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Ingrid Newkirk & In Vitro (Sh)meat on The Colbert Report

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Last night’s episode of The Colbert Report included a segment on PETA’s $1 million reward for the successful development and marketing of in vitro meat.
 

 
Though The Colbert Report is usually animal-friendly in its coverage, I was more than a little disappointed by this particular segment. Throughout the report, Stephen appears to be mocking the idea of in vitro meat as both disgusting and infeasible, rather than mocking, say, meat-eaters who might think cultured meat is disgusting and infeasible – when, in reality, the “meat” on their plates is cobbled together from the parts of many previously living animals, crowded together in filthy factory farms and pumped full of antibiotics, then slaughtered, sometimes while fully conscious, by the billions, and that such a system is environmentally destructive and unsustainable. Instead, the ick factor is reserved for the “bloody egg yolk,” without any sort of follow-up “gotcha!” moment aimed at the meat-eating culture Stephen introduces the segment with. Or am I missing something? Thoughts?

On the plus side, the Mr. noticed a “chill” come over the crowd when a slaughterhouse worker was shown “shaving” (for lack of a better word) the top layer of skin (fat?) from a raw, hanging animal corpse. Perhaps Stephen managed to convert a new vegetarian?

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Mark Bittman, Peter Singer & Jay Keasling on The Colbert Report

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

I’ve been a little lazy in blogging the animal-related segments on The Colbert Report lately – mostly because the guests haven’t much impressed me. But, seeing as Peter Singer appeared on Thursday’s episode, it’s probably time.

First, there was Mark Bittman, a food critic and “vegan” advocate – but only before 6 PM. Yup, you heard me right; Bittman is vegan – for a variety of health, environmental and animal welfare reasons (though methinks non-human animals rank very low on Bittman’s list) – but only up until dinnertime. Then, anything goes.
 

 
That’s like a dude saying that he’s kind and respectful toward women, but only until the nighttime – then he beats and rapes them with glee. (Or rather, he hires a third party to do so, and enjoys the hunt through a vicarious thrill.) Hey, one can only be expected to exert willpower and behave ethically for so long, then something’s gotta give, dontchaknow!

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Paul McCartney & The Chicken Council duke it out on The Colbert Report!

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Update, 2/5/09:

Here’s some extra web exclusive goodness from the McCartney interview – Sir Paul explains the art of vegetable hunting to Stephen:
 

 
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OK, well, not really. Paul McCartney appeared on Wednesday’s episode, the same episode wherein Stephen “broke” the “buffalo wing” shortage crisis story. But Stephen didn’t interview the obligatory white dude from the National Chicken Council until the next night, so he and McCartney never met. I doubt McCartney was even privy to the Superbowl/”buffalo wing” story, since his interview was pre-recorded. Still, catchy title, dontchathink?

Plus, vegetarianism did come up during McCartney’s interview. Check it:
 

 
Now for the “buffalo wing” shortage, which spanned two segments. The Richard Lobb interview is by far the more interesting of the two clips, so if you watch only one video, make it the second one below.
 
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Tiger Penis, Cow Taxing & Cocaine Honey on The Colbert Report

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

On Wednesday’s The Colbert Report (1/7/09), Stephen discusses not one, not two, but three animal-related stories!

First up: Barack Obama’s possible appointment of CNN’s Sanjay Gupta to the post of Surgeon General. Stephen includes a clip from CNN’s Planet in Peril: Battle Lines special in which Gupta attempts to purchase illegal tiger penis:
 

 
In case the video doesn’t embed/play properly (I couldn’t resist tinkering around with Comedy Central’s unwieldy block of code), the segment title (with link) is “Dr. Gupta’s Penis Pyramid”.

Then, in his Tip of the Hat/Wag of the Finger segment, he mentions

1) The EPA’s (supposed) proposed tax on cows (and pigs), in order to combat climate change and

2) Recent “scientific” “research” in which liquid cocaine was placed on the backs of honey bees in order to assess their reactions.
 

 
Because fucking with bee populations is exactly what we should be doing right about now. Not.

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Ingrid Newkirk on The Colbert Report, 2/28/08 (Eat me!)

