Wednesday, January 30, 2008

All Else Stopped

it seemed odd
from even the
first few seconds.
we were discussing
Guru Maharaji,
vegetarianism, and
more while in a car
waiting for the "light"
to change...................
....and somehow, we just

stopped talking
looked to our right.

there on the sidewalk,
in front of a Mr. Donut,
on Hempstead Turnpike
we saw
a man.
squatting down and
the carcass
of a

long-dead bird.
he reached down and
touched it's tail.

then i noticed he was
wearing glasses,
had pen and paper in
his shirt pocket;
neatly dressed, and
probably on his
lunch hour also.
he stared at
the body for awhile,
and then
he picked up a
handful of nearby

gravel, and pro-
ceeded to cover
his discovery.
he maintained a serious
thought-filled face
with almost a pre-
determined directfulness
with each move.

all else stopped
for this magnificent
streetside ritual.

we looked at each other
with smiles on our faces
as the "light" changed
and we were swept away....
the Birdman of Mr. Donut
got up and walked off.

on the sidewalk
lay his friend, the bird,
disguised as a
mound of gravel.

it's strange how things
were timed
for us
to arrive at
his ceremony.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

They mother babies, teach each other, laugh, cry and grieve

Project R&R: Release & Restitution for Chimpanzees in U.S. Laboratories

It was time to get on with it

Thanks to a comment by visitor Candi, I have been inspired to reveal the "epihany" I experienced which nudged me, finally, into the vegan lifestyle.
As a vegetarian for 33 years, I would find myself apologizing to inquiring minds about my eating eggs and dairy by saying, "I'm still evolving." Well recently I realized I couldn't even apologise to even myself anymore. I had stumbled upon a short video clip narrated by Alec Baldwin. It was PETA footage taken in a slaughterhouse. At the end I hear him say, "If you drink milk you are still supporting the production of veal."

For some reason, while sitting in my Honda Accord waiting to make a left turn at a light (I distinctly remember the intersection in Mineola, NY) and (probably) listening to Nellie Furtado, I heard myself reviewing the good and bad behaviours of the person Carl (me-duh).

As usual, I was disgusted with myself for biting my cuticles again after months of no-biting and healing. But also, remembering recent conversations defending my "halt in evolution". How long have I been repeating this "excuse"? 33 years?! What am I nuts? Did I ever really mean to evolve, you know, make that leap into the dark world of further rununciation and self-sacrifice?

I sat there ashamed. Who the hell am I kidding? I have not moved on this because I was never really gonna do it dammit! Yeah, tell everyone, and, well, show them my plastic shoes and belts
and explain that we don't bet on horses or attend circuses, blah, blah, blaaaahhhhh.

Wait a freakin' minute, here! If I look close enough, I think I am practically there. I think I already have one foot in an air bubble hole in a piece of vegan seitan! This next step shouldn't be all that hard, well, except for all the family and co-worker ribbing and points of view and anger and inconvenience.

So, really, there it is. Thanks to the accidental discovery of the Baldwin/PETA video, I decided I was fed up being a hypocrite to myself. I only wish I would've made the transformation sooner, as I find out now that vegans are alot cooler than the breed I saw roaming the vegetarian summerfests in 1975!...

...and, hey, I can actually buy Vegan Multi-vitamins and soy yogurt! How great is that?!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sort of a homecoming for activists in film

Excerpt from-Film Festival Focuses on Activism
The second Artivist Film Festival, where Artivist equals Activist, comes to Hollywood

