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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dolphin nom!

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: googly eyes make everything awesomer. Everything.*

* Which begs the obvious question: why didn’t I think to glue a googly eye on Ralphie’s sewn-up eye socket for our criFSMas card photo shoot? Ah well, there’s always next year.

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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You know what?

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

On Notice - ASPCA, PETA & HSUS

Fuck PETA, and fuck the ASPCA.

And yes, I’m a little late on this one, but that’s what happens when you step away from the internets for 20 minutes to shave and shower.

While we’re at it, let me apologize to y’all for ever – on any planet, in any and every universe galaxy* in the cosmos – defending PETA, even when the defense was just. Because this shit? Holy Christ. PETA’s jumped into the pornography business, full tit. (Full tilt, I mean. Wait, what did I say?)

Misogynists, speciesists, pimps and animal killers – who needs ’em?

* Updated 11/19/09: Yes, I’m a dolt.**

** Also: I left a comment on the aforementioned PETA blog post, politely chastising the author for failing to mention Pets Alive’s eagerness to take Oreo off the ASPCA’s hands. That was last night. Twelve hours later, and my comment has yet to be approved. I’m not holding my breath.

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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Stephen Colbert weighs in on Shark Week.

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

Okay, that’s it. I’m now convinced that there’s a vegan, vegetarian or animal advocate of some stripe on The Colbert Report payroll. This segment is just too spot on to have been written by an unrepentant speciesist.
 

 
In just three minutes, Colbert touches upon several important points:

1 – Sensationalist predator programming like “Shark Week” perpetuates the myth that many wild-living animals, including sharks, are dangerous creatures who are out to get us. They are to be feared – and also dominated, conquered and killed. It’s “us or them,” right?

2 – The Discovery Channel is doubly irresponsible in its demonization of species which are largely endangered.

3 – Promoting shark “conservation” during Shark Week commercial breaks? Batshit insanity! (Can I say that? Is “batshit insane” a speciesist phrase? Any vegan linguists in the house?)

4 – Humans pose a much greater threat to other humans than do sharks. In fact, humans pose the greatest threat to all life. We’re the ultimate monsters, yo.

5 – Mainstream media: FAIL.

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Happiness is a ‘pumped and dumped’ gun.

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

First, the bad news: That rider to the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights, introduced by asshat extraordinaire Tom Coburn, which would allow visitors to carry loaded guns in national parks? Passed both the House and Senate – with the help of plenty of Blue Dog Dems, natch.

But on the bright side, Stephen and his fiancé, Sweetness, can take that honeymoon in Yellowstone that they’ve always dreamed of:
 

 
Also, this provides our park rangers an excellent opportunity to earn some extra funds, to prop up the crumbling national park system.
 

 
$20k on AK-47’s, anyone?

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The Colbert Bump (Now with Tofurky!)

Monday, May 25th, 2009

At the risk of making this blog a shrine to Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, DFA, allow me to follow up yesterday’s otherworldly thought experiment with yet another clip from The Colbert Report.

Last month, Colbert interviewed Kanishk Tharoor, son of “Friend of the Show” Shashi Tharoor, who was at the time running for an MP spot in India’s General Elections.

Stephen endorsed Tharoor the elder thusly:

Colbert: Now, your dad, Friend of the Show Shashi Tharoor, is running for position as an MP in Kerala, correct? OK, let’s move his numbers right now. I can’t endorse in this country, but I can in India. I hereby endorse Shashi Tharoor. He will put a chicken in every pot. Or – at least – at least – a chicken in every tandoor.

Tharoor: I’m afraid he’s not going to do anything of the sort. He – like me – is a vegetarian. So it’s not very likely that he’s going to do anything like that.

Colbert: Then he’ll put a vegetable korma in…whatever you wish to eat it out of.

At the time, I noted:

What’s so beautiful about this brief exchange is how Tharoor so casually dismantles Colbert’s preconceptions about Indian dietary preferences. Like most Americans, probably, Colbert “naturally” assumes that people the world over do things the American way – or aspire to, anyway – including slaughtering sentient beings by the billions for no reason other than convenience and selfishness. Even though, at +/- 30%, India has “the highest rate of vegetarians for any country worldwide,” Colbert just assumes that Indians want nothing more than plates filled to overflowing with animal corpses. As Tharoor points out, not so much. Colbert normally strikes me as someone who does his research (or has his writers and interns do his research), which makes this particular flub all the more interesting.

A few readers noted that “a chicken in every tandoor” is a play on the political slogan “a chicken in every pot,” a point not lost on me (though I suppose I could have conveyed it better in the post). Even so, I argued, since Stephen was spinning the phrase in order to make it more relevant to Indian culture, he could have spun it further: instead of “a chicken in every tandoor,” “a pound of tofu in every tandoor.” Given India’s high rate of vegetarianism, ‘twould be the odd politician who promises to put animal flesh on the plate of every Indian, methinks.

Anyhow, Stephen offered an update on Thursday’s show; despite steep odds, Shashi Tharoor

defeated his nearest CPI rival P. Ramachandran Nair by a margin of around 100,000 votes when the results were announced on 16 May, 2009.

Tharoor’s victory, of course, being due in no small part to The Colbert Bump.
 

 
During the segment, Stephen replayed his endorsement of Tharoor:

I hereby endorse Shashi Tharoor. He will put a chicken in every pot. Or – at least – at least – a chicken in every tandoor.

which he interrupted thusly:

Of course, since many of his constituents are vegetarian, he could promise a Tofurky in every tandoorky.