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

Here’s the video, in case ya missed it:

I thought it went swimmingly, with nary a boo to be heard. I mean, I know Dr. Colbert’s crowd is fairly liberal, but even most libs poo-poo vegetarianism.

Videos in this post

The Colbert Report, Thursday, February 28, 2008
Ingrid Newkirk
Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, had a revelation about being eaten. (5:56)

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Dennis Kucinich! On The Colbert Report! Tonight!

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Emptying his pockets, even!

Don’t miss it! *

* I’m sure I’ll post the vid tomorrow, so I guess you can miss it, after all. But seriously – don’t miss it.

Videos in this post

The Colbert Report, Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Dead to Me – Pocketmaster
Dennis Kucinich accepts Stephen’s challenge to empty his pockets on The Colbert Report. (3:04)

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Book Review: Black-Eyed Susans: A Novel of Suspense, Julia Heaberlin (2015)

Monday, August 10th, 2015

He Hunts Me, He Hunts Me Not

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for rape and other forms of violence.)

The abandoned field on the Jenkins property was licked to death by fire about two years before the Black-Eyed Susans were dumped there. A reckless match tossed by a lost car on a lonely dirt road cost a destitute old farmer his entire wheat crop and set the stage for the thousands and thousands of yellow flowers that covered the field like a giant, rumpled quilt.

The fire also carved out our grave, an uneven, loping ditch. Black-eyed Susans sprung up and decorated it brazenly long before we arrived. The Susans are a greedy plant, often the first to thrive in scorched, devastated earth. Pretty, but competitive, like cheerleaders. They like to crowd out the others.

One lit match, one careless toss, and our nicknames were embedded in serial killer lore forever.

Sixteen-year-old Tessie Cartwright went out for a run one night and woke up in a grave. One minute, she was at Walgreens, buying a box of tampons and a Snickers bar for Roosevelt, the homeless man she passes every Wednesday on her running route; the next, she was barely clinging to life at the bottom of a ditch in a field of Black-eyed Susans. From the moment she was discovered, Tessie and the three bodies lying next to her – two skeletons and a fresh corpse – would forever be known as the Susans. Strangers in life, but sisters in death.

Though Tessie has no recollection of the assault – indeed, cannot even hope to identify her attacker, having lost her sight (“hysterical blindness”) after waking in the hospital bed, only to see a get well card sent by the killer (maybe) – District Attorney Al Vega still calls her to testify. It’s her testimony, along with junk science and a racist justice system (a contradiction in terms), that lands Terrell Darcy Goodwin on Death Row.

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tweets for 2014-10-29

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

tweets for 2013-10-02

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

tweets for 2013-10-01

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Vegan Shoe Shopping @ Zappos!

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Before we begin, allow me to share this visual approximation of myself, shoe shopping:

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Simply replace the hair brush with a suede-covered shoe and BAM! The resemblance is uncanny. (FYI: This is also my “FEED ME, I’M HUUUU NGRY!” face. You’ve been warned.)

Shoe shopping is bad enough on its own, but it’s especially tedious as a vegan. Is it just me, or are there fewer vegan options available in local, brick and mortar shoe stores than just a decade ago? Maybe it’s not fair to make comparisons, since I grew up in New York and now live in the Midwest, but still. EVERYTHING IS LEATHER!

When the soles finally bottomed out of my cheap synthetic sneaks, I hit up the chain stores in search of a replacement. I searched far and wide, north of the city and south, throughout all of spring and summer and even into the fall. Finding but a handful of options, I finally settled for a pair of cheap $20 synthetic sneaks from Target. I wore them maybe a dozen times before I realized that the chafing and pinching and general discomfort wasn’t going to go away with use. Back to the drawing board. And, in the meantime, sneakers duct taped together. That’s how I roll, people.

Anyway, an interview with Zappos’ C.E.O. Tony Hsieh on The Colbert Report piqued my interest. They have a generous return policy which includes free shipping – both ways – as well as a year to return unwanted, unused items for a full refund. Unbelievable, right? I’ve always been a little suspicious. Too good to be true and all that jazz. But I seriously needed some new shoes, and the free shipping dealio is perfect for someone who rejects 90% of the shoes she tries on (which is why I’d been avoiding online stores up to this point), so I decided to try it out.

