Archive: January 2011

It’s Vegan Pizza Day, peeps! Did you hear me? VEGAN PIZZA DAY!

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

We’re in the middle of a Caprica marathon, so I can’t stay long, but let me just say:

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VEGAN PIZZA DAY SHOULD BE EVERY FRAKKIN DAY OF THE GORRAM YEAR!

See, I’m so excited that I’m intermixing my scifi slang.

That is all.

(Crossposted from the Perfect Pizza Press blog – which I’ve yet to tell y’all about, and where the recipes for each of these masterpieces will soon be posted.

Stay tuned!…)

Updated to add: The recipe for Shane’s spicy hot pie – our entry in the Fiery Vegan Valentine Cooking Contest at Cook. Vegan. Lover. – is now up at the PPP blog: Shane’s Red Hot, Heart-Shaped Pizza: Eat it on Vegan Pizza Day, Valentine’s Day, or any old damn day!

Update, redux: …and here’s the recipe for my pizza: Kelly’s Loaded Tomato Lover’s Pizza. Just call me the tomato monster, kay?

Consuming Women, No. 5: Il Corpo delle Donne, Il Corpo delle Animali *

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Best known outside of Italy for his role as prime minister – or, more accurately, the many sex scandals surrounding his prime ministership – Silvio Berlusconi is also “a successful entrepreneur” (as Wiki so nicely puts it). In 2010, Forbes magazine ranked him the 74th richest man in the world (and the 3rd richest in Italy), with a net worth of $9 billion. While he started out in construction, much of Berlusconi’s wealth comes from his vast media holdings, which encompass “television, newspapers, publishing, cinema, finance, banking, insurance, and even sport.”

Not surprisingly – given both his own conduct, as well as the media culture in which we live – much of what Berlusconi trades in is women. Young, white, conventionally attractive, eminently fuckable, and oftentimes objectified and humiliated women. Italian television has a reputation for routine sexism and misogyny – most commonly expressed in its gratuitous displays of women’s naked or scantily clad bodies – and the programming on Berlusconi’s channels is no exception. (In fact, Berlusconi acts as a lightning rod for much of this criticism. Just today, for example, Italians saw anti-Berlusconi protests in Milan.)

Writes Tom Kington in a piece appearing in The Guardian, circa September 2009:

After a summer of sleaze in which Berlusconi has been variously accused of “frequenting minors”, sleeping with an escort girl and holding debauched parties at his Sardinian villa, a feminist backlash is gaining momentum. The target is not only Berlusconi but the wider culture of a country in which a prime minister could survive such allegations.

According to Chiara Volpato, an academic at Milan’s Bicocca University, matters hit rock bottom when Berlusconi’s lawyer said his client would never pay for sex with an escort because the prime minister is merely an “end user” of women: “The choice of language really summed up how far we have sunk.”

This summer a group of academics, including Volpato, persuaded 15,000 people to sign a petition asking the wives of world leaders to boycott the G8 conference in Italy in protest at the plight of women in Berlusconi’s Italy.

The most recent sex scandal – involving the exchange of money for sex, most notably with a then 17-year-old girl – served as a reminder that I’d yet to blog about Il Corpo delle Donne (“Women’s Bodies” or “The Body of Women”; embedded at the top of the post), a short indie feminist documentary about sexism in Italian television. In it, director Lorella Zanardo narrates a veritable clip show of misogyny, all of which appeared on daytime and prime time Italian television:

(More below the fold…)

Everyday Ironies*: It’s Alive!

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

New photo series, y’all! (And by “series,” I mean that I have two entries in the queue, with nothing necessarily planned beyond that. So don’t get too excited, mkay.)

Earlier this month, while flipping through the DISH menu, I came upon the following listing:

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Some disgusting, bullshit speciesist programming called the “Northern Livestock Video Auction,” running on channel 219. The channel’s alphabetic code? “ALIVE.”

Apparently 219 is a shopping channel, described by DISH thusly: “American Auction Network-Live Shopping, Live Cattle Auctions, Informerical.”

