited now that they no longer have to go through the usual channels with regards to endangered species—congress has got their back.
Like I said last week, this sets a terrible precedent for other endangered species. Bison and grizzles are already in danger. I just hope there’s not a budget agreement next time polar bears get too rowdy.
If you live in Brooklyn, you may be familiar with Union Market; it’s that expensive but really convenient place. I was there the other day buying pineapple as usual when I saw they had these pierogies! I checked the ingredients and they’re vegan! They have potato, and potato and spinach (they have cheese and potato too, but yuck). The pierogies are Union Market’s own brand; I don’t know where they’re made. They are near the milks, surrounded by a bunch of obnoxious non-vegan fancy-pants pasta. Jeez, pumpkin ravioli, get over yourself.
I eat mine with applesauce and I would eat it with Tofutti sour cream too if I had any on hand. The ingredients are so simple, it seems like I could make pierogies pretty easily! If I had any counter space! And the desire to do stuff!
Xgfx: vegan and gluten-free website launch! Meet the geniuses behind it!
I hope you’re ready for prettiest day on the vegan internet, because a stunning new website full of all things both vegan and gluten-free launches today!Xgfx “brings you the ultimate 100 percent vegan and gluten-free resource—featuring a shiny new blog, a community recipe hub, xgfx tips and so much more!” You guys, I just want to pinch this URL’s cute little cheeks, and I’m not even gluten-free. I practically live off gluten alone, but that’s going to change ASAP because the recipes in the xgfx database covered some of my favorite foods in the world, and yours too, sans gluten! You don’t have to feel sorry for your celiac vegan friends anymore, and you can bully your non-vegan celiac friends to go vegan without being an asshole! Actually, you’ll probably be kind of jealous and soon we’ll all be xgfx because we want to be the most popular kids in the community. These people are onto something.
The adorable ladies behind the community, Kittee, Allyson, and Jessy, put their gluten-shunning heads together to create a site that fills a gap in the online vegan community and brings delight to gluten-intolerant vegan tummies everywhere. Following a week filled with scandal, it is kind of the best thing ever to see passionate vegans launching a site filled with earnestly vegan and gluten-free content. Vegansaurus interviewed the trio, so check it out if you can hold off clicking through to xgxf for another second. It’ll be worth it! There is a recipe for vegan pho at the end!
Vegansaurus: Who coined the term xgfx? Kittee: I coined that term back in 2009, shortly after I went gluten-free. I was blogging for Vegan MoFo and it was bugging the shit out of me to type vegan and gluten free over and over and over again. I definitely got the idea from XEDGEX, but I didn’t mean to steal or demean it in any way—we’ve had a tiny bit of backlash about it. Somehow some folks are afraid that if they go to a show with tattooed exes on their hands, people will mistake them for being gluten-free? Every time I would type out vegan and gluten-free, it would just make me feel bad about myself, like I was sick and dragging a feeding tube on stick a really long distance. When I shared the name with Jessy and Allyson, they liked it too!
Vegansaurus: What is this community all about? How do people interact with others to share information about xgfx living? Allyson: We have an actual community of folks, which is a list of individual bloggers who blog entirely vegan and gluten free. We also have a recipe archive that is community driven, and can enable folks who may not have their own blogs (or blogs that are not exclusively vegan and gluten free) to share xgfx recipes with everyone under one big happy roof. And lastly, we have an entire website dedicated to housing all the info. The site has how-to guides, resources, recipes, product reviews, blog posts and much more.
Vegansaurus: Whose idea was it to start the community? How did you three connect with each other? Kittee: During Vegan Mofo last year, I contacted Jessy and Allyson, because I liked them and their blogs. I wanted to see if they were interested in doing some kind of xgfx event for the month. Our email conversations turned into a website proposal. The whole project has really come together in a very organic way. Each of us has unique things to add to the project, plus Allyson is a Wordpress lumberjack, so that made the website seem like something we could totally do.
