Daily Aphorisms for V(eg*n)-Day(s)

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Look Two Ways by Bart Potenza (2008)

Life is not about being right;
it’s about doing the right thing.

I meant to review Bart Potenza’s Look Two Ways on a One-Way Street: Food for Thought from the Founder of Candle Cafe and Candle 79 as part of my annual easyVegan Guide to Easy, Veg*n Holiday Gifts, but – alas! – I was so preoccupied with FSMas decorations this year, that I plum forgot to even write a guide! Better late than never though, yeah?

Daily Aphorisms for Vegans, Vegetarians & Omnis of All Stripes

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review at the publisher’s invitation.)

Look Two Ways on a One-Way Street is a collection of optimistic and inspiring quotes from Bart Potenza of Candle Cafe and Candle 79 fame. “The Candles” are two vegan/vegetarian restaurants in New York City. Though I’ve never been, they look delish – and Candle 79 was voted the Best Vegetarian Restaurant by VegNews in 2007. These “daily aphorisms,” as Bart refers to them, have even made cameos on the Candles’ “on hold” phone systems. Hey, it sure beats musak, am I right?

Look Two Ways would make a cute little stocking stuffer V-Day gift – especially if presented over dinner at the Candle Cafe or Candle 79! If you’re not lucky enough to live in NYC, though, you can always pick up a copy of The Candle Cafe Cookbook and prepare your sweetie an original dish from the restaurant.

The adage above is definitely my favorite of the bunch; I’ll leave y’all with a few more quotes that I’m totally diggin’ on.

Oh, and I’m still working through How to Eat like a Vegetarian Even If You Never Want to Be One by Carol J. Adams and Patti Breitman…cookbook reviews are slow going, doubly so when you’re not really the gourmet cook type.

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Cooking, Contemplating with Lantern’s Books

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Colbert Report Shout-Out

A hearty, hungry shout-out to Kara at Lantern Books, who recently sent me copies of How to Eat like a Vegetarian Even If You Never Want to Be One: More than 250 Shortcuts, Strategies, and Simple Solutions by Carol J. Adams and Patti Breitman and Look Two Ways on a One-Way Street: Food for Thought from the Founder of Candle Cafe and Candle 79 by Bart Potenza.

Carol Adams, of course, is one of my favorite eco-feminist/veg*n feminist authors, so I’m eager to try out some of her favorite recipes. That, and I’m feeling a bit adventurous after last month’s VeganMoFo. And Bart Potenza’s little book of mind morsels sounds like just the thing to digest on a rainy, dreary Midwestern November afternoon. While perched in front of my sun lamp, natch.

Keep an eye out for reviews, as well as the inevitable food porn.

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Book Review: Strategic Action for Animals by Melanie Joy (2008)

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Here, finally!, is my review of Strategic Action for Animals: A Handbook on Strategic Movement Building, Organizing, and Activism for Animal Liberation (Melanie Joy, 2008). At 2,000+ words, it’s perhaps my longest book review yet. Towards the middle, I kind of wander off the book review path, discussing issues of “mainstreaming”, violent vs. non-violent tactics and intersecting oppressions. Some of these are central to Strategic Action for Animals, while others are just touched upon. They all struck a chord with me, though, maybe because they’ve been floating around the internets lately. But bear with me, it’s all related.

By the by, I posted a condensed review on Amazon, so if you’d like the short of it, go here (or here, if you prefer LT).

Otherwise, onward.

Strategic Action for Animals by Melanie Joy (2008)

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Anthrozoology, A to Z (Book Review: Social Creatures by Clifton P. Flynn)

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Social Creatures, edited by Clifton Flynn (2008)

Anthrozoology, A to Z

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(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review at the publisher’s invitation.)

In Social Creatures: A Human and Animal Studies Reader, editor Clifton P. Flynn has assembled a diverse selection of writing and research on the topic of Human-Animal Studies (HAS).

HAS (also called anthrozoology) is, quite simply, the study of human-animal interactions. Because of its multidisciplinary approach, HAS is a vast and varied field; human-animal interactions can be examined through a multitude of lenses, including psychology, sociology, ethology, anthropology, zoology, veterinary medicine, health science, history, philosophy, women’s studies and ethnic studies. Consequently, scholarship in this field represents a motley body of work.

