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.
Black sugar mantou from I Bake Who Eats! I have no idea what black sugar is or what mantou is but I WANT THIS INSIDE ME.
Because I am such a pro journalist, I looked up this shit for you! I should cut down this description from Jodie’s Kitchen but it’s too interesting!:
Black sugar is a common ingredient in Asian cooking, but when I show black sugar to my Western guests. They very often ask “is that brown sugar?”
Black sugar is healthier and more tasty than white processed sugar; brown sugar has a few of the benefits of black sugar, but really isn’t as good.
It can look quite similar to brown sugar, but black sugar is even darker - almost black. Black sugar is popular in Taiwan. Compared to processed sugar, which has a very flat, characterless taste, black sugar is ‘round’, with a lot more flavor.
Unlike processed sugar, black sugar contains molasses, plus potassium, iron, calcium and other minerals.
Many Western women like to eat chocolate for comfort during their period, but Japanese women like to eat black sugar. For Taiwanese women, eating black sugar during their period is also a very common custom, probably because Taiwan is a former colony of Japan. They really eat pieces of sugar like it’s candy.
The more you know, the more you grow! Now WTF is mantou? A nice description with bonus info from Almost Bourdain:
Mantou is a Chinese steamed bun. These buns, together with other wheat products such as noodles, are the daily staple for Chinese people living in the northern parts of China. Rice is the regular staple for Chinese people in the southern regions of China. A difference in climate is the reason for this: wheat grows in a colder climate while rice requires a warmer climate to grow.
Well, I did not know any of that! Learn something new everyday.
Murder-suicides: not just for humans anymore! »
A mother bear in China killed her cub and then herself. Why? To escape the bear bile industry. You know, FUCKING BILE, that tasty digestive juice produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. That shit contains a chemical that can be synthesized now used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat heart arrhythmia, so this industry is totally still relevant—NOT.
The bears, Asiatic black bears or “moon bears,” at such bile farms have their gall bladders “milked” (GAG ME) daily in “crush cages,” which don’t provide enough room for bears to stand upright or turn around. You can tell it hurts them because the bears moan and chew their paws while this is happening. No SHIT it hurts!
This is what bear bile farming looks like.
And that’s exactly how the mother bear knew what was up: Reports claim she heard her cub crying while workers attempted to poke a milking hole in his little bear tummy. She BUSTED OUT OF HER NEARBY CAGE and scattered the workers. After an unsuccessful attempt to free her cub, she gave him a hug and then strangled him to death. Finally, she dropped the poor dead cub to the ground before running headfirst into a fucking wall.
This whole disaster supports my theories that 1) bears are awesome and 2) humans are terrible. Please donate to Animals Asia to help end bear farming. I’m going to go vomit now.
Ivory poaching, elephant murder on the increase in Africa »
Vanity Fair has a great big article about the increase in illegal ivory trade in Africa. It’s horrible. You should read it; I’m not going to recap the whole thing here. You can have some low-lights* first, though.
Across Africa, “roughly 100 elephants are being killed each day.” Profits from ivory sales fund terrifying rebel groups, just like jewel- and ore-mining. The biggest markets for ivory right now is in East Asia, in particular China, and the Middle East. When smuggled ivory is seized, its DNA is sequenced so authorities can tell where its elephant came from. From this, we’ve learned that the ivory trade has increased everywhere in Africa that Chinese workers are.
The best paragraph:
Obviously, no ivory should be sold, legally or illegally. It has to be taken off the table completely. You can’t keep feeding the demand and providing incentives to poor Africans to continue killing their elephants. That—and educating the Chinese—is the only hope for the remaining ones in the wild. All of Africa needs to follow the lead of Kenya, which burned its ivory stock in 1989. As he ignited the 12 tons of tusks, thus depriving the government of millions of dollars of revenue, in a huge conflagration that remains the single most important event in the history of the battle for the elephants, then president Daniel arap Moi declared, “To stop the poacher, the trader must also be stopped, and to stop the trader, the final buyer must be convinced not to buy ivory. I appeal to people all over the world to stop buying ivory.”