Vegansaurus: How did you come to be xgfx? Allyson: I personally had been vegan (for ethical reasons) when I discovered that I had celiac disease back in 2009. It had been a long drawn out “diagnosis,” and I was thrilled to finally understand where all my medical problems were coming from. At the time, my doctor knew very little about celiac disease and actually had to call in a grad student who was doing his thesis on autoimmune disorders to come in and give me his opinion. Once I heard my prognosis was that I had to give up gluten, it all made sense. I wasn’t going to change my morals, so the xgfx diet itself kind of chose me. Today, I am very happy that it did. Jessy: I started out vegan—my spouse and I had made that decision back in 2008. I have suffered from IBS for as long as I can remember. I went on Kris Carr’s “Adventure Cleanse Tune-Up” as a guinea pig for her Crazy Sexy Dietbook back in the summer on 2009, and within three days my IBS ceased to exist. ‘Twas awesome. After the cleanse, I slowly started to reintroduce what was omitted from my diet, and as soon as I incorporated gluten, my IBS returned. I’ll never go back to my glutinous ways. Kittee: I’ve had really bad muscle pain (myofascial pain syndrome/fibromyalgia) since my senior year in college, ‘89/’90. For 20 years, I’ve experience periods of debilitating pain, mixed with daily chronic stuff. I had no idea there was any correlation to all of the bread and seitan I loved, until [my partner] Dazee and I evacuated New Orleans in ‘08 for Hurricane Gustav. To make a long story shorter, I cleaned out the fridge before we left town and then ate nothing but burritos, bagels, seitan and other wheaty convenience foods while driving to refuge in D.C., where my parents live. When we finally got back home, I had the worst flare-up of all time—I literally sat on the couch for weeks on end unable to do anything, including stand up, without horrible muscle knots. The bout made me question why I was feeling so badly, which led me to realize I had been eating a ton of gluten, so I stopped eating it to see if it made a difference. I would say going xgfx has improved my quality of life by at least 50 to 65 percent.
Vegansaurus: What are your hopes for the future of the community? Jessy: I hope it just keeps growing and expanding and reaching more people. I hope vegans who aren’t gluten-free and gluten-free people who aren’t vegan can find something within the community which might help them out, and I hope we can show everyone that xgfx is possible, it isn’t scary, and it’s pretty damn delicious, too. Kittee: Fame, notoriety, cash and a sportswear line would be awesome.
Vegansaurus: Any favorite recipes from the database? Jessy: Kittee’s pho (recipe below!) is the bee’s knees and I’m currently addicted to Allyson’s besan!
Vegansaurus: Who is the genius behind the stunning design? Kittee: Allyson has the skillz! We’ve been working very collaboratively, which is great for a project like this. We share ideas, color schemes, etc, then Allyson sprinkles pixie dust on all of it and it comes to life. Allyson: Going off the basic framework [Jessy, Kittee, and I] came up with, I put my rudimentary web development knowledge to work, and got plugging away with the technical sides of things. I also helped migrate our graphic ideas into Adobe Creative Suite to make to all come to life. We re-worked it continuously until we finally got it to where we wanted it. In general, the look of the sites has been a big happy collaboration among all three of us.
Vegansaurus: Do you think, in general, that things are looking up for people following a vegan and gluten free diet? Are there options in your local restaurants/grocery stores? Jessy: I really, truly do! Both natural food stores [here in Richmond, VA] have fairly decent sized gluten-free sections and I’d say that 50 percent of the products offered are vegan. There isn’t much in the way of xgfx restaurants, but there’s a little veggie friendly place downtown which now serves an xgfx pie every once in a while. I think I almost cried the first time it was offered—I was absolutely elated. Kittee: I would say things are looking up indeed, because for the most part, it seems like folks go gluten free for their health—so it makes people feel better. Living with chronic pain, or IBS, or any of the other symptoms that gluten can produce or aggravate is not a good way to be. I’m lucky, because where I live (Portland, Ore.) is not only Vegan City, but it is also extremely xgfx-friendly.