How they chose the code “ALIVE” in relation to this channel – and its content – I know not; but the dissonance is so thick, I could cut it with…a steak knife.

(More below the fold…)

Sexy Meat, No. 5: Meet "Chicktoria" (A "Charming Pet" Product)

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

While visiting my parents last September, a knickknack sitting atop the office radiator (turn of the century New York, represent!) caught my eye. No, not Chicktoria; rather, what looked from a distance to be a homemade, paper mache caricature of one of my brothers – a school project, perhaps? – but was, upon further inspection, a Rocky toy, complete with an oversized Stallone head. (What can I say? My brothers, they could be extras on Jersey Shore.) My curiosity satisfied, it wasn’t long before my attention turned toward Ms. Chicktoria:

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Chicktoria, front view. (The aforementioned Rocky toy sits off to the lady’s right.)
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Chictoria, what a sexy chick(en)! As chickens commonly = meat, this also makes Chicktoria entry #5 in our Sexy Meat series!

Sporting a tight, strapless black mini-dress, Chicktoria aims to please – the male gaze, that is! Chicktoria’s revealing dress is accented with a tightly cinched pinkish-purple belt; her stylish sunglasses, strappy high heels, bright toenail polish and garish lipstick (wait, chickens don’t have lips!) – all in matching shades of purple – complete the look. Ever the trendsetter, Chicktoria’s brunette ‘do is a sassy, punkish bob, swept forward for maximum It Girliness effect. Easily DDs, her chicken breasts are fit to stuff even the biggest human maw! (Of the manly variety, natch.)

According to my younger sis, one of my father’s work friends gifted him Chicktoria. Five seconds on the google revealed that Chicktoria is actually a dog toy – a squeaky toy (or “SQUEAKY SQUEAKY!,” as Peedee might say), reminiscent of the oh-so-popular rubber chicken. (Why my parents have yet to let Copper and Hash rip this abomination to shreds is beyond me.) Made by a company called Charming Pet Products (as if!), Chicktoria is part of its Barnyard Collection; other chickens in this series include Grandma Hippie Chick, Grandpa Gimpy Hip (hello, ableism!), and Beakham (who’s allowed the dudely dignity of wearing shorts vs. a tight and sexy mankini).

(More below the fold…)

It’s a pee party, y’all!

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

At the risk of turning this into a fluffy cute doggie blog, I come bearing MORE PICTURES of my furkids. Brace yourselves, people.

The dogs have this crazy adorable habit, which I’m sure is rather common in multi-dog households: whenever they find a particularly desirable patch of grass or smelly object on which to urinate, they’ll form a “pee line” of two dogs or more (the most I’ve witnessed is four; ever the loner, Jayne rarely participates in these group activities). Each dog will mark over the scent of her predecessor, until everyone has had a turn. My favorite part is when the dog at the front of the line (usually Kaylee) returns to the end of the queue in order to mark over everyone else’s scents. What did I say? ADORABLE.

I rarely have a camera on hand when impromptu scenes such as these unfold (ditto: penis-sniffing), but the other night, the wintry weather was on my side. More often than not, the dogs do their biz right on the patio, rather than wander around in the snow. A popular pee spot is on the leg of a patio bench; also: right on the house and just outside the patio door. (The dogs, they know how to pick their spots. Not.) During their daily post-dinner bathroom break, I had my camera ready.

Ralphie was up first, followed by O-Ren and Kaylee (naturally, I forgot the flash in the first photo).

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Is it weird that I enjoy this so? Kaylee in particular impresses me, as she can mark just as high – if not higher than – the boys. Wonder Beyatch, represent!

Pistachio Pudding Ice Cream

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

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In a New Year’s-inspired bid to clean out my kitchen cabinets, a few weeks back I finally cracked open one of the pistachio instant pudding mixes – Jello brand – that my mom gave me a few years ago. Firstly, I know what you’re thinking: Jello!?! That’s not vegan, woman! It was my first reaction, anyway, and my mom’s too. But as far as I can see, certain Jello pudding mixes are free of animal products. At least, none of the usual suspects – not gelatin, nor milk powder, nor even whey – are present. And the pistachio mix in particular is included in a number of “everyday vegan” lists (and not just PETA’s).

