Um, hello, I love you. Vodka Root beer Floats from the Minimalist Baker.
Since my grandpa moved to Philly, he has dinner at my parents’ every sunday. At this dinner, two things always happen: One, Figgy ushers my gramps to a chair and plops on his lap to act as lap warmer/Kindle stand, never to move until he’s forced. The other thing that always happens is that my gramps and pop have root beer floats after dinner. Except they call them “brown cows” for some reason. I never have one but I find it very endearing. Maybe I will add vodka to the floats next time! I bet if I asked, my gramps would say he’s never had vodka—but he says the same thing about wine every time we pour him a glass.
A Very Rascal Thanksgiving »
Since I am in charge of posting Thanksgiving pics today, of course I will post my own! As everyone knows, the Rascal household, while predominantly omni, is super vegan friendly. So as per usual, I had just as many options as the omnis, if not more. Above is my favorite, the root vegetable cobbler. It’s so good! A new classic.
My omni friend Kevin Still came to my house for Thanksgiving dinner and his only request was a green bean casserole. I’ve never had this, kind of 1950s, but he and I made a nice vegan version from PPK! It went over very well.
Our neighbor and dear friend Jim is the regional pie king. Not only did he make like 4 omni pies for dessert, he made a lovely vegan apple pie just for me! See? It has the cutest V on it! That means it’s all for me.
And no holiday is complete without formal-wear-Fig. This is actually more his casual chic look. Very handsome!
Hope everybody had as nice a time as me!
Vegan Dog Chews: Puppies say “yum!” »
When I tweeted about Figgy’s appreciation for his new vegan pig ears, a bunch of people responded. I understand why—it’s hard to find a good veggie chew! And I’ve read chewing is a natural habit for dogs that relieves boredom and stress, and can help clean their teeth. My Figaro doesn’t really care for chew toys nowadays—if he can’t eat it, he’s not interested. So I’ve done a fair amount of searching for the perfect edible vegan dog chew. I don’t know if I’ve found perfect, but I’ve found some good stuff. And it’s all Figgy approved!
Here are the pig ears you can see Figgy devouring in the top pictures. They are from Vegansaurus friend Vegan Essentials. Fig LOVES them. The only prob was one didn’t last that long. It lasted about ten minutes. That’s longer than it used to take him to eat those yam chews though. And like I said, he really liked it, so these will be a regular in the Figgy treat rotation.
This is a long-lasting option that is vegan, as far as I can tell: Paragon crocodile dog chews (there are hedgehogs too!). You can buy these at Figgy’s friend’s store Nip and Bones. The issue with these is that I don’t think they’re super flavorful but that may be why they last so long. It seems like Figgy likes to carry these around more than chew on them—but whatever keeps him happy! He even tries to take them with him on walks, so silly. And he does eventually work his way through them so it’s a nice little chew.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Sam’s Yams; well Fig is totally over those. They had a good run, but they only lasted him about five minutes anyway. But then I discovered these Sam’s Yams bones and Fig will actually condescend to eat these! I don’t know if the chamomile makes him calm but as chewing is a stress relieving activity, it must do something regardless.
Here’s a nice bone Figgy likes, the peanut butter Booda Bone. He’s not obsessed with these, but he enjoys them. I emailed the maker and they said both the peanut butter and mint bones are vegan. Fig likes the peanut butter ones.
This isn’t actually a chew but these deserve a mention. When I first got Fig from the PSPCA, he was a skinny-mini and liked any treat he saw. Now he’s a fatty and he’s so snobby about treats! He is totes over your dry biscuit variety; it’s all about moist, chewy treats. For that I recommend Paw’s Gourmet Chunky Chewies. Figaro loves these. They’re just made of peanut butter, molasses, and oats; so you could probably make them at home but bleh, I hate making stuff (though if you have a recipe you’ve tried and liked, send it and I’ll link it). If you are not opposed to honey, these little molasses bits from Paw’s Gourmet are a great size and also nice and soft. But the Chunky Chewies are honey-free.
Last but not least, don’t forget about a good old Kong toy filled with peanut butter. You can freeze it with the peanut butter inside to make it last a bit longer. You can find Kong just about everywhere. Again, not a chew; but this is good activity and sure to relieve boredom.
There you have it! To all those dogs who think chewiness is next to godliness, there’s sure to be something here for you.
Part two of the SF SPCA’s anti-puppy mill campaign! »
Remember when Megan gave you the heads up about the new SF SPCA anti-puppy mill campaign? Well, part two has been unveiled in downtown San Francisco, and is available for you to see until Friday afternoon!