Vegansaurus: Is there anything else you’d like to add for the xgfx-curious? Jessy: I’d like to add that for those struggling with becoming xgfx, I promise it gets better. When I first became gluten-free, I already had the vegan card under my belt and I kind of figured gluten-free would just require a few tweaks to my diet. I knew how to cook like a mofo, so I was cocky and thought gluten-free would be a snap. Well, it wasn’t—there was a lot of crying over failed attempted xgfx recipes. But these days are happy-faced ones—and I don’t cry over baked goods anymore. Many of us, myself included, have some very strong emotional ties to food (it can be comforting, it’s linked to memories and emotions, it’s a large part of ones culture and buddies up with a slew of traditions), so becoming xgfx can be hard because you don’t know where to start, and you might find yourself having to rethink some of your favorite dishes. But it is possible and it is awesome. Remember to enjoy yourself and don’t get tangled up in the little things. We promise it will [get better] and we’re here to help because we’re all in this together! Kittee: The main reason I wanted to build this website is not to grow community, which is lovely, but to provide a resource for vegans who are also gluten-free. I know folks who have starting incorporating eggs into their otherwise vegan lifestyle, because they didn’t feel like they had options or enough support to stay vegan. People are always saying how awesome one or two particular gluten-free blogs are, because they always have vegan options. But honestly, if you check out most of their vegan recipes, they just call for “egg replacer” instead of the five eggs in their original recipe. Expecting egg replacer to work in a recipe like that is setting it up to fail. We want to share recipes and resources for xgfx food that tastes great and works.
For an example of such, check out Kittee’s vegan Pho. MAKE IT FOR ME NOW:
Xgfx Pho (Vietnamese noodle filled soup—tangy, spicy and full of herbs and mushrooms)
Ingredients 1 onion, peeled and quartered 2-inch piece ginger, thickly sliced 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 12 cups water 4 pods cardamom, crushed, or ¼ teaspoon ground 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 5 whole star anise pods Small pinch anise seeds 6 whole cloves 2 tsp. unbleached granulated sugar 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste 2 carrots, coarsely chopped Large handful dried shiitake mushrooms, optional 1 1/2-2 cups fresh shiitake or portobello mushrooms, sliced 1/3” thick protein–-about 1/3 cup per bowl (bite-sized fried tofu, thinly sliced baked tofu, and seasoned Soy Curls would go especially well in this) 2 to 3 cups fresh mung bean sprouts Bunch fresh basil Bunch fresh mint 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced Small bunch fresh cilantro 2 limes, cut in half and quartered Hoisin sauce*, optional but tasty (Premier Japan–makes an awesome xgfx product) Sriracha or red chili pastewheat-free tamari 13-oz. package rice noodles
Instructions 1. Place the onion, garlic and ginger on a cookie sheet and broil under direct heat until lightly charred.
2. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the charred ingredients, the spices, sugar, salt, carrots and dried mushrooms, if using. Cover the pot and let the broth cook over medium-high heat (rolling boil) for 30 to 45 minutes.
3. While the broth is cooking, prepare the noodles as directed on your package, rinse ‘em well with cold water and set aside.
4. Prepare the herbs by giving ‘em a good bath and drying them well. The fun part of eating pho is that diners get to assemble and season their own bowls. So, you can pile the “accessories” onto one platter to be shared by the table, or arrange ‘em into individual bowls for each person. Make neat but separate piles of the sprouts, basil, mint, cilantro and limes. Leave the leaves on the herbs, and let folks rip them off into their own bowls at the table.
5. Strain the broth to remove all solids, rinse out the pot and return the broth. Bring back to a soft boil and add the fresh mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Season to taste lightly with salt.
