Video: Starlings return to Israel in amazing murmuration  »

It’s another awesome starlings video! We can’t get enough of these birds.

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on!]

This formation is called a “murmuration” of starlings, and while we understand why the birds do it—to search for food and defend against predators—per Wired, we don’t understand “what physiological mechanisms allow it to happen almost simultaneously in two birds separated by hundreds of feet and hundreds of other birds.”

Until science figures it out, we can certainly appreciate it as part of the magic of nature, which is pretty incredible.



“ So, how did the vegan craze hit Israel’s shores? By most accounts, it all started in April of last year, when Daniel Erlich and Hovav Amir, two animal-rights activists who run the online TV show Animal Log, added Hebrew subtitles to an American lecture about veganism and posted it on YouTube under the title “the best speech you’ll ever hear.” The lecturer is a Jewish American animal-rights activist named Gary Yourofsky, who usually speaks to high-school and college students in the United States. He is considered a criminal or even a terrorist by many, is banned from entering Canada and the U.K., and has a long history of arrests. „

This is a great article the a lovely reader named Michael sent us. It’s all about the rise of veganism in Israel. It’s a good read. I love the part about how these vegans got the main tofu supplier in the country to put a QR code on their packaging leading to the Yourofsky guy’s site. I’m not anti-QR code, they just usually lead somewhere completely useless. This is the proper use of a QR code.  



Hey young world, I write you from a canoe on a puddle of tears. This is the saddest, bittersweetest thing ever committed to clay. If you don’t tear up a bit, you are one cold bastard.

Let’s all hug our dogs and donate to the Humane Society and adopt a million puppies. The video comes all the way from Israel, made for Let Animals Live.


A Vegan in Central Europe: One week in the Holy Land!  »

December 17 marked the end of my four months living in Prague (sad face), but marked the beginning of a cool weeklong journey to Israel. While all of my friends heading back to the states were dealing with this load of bullshit, I was flying almost worry-free to the Middle East. What do I think about this paradise? Yeah, lots of tension, especially in Jerusalem, but some of the BEST FUCKING FOOD YOU WILL EVER TASTE. If you ever make the trek, you need to try some authentic Middle Eastern yum-food. Some key phrases: Ani tivoni (“I’m vegan”); blee beitzim, khalavi, kharvi (“without eggs, milk, meat”).

If you make it to Jerusalem, you will probably hang out on Ben Yehuda, or at the Shuk, which means you’ll be within spitting distance of a Moshiko. BEST FALAFEL EVER. The ironic thing about eating vegan in Israel is that you’re best off going to a place with meat, because then you know that all of the veg accoutrements are parve, i.e., without dairy. You can ask about eggs with yesh beitzim? If you’re vegetarian (boo), you can probably find some good dairy eateries in the mostly kosher city. In the lovely bad boy pictured, you got the delicious fried falafel, hummus, red cabbage, tahini, spicy-ass-muhfuckin-sauce, and salat. SO FUCKING YUMMY, and it costs like ₪14 ($3.88 U.S.).

Haifa, an ancient sea port, also has much by way of delicious dining. I made it to Café Louise (the sign of the place is in Hebrew), an organically minded café in the Mount Carmel area of Haifa, very close to the Baha’i Gardens on the 23 bus. Pictured is their Indian-style sandwich, filled with roasted parsnips, yam, and cauliflower with tamari-tahini sauce, and a side-salad with balsamic dressing. The total: ₪45 ($12.50 U.S.). I also got a yummy shake made with melon, mango, coconut, soy, and originally honey—d’vash in Hebrew, so say blee d’vash for “without honey”—but they were able to substitute maple syrup in for me. It was Uhhh-mayzing with a capital U. Damn, those Israelis know how to make a good shake.

Probably my favorite city was Tel Aviv. My first time stepping into the Mediterranean was so pleasant; in December, the water is still warm enough to walk through, and the weather was about 70 F—beats the 20 F/snowing/icy in Prague! I recommend is the Dizengof and Ben Gurion instersection, accessible by the 5 bus from the new bus station. There, you’ll see a smoothie shack on the corner (YUMMMM). Go a few stores west on Dizengoff and you’ll get to this amazing all-hummus place. ALL HUMMUS. JUST HUMMUS AND PITA. They put paprika, olive oil, whole chickpeas, tahini, and lemon salt in mine, topped off with some cut parsley, for ₪22 ($6) including unlimited pita. While I couldn’t finish the whole plate for fear of exploding, I definitely got my fill. And it felt great. Sort of. Back to the shake-shack thing: YOU NEED TO GO. They have these places all over, and their shakes are entirely fruit-based and yummy as shit. I tried the coconut/pineapple/banana mix and the pineapple/banana/orange mix, and they were both awesomeasfuck. And vegan as fuck, too.

Another food-related note, regarding Israel in general. Pictured to the right is a shuk, or market. They have these in almost every major city, and they’re all great. This one is the shuk in Jerusalem; you will definitely go there if you ever visit the city. They have stalls filled with the freshest vegetables and fruits all grown locally (Israel doesn’t import for the most part), dried fruits and nuts, small coffee places, yummy juice places where you can get yummy aforementioned shakes, and even ceramic artist collectives. This is where you can attempt to haggle, taste everything you see—mostly—and experience mayhem like you’ve never experienced before. I’ve heard it gets especially crazy on Friday mornings when everyone’s trying to get their shopping done before Shabbat.

[Hebrew translations and all photos by Brianna!]


