The Upper West Side has a Rufous hummingbird! The bird is normally a west coaster and not one for winter, but it’s been so mild that she’s done OK! She hangs out at the Museum of Natural History because she’s totally funny. That’s totally where a Rufous hummingbird should hang out!
Mother Nature’s Pop Science Guide to Birds, from the Mother Nature Network. This is pretty dope. And there’s a crow! I love crows. God damn it I love an infographic! I want less reading and more infographing!
As you can see, this image says it’s “part 1” of Mother Nature’s Pop Science Guide to Birds. I know how people feel about sequels, but I’m pretty pumped for this one!
It’s a rare albino ruby-throated hummingbird captured (I just mean on camera, silly!) by some youngins in Virginia! Go, bird-watching youngins!
This brings me to a more important point: I have a theory that the majority of small flowers are purple. Then white. Then pink. But mostly just purple. Take a look around!
Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! (on Thursday!) »
Now that I’m back to work I am much calmer. What Allen and his family would put up with because they still have some warm feelings left towards me will not fly with people at the office. I’m still knitting like I’m about to drop a litter of little Marks but at least I’ve stopped waiting for Allen in the dark, only to dramatically switch on the light and shake the ice in my glass as he enters, effectively giving him heart palpitations. I didn’t want to, but Allen said that it was either him or my imitation of Glenn Close on Damages (not especially close: I don’t own any crisp ladies’ suits, so I sit around in an African-print muumuu), and I want to keep this relationship going because Allen knows how to cook.
If I started questioning anyone again, however, I would start with a dog that likes guitar so much that he stops smiling when the guitar is not being played. Clearly the dog is on something, I would say intimidatingly, as I leaned over a desk to show off my middle-aged lady cleavage, and I am going to find out what it is is. And then, I would say slowly but impeccably enunciated, I am going to destroy you. I will take everything away from you. Everything.
My next case involves an assault. “Where’s the victim?” you might ask me, “it just looks like a confused bird.” That is my case. Why was my client being videotaped? Why was he being harrassed? More importantly, what kind of sick and twisted individual would get a bird drunk and then stick a decoy in front of him? Who would leak this to the press? (Amazing twist: I did it. The guitar-loving dog’s supplier had this video of one of my clients and was going to release it if I didn’t drop my suit, so I beat her to the punch and released it myself, making my client appear sympathetic).
Here’s one I don’t even have to make up dramatic plot twists for: A Chinese man was poisoned to death while eating cat stew. I can’t even say anything, you guys. Apparently people are eating cat stew now? And apparently other people are poisoning the stew for some kind of weird government thing? But also, rich people are eating cat stew? The guy who did the poisoning has been caught and I wonder what jail is like for poisoners. Are there levels? Do you get treated better or worse depending on the medium you used for your poison? Where does cat stew fall? I kind of hope that there is an animal-rights activist in jail with him. And that they meet. And that there is a reality show filmed about their encounters and also that the poisoner learns that it is wrong to both poison soup in order to kill a rival but also just as wrong to turn a cat into soup.
That’s it for this week. Please send me links for next week and have a court-free week. However, if you have to appear in court this week, please do so; my sentiment should not be taken as an instruction. Pay your debt to society and leave my name out of it.
Final note: for some reason your emails were going through a time hole and appearing in my AOL inbox, which I checked regularly in high school but no longer use. I have no idea how this happened but I am not ignoring you (I swear) and will use links everyone sent me this year (the ones AOL hasn’t deleted) next week. Promise.
Vegan Gift Guide: Great vegan gifts for omnis! »
I am a world class gift-giver. Everybody says so. Like, even Jesus. And for my gift to you, I’m going to share some of my present ideas for this holiday season! Now, I think gifts should be all about who you’re giving them to, not about who you are. A lot of people buy gifts they themselves would like without thinking of what the recipient likes. You like books, your friend likes music—you buy them music, not a book! Simple enough, but it seems to allude many people.
What I’m getting at is your gifts for the omnis in your life shouldn’t be all about your veganism. Trust me, your fam knows you’re vegan (and if they don’t, they’ll get a clue when you bust out the soy nog), you don’t have to remind them again when it’s present time. But at the same time, you can’t be buying them leather jackets! So what to do? Buy secretly vegan gifts! You forgo the "Bacon had a Mom" shirt and get them gifts they will like that happen to be vegan—and maybe do a little good on the sly. Like something that benefits the environment; no one will suspect that it is secretly helping vegans! But it’s like I always say, we vegans have to protect the environment because that’s where all the animals live! And hey, if it’s trendy waxed canvas instead of leather, no one will think twice. But you’ll know it’s vegan! Oh, you’ll know.