Zimbabwe wants to feed prisoners elephant. People go on safari to shoot elephants. Most elephants, though, are killed because drought and poverty combined with the big ivory market have made killing them one of the only ways to earn money. Elephants are goddamn mystical, and murdering them is a terrible act of inhumanity. Read this entire article, cry your eyes out, be glad you’re not so poor that you resort to ruining the world to feed yourself. Jesus.
*Like highlights, but depressing.
[photo by brittanyhock via flickr]
Canadian seal slaughter continues to blow »
It’s that time of year again, unfortunately: the Canadian seal hunt will soon be upon us. Hundreds of thousands of seals will be bludgeoned to death. It fucking sucks. From the Humane Society:
The Canadian government will allow the slaughter of 468,200 of harp, grey and hooded seals this year, an increase of 80,000 from 2010.
“The Harper government has declared war on Canada’s seals,” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada. “Stephen Harper is playing regional politics in the lead-up to a federal election at the expense of hundreds of thousands of defenseless baby seals. Harp seals are ice-dependent animals and they are facing the devastating loss of their ice habitat because of climate change. A responsible government would take immediate action to protect this population rather than recklessly encouraging a commercial slaughter.”
The 2011 harp seal quota is the highest set since the Canadian government introduced quota management in 1971. Today’s kill levels meet and exceed those of the 1950s and 1960s, when overhunting reduced the harp seal population by as much as two-thirds.
There’s been some good developments in the boycott: “Twelve of America’s favorite celebrity chefs have joined the Protect Seals boycott of Canadian seafood. Richard Blais, Jennifer Carroll, Carla Hall, Mike Isabella, Jamie Lauren, Antonia Lofaso, Dale Levitski, Angelo Sosa, Dale Talde, Casey Thompson, Fabio Viviani, and Tre Wilcox, all participants on Bravo’s Top Chef All Stars, are teaming up with the HSUS in an effort to end Canada’s commercial seal slaughter.” (thanks for the tip, Anne H!) So that’s good! It’s nice to know that not everybody sucks. I still can’t believe people eat seal. That’s so gross! That’s like eating bunnies! Oh, wait.
Also, China is taking real steps to ban the trade of seal products in the country. What’s up with China lately? I know there was the terrible live animals in key-chains thing but for somewhere with previously almost zero animal protection laws, they’ve really been making some strides for animal rights! They banned animal circuses, which many supposedly animal-friendly countries haven’t done. And now this stuff with the seal trade. Kudos, China! Or however you say kudos in Mandarin.
Here, you can also check out this Humane Society search engine for restaurants that participate in the seal boycott. Find a place to go and tell them you are there because you support their decision to take a stand against this SUPER GROSS industry!!!
Top 10 links of the week! »
RIP Knut. Knut the polar bear died this week and it’s very sad. But don’t worry! He’s going to be stuffed and mounted! Vegetarian Star has the details.
New York is crazy for veggie burgers! The New York Times is totally in love with veggie burgers this week. I’m like, way to be late to the party! But welcome all the same.
Laura busts heads. If you didn’t read our Laura’s response to that lame Ecosalon piece, read Luara’s response to that lame Ecosalon piece.
Laura plays nice. AOL City’s Best interviewed our own Laura! She’s blowing up. I’m not the least bit jealous—her coattails suit me just fine! You go, girl.
Tsunami dolphin saved. There have been some bittersweet animals stories coming out of Japan, not the least of which is the rescue of a little baby dolphin in a rice field. There is a picture on the other end of this link, boy is there a picture.
Breast milk from cows. Um, in China, they are totally creating cows that produce human milk. I’m sure they are treating the cows really great too. People seem grossed out but how is it any grosser than drinking regular cow milk? I ask you. Both come out of cow nipples.
Saber-toothed vegetarian? Everyone is so excited about this new discovery: a saber-toothed vegetarian monster! (Monster is the scientific term).