Krista Maloney of the SF SPCA says, “We’ve installed a ‘puppy bin’ in the highly trafficked plaza at the intersection of Sacramento and Drumm streets, near Embarcadero Center. The bin looks like a typical newspaper stand, except the glass front is a video of puppies. Within the bin is The Canine Tribune, featuring articles about puppy mills. It will remain there until 3 p.m. on Friday, May 4.”
This is a brief video of reactions of passersby as they check out the puppy bin.
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]
Go see it for yourself, on your lunch break or something!
You can see that Megan Rascal’s Figgy is concerned. Those puppies are his peeps, yo! He would go see the campaign himself, but he’ll have to settle for the video, as he resides on the East Coast [though he says hi to his BBDO SF homie Ian!].
Happy day everyone! I’m moving into my new apartment today—NOT the good news, moving blows. BUT! Before I get going, I want to give a shout-out to my dog Figaro! Halloween is his adoption anniversary! Five years ago today, I finally got the call from the SPCA that my little guy was ready to be picked up. I call it his birthday because his real birth date remains a mystery (a real hero’s tale). Or his twitter pals call it his “gotcha day!” So cute. Yay Figgy! Happy gotcha day to all the adopted pets out there!
[That’s Fig on our last Halloween in SF. Photo credit to his daycare, K-9 Playtime; Great place!]
Mike Vick wants a dog. For serious. »
This is my dog Figaro, in his Eagles jersey. It was the first piece of clothing I ever bought him. When I adopted him in Philly, he weighed a measly ten pounds—he should be twenty-five or so. Everyone was staring at his skelator body and making comments so I got him the Eagles jersey, 1. to cover up his ribs, 2. to ingratiate him with the sports-obsessed city of Philadelphia. I put the shirt over his bony ribs, took him to our favorite dive and a star was born! He was a hit. Everybody welcomed a new Eagles fan into the world.
Figgy has not worn his Eagles Jersey since Micheal Vick became a member of the team. We were not pleased, to say the least! How could my beloved Eagles throw morality to the wind and hire this dog-murderer? BECAUSE PEOPLE CARE MORE ABOUT SPORTS THAN ANIMAL CRUELTY. This isn’t that big of a surprise to me but it’s still disappointing. I guess you just hope people will pull through for you when they are faced with an issue like this but Vick scores touchdowns and that’s the bottom line for many.
I’ve written about Vick on vegansaurus before but the issue seemed to have died down recently. When I was in Philly for Thanksgiving, I saw that Vick is more popular than ever. Guess we’re over this whole dog torture thing! Now we can get back to football. Hu-freaking-za. But just when you think we’re done with it, Vick announces to TheGrio.com that he wants to own a dog again! (there’s a lame commercial at the beginning, sorry!):
Yeah, he really said it. And now we have to reevaluate the situation. Has Vick redeemed himself at all? Of course he can’t get a dog yet anyway, the judge ruled he can’t have a dog for at least three years. But if he could, is that really a good idea?
Since his release, Vick has been working with The Humane Society to educate kids about dog-fighting. The Humane Society’s president Wayne Pacelle, who has worked with Vick, had this to say, from CNN.com: “He’s been going through counseling, he’s been speaking to kids twice a month, and he needs to interact with animals,” said Pacelle. “If he continues to hit these markers, then if his daughter wants a dog two or three years down the line,… I’m saying that we should be open to that possibility.”
PETA also weighed in on the issue; from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Just as convicted pedophiles aren’t allowed free access to children, anyone who is responsible for hanging, electrocuting, or shooting dogs and who causes them to suffer in other unimaginable ways should never again be allowed access to dogs,” Lisa Lange, vice president of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, told the [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “All things considered, it is a very small price to pay, especially compared to the suffering endured by the dogs who were abused and killed in the Bad Newz Kennels.”
Yeah, I’m not really sold on this pedophile-comparison. The “small price to pay” comment is definitely on point though. But what about redemption? Has Vick made up for some of the damage he did? When asked about the HSUS work with Vick, Pacelle makes good points. From CNN.com:
“What he did is terrible, there’s no question about that,” Pacelle said. “But this is an issue of protecting animals in the future. And endlessly flogging Michael Vick is not going to save one animal. But putting him to work in communities to save animals and educate people about the problem of dogfighting — especially with at-risk kids — is the way to help the problem.”
What Vick is doing with the HSUS does seem like the right thing to do. He can’t make up for what he did but what he’s doing now could go a long way to preventing dog-fighting in the future. Just telling kids it’s “wrong” is a positive step for the movement. Though I don’t think it’s an excuse, when Vick says no one ever told him dog-fighting was wrong, I believe him. You can’t underestimate the influence one’s childhood has on them. But still, as an adult, you have to know electrocuting an animal is not OK, right?