Without further ado, great gifts vegans can buy omnis!:
If you didn’t know, people love coffee. I swear! It’s true! And in New York and Philly, the biggest thing in coffee is La Colombe. People are crazy for it. It’s at all the posh places. It’s really good! But what’s better, their ethics are out of control. They do direct trade, invest in the community, worry about the rainforest and all that good stuff. And it’s shade-grown so the birds are OK! Laura told me about that, I didn’t even know. But yeah, some coffee is bad for birds!
So you can impress the hipster, urbanite, or coffee-lover in your life by getting them the coolest thing in coffee while secretly knowing the birds and rainforest are OK and your ethics are intact!
You know what moms are? Cold. Like, all the time. OK, sometimes they are annoyingly hot, but they spend much of their time being cold. So what better gift than a scarf?! Not a bulky, winter-wear scarf; a pretty, indoor scarf to keep them warm in rooms that are actually a perfectly reasonable temperature. And they can take them off if they get hot! Perf.
And if your mom is like mine, she has entered what I once read described as, “the Goddess Phase.” My mom and all her friends are in the Goddess Phase—You’d know it if you saw it! It’s all about loose linen clothes, beaded necklaces, herbal tea, etc. A scarf is so goddess. Plus, these scarfs are all cotton, vegetable-dyed and super organic. Up with cotton, down with wool!
You know what dads need? Classy, relaxed clothing. Things that make them look like the distinguished old gentlemen that they are while also keeping their old gentlemen bodies comfortable. So something like this cotton half sweatshirt/half sweater is just the thing! While everyone else is giving him stuffy silk ties and itchy wool sweaters, you’ll be like, “Blammo!” Organic cotton! And it doesn’t hurt that Threads 4 Thought is a sustainable brand that supports great organizations like Natural Resource Defense Council. They even have their own world-saving effort, Girl 2 Girl, that seeks to empower girls throughout the world. Can I get a huzzah?!
Need a cheeky yet utilitarian gift for your sweetie? How about cruelty-free underoos from vegan-owned Purrfect Pineapples! All their products are sweatshop and animal-free. They are also handmade and they do custom orders! So if they don’t have your size or you have some wacky design, they can make it happen.
When your main squeeze opens this present, no way will they be like, “OMG stop pushing your beliefs on me!” They will be like, “OMG let’s do it!” And your love-making will be that much more satisfying knowing you supported a vegan biz. Also, sorry I said love-making. Bleh, love. And making. Bleh.
Know a wine lover, a sustainable design enthusiast and/or someone with a new place? These wine tumblers would make a great present. Not only are they recycled, but they’re totally meta! Kind of? You’d be drinking wine from tumblers made of wine bottles! Whatever, it’s cool and they are pretty. And environmentally friendly!
This eco-friendly, fair trade necklace also happens to be approved by my sister so YOU KNOW it’s cute. She suggests pairing it with some gold for a real WHAM BAM effect. World of Good, where you can purchase this hotness, also points out: "The beautiful jewelry of the collection is made by Ecuadorian artisans from natural, local rain forest materials. This not only helps the artisans earn a living wage, but it also helps to protect the rain forest by creating a profitable and low impact use of its materials." I love stuff like that! Where you make keeping environmental and animal stuff more valuable than killing it all. That rules.
You may say to yourself, “What about the kids?!” Well, I’ve got a little something for them too! This cute book comes with a plush dog AND has tactile stuff on the pages for kiddies to mess with. And the best part? It benefits the Humane Society! Or maybe the tactile stuff is the best part, I used to love that fuzzy bunny book. Sigh. That was awesome.
Wait, wait, wait, the best part is that kids love books (for some wacky reason) and kids love animals, so no one will suspect that you are secretly indoctrinating them into the vegan lifestyle! Haaaa, that is the best.
OK, here’s my bid for the cheap secret santa gift. At $6.50, this cookie mix (which contains no animal ingredients on its own) is fair-trade, eco-friendly and supports the Women’s Bean Project, “an innovative social enterprise in Denver, Colorado which benefits women with a history of poverty and chronic unemployment.” If that is not enough for you, it funds 14 bowls of food for shelter animals!
And this is a good generic present because it’s not some dumb, cheapo thing the recipient is going to be stuck with; they can actually use it and it goes away. And cookies are yummy!
I know many book collectors and they are a nutty lot. They are obsessed! And one thing I have learned is, unless you are getting them some rare first edition, never try to buy them an actual book as a gift; If it’s a book they wanted, they will have already gotten it by the time you’re trading presents. If they don’t have it, it’s because they don’t want it. Another thing I have learned is the bane of the book collector’s existence is when they loan a book to someone and never get it back. It haunts them in the wee hours. The solution? Book labels! And if you recall, not only are these labels eco-friendly, but use our “VEGANSAURUS” coupon code at Boygirlparty’s etsy store and you will get 10 percent off your order and 10 percent of the sale will be donated to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. You’ll help animals AND your book-enthusiast will feel like someone finally understands their deep-seated collector’s anxiety.