More oil, more problems. Nightingale island, home to half the world’s population of northern rockhopper penguins, is covered in oil. People are working to save the cute, funny-haired penguins but there is a lack of supplies and help on the remote island. This is a bummer. I don’t think I’m getting a joke out of this.
Get ready for kitten season! Kitten season is just around the corner and Paw Nation has ten really great tips on caring for your new bundle of indifference.
New York City murders geese. New York is set to kill more Canada geese, see what you can do to help stop them!
Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! »
Several years ago I was very lonely. I was working full-time in a video store and had very few career aspirations; I had just ended a spectacular stint of dating with someone who was awesome and attractive but with whom I had very little in common; and when I wasn’t yelling at people to put their returns on the goddamned shelf of the counter that said “RETURNS” in large capital letters I was crying and playing video games. That’s when my friend Pali (who runs Rocket Dog Rescue) called and asked if I might like to adopt a pet.
"We’ve got a lot of hamsters here." she said.
"I have now had several hamsters," I replied. "I would like to move up in the world."
"What were you thinking of?" she asked.
“A rabbit. A big one.”
"There are plenty of those," she said. "Get down here before six o’clock."
I jumped into a cab to the SF SPCA immediately, and within the hour returned home with a giant black bunny whom I respectfully named Ms. Cleo. This is a good story, but it gets better. Let me tell you something about bunnies: they poop. A lot. And chew. They chew everything. Oh, and they live forever! Had I had my degree in psychology already, I would have understood that I was transferring my desire for a ”good object” (read: a boyfriend) onto a furry animal of the wrong sex and expecting too much out of her. In time, Ms. Cleo and I came to love each other very much, and frequently hung out on my bed watching television and eating celery and pellets. However, I must stress that rabbits—and all animals, while we’re at it—are a big commitment; you really need to decide whether you’re ready to have all of your cables/clothes/bed frames chewed and pooped upon before you decide that you can adopt one. I remember (before my stint at In Defense of Animals, of course) how horrified I was to read that a tradition of the Hilton family—the Paris Hiltons—was to buy up a whole bunch of rabbits and chicks on Easter, and then give them away after the holiday was over and their cuteness had worn off (Source: Paris Hilton’s wonderful Confessions of an Heiress, which I totally own!). I also thought that this must be a very isolated thing and that most people don’t treat animals this way. Au contraire, mon frère: people are fucking ridiculous.
First, STOP GIVING ANIMALS AS PRESENTS!!! Remember the stuff I wrote before about Rabbits being a huge commitment? Yeah, that doesn’t change just because it’s their year! This seems pretty obvious to me, but in China rabbits are multiplying like crazy and wreaking havoc. Here’s what happens: Someone gets a rabbit for the New Year, they get all excited, buy a cage, and think “awesome! Now I have a friend!” Then the rabbit chews up everything and sometimes scratch. In the case of one woman, the rabbit, while adorable, chewed through every cable in the house and ate her resume to boot! Not such an awesome gift anymore, right? You know, especially since she didn’t even ask for or think of taking care of a rabbit. And you know what else? If you don’t have them fixed, rabbits will breed, leaving you with a whole bunch of offspring to deal with. Of course, some people step up to the task, but others are giving up very quickly ensuring that shelters and rabbit rescues are overflowing with rabbits whose only crime was being an animal on the Chinese Zodiac. And being criminally adorable, but that’s another story.
Second, STOP SENDING ANIMALS IN THE MAIL! Again, this is something I thought would be both common knowledge and common sense. For example, “Man, I need to return these awesome Bones DVDs to Netflix and this copy of “Band Hero” to Gamefly. OH SHIT! I forgot that I have to get John’s dog back to him tomorrow when he gets back from vacation. Hmmm, maybe I should just box and mail him as well. That way, John and the dog both arrive tomorrow and I can watch some more television instead of taking care of responsibilities—nah, too dangerous!” Don’t you wish everyone thought like that? Me too! Except people don’t! They send puppies priority mail in airless boxes with the added bonus of no food and/or water! Why? No idea! Perhaps the woman who did this thought it might be cheaper or easier to send a puppy this way. She actually went back for a refund of her money after being charged with animal cruelty! I cannot believe she did not know that mailing puppies is not the preferred way to get animals to their destination. She’s now trying to get the dog back, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon—or at all, if everyone involved is lucky.