To serve: divide the noodles evenly between four deep bowls. Top with your protein choice, and then fill up with broth. Let each person season their bowls to taste with freshly torn herbs, sprouts, lime juice, jalapenos, wheat-free tamari, Sriracha and hoisin sauce.
This interview was brought to you by Gabrielle Pope, who is our resident (guest) expert on Canadian living. She lives on a small island where she is currently 1) going pleasantly insane, and 2) writing a novel.
If you didn’t get enough Laura this week, check out The Week in Vegan. She mentions Shakira, who rules. I’m sold. Read it and comment!
News gets cute this week: “Research shows that man’s best friend categorizes people as generous or mean by keeping tabs on how they treat others.” That’s how everyone’s dog knows YOU’RE the softy! Read all about it at the Daily Mail.
Wolves can’t catch a break. Groups are in the process of trying to de-list wolves as an endangered species in the Great Lakes area. The New York Times has the story. I’m getting fucking sick of this. It’s like, you almost wipe out a species and then after hard work, the species begins to flourish and then you want to kill them again. WTF?
One-fourth of meat is filled with multi-drug-resistant staph!
Yum! When your friends and family chow down on that burger, they’re not just eating fat, cholesterol, and rotting flesh, they’re also consuming antibiotics the animals are shot up with to keep them alive. Tasty! There are a million five-year-olds ordering Chicken McNuggets as I type this, and they have no clue their meals are served with a side of C-cup boobs before they’re seven and an early menstrual cycle! And that’s just the boys! Ugh, the whole piece in Wired is super interesting and definitely something to pass on to the meat-eaters in your life.
I think the best/worst parts are (because everyone wants my opinion!):
“We know already that most food-borne illness occurs not because of undercooked food” in which pathogens survived, Price said. “It’s from mishandling in the kitchen and cross-contamination. I think there is a risk of these strains contaminating a local environment. We don’t know what that risk is, because it has never been evaluated—but anyone who dismisses that risk is doing so without any data.”
All those people you know who are like, “Fuck it! I cook the shit out of my meat and I’ll live forever!” Let them know it doesn’t matter.
Shelley Hearne, managing director of the Pew Health Group, told me: “The bottom line is, the more we use antibiotics in injudicious ways, the more we are compromising our ability to save human lives in the future.”
No fucking doy, but it’s nice to hear it from someone who doesn’t respond to information like this by saying, “No fucking doy.” You know? Sometimes science is our friend!
The city’s reason for killing the geese this year and last year is that they say the geese pose a risk to airplanes. Originally, they were killing birds within a five mile radius of the airport but they expanded the area to include Prospect Park, which is seven miles away. Why? I don’t know. People that oppose the mass goose murder say that 1. there are more humane ways to control the goose population and 2. the geese in Prospect Park are permanent residents now and don’t migrate north for the winter, so they aren’t the geese a plane would come in contact with.
Friends of Animals contends that the real issue for the USDA is the goose droppings. WTF? And here’s an appalling quote from Friends of Animals: “Mayor Bloomberg oversaw the gassing of 1,676 geese in city parks throughout the five boroughs last summer. A USDA report revealed that 89 percent of geese observed at sites throughout New York City and western Nassau have been killed.” God damn.
I’ll try to find more ways to help but for the time being, here’s what you can do:
Tell Mayor Bloomberg and city officials: Stop the killing and harassment of Canada Geese.
Contact Mayor Bloomberg to oppose the slaughter and harassment of geese in New York City:
If you live in New York City, you can call the Mayor’s office at 311.
Here’s some shit to get super-pissed about. Unfortunately it has to do with the government and so we can’t do jack shit because we have no real power. Yay 21st-century livin’! Who knew freedom cost so much?? Seriously, if you guys want to take to the streets over this, I’m with you. I’ve got a flak jacket and a breast pump (don’t ask, the answer is too sexy for you), there ain’t nothing I can’t do. Let’s unite! And rebel! For realz. But first, here’s why.