I started by searching for vegan sneaks – easy enough, since there’s a dedicated category for vegan shoes on the site (look in the left-hand column, under “specialty”) – and quickly narrowed it down to three choices: the ASICS GEL-Euphoria® Plus; the Kalso Earth Glide Vegan; and the Saucony Originals Jazz Low Pro Vegan. Since I’m unsure of my shoe size, I bought two pairs of each, in a size 7 and a 7.5. All told, my order came out to $407.98. (Eeeks!)

Long story short: I ended up keeping two pairs (a size 7 in each the Saucony Jazz and Kalso Earth) and returned the other four (the larger Saucony Jazz and Kalso Earth, as well as both pairs of Asics, which weren’t terribly comfortable and seemed to be poorly made). I hung onto all six pairs of shoes for more than a month before reaching a decision (so anal!), and even wore the Kalso Earth sneaks around the house for few days to try ’em out. (The “negative heel” “technology” took a little getting used to.)

When it came time to return over half my order, all went smoothly. The process is automated; simply log into your account, access the order you’d like to return, and then follow the instructions from there. Zappos sent me a return shipping label via email immediately and issued a refund promptly – I think the money was back in my account less than a week after I dropped the package off at UPS. The entire refund came to $274.99, no quibbling necessary. Yay!

So yeah, this skeptic is sold. Assuming they add some more vegan shoes to their selection (it’s okay but hardly outstanding), I’d definitely shop there again. The only major downside is that you have to have enough money to put up for the initial order, which of course not everyone does. And the free return shipping is option is only available in the US, so there’s that.

Anyway, I reviewed both of my new purchases on Amazon – so rather than reinvent the Vegg, I just copied and pasted ’em below. You know the deal: hop on over to Amazon and vote my reviews helpful, pretty please with Dandies on top, and only if you’re so inclined. As you can imagine, my vegan reviews don’t always fare well on mainstream sites. Slaters gonna slate.

 

2012-03-10 - Saucony Vegan Shoes - 0006

 

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Charles Manson Believes in Global Warming

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

…and Hitler was a vegetarian.*

Oh yes he did. STEPHEN TOTALLY WENT THERE!
 


 
* Actually, Hitler’s alleged “vegetarianism” is up for debate. Still, given the glee with which defensive omnivores throw this irrelevant “factoid” in our faces, Stephen’s point is greatly appreciated.

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the war on christmas: 2010 edition

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

The Daily Show: Monday December 6, 2010
The Gretch Who Saved the War on Christmas
The holiday season wouldn’t feel the same without people going out of their way to be offended by nothing.
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Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 21: Campaign WIN/FAIL edition

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

MTV's Retro Hit Girl Poster

“MTV’s Retro Hit Girl Poster”: In a reimagining of J. Howard Miller’s iconic “We Can Do It!” poster, a purple-wigged Hit Girl flexes her bicep, gun in hand. The purple bubble emanating
from her head reads, “We Can Kick Ass!” Message brought to you by the Women’s Ass-Kicking Committee. (This photo has absolutely zilch to do with today’s post; rather, it just makes me smile. The warm and fuzzies, I sure needed ’em after wading through not one, but two PETA campaigns. Maybe you will too?)
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Okay, so there’s much, much more FAIL than WIN in this edition of Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, but seeing as I’m all about the power of positive thinking, half-full beer steins, and all that fluffy fun stuff (sike!), I had to lead with WIN. In the title, anyhow. Had you fooled, didn’t I?

The Discerning Brute: Rape of Africa in “A Bid to Save the Earth.”

So this is…interesting. In honor of Earth Day, Christie’s hosted an auction to benefit several environmental organizations. One of the art pieces – David LaChapelle’s “Rape of Africa” – is unsettling, to say the least. Click on over to the Discerning Brute to view the image (which is totally NSFW as it depicts, among other things, Naomi Campbell’s bare breast). Joshua Katcher’s interpretation of the photograph is worth a read as well, particularly as he links the exploitation of farmed animals to that of human women, to wit:

[S]itting beside Naomi Campbell are farm animals, which suggest the failure of programs like Oxfam and Heifer International as well as making the statement that, like domesticated farm animals, Naomi is a chattel.

