Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday with Mark!  »

Please don’t feed the raccoons.

You guys, the cruising life is not for me. I spent the last week on one of Carnival’s horrific floating frat houses, and between the exciting dinners with my family (not a dry eye or unflipped piece of furniture in the place), the delicious cafeteria food, and the loud people (not to mention children; children everywhere!!!) I feel about as relaxed as if I’d only worked an 80-hour week instead of my usual 60.

I am really glad to be back on dry land. Now that the shaking and rolling that is charmingly referred to as “sea legs” is behind me, and Allen is once again talking to me after being forced to spend a week on the high seas together, things are good again. I was even excited to get back to work and see my coworkers! It doesn’t hurt that there’s a potluck on the first day back and I just ate my body weight in delicious potato and cauliflower curry.

Let’s see what’s going on the internet these days. That’s something else I was excited about, getting back to my websites and catching up on everything Lindsay Lohan did this week (nothing).

Sloths are really in right now, did you know that? After Kristen Bell freaked the fuck out over being near one, people are going crazy for these adorable animals! (Quick question: Are sloths dangerous?) Even Animal Planet is getting in on the act, and running either a web series or a real series (I am not in the habit of watching animal shows, only ladies fighting in pretty houses) on sloths and how awesome they are. They’re even getting them at their most intimate and running clips of baby sloths getting potty-trained, which is awesome because baby animals peeing and pooping is adorable and I love it and they smile an make noises and when I do that I just have to spend a night in jail.

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on!]

Raccoons are also adorable but I have a feeling i’m the only one that thinks so. And I bet I would also freak out if raccoons were coming into my neighborhood and eating all my Doritos.  Although, I’ve never really liked Doritos. When we first came to the U.S. my mom tried some and declared that they tasted like rat droppings (how she knows this I have no idea. She also claims root beer tastes like bee poison. Life in Russia was hard.). I’ve been off of them ever since. Also, when I was a kid, a raccoon climbed into my aunt’s window and killed her or something (that’s what my aunt tells me, but she is also still alive, so…), and it had little human hands (again, just repeating what I’m told), and I’ve been scared shitless of them since. But they’re cute from afar, right?

Here are some dogs chilling with fans and being all cute. Just the idea of laying on the floor with a fan makes me want to take a nap. Did I mention that everywhere we went in the cruise was super hot? I am surprised I do not get heat stroke. Or maybe I did, and that’s why I’m so excited to be at work. YOU DECIDE!

That’s it for this week! Please send me links for next week and have a Dorito-free Wednesday!

[Photo by Brad Woodard / KHOU 11 News]


Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

So I was reading the Facebook this week (this is how my parents refer to websites, by the way. They put a “the” in front of everything and say adorable things like “Hey Mark, you need cheap plane tickets? Did you look on the Twitter? I hear this where good deals are!”) and my friend Stephanie had this amazing article about a baby deer that is wearing a fucking headscarf! Okay, first of all, check this out: The Deer was rescued by St. Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital, which I thought was a joke until I googled it. Is this not the best name for a hospital ever? Of course it is in the UK and is for animals so my insurance won’t cover it, but if I were an animal I would know I was in good hands with a hospital with a name like that! So this deer, right? Her name is “Bless Her Little Heart” and she lost both ears in a dog attack. Then the folks at Tiggywinkles rescued her and put her in this amazing (and on-trend) headwrap that makes her look like she is about to do something awesome, like star in a movie or release an album of heartfelt R&B covers. And then she fell in love! With another baby deer! His name is Max, and they are boyfriend and girlfriend and look fucking adorable together and should probably have their own Disney show about overcoming adversity and then lifting other people’s hearts by being a beautiful soul and then also having two personalities: “Bless Her Little Heart” when she’s not wearing the headwrap and “Hannah Deertana” when she is!

I have figured out a way for you guys to live through the zombie apocalypse (if it happens) and live forever (or to a reasonable age) if it doesn’t happen: vegetable soup! Don’t believe me? This one billionaire is extending his life and health by eating mostly vegetables. He’s even spent $500 million on a research institute that is working on proving his belief that eating HELLA PLANTS is the way to LIVE FOREVER. Here’s what his lunch looks like: “a six-fruit smoothie; a mixed-leaf salad with toasted walnuts, fennel and blood orange; a soup with more than eight vegetables and beans; a sliver of grilled Dover sole on a bed of baby carrots, broccoli and brown rice. ” The sole is disgarsting because you don’t need to be scarfing fish to be healthy, but the rest of it doesn’t sound so bad. What I also like about him is that he is all about making grandiose claims and then also being stern with people who don’t eat everything on their plates. That’s how I want to be when I’m old, all ornery and telling people what to do. Being a billionaire would be nice too, but they don’t pay you too much to fight off zombies with your vegetable-induced superpowers!