Did you know that 63 percent of agricultural subsidies go to meat and dairy? BULLSHIT! If news of even more bullshit, less than 1 percent of agricultural subsidies go to fruits and vegetables. Check out the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s new report on agriculture policies, and be shocked and depressed. AND READY FOR ACTION!
Seriously, if we don’t take to the streets of the capital to protest this, the least we can do is send that chart to everyone and their mother and your mother and like, Gawker, because everyone’s mother reads that. What is going on with our moms? Anyway, spread the word, because maybe if enough of us get really crazy about it, we might actually get some attention. We can’t let this shit slide! We’re so concerned about our children’s future that we’re singing songs about it (i.e., very concerned) but we’re not really doing shit! RISE UP! But first, I need a donut.
Have you ever thought, “Geez, I’d like to get to know that Laura better! No, you haven’t! Well, here’s your chance! I’ve got a interview up over at SF Weekly! In it, I am very funny and clever, my turn of phrase and witty parlance (is this the correct way to use that word?) will shock and amuse the nation. HAVE I SOLD IT OR WHAT?!? Enjoy!
By now, you have most likely heard about the VegNews drama that unfolded today. If you haven’t: Basically, VegNews had been using stock images of non-vegan dishes and doctoring them to look vegan. People have been asking why we haven’t commented. Well, it’s a bit complicated because Laura is a columnist for VegNews so she can’t comment on it. The other problem is that while I, Megan Rascal, am free to comment, I kind of don’t care. I know! I’m the worst!
Part of it is that I don’t get VegNews because I don’t get any magazines because I hate reading. I think maybe I’d feel differently if I had been reading it for a while but I’m not sure because aren’t all magazine photos doctored? Like EVERY SINGLE ONE? To make women look inhumanly skinny or elongated or whatever? And I guess the issue really was money, so what could they have done instead? That’s not rhetorical, I want to know what you think because maybe we can suggest it to them and they will find a better, more vegan way!
The entire VegNews family is deeply saddened with the dialogue that has transpired over the last 12 hours. As an ethical vegan magazine, owned-and-operated by vegans since its inception, VegNews is a labor of love, totally motivated by our dedication to ending animal suffering. Please understand the following:
—VegNews is a privately owned, independent publication with no funding or investors. Publishing a magazine is extremely costly—with exorbitant costs for printing, postage, paper, and production. In fact, the majority of independent magazines fold within three years. Eleven years ago, we recognized the power of the media in spreading a compassionate message that vitally needed to be heard, and committed to producing a vegan magazine that could compete with mainstream publications.
—Eleven years later, we are proud to say that VegNews has won numerous major magazine awards, sits on the newsstand next to titles such as O, the Oprah Magazine and Martha Stewart Living, and is fulfilling its mission of packaging veganism in an appealing and accessible way so that we can reach as many people as possible. Through our family of properties, we now reach more than 1 million readers each month.
—Yes, from time to time, after exhausting all options, we have resorted to using stock photography that may or may not be vegan. In an ideal world we would use custom-shot photography for every spread, but it is simply not financially feasible for VegNews at this time. In those rare times that we use an image that isn’t vegan, our entire (vegan) staff weighs in on whether or not it’s appropriate. It is industry standard to use stock photography in magazines—and, sadly, there are very few specifically vegan images offered by stock companies. In addition, it’s exceedingly challenging to find non-stock imagery that meets the standard necessary for publication. We would love nothing more than to use only vegan photography shot by vegan photographers, and we hope to be there soon.
At VegNews, we are working hard to change the world for the better, and do whatever we can within our means to make that happen. We deeply appreciate your years of readership and support, and look forward to working together to create a more compassionate future.