Anyhow, either I messed up the recipe – which would be really, terribly sad – or the mix was just too old, but the batter never did firm up into a pudding-like consistency, not even after an overnighter in the fridge. Stumped, I decided to freeze the batter until I could figure out what to do with it. And then, it finally hit me: if life gives you runny pudding, make frozen ice cream!

As you can see, the dessert shaped up nicely: rich, creamy, and oh-so-pistachio-y! I don’t really have a recipe per se, but you can try this with any instant pudding mix. Just make as you would normally, adding a little extra nondairy milk so that the batter doesn’t thicken too much, chill in the fridge for several hours, and then process according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. This also makes a nice fix if your pudding doesn’t come out quite right, as was my dilemma.

By the by, the ice cream in the photo above is shown nestled in a four-ounce shot glass because I forgot to take a picture prior to eating most of the batch, so delicious was it! Even your nonhuman friends will agree; new arrival Lemmy kept sneaking bites from my glass,

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while Kaylee damn near strained her tongue muscles whilst licking it clean!

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She lives for dirty dishes, I tell you what.

Oh, and did I forget to mention? The night I found Lemmy, I was scarfing down the rest of a quart of vanilla SoDelicious, flavored with maraschino cherry juice; the little scrub tried to stick his head in the container, so I let him have a little lick from my finger. Big mistake. He became more and more excited – pushier, you might say – until he finally started nibbling on my cherry-stained finger. That freak loves ice cream! Popcorn, too.

Errr, not that I’m spoiling him with junk food, mind you. He just happened to catch a few stray kernels from the popcorn machine Friday night. Pinky swear!

Ceiling Cat approves.

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

OMG GAIS I HAS FOUND A KITTEH ON MAI DOORSTEP!

funny pictures of cats with captions

NO SRSLY! DIS B HOW TEH STORY GHOS. *

* BUT WE IS STOP WIT TEH LOLZ SPEEK KAY? I KOOD KEEP DIS UP ALL DEY, BUT I DUNNOWS BOUT U, C. U MAY KNOT B SEW AWESUM!

Okay, so. Here’s the scene: Tuesday, early evening, about 5-ish. The dogs are starting to work themselves into a frothing frenzy in anticipation of dinner, which is usually served at 5:30. As I’m walking through the living room, massaging my throbbing temples – having just spent the afternoon playing stimulating mind games with the cabin feverish dogs, which left me more mentally exhausted than them, a headache of epic proportions was in the works – I hear a meow coming from…somewhere. Somewhere on the “dog side” of the house, where normally the only animal noises one should hear is barking and such.

(Yes, we have a “dog side” and a “cat side”! The rooms in our house are arranged such that you can divide the house in half by closing the office and living room doors. Or gating them; we usually do a combination of the two. And on the rare occasions when we need/want to leave those doors open, Ozzy has his own dedicated room on the “cat side” – the doorway to which is blocked from the dogs by a large wooden box we made specially for the purpose. Ozzy can clear it; the dogs, not so much. Double protection: score! Anyway, it’s AWESOME! We were so lucky to find this place. The only thing it’s missing is a basement…which can be a BIG THING when you live in Tornado Alley. But I digress.)

At first, I thought that Ozzy had slipped through while the dogs and I were playing games on “his” side of the house. It was difficult to tell where the meowing was coming from: not only were the dogs being rather noisy, but sounds tend to bounce off our concrete floors and mostly-empty walls. After herding the dogs into another room, I started searching the house for a wayward cat, which by this time I was fairly certain was not Ozzy. (Hey, a mom can recognize her kid’s meow/bark/chirp, yes?) Closets, cupboard, corners: no cat. Finally, I had the bright idea (cue: duh moment) to check in on Ozzy; yup, napping on his chair, just as he should be. I chalked the mystery meows up to my headache and/or imaginations.