WIN or FAIL? Well, I dig the piece, though it’s not exactly something I’d hang over the fireplace, if you know what I mean.

Catholic Vote - Earth Day 2010

Her Authority: Women’s Bodies Are… Pieces of Land?

In this Earth Day-themed ad, the anti-choice group CatholicVote.org links women (particularly mothers, o givers of life!) with the natural world by superimposing an image of the earth over the womb of a heavily pregnant woman. A cute (read: white, blond-haired, appropriately feminine, etc.) little girl rests her head against her mother’s belly; index finger pressed to her lips, she seems to be saying, “Shhh! My little sister is trying to sleep in there!”

With this imagery, CatholicVote.org is romanticizing two “homes,” if you will: that of the developing fetus (baby!), i.e., a womb which belongs to an adult human female; and planet earth, i.e., home to all of humanity (and a trillion other creatures, as well). Women are not individual beings with their own thoughts and desires, but rather pieces of land. And what do we humans do with land, the earth, and the natural world, class? That’s right – we conquer and dominate them! Nice.

Which makes the romanticization of each – women/mothers and the earth/nature – all that much more distasteful and disingenuous. Throw me on the bottom of the shitpile and tell me that I live on a pedestal, why don’t you?

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BP Oil "Spill": Animal Rescue, Disaster Relief, Action Alerts & Vegan Views

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Last updated 4/20/11 @ 11:00 AM CDT.


 
 
As with the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, I’ve decided to create a single blog post which will act as a sort of “hub” where I’ll post information, action alerts, newsletters, etc. related to the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Given that President Obama intends to push forward with previously announced plans to expand offshore drilling, there’s a special emphasis on action alerts that address fossil fuels and/or their place in proposed climate change legislation. Where appropriate, I’ve also included information on what you can do to help meet immediate disaster relief needs in the Gulf Coast region.
 
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Breeze Harper Introduces The Sistah Vegan Project

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

I know, I know; long time no see. I’ve been a bit neglectful lately, and for that I apologize. I’ve spent all my free time working on POP! goes the Vegan., you see, either writing posts about CSI and The Colbert Report (which makes for a wonderful escape from talking about the horrors of animal exploitation or following the latest ARA-on-ARA internet wars, let me tell you what!) or working on a super-secret project (well, not so secret…more like tedious and slow going). So it’s not as though I’ve been sipping piña coladas in the sunshine, is what I’m saying.

Sistah Vegan, edited by Breeze Harper (2010, Lantern Books)

Anyhow, today I’d like to share a few videos from Breeze Harper, of The Sistah Vegan Project blog and the soon-to-be-released Sistah Vegan anthology. Sistah Vegan is set to drop in March, and in anticipation of its publication, Harper has created a number of videos related to the book: she explains her background and the project’s genesis; delves into the topics raised within Sistah Vegan‘s pages; and shares some additional resources (and recipes!).

It’s an excellent series – indeed, I listened to all but the most recent video blog the other night while doing some data entry for that aforementioned, no-longer-secret POP! project – but rather than overwhelm you with videos (thus reducing the likelihood that you’ll actually view them), here is a two-part introduction to Breeze Harper’s background, education and interest in “critical race studies, black feminisms, and critical food geographies.” (If you’ve got time to watch the others, they’re all available at http://sistahvegan.wordpress.com.)

I received an advanced review copy of Sistah Vegan (courtesy of Lantern Books) several weeks ago and am greatly enjoying it. Definitely put this one on your reading list!

Also, if you’d like to help promote the book and project, see this post from johanna at Vegans of Color for ideas and networking possibilities.

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The Men Who Stare At Hug Goats

Monday, January 4th, 2010

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Caution: Major spoilers ahead.

While The Men Who Stare at Goats is by no means an animal rights or overtly anti-vivisection movie, it does (happily!) have a few animal-friendly moments.