Social Creatures both reflects and embraces the heterogeneity of Human-Animal Studies. The thirty-one pieces in this hefty volume are grouped into nine topics: An Emerging Field; Studying Human-Animal Relationships; Historical and Comparative Perspectives; Animals and Culture; Attitudes towards Other Animals; Criminology and Deviance; Inequality – Interconnected Oppressions; Living and Working with Other Animals; and Animal Rights – Philosophy and Social Movement. A number of subjects are touched upon, including the human-animal bond; religious perspectives on animal rights; animal rights philosophy; the effects of gender on attitudes towards animal rights and participation in animal rights activism; correlations between support for animal rights and other social causes; grief in companion animal caretakers and shelter workers; and links between cruelty to animals and interpersonal violence, including child and partner abuse, to name but a few.

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Everywhere I look, more books!

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Oh yays! The lovely Kara from Lantern Books sent me two ARCs (Advance Reading Copies), and I’m psyched about them both: Strategic Action for Animals by Melanie Joy and Social Creatures: A Human and Animal Studies Reader, edited by Clif Flynn.

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Strategic Action looks as first glance as though it will make a nice supplement to Striking at the Roots, and Social Creatures is an anthology of essays on anthrozoology. So, yays all around!

Lantern Books has a pretty interesting selection of new releases, not all of which deal with animal advocacy issues. For example, there’s a book on male aggression (Boys Will Be Boys) and another about the Columbine school shootings (No Easy Answers). So, go check ’em out. As of last month, they’re also on Library Thing – so if you’re an Early Reviewer (and, um wtf wouldn’t you be, you silly bird?), maybe you’ll be able to snag a Lantern book via LT. Last go-round they offered up 15 copies of Aftershock, with 321 members requesting a copy…not too shabby!

I also treated myself to a few early birthday presents – a subscription to Veg News (The two-year subscription comes with a free tote, which is friggin massive. I should be able to cram an entire Whole Foods trip into it. Well, almost. All that Purely Decadent ice cream might put me over the top.), and three more books: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (I was reading a library copy, but I ran out of renewals!), The Caged Virgin by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary, another anthology of essays.

2008-04-22 - New Books - 0005

Oh mans, I love book piles. Maybe a little too much.

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Book Review: Claude and Medea by Zoe Weil (2007)

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

When Claude and Medea: The Hellburn Dogs fell out of my big fat swag bag from Lantern Books, I must say that I was a little…what’s the word?…apprehensive, maybe? I don’t have any kiddos, don’t want any kiddos, don’t know any kiddos, and haven’t been a kiddo for quite some time. A spinster aunt in the making, I am. So I was a little worried about reading and reviewing a kid’s book. Afraid I wouldn’t be able to relate, I guess. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Claude and Medea was awesome, though. I haven’t enjoyed a kid’s book that much for, I dunno, twenty years. (Cause I’m 29. Get it? Cue knee-slapping.)

Yesterday was a nice sunny Kansas day, so I stretched out on the lawn with my kid’s book and the five furbabies, and got edumakated by the totally rad Ms. Rattlebee. Rennie, being the silly terrier that she is, tried her darndest to distract me from the task at hand. Wasn’t easy to resist the lil girl, what with her sad, ratty tennis ball and slobbery pink smile and all…

2007-06-05 - The Furbabies - 0010

…but resist I did.

And here’s the Amazon review to prove it.

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Book Review: Aftershock by pattrice jones (2007)

Monday, June 4th, 2007

W00t, here it is! Finally finished my review of pattrice jones’s Aftershock, which I totally loved. I also loved that I was able to squeeze all of my thoughts – or at least a summary thereof – into the Amazon review. (Probably due in no small part to the prelim/mini-review of Thursday last, in which I excised the copious quoting right outta my system.) Amazon, for those not in the know, caps reviews at a crazy 1000 word limit. I clocked in at 980, hence the w00t! I thought I was going to have to chop it up, like with my Bird Flu review. So w00t, w00t.