God, seriously, let’s look at something happy for a second before my mind explodes into a giant volcano of rage and sadness. What have you got fur us today, internets? OH MY GOD, a cross-eyed opossum, you say? That can’t be! and yet! And here’s the story of Heidi the cross-eyed opossum’s rise to fame.
All better! send me links for next week and have a safe Wednesday out there!
It’s Friday, which means it’s time for this week’s charmingly lunacy-tinged link-o-rama! »
Awwww! I know it’s the Daily Mail (UGH) but just read this story about Louie the obstacle-course-mastering pig and then close the tab. It’s a good story!
This week we’re still serving our U.S. citizens terrible lunches, while they’re getting huge full meals in other countries. Hot-stuff vegan Ted Leo talked to Eater about his awesome eating life, answering the idiotic question: “So do you consider yourself a strict vegan then or a little more ‘a la carte’ with your vegan choices?” by stating that, “Yeah… I wouldn’t say I was vegan if I was a la carte.” We love a man with principles. And a few eye-wrinkles, swoon. Or how about an athlete: Richard Adams went vegan after one visit to the animals at Farm Sanctuary, and now competes in crazy -lons/-thons to raise money for them!
Classic FDA/USDA recalls this week. First, cilantro sold under the labels Nature’s Reward, Ocean Mist, Tanimura & Antle, and Queen Victoria is being recalled because, oopsie, it’s all full of salmonella! Thanks, Sabor Farms of Salinas, Calif.! Second, “All Toxic Waste® Brand Nuclear Sludge® Products All Flavors And All Sizes” have been recalled because of elevated levels of lead! Who would have thought? At least the whale meat in Japan is free of lethal contaminants! Probably local, too, unlike every fish served at nearly every Bay Area restaurant, whoops. I wonder what ol’ Michael “don’t eat a lot of meat! unless it’s me, in which case, every week is Meat Week!" Pollan would say about eating insects—aren’t they totally local and sustainable? Well, one out of two. Chefs in London won’t be using shark fins in their dishes anymore, so there’s one win this week.
If you’re concerned about food for moral issues, definitely take a look at Salon’s guide to egg labeling—it’s informative! Megan Rascal’s scary pig cartoon is helping a vegan mom teach her kid about preventing animal cruelty. This Government Office of Accountability report on the F.D.A.’s total ineffectiveness at enforcing the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, despite being totally unsurprising, is really depressing, what with the egregious animal abuse inspectors aren’t stopping and all. Neat! It’s neat how in April 2010 a company working through Outdoor Adventures “euthanized,” meaning brutally murdered, somewhere between 70 and 100 sled dogs they no longer had use for post-driving-tourists-around-on-sleds season. Guess they didn’t need them for the Iditarod! Chinese families don’t need the pet rabbits they’re buying in celebration of the new year, the Year of the Rabbit, but they’re buying them anyway! Hey, just like dumbasses in the U.S. at Easter, only the article about it is full of racist puns as well as rabbit jokes. Mutts, though, Mutts is funny. Let’s read this 1996 interview with Patrick McDonnell and actually laugh.
China bans animal circuses! »
Filed under “FUCK YEAH CHINA”, this is truly excellent news! Even better, they’re also cracking down on zoos and making it harder in general to abuse animals for entertainment. I don’t know about you but this makes me more comfortable with the fact that we’ll all be working as slaves for China within ten to twenty years.