Ultimately, if you want my opinion (and I know you do!), should Vick be allowed to get a dog? HELL NO. Why does he even have to ask? It’s annoying. It’s like, you’re doing good with your community service, don’t rock the damn boat. I love dogs and if I was touring around the country talking about how great dogs are, I’d probably want one too, but big deal! You know why you can’t have a dog, suck it up. And sorry you look like a jerk to your daughter but guess what: you are a jerk! And that is one of the consequences. I do think it’d be great for him to volunteer with shelter animals and donate every last cent he has to help abused dogs. Maybe if he did that and maybe if his reason for wanting a dog was, I don’t know, because he wants to help a dog, then maybe I would feel differently. But he wants to play hero for his daughter and show people he’s changed—those are not good enough reasons to let him get a dog. If he ever mentions anything about ending suffering or changing a dog’s life, then we’ll talk.
Review: Sweet Freedom Bakery in Philadelphia! »
There’s a new vegan bakery on the U.S. scene! Sweet Freedom recently opened it’s doors in Philadelphia (up the street from the famous Govinda’s!). Fear not, San Franciscans and beyond, they ship! It’s a $40 minimum but you could do it for something special or, you know, a Tuesday.
I went to the bakery with my sister and Fig. I know, they are a thousand times adorable, but he’s spoken for and she’s too young for you! Sweet Freedom is not just vegan, it’s also gluten-free and allergy-friendly (like no peanuts and stuff). It’ll please the lot of us!
I got a chocolate chip banana cupcake with chocolate and vanilla frosting, pictured above. I also got a chocolate cupcake with mocha frosting AND a slice of the cinnamon sugar loaf. You know how I do! The cinnamon sugar loaf was AMAZING. It has a gooey cinnamon sugar layer on top and swirled within. YUM. It’s not beautiful like the cupcake but it was delicious. The chocolate chip banana cupcake was a bit disappointing. It was good—had good flavor—but it was kind of grainy at the end, a bit of a protein bar flavor. Not sure what was going on there. I preferred the mocha cupcake; ooh the frosting! SUPER!
The day I went they didn’t have any donuts, which I had totally been looking forward to. They also didn’t have the pumpkin loaf on their menu but I think that may have been excessive with the cinnamon sugar loaf. JUST KIDDING! I would have gotten both. Ah well! I will just have to rely on cupcakes to get chunky. Le sigh.
Interview: Alexis Barrera! »
Alexis Barrera is a photographer and cartoonist living in New York and he’s totally vegetarian! You can check out his comics at Oaktowncrack.com. He’s my new pal and was kind enough to do an interview for vegansaurus!
Where were you born?
I was born in Mexico City and lived there for 11 years before moving to America. I hear that’s like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 11 years.
When/why did you move to SF? How long did you live there?
My parents moved to San Francisco in ‘88, and I stayed with them until ‘94 when I moved away to college.
When did you move to Oakland?
I moved back to San Francisco in ‘99 and then over to Oakland in 2000. I stayed put there for 9 years.
When/why did you move to New York?
After 20 years in the Bay Area, I was starting to feel like a townie. I wasn’t ready to settle down, so it became time to make the obligatory pilgrimage to New York.
I moved to the Greenpoint YMCA on April Fool’s day of 2009 and moved to Manhattan 10 days later. The residents of the YMCA could really use some advice on nutrition, let me tell you.
How long have you been vegetarian?
I hated most meat as a kid, and would only eat hamburgers and hotdogs as a teenager. I stopped eating meat altogether in the fall of ‘96.
Are you vegetarian for health, environmental, animal rights reasons, or a combination?
Initially I quit for health reason, but nowadays when I guilt-trip carnivores I also bring up animal cruelty and the environment.
Do you ever include a vegetarian message in your comics?
Definitely. Here’s an example [“Munchy” left; drawn after watching Super Size Me].
Do you have a day job, or do you draw comics full-time?
I’m a programmer by day; the rest of the time I think of myself as a sequential artist.
I’m better known for my photography than my drawings, but it’s all the same to me.
Who are some of your favorite cartoonists, vegan/vegetarian or not?
The best vegan cartoonist I can think of is Dan Piraro. I’m not sure what R. Crumb, Keiji Nakazawa, or Art Spiegelman eat…but it probably had a nervous system at some point.
Can you draw animals really well? Can you draw me as an animal? Will you do a portrait of Figaro for free? Yes?