We are on a pretty happy roll here: zombie apocalypse averted, deer getting fashionable and finding love, SOUP! The problem is that I’ve been thinking about this marriage equality thing and I am really concerned right now. I used to think it was ridiculous when people were all “Dude, if gays marry then soon men will be marrying their horses and shit!” I would be all “No, that wouldn’t happen because horses can’t consent and also humans and horses are completely different species so that is a specious (GRE WORD!) argument.” And then I saw this and all of my own arguments just went out the window:

It’s a fucking raccoon carrying a cat over the threshold to their new house where they are going to start a whole new life together! What’s next, dogs and hamsters? Rabbits and pigeons? Where is it going to end? Look at that cat! It is all “I am nervous about my first time, but this is also true love so I think it is going to be OK!” and the raccoon is all “I have gone through so much garbage (literally) to find love and I am so excited to be starting my marriage in this beautiful home with its own fire extinguisher!” Actually, never mind: I’ve decided that any marriage this cute can’t be held back by hateful rhetoric and invective. I wonder where this couple is registered!

That’s it for me this week! Please send me links for next week and have an awesome Wednesday that doesn’t smell like burned beans because Allen doesn’t know when to take things off the stove so our whole house smells like I set fire to it again. Awesome!


Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

You guys, the sky is falling! The world is ending! We have like two minutes before the sun falls into the Earth and incinerates us! And I had more WTF links this week than I have ever had before. I didn’t even have to go scrounging through the dark alleys of the internet to find something to be angry about, because you brought it right to me! Actually, that may be more of a sign that the apocalypse isn’t happening. Let’s just withhold judgment for now!

First up, dead birds have been falling out of the sky all over the country. There are several explanations for the birds’ deaths. For example, on the science side of things we learn that the birds may have been confused by fireworks (although many are skeptical), hit by lightning, or suffered some other kind of trauma. In fact, mass die-offs (have you ever heard a term more romantic? Thanks, Rachel!) apparently happen fairly regularly and are generally considered to be a fact of life. So what’s different this time? Why are we getting all freaked out? Technology! Before, people knew about the deaths, people sometimes cared, and I imagine that it was probably reported on the local news or whatnot. Now: THE INTERNET! Yes, friends, the www is awesome for getting your porn fix and reading the latest about crazy people, but it is also good for FREAKING YOU THE FUCK OUT! Honestly, with one click you can find something to horrify you on the internet, and with the speed that information is being transmitted and then rewritten by each individual site, it is no wonder that these bird deaths have become a harbinger of doom as opposed to a really sad occurrence. Of course, if this doesn’t work for you, there is another explanation: GOD!

In this video, Cindy Jacobs of Generals Ministries reveals that the massive die-offs are a direct result of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal. She even has reasons why the birds fell in Arkansas—Clinton!—and suggests that even worse things will happen if this great nation allows homosexuals to marry. I actually didn’t know that God held such stock in American politics, nor that he wasn’t above randomly killing some birds and some fish to get his point across. Also: I know that this has already been said like 5 million times, but why is this woman dressed like Eddie Izzard? What is going on here?

In other news, Americans are still shooting at anything they find strange. Tim sent me an amazing story about how people deal with things they do not know about over in Kentucky. To summarize: Man sees something moving in a field; man does not know what this moving thing is; man shoots the thing; and people speculate on the strange thing’s identity. I cannot honestly do this article justice (congratulations, Tim!) because the farmer interviewed has produced one of the most frightening quotes I have ever read.

"I just happened to walk out on the porch and saw something moving in the field and it just looked unusual…. Well, it’s something strange, so I got my rifle to shoot it, get a closer look. And I’m glad I did, ‘cause I don’t know what it is."

This is just the American Way, right? Shoot first and ask questions later. The most interesting part of this article is that the “Chupacabra-like” animal wasn’t even doing anything—the guy had to look through binoculars to see it and then he just decided to shoot it to get a closer look. I wonder how these people feel now that they know that the strange evil being was actually just a bald raccoon. Regardless, I doubt that they’re going to feel much remorse, as scientists agree that the “thing” was “hideous.” Way to go, human race!

That’s all for this week! Next week, we get angry about horse abuse, zebra shootings, and anything else that you guys send my way. Please email me links for next week and have an awesome Wednesday—just don’t look too strange!