Later on, after feeding the dogs, I plopped down in front of the tv with a snack. (Ice cream, natch.) After not two minutes, I heard the meowing again; this time, over both the din of the television and the dogs. LOUD and INSISTENT. In that moment, it clicked: there must be an animal outside in trouble! Back into the bedroom with the dogs, who were Not. Happy. to be there. (Bark, bark, BARK. Whimper, whine, sniff-scratch-sniff. BARK!)

By this time, it was obvious that the animal was lurking outside the front door. Not really knowing what to expect – should I put my shoes on? coat? will I need to chase the little guy, wrestle him into a carrier maybe? – I opened the door, and..in he walked. Strutted, more like it. Like he already lived here. As though he’d done so a million times before. Meow, meow, meow. “Feed me, mommy!” Freaking. Adorable.

(More below the fold…)

Food, oil, energy and excess: A review of The Energy Glut (Ian Roberts, 2010)

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

The Energy Glut by Ian Roberts (2010)

The Energy Glut: The Politics of Fatness in an Overheating World by Ian Roberts with Phil Edwards (2010)

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Note: I received a free copy of The Energy Glut through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program.

While researching the link between traffic-related injuries and fatalities, trends in car usage, and public health issues such as obesity, Ian Roberts – a public health professor in Britain and a former practicing physician – developed a simple yet radical premise: that the discovery and subsequent adoption of fossil fuels as a cheap source of energy can be directly implicated in the “obesity epidemic” as well as global climate change. Just as cheap oil powers our cars, so too does it make possible the abundance of energy-dense foods that feed human bodies. Designed for movement, these bodies grow increasingly sedentary in a “motorized” world, thus compounding the problem. The result? Congested roadways, air and water pollution, fewer green public spaces, reduced opportunities for movement, and overall poor public health.

Roberts adeptly demonstrates how seemingly disparate issues are connected, oftentimes exhibiting multiple points of intersection. Like threads in a tapestry, you cannot tug on one without disturbing the others. Likewise, in linking a supposedly personal failing – obesity – with larger societal trends, The Energy Glut reflects that good ol’ feminist adage of the ’60s, namely: the personal is political (and the political, personal). Consider, for example, the following observations made by Roberts:

Artificially cheap oil paves the way for the widespread availability and use of motor vehicles powered by fossil fuels:

  • The use of motor vehicles is positively correlated with BMI, at both the individual and societal levels – as car use increases, so too does BMI;
  • Likewise, modes of active transport – walking, cycling, taking the subway – are negatively correlated with BMI;
  • As the amount of kinetic energy (i.e., in the form of motor vehicles) on the roadways increases, so too does the danger to pedestrians, creating a tension between the two groups. Rather than risk injury or death, pedestrians are apt to abandon walking and cycling in whole or part.;
  • Public policies – such as those favoring motor vehicle over foot and cycle traffic – exacerbate the problem, such that “might makes right,” personally and politically;
  • Thus begins a “motorized arms race which drives the downward spiral of walking and cycling”: pedestrians take to cars in greater numbers, thus making the roads more dangerous for remaining pedestrians, and so on;
  • As people are driven indoors and into cars, streets and sidewalks become less hospitable, giving rise to violence and discouraging a sense of community;
  • The increased motorization of movement encourages suburban sprawl, which leads to longer commutes;
  • Larger people require larger vehicles, which consume more gas;
  • Larger vehicles generate more kinetic energy, thus making the roadways less safe for those driving smaller vehicles;
  • Consumers buy increasingly large vehicles because they’re safer for the occupants in the event of an accident;
  • The congestion of our roadways with more and larger vehicles slows down traffic, increasing the amount of time spent in cars and the amount of gas burned.