Vegan wining, spiritual dining, the names of milk, the miracle of elephants and MORE in today’s link-o-rama!  »

 Sweet Avenue presents: Lady Gaga and Marilyn Manson cupcakes? Marilyn Manson I can live without, but I will take all the Gaga ones RIGHT NOW, PLEASE.

Have you entered our contest yet? You could WIN A SHIRT! Come on, son!

Vegan-style events for you!
Remember, the Women Entrepreneurs Showcase happens on Sunday in Berkeley, with a vegan catered lunch for only $4! Be at the David Brower Center at 2150 Allston Way from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.—lunch begins at noon.

The Recess Ends DVD release party is set for next Friday, May 7 at Medicine Agency, 1262 Mason St. at Jackson Street in San Francisco. The Recess Ends is a documentary about national unemployment—it sounds interesting, definitely worth a look. The screening starts at 8 p.m.

Miscellaneous items of varying importance!
Pajamactivism for the day: oppose the oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf (via Defenders of Wildlife); ask Ahold to boycott Canadian seafood (via HSUS);’ Californians, contact members of the state Senate Appropriations Committee to express your opposition to SB 1345, which would legalize the importation and sale of kangaroo meat (via BAARN). “Pajamactivism”—y/n?

Aw you guys! CNN has the sweetest article about last weekend’s Worldwide Vegan Bakesale, with lots of photos of food you want to eat and people—and animals—you want to hug. San Francisco’s will happen next weekend, because of schedules, and whatever, you’ll get your desserts.

Baby activists: you could get scholarships for your awesome veg lifestyle! The Wall Street Journal finds it all a little silly—these children and their microloans, haven’t they money of their own?—but we say, go for it!

We’ve got all kinds of non-dairy milks made of all kinds of items, but we don’t have chickpea milk—yet. Israel does, though, and yes please we would like to try it.

The dairy industry, torturers of cows for profit (and fun?), would like the entire world to stop calling all non-animal milk “milk” and start calling it “imitation milk,” toute de suite. According to the National Milk Producers Federation, “soy milk” is a “bastardization of dairy terms.” Alternatively: "soy jism." Yes, someone outside of a creepy Western romance novel full of rape and cattle-roping still uses that word.

Attention pescatarians: you may now ease your consciences by purchasing your fish at Target and Wal-Mart, two of the top five purveyors of sustainable seafood as rated by Greenpeace. We are thrilled for you.

An Antioch, Calif. animal shelter killed two pit bulls this week, in apparent violation of the Hayden Act and despite the hard work of animal advocates. Life is so awesome, you guys.

"Foodies" are vegans, by which I mean, "white, affluent cultural snobs" and “elitists” who “romanticize poverty” and are basically terrible jerks who love eating.  Get it?

On that note: need vegan wine recommendations? The Chronicle has an article about making and pairing wine in a “meat two ways!” world.

Have you been reading Fed Up with Lunch blog? This week we got a guest blog about Meatless Mondays in the NYC public school system, and another from an organic farmer in Texas.

Let’s celebrate May Day with veal for a nickel! This doesn’t make me want to punch anyone in the stomach AT ALL. I’m also not at all irritated by the “Chicken wars” title of Michael Bauer’s little blog about all the delicious fried chicken choices in Southeast Kansas. “Chicken wars—whose tortured, murdered chicken has been prepared most tastily?” Man, fuck you guys.

OK, deep, cleansing breath: perhaps a visit to one of our fine city’s many cult-ish religion-run veg restaurants would help. Jackson West seemed to have a lovely time at all of them (I have been craving Golden Era for weeks, incidentally).

You can’t get Pizza Hut on military bases anymore, but you can get it in some prisons. Thanks, Aramark!

The down in your lovely soft comforter was most likely plucked from a living goose, which “constitutes torture.” Because you can only pluck a dead goose once, but you can pluck a living goose up to four times before you have to kill it! HA HA HA.

Letterman and his audience may find the idea of chicken activism high-larious, but after Ira Glass visited a rescued chicken farm, he went vegetarian. Fuck yeah Karen Davis!

The internet’s been all up in a bunch about discovering that chimpanzees grasp the concepts of “dying” and “death,” but I feel like Jane Goodall sort of already knew this 40 years ago? Regardless: if this leads to NEVER EXPERIMENTING ON THEM AGAIN, I’ll be happy; otherwise, science can shut the fuck up with its amazing animal discoveries and no heart.

You know what other animals are amazing? Elephants, duh! This week, an elephant in the Houston zoo made friends with a pit bull, which is apparently the only way a pit bull can be adopted in Houston, Texas. An elephant and dog in Tennessee are best friends, too, though that’s on an elephant sanctuary rather than a gross-out zoo. We also learned this week that elephants have a specific word meaning “let’s get out of here, there are bees around,” leading me to believe elephant language is rather like German.


Save this one for some time you can be alone, unless you don’t mind openly weeping like a child. Meet Hoppa, the little dog born without front legs; his human companion, Avi Kuzi of the Society for the Protection of Animals in Israel who cared for him despite a veterinarian’s advice to put Hoppa down; and art student Nir Shalom of Jerusalem, who has built “the Mercedes of dog-protheses” for little Hoppa to use, restricting his movement no more. In fact, this prosthesis is a prototype, which Shalom wants to offer in multiple sizes at an affordable cost for other needy dogs and their human pals.

(all that’s in the video, and also reprinted at the YouTube site)

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