[photos, from top: bird by foxes and bears; Eddie Izzard by Profound Whatever; furious raccoon by alvario tapia hidalgo; Ivy the chupacabra by juco]


Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

I usually stay away from new year’s resolutions because I always resolve to do more water aerobics and end up eating more cake, which isn’t really a problem for me because I love cake but it’s a problem for poor Allen who has a nervous breakdown when he opens the fridge only to be confronted with a dangerous amount of frosting and my mom spends every night over at our house chowing down on baked goods and talking with me about the old country. This year is going to be different, however.  I was going to be more positive and stop thinking bad thoughts about people, but NeNe Leakes took that one from me. Then I was going to drink more water and less soda, but Laura felt that she should handle that one this year and god help me if I share a resolution with anyone (SOCIAL SUICIDE). Then I had this amazing idea of being a better boyfriend and treating my significant other to luxury resorts and extravagant surprises, but Allen beat me to THAT, so I’ve decided to stick with something simple and unique—to swear less, and cause the grisly demise of fewer people.

The second part of my resolution is already proving super-hard* because there are people like the South Carolina State Coon Hunters Association trying to get oh-so-clever “coon hunters” license plates in order to show their pride of hunting raccoons (why?) and ensure their hunting rights are not infringed upon. There are concerns that these license plates are racist, but there seems to be very little concern that these people are proud of killing raccoons. I pose this question to you, associated coon hunters: What is the point? I know that there is some reason you want to shoot raccoons, but I just do not understand it. I read Where the Red Fern Grows in school and while I found it heart-warming, I did not understand the point of the hunting. I read it again during a horrible break-up and still didn’t understand it. You want to make yourself a hat? For what? You don’t need a hat. You need a conscience!

What is wrong with this world? Is it bear-hunting, specifically? I think it’s bear-hunting. Yes, friends, there is no way to better celebrate the season than by bagging your loved ones a bear. Just think of the joy on their faces when you present them with a bear carcass. Who wants an iPod or a DSi when you can make your own bear oil—it’s great for culinary use AND soap-making? If you agree with me, you should really sign up for 2011’s Black Bear Hunt I MEAN “HARVEST” EXTRAVAGANZA in New Jersey. Last year’s “harvest” of the state’s black bears was held from Dec. 6 to 11 and over 590 bears were successfully harvested by area hunters. A quick look at the FAQ provides one with delightful answers to all of the burning bear-harvesting questions you might have. For example, did you know that hunting (because seriously, “harvesting”?) a mother bear who is with her cubs is totally acceptable and encouraged? Hunters are supposed to take the first clear shot that comes their way so any one bear is fair game! Cubs, too? SURE! All classes and genders of black bear may be shot as long as you have the correct permit and will wait to quarter your bear until after you’ve checked it in! Wait, can I hunt the bears from an elevated position in order to give the Bears no time or means to defend themselves from my bullets? Are you an idiot? OF COURSE! As long as you buy the permit!

But that’s not enough! Let’s also subject bears to the same humiliations we subjected the other animals too during Halloween. Let’s stick a messed-up snowman in its cage at the zoo and see how happy it is!

Really? Does the look on this bear’s face not say it all? Is it not the saddest, most heart-breaking, “Oh, the humanity!” grimace that you have ever seen? Will I ever get a response to the question I ask every week: What is wrong with people?

Send me links for next week and have an awesome first Wednesday of the year!

[black bear cubs by beingmyself; cake by kizzzbeth; sad imprisoned bear by Getty via Gawker]


When we turn around in the place just right…it’s this week’s link-o-rama!  »

You have GOT to read the story of Tiny Tim the paraplegic nine-week-old raccoon kit who, thanks to Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue Center, underwent successful back surgery and has both full use of his limbs AND a best raccoon kit pal called Amy. [Further details about YUWRC at the end of the links.]

International governmental long-term healthcare plans: Eat shit, die
Apparently, while “beef” is getting more and more expensive, cattle ranchers are getting poorer and poorer, because four packing houses control everything and the USDA doesn’t enforce its regulations. The Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act—which includes the Healthy School Lunch program—is stuck in Congress, thanks to the Senate, which changed the bill to take some of its funds from the food stamp program, and there’s not much time left to pass it at all. In England, Parliament is debating the Sustainable Livestock Bill, which would reward free-range farmers, and cut back on the meat served in schools, hospitals, and prisons—and big fancy chefs support it. Marion Nestle is totally grossed out but not at all surprised by the government cheese article in The Times; still, she says, it’s good news that people are paying attention to the USDA’s massive conflict of interest.