By Vince Hollywood
The Epoch Times June 14, 2005
"...there may be an “activist gene,” a sensitivity for the human (or animal) condition and the impact of the many oppressions of the world. It seemed to me that a great many of the participants of this Artivist were involved with animal rights. But then again, this is just the second festival of its kind, and the other areas may just need time to develop at the festival, as the word gets out that the Artivist festival exists.
And, as it turned out, the festival was not just a collection of films. Besides panel discussions on the many topics presented, various rights groups brought brochures and magazines to hand out to like-minded folks. Actor Ben Begley had his line of environment-friendly cleansing products. PETA was giving out its Vegetarian Start Guide. Vision Magazine, subtitled “Catalyst for Conscious Living,” one of the many sorts of publications one finds at the door of health food stores, was giving out samples of its “Animal Companions” issue. Let’s just say these four days were “content rich.”
The Artivist Film Festival was started last year by activists Diaky Diaz, Bettina Wolff and Chris Riedesel.
The next Artivist Film Festival is scheduled for April 2006 ( If you can make your way to the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood during that time, and you’re involved with, or concerned about the rights of many of the world’s sentient beings, the Artivist Film Festival is a good place to bring yourself up to speed on the work of people who are trying to make the world a better place for us all."
The day relating to animal activism was very powerful. Some films were warm and fuzzy like Peaceable Kingdom, which was about an animal sanctuary farm started by two people devoted to saving animals from needless slaughter. (Query note: Is any slaughter necessary?) Another film, “Earthlings,” which was narrated by Joaquim Phoenix won an Artivist Award for animal advocacy. It had to be one of the most violent films ever made, with horrific film footage of the torture and killing of animals. James Cromwell, star of such films as L.A. Confidential and Babe, was a constant presence throughout the festival. An avid animal rights advocate, Cromwell spoke to many of the issues throughout. He became a vegan in the year of the production of Babe. “I thought that, rather than eating my co-star, I should show a little discretion.” Cromwell was honored with an Artivist Award for his role in animal activism.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Smart Lunches for Kids...Already! (did this article actually mention bacon?)

GREENWICH, Conn. (CBS) ― More and more children are now facing obesity and Type-2 diabetes, so how do we get our kids to eat healthy, especially when they're not at home? As CBS 2 HD recently found out, there's a school in Greenwich that's trying to change the trend by banning certain food. When asked if his mother was to allow him to eat any foods he wanted, what he would eat, 8-year-old James Budkins didn't hesitate. "Ice cream, bacon and fries," he said. When asked what his favorite food is, 10-year-old Willie Budkins pulled no punches. "Cookies, ice cream," he said. Not in this cafeteria. Glenville School in Greenwich is trying to turn things around, starting this year ice cream and cookies are no longer sold in the cafeteria. Instead they have fruit and yogurt as an option. Parents were doing their best, sending their kids to school with healthy lunches or hoping they'd make decent choices if they were buying lunch at school. But when cookies and ice cream were offered two days a week, things changed in a hurry. "I was seeing children racing to get in line, abandoning their lunch, to get to the cookies to get to the ice cream," PTA co-president Alicia Budkins said. "So hopefully that won't happen anymore. They'll sit down eat their good lunch, and then they'll go outside and play." While a lot of parents love the idea, you can imagine how the kids feel. "All the kids, especially all the boys in the 5th grade were shouting, 'we want ice cream, we want ice cream,'" 10-year-old Andrew Gilbert said. Principal Marc D'Amico said he was tired of seeing healthy lunches thrown in the garbage, so kids could get to the sweet stuff, and says his new policy is fighting more than childhood obesity. "When children have nutritionally sound lunches and breakfasts, they're better able to focus during the school day and their concentration levels are higher," D'Amico said. While a lot of kids miss the treats, some are slowly coming around. "I sort of wish we still had it, but what I do like about is it's getting kids to eat healthier," Gilbert said. And that's the lesson teachers are hoping will last a lifetime. Parents can pack anything they want in their kids' lunch, but they've all received the school's wellness policy that encourages them to go for healthy snacks.

Kevin Bacon?

A light-hearted look at a killer

Friday, January 4, 2008

Eat Less Meat, Cool the Planet

Eat Less Meat, Cool the Planet

Enjoy healthier meals that are lower in fat and help minimize the risk of heart disease.
Reduce your personal global warming emissions.
Reducing the amount of animal products in your diet can prevent tons of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a report in February of this year, concluding that livestock is responsible for 18 percent of our world global warming emissions. When you take into account meat’s entire lifecycle, each meat eater is responsible for 1.5 more tons of greenhouse gases than a vegan per year, according to a study by the University of Chicago. Yearly global meat production is projected to more than double from what it was at the turn of the century by 2050, which will only increase the associated global warming gases. One of the quickest ways we can lower our collective greenhouse gas emissions is to eat less meat.