Here’s a daguerreotype of Figaro on his way to the opera, circa 1877:
[Megan Rascal note: AWESOME!!! Exclamation point!!!]
My two tabbies live in California with their kitty mama. They were abducted from a feral colony when they were kittens, and are inseparable, as you can tell from this photograph:
What is your favorite animal?
Besides my tabbies, I’ve grown quite fond of French Bulldogs, the official pet of the city of New York.
Favorite vegan food to make?
I’m a terrible cook, but my housemate makes delicious ratatouille.We don’t eat it with cheese.
How does New York compare to the Bay Area, in terms of vegan and vegetarian food?
I haven’t lived in New York long enough to make a fair comparison, restaurant-wise. So far I haven’t had trouble finding meatless meals.
Based on food options alone, which is your favorite comics show to travel to?
Wondercon in San Francisco is within walking distance of a trillion good eateries.
Any tips for traveling cartoonists?
Find a place to stay on couchsurfing.com…and don’t walk around with headphones at night, that’s always a terrible idea.
Do you have one drawing tip to share?
I put together a cross-hatching tutorial here.
What’s the deal with Oaktown Crack Comics?
Society marginalizes drug addicts while encouraging all other forms of over-consumption. Crackheads, tweakers, and junkies aren’t any more evil than investment bankers and obese couch potatoes [Ed.: That’s half of our writers. Watch your back, bro!], so we should all be more tolerant and focus on harm reduction instead of arbitrary law enforcement. Oaktown Crack Comics attempt to depict drug addicts more accurately and with a little compassion.
Life in SF seemed to play a big role in your comics, do you think New York will have a similar influence?
I like to think that my comics aren’t particularly SF-centric, but rather slum-centric. New York’s fringe scene is less overt and the authorities here are disgustingly oppressive, so I’m sure I’ll be drawing comics about that soon.
What exciting upcoming projects can we look forward to?
I’m writing an instructional booklet on using 3D software to create 2D comics and animations that look hand-drawn.
Further down the road, I’m trying to combine Naked Lunch and a modern physics textbook into some sort of sci-fi graphic novel. I’ve got a bunch of scripts about what happens in between Big Bangs.
Any questions for Vegansaurus? Anything!
Know where I can get good vegan winter boots? I don’t want my toes to fall off.
A: Check Steve’s men’s winter boot round-up!
Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! »
Halloween falls on a Sunday this year. This is a dilemma! Do I go out Saturday night and spend it drunk out of my mind screaming “BUON GIORNO! OLIVE GARDEN!” at strangers, or do I do the same thing on Sunday? Except sober. Because I have to work on Monday. I hate being an adult. Remember how awesome we thought being an adult would be? Staying up late! Candy for breakfast! All the TV and hookers we wanted! What a rip-off. It’s all work and crying and begging your parents to help pay your rent because no one will pay you $1 million an hour while your boyfriend checks himself for bedbugs with a flashlight. And NOW THEY MAKE HALLOWEEN FALL ON A SUNDAY! It’s a conspiracy! Well, I’ll show you, world! You think I won’t show up to work two hours late on Monday, hung over and still dressed like a low-rent Super Mario? Well then you’ve got another think coming.
Which reminds me, I am totally going to be Super Mario for Halloween this year. Allen and I went as Mario and Luigi last year, but then I got frustrated with all the spirit gum on my face (just thinking about it makes me shudder) and demanded we go home and order pizza (as I had accidentally splattered the slice I had bought earlier all over a friend I was drunkenly hugging in the street). We were going to go as the Bananas in Pajamas this year, but Allen refuses to admit that I came up with the idea for the costume, and I refuse to give Allen credit for anything (because I am the brains here, goddammit!) so we are going as the Mario Brothers again. Complete with white gloves that Allen’s father got from a pair of funeral directors who left them at his church. After a funeral. Because they were free. This is how we roll.
Speaking of dressing up, though, I want to warn you of a couple of things so you have a safe and happy halloween.
Think carefully before dressing your dog/cat/three-toed sloth up to show your friends and impress your neighbors. I’m not judging—I once tried to dress my hamster as an Oreo cookie, and I was always forcing my rabbit into ugly holiday sweaters—but it can actually have psychological consequences. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s pretty plausible. I mean, if we feel humiliated AT HOME wearing those awful sweaters our great-aunts knit us, then imagine how a dog feels being paraded around dressed like a fucking sunflower. Some dogs, of course love to dress up and show off, but some don’t. According to some animal behavior experts, dogs don’t like to stand out due to their wolf heritage because wolves who stand out in a pack are more prone to being attacked. Who knew there was an evolutionary aversion to being dressed up like a magical fairy princess?