    (More below the fold…)

  • On MLK Day: "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"

    Monday, January 17th, 2011

    “Coretta Scott King welcomes her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as he leaves the courtroom in Montgomery, Alabama, March 22, 1956. Dr. King was found guilty of conspiracy for leading a boycott of the city’s segregated bus system. He ultimately spent two weeks in jail on the charge, attracting national attention to the boycott and the Civil Rights Movement.” (AP Photo/Gene Herrick)
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    In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the internets are abuzz with inspirational MLK quotes. Some of my favorites come from “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” portions of which I’ve excerpted below (though I definitely urge you to read the letter in its entirety, if you haven’t already. And if you have, read it again. Seriously.)

    Also please take a moment this evening to remember the late Coretta Scott King, a champion for the oppressed – human and nonhuman alike – in her own right.

    I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea.

    You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

    One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken in Birmingham is untimely. Some have asked: “Why didn’t you give the new city administration time to act?” The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. [...] My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

    We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

    I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

    Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

    - Excerpted from “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963

    Book Review: The Strain, Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (2009)

    Saturday, January 15th, 2011

    It’s a Nazi Vampire Plague, y’all!

    Set in present-day New York City, The Strain follows Ephraim Goodweather – an epidemiologist with the CDC – as he races to stop the spread of an virus that essentially hijacks its host body, transforming human to vampire. (Nonhuman animals appear not to be affected, though this doesn’t preclude their consumption by vampires. Spoiler warning: the dog gets it!)

    Transmitted via the exchange of bodily fluids (usually in the form of a “brutal” feeding frenzy as opposed to a more sophisticated and sexy neck bite), the virus is as old as the seven vampires – the Ancients – who are spread out among the “Old” and “New” Worlds. Kept under wraps by a tenuous truce between the Ancients for centuries, the virus is about to be unleashed upon humanity by a renegade vampire – the Dark One, Master, Sardu, The Thing – with the help of one especially evil, ambitious and self-involved human. (A billionaire, natch.)

    Our hero “Eph” is accompanied by fellow CDC scientist Nora Martinez, along with a rag-tag team of unlikely experts, namely: Vasily Fet, an exterminator working for the City of New York and Abraham Setrakian, an elderly pawnshop owner and Holocaust survivor who has spent much of his life in pursuit of the Dark One.

    I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone, so I won’t go any further into plot details than this. One rave featured on the back cover describes it as “Bram Stoker meets Stephen King meets Michael Crichton”; I don’t know about Crichton, but if you’re a fan of Stephen King and/or modern-day vampire stories, most likely you’ll love The Strain. I’ve seen a number of complaints that the book itself is “strained” – that is, drawn out, tedious and much lengthier than need be. Co-authors Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan do spend quite a bit of time elaborating on the “science” behind the vampire plague, it’s true; the vampire parasite’s history, biology, anatomy and the like are described in almost-loving detail. However, this need not be a negative; if you prefer your science fiction and horror stories served with a whiff of scientific plausibility, you’re apt to appreciate the “medical mystery” aspects of The Strain.

    As an aside, I found myself both touched and charmed by Abraham’s backstory (particularly the “bubbeh meiseh” that opens the first book in the trilogy). I also wanted to throttle the Barbour parents with my bare hands. Seriously, folks, you don’t leave your “family members” chained in the shed out back, even if they are “just dogs”; doubly so if you know that one of your neighbors has beaten them in the past. “Love”? More like neglect. Yuck.

    See also: Milk addictions, Nazi monstrosities & long-suffering canines: Three things about The Strain. at POP! goes The Vegan.

    (This review was originally published on Amazon and Library Thing, and is also available on Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)

    A belated vegan review of eaarth (Bill McKibben, 2010) and Diet for a Hot Planet (Anna Lappé, 2010).

    Saturday, January 15th, 2011

    Last summer, I received review copies of eaarth and Diet for a Hot Planet – authored by Bill McKibben and Anna Lappé, respectively – though Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program. Though I devoured them rather quickly and back-to-back, it’s taken me quite some time to put together reviews for each. (2010 was a funky year for me, and not in a good way.) Given that they cover similar territory; complement one another in several respects; and suffer the same, all-too-common pitfall (in a word, speciesism), I thought a joint review might work best.

