Saturday, November 27


Well, now that America has celebrated its dominance over nature and indigenous peoples with the annual bird-killing ritual, I have to say I did see about three times as many of those "what about vegetarians?" stories as usual. There will probably be even more of them next year once the reality of this has set in: "Bird Flu Pandemic inevitable, 7 million people could die," says the WHO. I know, they keep sounding the alarm about this, louder and louder, and I keep relaying the message, yet I'm sure that as of Thursday fewer than one in a dozen Americans had any idea there was such a thing currently ravaging the Pacific Rim, much less that the World Health Organization believes a pandemic is inevitable. We'll see if that's any different by next Thanksgiving, and how much we have to be thankful for at that point.

UPDATE 11/29: Sorry, "7 million people"? More like 100 million, according to today's stories.

Wednesday, November 24


That's the hed on this editorial on Sunday's weird hunter-on-hunter serial-killing (which I would've blogged here except I thought I already had - I had actually blogged it at MeFi, where most of what I have to say about it can be read). And of course the interesting thing is that the phrase describes perfectly what's normally practiced there and elsewhere during "the season." But I'll admit this incident remains very curious, especially now that the shooter is claiming he was tauntingly shot at first. As this piece says,

[W]hile it is shameful, we don't find it hard to believe that a group of hunters - or others - are capable of spewing a few racial or ethnic slurs in a confrontational situation.

It is harder to believe that a state hunter would fire in the direction of someone - even as warning shot - given the long-ingrained emphasis on hunting safety and the credo that a gun is not to be pointed at anyone. Common sense would dictate as well that you don't do such a thing when the person you are firing at is armed.

Still, it's not beyond the realm of possibility.

Nope, it sure ain't - not when you're talking about people for whom senseless mayhem in Wisconsin woods is their idea of fine family entertainment.

Tuesday, November 23


This is part of a growing journalistic trend which, predictably, the Inquirer missed on Sunday despite devoting four separate stories to changes in Thanksgiving traditions: The Alternative (Read: Vegan) Thanksgiving Story. Not that the story hasn't already been done to death, but as vegetarians and vegans continue to make their presence known and deal with the issues of "turkey day," there will only be more articles like this.

Ginnie Maurer would travel hours to spend Thanksgiving with friends, even though, as a vegan, "having a turkey as a centerpiece was hard to bear." Like many vegetarians, Maurer used to make a meal of side dishes, and she simply swallowed a lot of the ribbing that came her way from some of her dinner companions. She finally gave up after what hosts billed as a "part vegetarian" feast ended up being a dinner where the "veggies" guests were seated on one side of the table and the "carnes," or carnivores, on the other.

This article also gets two sets of bonus points: One for not misspelling "Tofurky," and one for including "Nutrition expert Suzanne Havala Hobbs" as a source. She knows her stuff... ing.

Monday, November 22


No surprise, but USA Today reports that "McDonald's has taken yet another body blow to its battered but resilient executive suite. The fast-food giant's cancer-plagued CEO stepped down Monday, less than one year after the previous CEO was killed by a heart attack."


That's the hed on yesterday's Inquirer "trend" piece on the growing number of fashion lines that are incorporating vegan options. "Dozens of merchants now offer wares that are labeled cruelty-free; the Web site Vegan Essentials offers hemp shoes and clothes. And Stella McCartney, long an activist for animal rights, has added shoes stamped 'suitable for vegetarians' to her collection. Her fabric-and-Lucite pumps are available at Nordstrom." It continues: "Vegan products are finding takers not only among the roughly six million Americans who call themselves vegetarians, but also among shoppers attracted to prices that are often 60 percent to 75 percent lower than leather. A spike in demand prompted Earth Shoes to introduce 15 vegan styles this year." That's all great, but I'm not mentioning it as some seismic development, only as a reminder that as options and alternatives increase, the stranglehold that animal-based products has had over our culture will continue to slip. And fewer outlets for, say, leather means higher prices for slaughterers who otherwise have to pay someone to get rid of the stuff. Baby steps...