On the other hand, a Chinese journalist who organized parents of children who suffered from the melamine-tainted milk in 2008 was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for “inciting social disorder.” Hundreds of thousands of infants got sick, but don’t you complain about it! Maybe we should complain about the “news” that this totally awesome carcinogen has been leaking into every single comestible sold by a fast-food company, because it’s in the waxy stuff that keeps the grease from leaking. Although it’s not super-new news; in 2008 the California Legislature passed a bill banning it and eight of its cousins from all food packaging—but ol’ Arnold vetoed it, because he loves the chemical lobby.

Foods in the news
New York magazine is totally into vegetables now. People who value vegetables over meat—but still enjoy a little animal flesh, yum!—are “vegivores,” and apparently vegivores are totally into, among other things, lacinato kale. That’s right, the $1.50-a-bunch, in-your-CSA-box-from-September-through-April, such-a-vegan-staple-you-never-even-think-about-it lacinato/dinosaur kale is the hottest in veg cuisine. The hottest thing in Berlin-San Francisco crossovers is vegan Currywürst, available at your local Whole Foods under the label King of Cürrywurst. Yeah, we don’t support getting cutesy with accent marks either, but we do support vegan businesses, so let’s do this. Are you a ketchup person? Currywürst is for you. Perhaps not for any of us but the very rich soon is chocolate, as criminally underpaid cocoa farmers in Africa aren’t replanting much, and their children won’t do the work at all. Buy fair trade for all your chocolate—including chips and cocoa powder!—or know you’re contributing to a terrible system that is rapidly falling apart. Well, at least we’ve got Laura and The Week in Vegan, right?

Animal news we didn’t cover this week
Whales get sunburns! There’s another reason to give your non-vegan friends and relations to convince them to eat less/zero animals: Whales suffer from skin lesions, caused by sun damage from UV light. Yeah, the UV light that comes through our atmosphere is so strong now it FUCKS UP WHALES’ SKIN. Yeah, let’s dig some coal! Reader Tina sent us a list she made called 101 Blogs to Inspire You to Protect Endangered Species. It’s neatly divided into subcategories and one might go so far as to call it exhaustive—it’ll be an excellent reference. Thanks, Tina! Reader Rachel sent us an article about a local wildlife shelter that needs a new home ASAP. The Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Center in Oakland does rescue and rehab for wildlife in Alameda County—work that Oakland Animal Services can’t do—but after six years on private property is being evicted. Please go read Rachel’s excellent article for the detailed story, and how you can help. Thanks, Rachel!

[We love it when you send us tips! Don’t be shy!]


Bored by everyday meats? Enjoy some dancing bear!  »

Or perhaps some delicious raccoon! It’s a delicacy?

Alternatively, Dave Arnold, the author of this essay extolling the joys of “wild game,” has a peculiarly grody habit! You see, the U.S. was once known—two centuries ago—as “the premiere place to eat strange animals.” So much meat from so many unconventional animals! Tragically, although we collectively eat ever more meat as the years pass by, our menu of animals has shrunk to a bland few.

Thank goodness for laws like those regulating fur trappers, who are “permitted to trap live animals for their fur, slaughter them at USDA approved facilities, and sell the meat,” like beaver! It tastes “woodsy”!

You can also score really fancy animals from big game dealers, who breed them to sell to circuses, zoos, and “exotic pet enthusiasts” (horrible people who deserve to be eaten by their “exotic pets”). Have you ever tried to put a monetary value on your self-respect? Buy some cuts of an animal who washed out of the circus for being too old and decrepit! Yes, circuses actually have standards for their “performing” animals. Open up for braised bear whose miserable life of pain ended in slaughter to be a rug in a Hollywood Upstairs Modeling Studio, and also your dinner!

Dave Arnold purports to explain why he or anyone else would go to the trouble of seeking out and acquiring “game meats,” but his essay reads more like an Intro to Fetishistic Carnism than anything else. Ten bucks says his next essay is an argument for farming “wild” animals—lions, tigers, bears, oh mys—or the deep, rich flavors evoked by cooking roadkill for 48 hours in an immersion circulator.

[photo by Dave Arnold via Popular Science]


Wish I knew the source, but this comes to us unattributed. LOOK AT THOSE FEET.
(via dethjunkie)

Wish I knew the source, but this comes to us unattributed. LOOK AT THOSE FEET.

(via dethjunkie)

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