According to The Way We Eat (Rodale, 2006), by Peter Singer and Jim Mason, it takes 13 lbs. of grain to produce one lb. of beef and three lbs. of grain for one lb. of chicken. We save all of those resources and their related emissions by eating that grain directly.The study also took into account that the digestive systems of ruminant animals used for red meat are a main source of methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 23 times more warming than carbon dioxide, although it cycles out of the atmosphere in eight years, compared to CO2’s more than 100. Livestock manure is also responsible for 65 percent of nitrous oxide emissions—another greenhouse gas that, while less warming than CO2, persists in the atmosphere even longer. “And the less meat you eat overall, the more lightly you tread on the planet.”

From an animal rights perspective, many livestock animals live in crowded, unsanitary conditions on huge corporate farms bent on maximizing production. But it’s not only the animals that suffer the ill effects of this treatment. Attempting to compensate for the stress the animals are under, factory meat farms often feed animals copious amounts of antibiotics to keep them healthy and promote growth—eight times more antibiotics by volume than humans consume, according to the WorldWatch Institute. The proliferation of antibiotics is breeding antibiotic resistant “supergerms,” resulting in hard-to-treat diseases in humans and animals alike, says the World Health Organization.
The waste runoff from factory farms, which is making our water unhealthy. Compared to pasta production, red meat production results in 17 times the common water pollution and five times the toxic water pollution from waste, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The American Heart Association (AHA) notes that vegetarian and vegan diets tend to be lower in fats and cholesterol than the average US diet. As a result, the AHA says, “Many studies have shown that vegetarians seem to have a lower risk of obesity, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, and some forms of cancer.

While a vegetarian or vegan diet is the most sustainable option, here’s our take on the labels you’ll see on meat, to help you make better choices: Beef, pork, and poultry that is certified organic comes from animals that have never been fed antibiotics or related drugs, and have been provided 100 percent organic grain—farmed without chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and that does not contain hormones or animal by-products. The USDA oversees the organic label, which is verified by certifying agencies that inspect each farm at least annually. The USDA requires cows and pigs raised organically for their meat to have continuous access the outdoors. However, the agency does allow organic chickens to be confined, without continuous outdoor access.Honor Schauland, a spokesperson for the Organic Consumers’ Association (OCA), says that while many organic farms do provide their animals with plenty of pasture time, some large, corporate operations may not, because the USDA regulation is “somewhat vague.” Organically farmed animals are sent to organic-certified slaughterhouses that may use inhumane killing methods. From an environmental perspective, grass-fed or grass-finished beef is a better option than conventional red meat if it comes from a source you trust—there is no one overseeing the grass-fed label. . The words all-natural on a meat label indicate that the meat contains no artificial color, flavors, or preservatives, or any other synthetic ingredients. The meat animals may have been treated with antibiotics. The USDA regulates this label on meat, and Minowa says it’s also trustworthy. “However, meat with this label could still have trace levels of pesticides, antibiotics, or synthetic hormones, whereas organic meat will not,” he notes. Free-range/free-roaming labels are used mainly for poultry and eggs to indicate that the products came from poultry that had access to the outdoors. However, there are no set standards for what kind of access this is. According to Consumers Union, some “free-range” birds are still kept in cramped quarters, where a door is only opened for a few brief minutes a day. This label is regulated by the USDA for poultry only, not eggs.

If you eat meat, consider trying a vegetarian diet: You’ll have the satisfaction of healthier meals, lowering your personal global warming footprint, and having your diet reflect your social, animal welfare, and environmental values.

Herbivore Mummy!

I Photographed Santorini, Greece in 2006

This does not really pertain to Vegan information for you, but you certainly can go there and eat well in beautiful surroundings as we did!
Just a few samples (got lots more...let me know if you want me to post them):