I’m still mulling over some of jones’s finer points, such as her building bridges / being bridges conclusion, mentioned briefly at the end of my Amazon review. Time permitting, I’d like to elaborate on that.

But for now, let me just add the following thoughts, which ended up on Amazon’s chopping block:

I love, love, love that jones used gender-neutral and alternating masculine/feminine pronouns and terms. And I super-love that she made a point out of explaining as much in the User’s Guide.

I love, love, love that she avoided citing and otherwise drawing upon animal-based research, sticking instead to psychological studies that utilized willing human volunteers. She has my undying admiration for that, since I’m sure it made writing Aftershock infinitely more difficult.

I love, love, super-duper-love that the issue of trauma and activism was approached from a eco-feminist, anarchist, humanist-without-the-speciesism, animal liberationist, socially progressive perspective. And the discussion remained rooted in sound social and biological science all the while! Totally awesome. Methinks we need more therapists – and activists – like jones in the world.

Amazon review after the jump. If you likey, please hop on over to Amazon and give my review(s) a helpful vote(s). Remember, the more votes I get, the further on up in the page my reviews will appear – thus exposing more and more Amazonians to a pro-animal view. So a vote for me is a vote for the fuzzy wuzzies, is what I’m sayin’.

/ groveling /

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Another shout-out to Lantern Books (Yo!)

Monday, May 14th, 2007

Colbert Report Shout-Out

Got another care package from the good folks at Lantern Books. Actually, I guess it was a few weeks ago now…wow, do I move slowly! Better stop dilly dallying here and get a-readin’.

Anywho, this time they sent me copies of Aftershock by pattrice jones (of Eastern Shore Sanctuary fame) and Claude and Medea: The Hellburn Dogs by Zoe Weil. I started Aftershock last week, right before my basement flooded and I became otherwise occupied with waterlogged books and moldy floors. So far, all’s good – I’ve got high expectations for this one. While you’re waiting for my slow self to post a review, check out this one from invisible voices.

On that note, I best retire to bed for the night.

Thanks again, Kara!

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Book Review: Bird Flu by Michael Greger (2006)

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Well, it took me long enough, but I’ve finally read and reviewed Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching, by Michael Greger (2006). The review is posted on Amazon, but in the spirit of supporting independent publishing, if you decide to buy a copy, hop on over to Lantern Books to make your purchase. Dr. Greger has also made the book, in its entirety, available for free online: http://birdflubook.com – so really, you’ve got no reason not to read it.

Just to add to the review I posted on Amazon – a longer version of which I included after the jump – this is one of the rare books I’d recommend to anyone, veg*n or omni, ARA or anti. Greger does address animal welfare issues in the animal agriculture industry, however, this isn’t his main focus. Rather, he explains how our mistreatment of animals actually comes back to bite us in the arse, time and time again. For example, commonplace factory farming practices make livestock more susceptible to disease. Because of various anatomical and biological similarities that chicken and pigs (in particular) share with humans, these diseases reproduce, mutate and evolve in their avian and swine hosts until they’re capable of infecting people. Case in point: bird flu, which may very well cause the next global pandemic.

Given that Greger is the is Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture for the HSUS and was previously Farm Sanctuary’s Chief Medical Investigator, I think it’s safe to say that he’s a vegetarian or vegan, with at least a strong animal welfare streak. Even so, he avoids calling for the worldwide adoption of veganism. His most radical suggestion is a global moratorium on (chicken) meat/egg production: cycle through the existing flocks of broiler and laying birds, and then simply stop breeding more in order to eradicate bird flu from all domestic bird sources. Implicit in the plan is the eventual return to chicken and egg production, albeit on a less intensive scale (read: no more factory farming and artificially cheap meat). Not exactly ideal by animals rights standards, but still too radical to actually happen anytime soon.

So, while the book isn’t explicitly an animal rights (or even welfare) treatise, it does make a very compelling case for the humane treatment of animals – if not for their sake, then for our own. And, quite frankly, self-preservation might be the only argument to sway some hard-core omnivores.