    Eaarth by Bill McKibben (2010)

    Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet by Bill McKibben (2010)

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    Let’s start with Bill McKibben’s eaarth, which is by far the more radical of the two books. eaarth opens with a terrifying premise: that, when it comes to climate change, humanity has already altered the earth’s environment to the point of no return. For the bulk of human existence, the level of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere has remained somewhat stable at 275 parts per million (ppm). Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, CO2 levels have been on the rise, as has been scientific debate over its safest uppermost concentrations. Initially, 550 ppm was the supposed ceiling; in 2007, climatologist Jim Hansen identified 350 ppm as the “safe number.” This is problematic to say the least, as currently the planet has almost 390 parts per million carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Even if we drastically reduce emissions overnight (an impossibility, both practically and politically speaking), we’ve already reached the tipping point; our home’s climate is changing, and for the worse.

    “Worse,” anyhow, for most of the species that have evolved to live on earth as it was, humans included. The “new earth” – christened “eaarth” by McKibben – will be a planet of much harsher living conditions and more extreme weather patterns; a planet “with dark poles and belching volcanoes and a heaving, corrosive sea, raked by winds, strafed by storms, scorched by heat.” McKibben looks to current climatological trends as indicators of what’s to come: warmer air and water temperatures, melting glaciers and ice caps, rising sea levels, increasingly acidic oceans, more powerful storms, prolonged droughts, a decrease in biodiversity and corresponding increase in invasive “pest” species – all of these phenomenon are interconnected and influence one another in myriad ways; sometimes unpredictable, almost always tragic.

    I’m no climate scientist, so I can’t speak to the veracity of McKibben’s predictions – but the data presented in eaarth (buttressed by 25 pages of end notes) certainly makes for a striking argument. If nothing else, McKibben clearly demonstrates the degree to which seemingly disparate natural occurrences are interdependent; a change in one aspect of the earth’s climate affects all others. Human-driven climate change is real, and it’s really happening. Even if you accept this as a scientific truth, however, McKibben’s solution will be hard to swallow (not that you’ll necessarily have a choice, mind you).

    In the second half of eaarth, McKibben shares his vision of a new way of life for a new planet. Though he doesn’t describe it in so many words, McKibben’s eaarth strikes me as somewhat anarchist in nature, marked by a number of small, mostly self-sufficient city states functioning under a shared moral code or social contract.* (It’s hard to pin down this new society exactly, as MicKibben doesn’t elaborate on such minor details as systems of government or human rights. I guess those things will just…work themselves out? Sarcastic, who me?) Rather than “regressing” to older ways of life, McKibben sees us living lightly on this changed planet by retaining some necessary and beneficial aspects of our current culture (e.g., the internet, new energy technology) and discarding those which are unnecessary and unsustainable (most of our current, bloated economy, including but not limited to the entertainment industry. No word on traveling bards, fwiw.)

    (More below the fold…)

    Shiny Happy Site Updates for a Shiny Happy New Year

    Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

    happy new year

    2010 was, for reasons I’d rather not go into, a rather crappy year all around. But with the flip of a calendar page comes a new year filled with hope and change and puppies and unicorns. (Nobama though, I don’t much care for that dude. So much so that I’m now repeating Republican slogans in spite of myself. Yuck.)

    Also: site updates and goals! I know this sounds like it’s gonna be a boring admin-type post, but it’s not. Okay so maybe it is, but do me a shiny and read it anyway, mkay.

  • Tags!: There’s now a teeny-tiny tag cloud, located in the sidebar (just below the post categories and above the purple Petfinder widget), where there was none before! While updating my “greatest hits” page last month, I realized that I needed a better way of organizing post series (e.g., Consuming Women, Sexy Meat) and linking posts which focused on the same narrow, oft-discussed topics (PETA, abortion). Thus, I finally decided to add a few select tags after 4 1/2 years of making do without them.