With gratitude, The VegNews Team
I don’t think it’s the greatest response ever but it’s pretty good. I’m not sure what else they could say. They fucked up but it’s obviously purely a money problem. I don’t know, what do you guys think?! It’s just like people won’t read a magazine without pretty pictures but there aren’t any stock vegan photos and they can’t use like 72dpi Creative Commons pictures. And I heard something like they deleted people’s comments about the pictures being doctored? That’s lame. I guess it was some panicked response? I still kind of don’t give a fuck but maybe I should? Let’s discuss. It’ll be like group therapy!
Hello, friends! It's WTF Wednesday! (on Thursday!)
I finished a complete draft of my thesis! I was up until midnight writing a conclusion and while I cannot say it is the best conclusion I have ever written, at least it didn’t end with “in conclusion,” so that’s something. I was celebrating all day today! Then I fell down a flight of stairs. I fall down flights of stairs fairly regularly, so I’ve learned to skid on my knees and protect my abdomen, but this time was just a bruise to my ego and slight ankle injury, as I missed a step on the narrow staircase at work and tumbled into the waiting room like some kind of medieval jester doing tricks for all assembled. In order to show everyone cackling that I was OK, I bravely picked myself up and limped over to my mailbox to see if I had any mail. Unfortunately, there was nothing in my mailbox so not only was I embarrassed about falling down a flight of stairs, then I was doubly humiliated when everyone realized that I had fallen down a flight of stairs while excitedly on my way to check my empty mailbox. High-fives all around.
So I’m elevating my ankle, being embarrassed and feeling particularly vulnerable, when Allen decides that he was so excited to have contributed last week that he is going to send me another link this week. I was talking to him and he said, “Oh, I saw another thing you might want to write about. I’ll send it to you.” “Cool!” I said. “Maybe I’ll use it!” "What do you mean, ‘maybe’?" "Well I have a lot of things to write about. There are like a bunch of links I have to get through, but if yours is good, I’ll consider using it." “You are desperate for links, Mark; you ask for them every week!” "Listen, don’t give me your attitude. You got a taste of the big time and now you want to be featured every week? I made you a star! I can make you or break you!" “Mark, I am a computer engineer. You do not have a job. I sent you links to be nice, but that’s okay, I don’t have to do that if you’re so selective.” And then Allen went to work and I fell back asleep until 11:30 a.m. When I woke up, I decided that he was right and I was going to use his link, which is about a girl with a jumping cow.
What is wrong with you, European cow-riding girl? At first, I was going to think that this was a little bit cute, because when I imagine a girl riding a cow, I imagine a toddler not so much riding as much as hugging a cow; then I saw that this was a full-grown girl with a fucking crop forcing a cow to jump hurdles? I was hoping that the cow looked at least a little happy, but you know what? It doesn’t! Surprise! Cows don’t like to jump hurdles! Why do we go through this every month? Why do people see an animal and not think, “Man, that cow looks so happy just grazing there, perhaps I will leave it alone,” but instead decide that the best thing to do with that animal is to saddle it up and then beat it into jumping over shit? Is it something in the water? Am I just missing some insane “do weird shit to animals” gene? I mean I certainly used to try to dress my hamster up and put my bunny in a sweater, but I never tried to make them jump hurdles or walk a tightrope (although, let’s be honest here, if we could do it without any cruelty, a hamster in a cowboy outfit walking a tightrope would be fucking adorable).
So let’s do this girl one better: What’s worse than riding a cow, crop in hand? Perhaps it is torturing a squirrel in front of children (WARNING! The accompanying video is emotionally distressing):
I don’t even know. Apparently the squirrel may have been rabid (the rabidness of the squirrel is pure speculation, as it doesn’t seem to be going at anyone and seems like a small, subdued blob), but that is not the question here. Here is the question I have: Why was a police officer called for a squirrel? Follow-up: Why did he taser/pepper-spray (it is not clear) the squirrel if it was far from the children? Was there a more humane way to treat the squirrel, even if it was rabid, instead of torturing it in front of children that were begging him, by name, to leave the animal alone? Answer: Probably yes! How do you sleep at night, Mesquite, Texas police office? And more importantly, have you been reprimanded? Let’s hope you were fired, actually. Any person who would willingly and calmly torture a baby animal is probably not someone we want patrolling the streets.