[Happy bear, run free. photo via mixx]
Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! »
Have you guys been watching this horrible Sarah Palin abortion that is on the television? Several questions: What is wrong with this woman? Also, what is wrong with this woman? And finally, what is wrong with this woman? I have never seen this show because my head would explode in a volcano of rage, but I have read about it and seen delightful pictures of Sarah Palin: with a shotgun! Sarah Palin: with a hunting knife! Sarah Palin: crouched over the remains of a caribou she has just murdered! I don’t know if I asked this before, but what is wrong with this woman? How can you be so clearly against things like abortion and not be against murdering innocent animals? And how could you think that aerial hunting is an acceptable sport? I was going to just say FUCKFUCKFUCK for the next several lines, but my mother told me that my swearing is getting to be a bit too much and that I really need to tone it down; so instead, I ask you again: What is wrong with this woman? And additionally, do you think that seeing herself murdering things on television will make her feel bad about herself? I can hope, but it seems that this woman lacks both shame and insight!
Man, I am about to get even angrier. Perhaps it is because this week is not getting off to a delightful start. It is cold, I am tired, and our heat is out again. Even when we turn it up to about 90, we still have to wear several layers and then cover ourselves with about 5 million different covers. This is what I got out of Russia for! Not to freeze to death in the winter. And of course Allen is no help. I’m all trying to cuddle up and steal some of his precious heat when he groans and kicks me while asleep! Why does his unconscious aggression toward me come out during the coldest nights? It’s times like this that I wish I had some fluffy animal friend to keep me warm. A dog perhaps, or some kind of large rodent (it would be so awesome if someone made like a giant hamster that I could cuddle with. No homo.). I used to chill with a rabbit that lives with my old roommate now. Perhaps I could borrow her for these cold winter nights. Know what I wouldn’t do to a rabbit, though? Crush it under glass while wearing a school uniform!
WHOOOOOOAA! HOLD ON THERE! THAT WAS NOT A SEGUE!
Exactly. Even after seeing “2 Girls 1 Cup” (OMG!) I was not prepared for the horror that was Chinese animal-crushing porn. Did you know that such a thing even existed? The video, which lasts about four horrifying minutes, is of a young woman dressed in a school uniform picking up a rabbit, stroking it, then mercilessly crushing it by placing it under a piece of glass and sitting on it. Sickening! And not even lucrative! This girl was paid $60 for killing a defenseless fluffball! And then stamping on it! Se claims that she didn’t know about what the job was going to be like because she found it on the internet, but really her innocence ends there. If I were a young woman looking for work and someone was all, “Yeah, you’re hot. Please come shoot this movie,” I would be wary. Perhaps I would go and see what it was about, but the moment the producer says something like, “Let me tell you my vision: You and three of your closest friends are chilling with Mei-Wen’s new rabbit, until you, in a cathartic act that exposes the cruelty of our society, grab the bunny, place it under glass, and slowly crush it with your posterior. Finally, you and the girls stomp the bunny with your stilettos in a meditation on futility as the screen fades to black,” I would be OUT OF THERE. It is just not OK! Actually, I would probably report these people, too and then firebomb their studio. I’ve actually been joking about firebombing a lot lately. I should really stop reading teen novels set in a dystopian future.
Speaking of teens (see what I did there? I am so pleased with myself!) There is a "Justin Bieber of Bullfighting." I didn’t even know that being a “Justin Bieber of” anything was now an accepted thing, but apparently what it stands for is being an annoying tween with an annoying talent. Like singing songs about “baby, baby, baby” or killing bulls because it is “fun.” Unfortunately, unlike Justin Bieber, who is merely ubiquitous, Michelito Lagravere is a horrible little monster who has slaughtered over 300 bulls. I wonder how this kid is going to adjust as he gets older—you can’t kill six bulls at a single time while wearing sequined pants and come out of it unscathed. You don’t just recover from that. I’m really angry at this kid, but I am even angrier at his parents, who not only encourage it, but seems to believe that this kind of behavior is condoned by god. It just doesn’t make any sense. I wonder if I could apply the same question that I applied to Sarah Palin to this kid. But then I’d also have to apply it to his family. And any place that allows something like bullfighting. And then any place that allows cruelty to animals, whether it be for pornography, sport, food, fun, or clothing. What is wrong with people?
Just thinking about this stuff is exhausting. Why don’t we call it a day and meet here again next week, when there might be happier news to report and less of my head exploding in a rage volcano? Send me links for next week, and have a safe Wednesday out there.