If you’d like to learn more, Dr. Greger will be updating the online version of the book; he’s already noted some important corrections, such as how Tamiflu cannot be readministered through urine (!). He also maintains a newsletter, “Dr. Greger’s Pandemic Updates”, over at Google Groups. And do check out Dr. Karen Davis (of United Poultry Concerns) and Dr. John Oxford’s (.pdf; Centre for Infectious Diseases) reviews, too.

And, of course, a video summary for the bibliophobic among us:

If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my basement bunker fortress of solitude, rearranging my canned corn.

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Priorities, anyone?

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

“The prospect of a virulent flu to which we have absolutely no resistance is frightening. However, to me, the threat is much greater to the poultry industry. I’m not as worried about the U.S. human population dying from bird flu as I am that there will be no chicken to eat.

– The executive editor of Poultry magazine, in a 2005 editorial, as quoted by Michael Greger in Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching.

FYI: Review and discussion coming soon. I just finished reading it today, and want to do some additional research before jumping in. Great book, though – check it out online if you’ve got a chance!

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Book Review: The Lifelong Activist by Hillary Rettig (2006)

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Wow, has it been a month already?

Awhile back, you may remember, Lantern Books sent me my very first package of swag, which consisted of Dr. Michael Greger’s newest book, Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching, as well as Hillary Rettig’s recent release, The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way.

After a long delay, here’s my Amazon review of The Lifelong Activist.

And then ‘scuse me while I go get moving on Bird Flu – which, I might add, is available in full online (!). How cool is that?

The Lifelong Activist by Hillary Rettig

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My very first shout-out!

Monday, November 13th, 2006

I received my first package of swag in the mail Friday, so here comes the promised shout-out.

Colbert Report Shout-Out

Sorry, I had to do that. Really.

Anywho – the good folks at Lantern Books sent me copies of Dr. Michael Greger’s newest book, Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching (tbr November 15),

Bird Flu by Michael Greger

as well as Hillary Rettig’s recent release, The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way.

The Lifelong Activist by Hillary Rettig

Thanks, guys!

So far I’ve only had a chance to skim each, but they both look like good reads. Reviews forthcoming – I’ll post them here and on Amazon when I’m done.

BTW, if you haven’t yet, go check out Lantern Books. Their catalog focuses on a number of progressive topics, including animal advocacy, vegetarianism, nature and environment, and social thought. They also maintain a mailing list for animal advocates and NYC residents (sign up to receive notices of NYC events, and watch while this Kansan turns green with envy).

As always, if you’ve got a book, CD, movie, etc. that you’d like me to mention here and/or review – I like stuff. Especially free stuff. Details and contact info here.

An interesting aside on Bird Flu – one of my biggest gripes with the mainstream media is their (collective) bad habit of not following up on stories. I was recently considering this in relation to the whole bird flu scare (remember how the bird flu reports practically disappeared after 2004, even though the virus is still spreading today?), when I happened to spot a mention of the bird flu on the CNN ticker.

The general gist of it:

The U.S. government has approved the use of firefighting foam to kill chickens quickly if there is an outbreak of deadly bird flu in commercial poultry.

The Agriculture Department says water-based foam can be an alternative to carbon dioxide, which has traditionally been used to quickly kill large quantities of birds.

Foam can be used to suffocate floor-reared flocks _ chickens and turkeys raised primarily for meat _ to contain deadly bird flu, said APHIS spokeswoman Karen Eggert. Foam also can be used in outbreaks of rapidly spreading disease such as Exotic Newcastle, a fatal respiratory virus in birds, when state or federal officials deem it necessary.

And it can be used when birds are in structurally unsound buildings, such as a building damaged by a hurricane or other natural disaster, she said.

But in Canada, a senior official with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said this form of killing is not considered humane and Canada will not adopt the practice.

“The information that we have at this point in time suggests that rather than humanely destroying the birds, they in effect drown from inhaling the material, the water in it.”

The practice has other critics. Animal rights advocates argue against using the foam because it suffocates the animals, and they are urging authorities to use gases instead.

Lovely. And in their true lazy, ADD-addled fashion, nary a word of this was said on CNN. Apparently, only the intern who operates the ticker thought that widespread, government-endorsed animal cruelty was worth a mention.

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