Two Ducks have decided to stage a sit-in protest at a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in New Jersey. The official reason may be that the ducks were living in plants that have recently been landscaped, but I’d like the real reason to be ducks protesting the fact that their feathered friends are being eaten by the thousands right next door! That is some bad-ass duck business. In a stunning display of cognitive dissonance, the restaurant employees have been feeding and leaving water for the ducks while continuing to serve delicious dead chickens only several feet away. Delightful!
That’s it for this week. Send me links (and sympathy for my twisted ankle!) for next week and have a safe, non-falling-down-stairs rest of the week!
Apparently, Walmart is selling flax milk at 2,500 of their stores. Damn, Walmart! Way to be modern! Walmart is still an evil beast but it’s cool that the milk will be available in such an accessible store. This flax milk comes from a couple in North Dakota, which started producing flax 11 years ago and has a full line of products under the company Flax USA. I’ve never heard of flax milk but it does appear people have been making it at home for a while. Any readers make their own flax milk? What’s it taste like?!
Here are some of the nutrition details from the Flax USA site:
50 to 60 calories per serving
As much calcium as dairy milk
Zero saturated fat and zero trans fat
Flax is a great source of omega-3 and the milk is enriched with vitamin A, D, and B12. Flax is also high in fiber! Gotta love some fiber.
I’m really into flax because it’s supposed to be good for crazy people and I need all the help I can get! Well, omega-3 is supposed to be good for crazy people and flax has got it. There was a study conducted on depressed mice (?) that showed they exhibited fewer depressive behaviors (?) when given alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the type of omega-3 that’s in flax. Of course knowing how inaccurate animal-testing can be, this isn’t the most solid evidence. And depressed mice? Really? I’m imagining a mouse that, like, won’t leave the house or take calls from friends. He’s no longer interested in things he once enjoyed.
The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine actually released a statement on this study basically saying it was inhumane and effed. They should have just tested on people; everyone already consumes foods containing ALA so it’s not like it would kill people if they tested on them. Leave the depressed mice alone. Or better, let them all go so they can come live with me or Laura and we can eat ice cream and watch Bridget Jones together. Sometimes you just need to wallow, you know?
Here’s a great “primer for the mental health professional" on omegas and major depression that collates all the different studies. It’s dense like whoa but I pulled out some points. Most of the studies are done with fish oil, not flax. In several different studies, scientists saw a correlation between low levels of omega-3s and depression. High rates of fish consumption (gross) has a correlation with lower levels of depression, bipolar disorder, season affective disorder and lower rates of postpartum depression. A small Harvard study showed that a very small amount of EPA (another omega-3) reduced aggression and depressive symptoms in women with borderline personality disorder (which is very difficult to treat). And there are a lot of other studies, OK? I can’t just tell you about all of them, I have things to do and naps to take! But basically, the journal wants you to know that there has been a ton of study results that indicate omega-3s could be really good for depression but then again, none of it could be true. Yay science!
Fish oil has different types of omega-3s than flaxseed oil but your body can convert ALA to those other types (though only at a pretty low rate). The debate over fish oil versus flaxseed oil is a bit confusing. It seems though that with flaxseed oil, your body needs to take an extra step to get omega-3 benefits by converting the ALA so it’s not as efficient as fish oil. But that’s for heart disease and cholesterol, I don’t know about mental health. It was specifically the AHA that helped the depressed mice. Some people say you just have to take more flaxseed oil. I can do that. Since we aren’t going to eat fish, it’s time to hit the flax milk!
I love Russell Simmons but I grew up a hip-hopper so it’s kind of a given. But you better believe I love him even more now that I’m vegan. CNN’s Eatocracy interviewed him all about his vegan diet and it’s great and he’s the best! Here’s an excerpt:
I feel better. My friends say I look better. All that’s true. But I’m a vegan for compassionate reasons.