Another thing: these book labels would make a good gift for kids too. Like I said, kids love books; Another thing kids love is laying claim to things. With these labels, they can tell the whole world this is their book. Plus, look at that cute elephant!
This is perfect for the gentleman or aspiring gentleman. Or just anyone who likes to stay groomed. Or really, anyone who’s gone through puberty. If they don’t know already, they will find out: shaving brushes rule! They work as a gentle exfoliant so you can get a nice smooth shave with less irritation. That’s what makes this a great present: it’s classy, utilitarian, and works better. And with this kit, you get all-natural, environmentally friendly, vegan soap and a brush free of badger hair. Yay! Bleh, badger hair. Leave it for the badgers.
So those are my recommendations! I spent a lot of time on them! Because I love you. And because gift-giving should be a pleasure, not a chore! I hope these help with that. Have fun and be merry!
Nature is goddamn amazing. AMAZING. Check out this video that Sophia Windsor Clive and Liberty Smith took while canoeing the river Shannon in Ireland. It is a murmuration of starlings and it is one of the most awesome things I have ever seen.
Also totally terrifying, SO MANY BIRDS, but mostly breathtaking.
[video by Sophia Windsor Clive and Liberty Smith, via the wonderful National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Promise blog]
Snails are the new cockroaches! »
You know how people talk about the world ending and the only beings that survive will be Cher and the cockroaches? Well, now they’ve got company, because snails can be digested by birds and come out inexplicably healthy. This shocking and somewhat disgusting news comes from research being done in Japan, where grad students are studying bird feces. I do not know about you, but this sounds like one of the worst jobs ever to me. I cannot imagine getting up in the morning and knowing that I would spend the day messing around with bird poop for scientific research. not even if I loved science. not even if I loved it enough to marry it, which I don’t.
The point, however, is not how much I dislike bird poop; what is more important is the fact that tiny snails (not the big kind, yo) can apparently grab onto the insides of the birds’ digestive systems and catch a ride back out into the wild, where they emerge healthy and with a kick-ass story to tell. The only issue I have with this is that in order to find out how many snails would survive, the researchers have to feed the birds multitudes of snails and then see how many will come out the other end. I recognize that this is the circle of life and all, but I kind of feel bad for the snails, who were probably not expecting to get ingested in such large numbers with only 15 percent coming back to tell their tale. I also wonder what these results mean and how they could be useful beyond giving Cher a new audience to perform to after the apocalypse. What do you guys think?
[photo by Melissa Maples via flickr]
Top 10 links of the week: a shuffle board game through veganism! »
First of all, SO FLATTERED: We’re on Carpe Vegan’s neat Vegan 100 list: vote us to the top! Also, the San Francisco Bay Guardian totally gave us a Best of the Bay 2011 award for “Best Righteous Vegan Sass” (WHAT?) and we’re extremely pleased and honored and in very fine company so WOO AWARD WINNERS WHAT?
Apparently in Bosnia, they make bulls fight each other and they used to beat them up first to get them angry. They aren’t going to do that anymore—the beating part at least. A win? Why do people like these crazy events?
Yo! The U.S. (where I keep all my stuff) may impose sanctions on Iceland for whaling! I HOPE THOSE ICELANDIC FUCKERS GET WHAT THEY DESERVE.
Good has a vegan guide to getting it on. Like, sex.
Downer about dead baby dolphins over at HuffPo.
Birds massage each other! Birds are so smart! And kinky!
The emperor penguin Happy Feet (gag on the name, but whatevs) is recovering well, and here’s a video of him passing his penguin physical.
Whaling is a slowly dying form of murder, so we’re happy to see that Japan is hopping on the bandwagon. The country’s Fisheries Agency has released a report with its first-ever mention of discontinuing research whaling as a viable option.
The lovely Sarah M. Smart heavily contributed to these links! Thanks, Sarah!
Ravens break up to make up »
A new study shows that when ravens squabble, they totally make up afterward, if they are pals. “Monitoring a group of seven captive ravens (Corvus corax), Orlaith Fraser of the University of Vienna in Austria and colleague Thomas Bugnyar found that pairs of birds were likely to be more friendly to each other if they had fought each other in the previous 10 minutes.”
Their fights sound pretty funny; apparently they “kick and chase each other.” Then they make up by sitting together, kissing and preening. This is only if they’re homies: “These are valuable partners who share food and support each other in fights,” ha! Total homies.
Scientists are pretty excited because they’ve seen this behavior in mammals but they didn’t know birds were like that. Ravens are all, “bitch, you don’t know me!”
Eleven-year-old raises $150,000 for Gulf Coast birds. What have you done for me lately? »
Damn, 11-year-old, way to make us look bad! Olivia, a young bird-lover, was totally saddened by the images of pelicans and other birds covered in oil after the BP oil spill and wanted to do something about it! So she offered her services to the Audubon Society:
Dear Audubon Society:
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.