Based on a 2004 book of the same name by journalist Jon Ronson, the film is a dramatized account of Ronson’s investigation into “psychic” warfare experiments conducted by the U.S. military in the ’70s and ’80s. Ostensibly a story for the skeptic set (indeed, that’s why the husband and I saw it in the theater), the film also at turns sentimentalizes the “free love,” hippie sensibilities and mysticism of the ’60s and ’70s. (Indeed, it concludes on a disappointingly “anything is possible if you believe” note.)

Anyhow, along with all the “flower power” comes not a little tree- and animal-hugging. Goat-hugging, to be more specific: because the army’s more “practical” experiments involve trauma training carried out on live animals, the medical school’s in-house goats also play a role in the aforementioned psychic experimentation – the purposes of which isn’t nearly as sadistic as the trailers let on.

Lest I get ahead of myself, here’s a brief synopsis, via Wiki:

The film follows Ann Arbor Daily Telegram reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor), who one day interviews Gus Lacey, a man who claims to have psychic abilities. Bob shrugs Lacey off as crazy. Soon after, Bob’s wife leaves him for his one-armed editor. Bob, out of anger, flies to Kuwait to investigate the Iraq War. However, he stumbles onto the story of a lifetime when he meets Special Forces operator, Lyn Cassady (George Clooney). Lyn reveals that he was part of an American army unit training psychic spies (or “Jedi Warriors”), trained to develop a range of parapsychological skills including invisibility, remote viewing, cloud bursting, walking through walls, and intuition.

The founder of this unit, Bill Django (Jeff Bridges), traveled across America in the 1970s for six years exploring a range of New Age movements (including the Human potential movement), because of a vision he received after getting shot during the Vietnam War, and used these experiences to found the New Earth Army. In the 1980s, two of Django’s best recruits were Lyn Cassady and Larry Hooper (Kevin Spacey), who developed a lifelong rivalry because of their opposing views of how to implement the New Earth Army philosophy; Lyn wanted to emphasize the positive side of the teachings, whereas Larry was more interested in the dark side of the philosophy.

In the early 2000s Bob and Lyn embark on a new mission in Iraq, where they are kidnapped by a criminal gang. They escape with fellow kidnapping victim Mahmud Daash (Waleed Zuaiter) and get rescued by a private security firm led by Todd Nixon (Robert Patrick), but get caught up in a firefight between Todd’s security firm and a rival security firm; this would later be known as the “Battle of Ramadi.” Mahmud, Bob and Lyn escape from the firefight and go to Mahmud’s house, which has been shot up by soldiers. From there Bob and Lyn leave to continue on Lyn’s vague mission involving a vision he had of Bill Django.

Here it’s worth noting that Cassady recounts the story of Django and the New Earth Army as his Iraqi adventure with Wilton unfolds in parallel. Both tales begin on a light, humorous note, eventually taking turns for the worse. While the trailers and media interviews done in promotion of the movie tend to emphasize the New Earth Army’s more nefarious projects, Django began the program with the best of intentions: namely, achieving world peace through love and understanding. A laudable goal, to be sure – even if its implementation proved somewhat ridiculous.

However, Hooper eventually betrays Django, assuming control of the New Earth Army in order to corrupt it. (Think of Django as Obi-Wan Kenobi to Cassady’s Luke Sywalker and Hooper’s Darth Vader.) The peace, love and understanding of Django’s ’60s and ’70s give way to the greed, militarization and subjugation of – what? The Reagen ’80s? The Clinton ’90s? The Bush ’00s? All of the above? Take your pick! (The Men Who Stare at Goats is, if not anti-war, at least anti-torture.)

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Stephen’s Sound Advice: "Invest in Gold, Women and Sheep." Also: A wet pork contest!

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Oh, how the writers at The Colbert Report continue to warm my heathen vegan feminist cockles! (Dear mystery vegetarian/vegan on Stephen’s staff: Call me, mkay?)