    As these are really just meant to supplement the already-bloated post category system, I’m keeping the tags simple and focused. Currently, they include:

    Consuming Women
    Sexy Meat
    Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs
    Disaster Hub
    PETA
    “fur hag”; and
    abortion

    Maybe it’s just because I’m hungry, but I’m also thinking about adding a tag for ICE CREAM! (Caps cuz WE ALL SCREAM!, amirite folks?)

  • Consuming Women & Sexy Meat!: Speaking of post series, it became painfully obvious to me whilst tagging the aforementioned posts that I haven’t paid the Consuming Women and Sexy Meat series the attention that they so very much deserve! I hereby resolve to correct this oversight in 2011.

    Furthermore, this is me admitting that I can be, at times, terribly wordy (channeling: Jon Stewart’s John Kerry impression), and that such verbosity negatively impacts the number (and sometimes quality) of posts that I’m able to complete. So less talky, more looky, particularly when it comes to images of women carved up into cuts of meat. Or pictures of cows dressed to look like sex workers. Because really, how many different ways can one say that these images exploit women and nonhuman animals alike, turning their bodies into objects available for public consumption? (Not so many, it turns out!)

  • Bingo Cards!: Since my bingo cards are starting to see some link love, I decided to give them their own page! Don’t they look pretty, without all my extraneous, babbling commentary to distract from the snark? Also, I’ve totally slacked in my goal to link each square to a rebuttal and/or refutation of the silliness contained within. I promise to remedy this in 2011 (Look! I’ve already begun!), though it might take some time: the Speciesist Feminist and Anti-Feminist Vegetarian Bingo cards are so “special interest” (hate that term!) that I may have to write some of the counter-arguments myself. At least I’ll have some inspiration in 2011, yes?
  • POP! goes The Vegan.: Also planned for 2011 is an overhaul of POP! goes The Vegan., another awesome and unique (if I do say so myself, and I do!) project that I neglected during the Great Malaise of 2010. The “Vegan (Re)views” database will be relocated to the front page where it belongs, and the blog will get its own space. Contact forms will make it easier for users to submit movies, tv shows, reviews and the like, and on the back end, the database will receive a good spit and shine so that I can more finely organize and sort the entries. Birds will sing, my dogs will shit gold, and vegan ice cream the world over will cease to have any of the fat, and yet magically retain all of the taste. Life is/will be good.

    Until then, I’ve resumed blogging at POP! after a three-month absence. Stop by and give me a read; recent topics include Guillermo Del Toro’s vampire novel The Strain; George A. Romero’s zombie flick Survival of the Dead; and an excerpt from Karen Davis’s Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs.

    Guest posts are sorely needed, as even I – as much of a couch potato as I am – cannot consume and regurgitate all of the pop culture on the airwaves and intertubes myself. Hit me up at easyvegan [at] gmail.com, mkay? Or just send me a link to a piece you published elsewhere. I’m flexible, yo.

  • Animal-Friendly Women’s and Homeless Shelters: HALP! I’m trying to compile a list of animal-friendly women’s (i.e., domestic violence) shelters and programs. This might include shelters that house humans and nonhumans in the same facilities, or human-only shelters that partner with local animal rescue groups to temporarily place nonhuman victims in a network of foster homes. In my research, I keep finding references to AHA’s list – but the page has since moved, and I can’t for the life of me find it. The resources I have found are listed in the blogroll, under Animal-Friendly DV Shelters.

    I also hope to make a similar list of homeless shelters; see Animal-Friendly Homeless Shelters in the blogroll.

    Send me your links at easyvegan [at] gmail.com or, better yet, leave ‘em in the comments!

  • Survey: What is it like to be vegan?: Not mine, but you should totes participate anyhow. It’ll only take you a few minutes, and it’s important stuff. You’re doing god’s work, people! And by “god” I mean “science.”

    Have I convinced you yet? Oh, good! Survey sez ->

  • FYI: HAPPY FUCKING NEW YEAR cake (vegan! with a vengeance !) & beer photo via Flickr user gregvanbrug.
  • Your reward for sticking with me ’til the end (or at least until the end of this post):

    (More below the fold…)