Of course the potential for humiliation didn’t stop these people at Tompkins Square Park in New York City! They dressed their dogs up in all sorts of amazing get-ups and if you believe by the pictures, everyone is having a pretty awesome time. Especially the dogs dressed as bed bugs. Topical AND terrifying: exactly what halloween should be. I’m sorry, stop the presses: there was an Antoine DOGson?
Here’s another don’t: Don’t give your trick-or-treaters beef jerky. I know none of us were going to do it, but apparently some beef jerky isn’t just hazardous to your health because you are eating the dead flesh of a suffering animal, but because they are filled with chunks of plastic and glass! Surprise! Target had to recall over 3,000 pounds of the beef jerky! No injuries have been reported, but I was hoping Target would have learned their lesson when the same company, Market Pantry, was part of that pesky egg recall a couple of months back. I don’t know why Target is taking Aaliyah’s advice so enthusiastically, but I wish they would stop.
Two more important notes about costumes:
1. Don’t dress up as Elmo and swear at people, because there is already a dude doing this in Times Square. Apparently he is harassing people, and making tourists faint with outrage because he is asking them to pay for pictures with him. Why do people from the Midwest (that is correct: I went there) assume that these people dress up in hot smelly costumes just for fun? It is a job. This reminds me of the one time I was at Fisherman’s Wharf and was waiting for the bus when a tourist tapped me on the shoulder and said “Hi honey, I don’t think you noticed…but there’s a line.”
“I don’t think that we have lines here.” I said, because I have been body-checked by tiny grandmothers on the 38 long enough to know that MUNI is an insane free-for-all where an elderly woman with 15 pink shopping bags will kick you for being “too fat to sit here, BOY!”
“We have lines in Ohio!” She said. “So it would be real nice if you respected that. You think you can do that?” I decided not to fight her and got behind her and she still talked about how rude I was the entire time and about how “we need to educate these San Francisco people to be more civilized.” I am obviously still not over it.
2. Don’t dress your child up as a “Vegetarian Noodle Bowl.” I’m not hating on the idea. A vegetarian bowl of noodles? DELICIOUS! A vegetarian costume? AWESOME! I hope the execution is just as awesome as the inspiration…oh, what a disappointment.
HOLD THAT THOUGHT! Here is an awesome vegan costume! That’s right! Vegan Police T-shirts! Well-made, attractive, and hilarious. Send me 20. I’ll put them on with my Lt. Dangle short-shorts and paint this town BLEACH BLONDE! (Sun-In really, but I didn’t think it would scan.)
Have an awesome Wednesday and an even more awesome halloween! Please send me ideas for next week!
Fascist jerky landlords can suck it! (and no, this isn’t about Ike’s Place) »
Just saw this good news from the LA Times!:
State legislation that would make it illegal for landlords in California to require animal declawing or devocalization as a condition of tenancy passed in the Assembly on a 63-7 vote Thursday…
AB 2743 also would forbid landlords from giving preferential treatment to tenants with declawed or devocalized animals and from advertising in a way designed to discourage applicants whose animals have not been declawed or devocalized.
Yay! Go kitties, shred the carpet, shred the carpet, go kitties! And puppies, your vocal cords will soon be safe!
This seems like maybe it’ll be hard to enforce but still, a very positive step! I HATE the idea of devocalizing dogs. It’s completely crazy. Someone actually suggested I do this to my dog Figaro. I’m serious! I mean, the boy does seem to be 75 percent lung power—he’s loud as all getup. But I’m always like, he talks way less than I do! And everybody LOVES me. But can you imagine? If you couldn’t talk? Barking is just how a dog expresses her or himself; if they can’t bark, how are they supposed to tell you when Mitsy is breaking into your brand-new bag of pita? I ask you!
And declawing—don’t get me started! Did you know declawing is pretty rare outside of North America? BECAUSE IT’S INHUMANE AND CRAZY! It’s illegal in many countries and I swear it’s the same countries where capital punishment is illegal. I’m not saying causation but I think there’s totally a correlation. Countries advanced enough to recognize the death penalty as cruel and inhumane are also advanced enough to recognize the need to protect those who can’t protect themselves—like poor lil’ kitties. It’s like that Gandhi quote, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” DUH EVERYBODY.
In other animal cruelty news, here’s Figaro in his latest photo shoot!:
(It’s cruelty because I’m making him read Nathanial West. But I’m like, put down the Cosmo and get some damn culture, Figaro!)