Tuesday’s episode of The Colbert Report featured this hilarious send-up of Glenn Beck & Co.’s recent gold investment advertising-slash-infomercial media blitz. While the entire six-minute segment is amusing, gold obviously isn’t our primary focus here; no, the trenchant-as-hell bit starts at 4:15:
 

 
For those who aren’t card-carrying members of The Colbert Nation, allow me to set the bit up for you. “Prescott Financial” is a spinoff of “Prescott Pharmaceuticals,” a spoof company that “sponsors” a long-running segment on TCR, “Cheating Death with Dr. Stephen Colbert, DFA.” In “Cheating Death,” Stephen reports on actual medical stories, which are then used to promote medical breakthrough products offered by Prescott Pharmaceuticals. Ridiculously fake medical breakthrough products, with equally ridiculous and fake side effects, that is.

Likewise, in this fake ad from Prescott Financial, spokesperson John Slattery recommends investing in gold as a safeguard against the coming apocalypse. While gold’s appeal may be “elemental” (A! U!), even this most precious metal’s value is limited. For example, you can’t eat gold. Thus, Slattery recommends rounding out your portfolio with women and sheep as well as gold doubloons and bricks.

Here’s a transcript of the “commercial,” for those who can’t view the video. (But if you can, you must!)

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VeganMoFo, Day 27: Frugal vegans prep their own ingredients.

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

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Okay, so this might seem like a rather obvious tip, but it’s been a long, exhausting day, and I just have to do this one last thing before I can retire to bed with a pint of Purely Decadent and the remote control. I will have a perfect VeganMoFo III record, dammit!

So, where were we? Ingredient prep. When you purchase ingredients that have been prepared beforehand – for example, lettuce that’s already been shredded, pre-mixed spices, growth-stunted carrots, etc. – you’re paying not just for the price of the food, but also for the additional handling and processing, as well as the added convenience to you, the consumer. Sometimes the cost is negligible; other times, the markup can be significant. By purchasing raw, unprocessed ingredients and preparing them yourself, you can save a little extra money every week. Time spent in the kitchen translates to cash in the wallet.

For example:

– Baby carrots usually cost more per pound than full-sized carrots. Whereas you have to peel, wash and slice large carrots, baby carrots just require a quick bath in the kitchen sink before they’re ready to eat. Luckily, peeling carrots: not that hard. Just invest $5 in an ergonomic peeler, and you’re good to go.

– A whole head of lettuce is cheaper than bags of shredded lettuce or pre-made salad. Again, lettuce isn’t that hard to prepare for use. However, unless you’re able to consume a whole head before it goes bad, bagged lettuce might prove less expensive in the long run. On the downside: all that wasted packaging.

– Corn that has been pre-husked and tethered in plastic to a Styrofoam board: just don’t do it. Seriously, no.

– Spice mixes are sometimes (but not always) marked up more than the cost of their individual spices. Before you buy a seasoning blend, ask yourself if it’s something you could make on your own. The most egregious example of this I’ve seen is a newer phenomenon: cinnamon and sugar packaged together in a blend. I bet I could teach my smartest dog-kid to combine 1 part cinnamon with 1 part sugar in a small tupperware container and shake ’til mixed. Hell, I do it in a half-groggy morning stupor once every few weeks – and I don’t function well before 10 AM.

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The Onion asks, "Should Animals Be Doing More For The Animal Rights Movement?"

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Much like The Colbert Report, I’m beginning to suspect that there’s an animal sympathizer working for The Onion. (See, for example, Exhibits A, B and C.)

In this piece of bizarre hilarity, the talking heads at The Onion explore whether nonhuman animals are doing enough in the fight for animal rights:
 



 
While most of this is an over-the-top caricature of the misconceptions people have about the animal rights movement, I think The Onion is spot-on when they suggest that we should drop certain “problem animals” if we’re to ever secure rights for nonhuman animals. Might I suggest the entire corporate cadre of PETA in place of the noble water buffalo? I doubt that the latter would ever be so insensitive as to don a white hood and parade around the streets of NYC or mock women for their eating disorders. Just a thought.

By the way, I apologize if this video is old hat; I stumbled upon it while clicking through to “Facebook, Twitter Revolutionizing How Parents Stalk Their College-Aged Kids” from “Next Tarantino Movie An Homage To Beloved Tarantino Movies Of Director’s Youth.” Next up: “Ex-Pedophile Shares Tips On How To Make Your Kids Less Attractive.” Labor Day: not so laborious.

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