Like I said, for the planet and for the Karma. It’s to not cause too much harm. The first part of every scripture, in terms of the science that they give for happiness, is to not cause harm. You gain happiness by eliminating or relieving suffering. You want to relieve suffering; you don’t want to be the cause. If all the oil is being used—beside what the army is using—in the manufacturing of food, we’re fighting wars over your diet. It sounds like a big stretch but it’s not when you find out the amount of oil that you use. Then you think about the global warming issue, and you think about the 15 billion animals that are born into suffering.
OMJesus do you love it? You love it.
I don’t believe in much, but what do you guys think about karma? I know we throw the word around and it prob doesn’t mean exactly what we think, but in the way it’s used popularly, what do you think? You think vegans have better karma? I don’t know; I know I do feel better about myself so I’d have to agree with his “gain happiness” statement. It makes me happy that I’m not contributing to suffering (or at least contributing as little as I can) and that I can function beyond the “but cheese is good” mentality.
He also talks about how great Tofutti Cuties are: “You can’t beat a Tofutti Cutie. You frontin’ if you say so.” TRUTH.
Also, he was on KQED’s Forum this morning, talking with that weirdo Michael Crasney about how awesome animals are. It’s definitely worth listening to as he sounds very smart, and regulates idiots who ask stupid questions.
Sometimes that idiot is Crasney, and for that Pacelle gets extra points. He’s also good at speaking to an audience who might not already know about certain animal and food issues, without being a condescending prick or a preachy mansplainer. I’d totally have a crush on him if it weren’t for that g-d hair.
This whole budget business is messy as my room. All these goddamn riders! One such rider is the de-listing of wolves as an endangered species in Idaho and Montana. This is utter bullshit and really sad. From Earthjustice via the LA Times: “For the first time in history, Congress is removing a species…from the Endangered Species Act based on political, rather than biological, judgments.” Like I explained last week, wolves are being attacked for eating livestock and competing for “game” with hunters.
I don’t really sympathize with livestock farmers but that’s a better reason than that of the hunters; at least it’s like about their livelihood (as animal abusers). It’s like I’m sorry the wolves are making it more difficult for you guys to hunt but isn’t that part of the point? If you want easy, go to the damn grocery store. De-listing an endangered species so you have an easier time hunting is just depraved thinking and sneaking it into the budget agreement is so slimy.
Listed below are the phone numbers and contact info for the Senate. Please call not only your own senators, but every Senate Democrat as many times as you can. Please also pass this information along to other animal advocates. Wolves need every voice possible.
Capital Switchboard Numbers: give the name of the senator and you will be transferred to their office. You will then either speak to a staff member, or to voice mail on the weekend.
When possible ask to speak to each senator’s environmental aide. This will give you a better chance to get your message across because you will be talking to someone who is familiar with the issue.
CAPITAL SWITCHBOARD (866) 220.0044 (877) 851.6437 (800) 833.6354
The delisting language must be stripped out of the final bill:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid 522 Hart Senate Office Bldg Washington, DC 20510 Phone: (202) 224.3542 Toll-free for Nevadans: (866) 736.7343
INDIVIDUAL LIST OF SENATORS: Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) (202) 224.3553 CONTACT
President Obama Comments: (202) 456.1111 Switchboard: (202) 456.1414 CONTACT
Another important thing to note is that this isn’t just about wolves: “as [Josh Mogerman, spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C.] said the rider could mean threats to additional species in the future. ‘There’s a process in place for dealing with these issues in the courts. But by Congress acting, it’s just a completely different animal,’ he said. ‘You look down the [Endangered Species Act], you see critter after critter and plant after plant that are probably inconvenient to special interests all over the country. And what [they] have done is opened the door to removing plants and animals from the ESA by whim, rather than science.’”