I feel like a totally deranged egotist in saying this, but…could that possibly have been directed at me?! Does one of The Colbert Report writers frequent my humble blog?! ZOMG, could it be the Sonic guy?!

Nah, I don’t think so, either. Either way, I love it.

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An otherworldly thought experiment.

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

This first video clip isn’t really related to animal advocacy, but it’s a nice setup for today’s thought experiment (and also echoes some of the sentiments found in “They’re Made Out of Meat“).

On Wednesday’s episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen interviewed astronomer and alien “hunter” Seth Shostak. During the course of the conversation, the two discuss the likelihood that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, speculate what form this life may take – and wonder whether these Others might be more evolved/advanced/sophisticated than humankind.
 

 
Which brings us to the aforementioned thought experiment: What if powerful aliens wanted to “serve man”?*
 


 
Via YouTube user BlackGuitar1313 (and discovered while searching for a full-length video of the Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man,” natch.)

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Your moment of Zen.

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Update, 6/2/09:

Stephen announces Tharoor’s victory, this time with a vegetarian option.

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Okay, so Stephen Colbert’s interview with Kanishk Tharoor (featured in Thursday’s episode of The Colbert Report) has little to do with animal rights – nevertheless, there’s a delightful bit of awesomeness squeezed in at the end, starting at the 4:18 mark:
 

 

For those who can’t view the video, Colbert interviews Kanishk Tharoor, son of “Friend of the Show” Shashi Tharoor, who’s currently vying for a seat in India’s General Elections.

Colbert: Now, your dad, Friend of the Show Shashi Tharoor, is running for position as an MP in Kerala, correct? OK, let’s move his numbers right now. I can’t endorse in this country, but I can in India. I hereby endorse Shashi Tharoor. He will put a chicken in every pot. Or – at least – at least – a chicken in every tandoor.

Tharoor: I’m afraid he’s not going to do anything of the sort. He – like me – is a vegetarian. So it’s not very likely that he’s going to do anything like that.

Colbert: Then he’ll put a vegetable korma in…whatever you wish to eat it out of.

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My thoughts on the climax of the Obama doggy drama:

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Threat Down - Barack Obama, Puppy Killer

That is all.

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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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Stephen Colbert gives PETA a tip o’ his hat…

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

…for making the consumption of “land fish” socially acceptable!
 

 
Mmmmm!

In all seriousness, there has got to be, at the very least, a veg*n sympathizer on The Colbert Report writing staff. Stephen is just too well-versed on animal issues. The Sea Kittens campaign, for example, hasn’t received extensive coverage from the mainstream media (not enough T&A), and yet TCR is aware of the campaign – and even understands it. (Good-natured mocking aside.)

To sweeten the deal, Stephen signed off Thursday’s show with a spin on Bob Barker’s “don’t forget to spay and neuter your pets” signature line:
 

 
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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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Comrade Kelly’s Communist Manipesto (Chapter 1)

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

I started to think about this year’s FSMas feast well before November. Since we’re talking about a (spoof) religion which revolves around pasta and pirates, a noodle-based dish is basically a given. Last year, we had lasagna…the same as every x-mas before. What can I say? The pasta, I loves it. That, and I’m not especially adventurous in the kitch.

But in the spirit of Vegan MoFo, I vowed to try out a new dish this year – but what?

Stephen Colbert to the rescue! (@ 2.27):


Communist Manipesto – that’s the ticket. Naturally, a “Communist Manipesto” dish must involve manicotti and pesto. And sundried tomato pesto is the shit! Blend a pesto recipe with a little tofu for bulk, stuff it in a package of manicotti, and there’s a FSMas dinner to (not) die for!

So I started by Googling around the internets in search of sundried tomato pesto recipes, finally settling on this one from All Recipes:

Ingredients

* 4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
* 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
* 1/4 cup chopped pine nuts
* 3 tablespoons chopped onion
* 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
* 1 tablespoon tomato paste
* 1/3 cup crushed tomatoes
* 1/4 cup red wine
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* salt to taste

Directions

1. Place sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with warm water for 5 minutes, or until tender.

2. In a food processor or blender combine sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, garlic, pine nuts and onion; process until well blended. Add vinegar, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and red wine, and process. Stir in olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt to taste.

Of course, this was only a starting point – I had to modify the recipe a bit to make it vegan. And, you know, adjust certain ingredients according to what I did and didn’t have in the pantry. And add a few extra steps.

Here’s the final version of the recipe…well, the final version of Chapter 1, anyway. I’m not in love with it, so likely there will be additional “Chapters” forthcoming. More on that below!

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Echoes of Bobby

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

I founded and moderate a local freecycle group; for practical reasons, we don’t allow live animal listings, although “meat” is acceptable (conflicted emotions, I has them). Recently, a member requested unwanted meat, as well as…unwanted livestock and sick or dying animals. I deleted the post and removed her from the list, as this was her second strike.

Naturally, she took issue with the strike. This is a direct quote from the email she sent in reply:

The other issue you have with me I don’t understand because any meat is any meat whether it is in frozen form or live form.

Let me repeat:

The other issue you have with me I don’t understand because any meat is any meat whether it is in frozen form or live form.

“Meat is meat” whether it’s already dead, slaughtered, prepared and packaged…or is walking around, nibbling on grass, playing with other “meat,” and just generally living life.

“Life” is simply a transitional state on the road to consumption.

Wow. Just…wow.

I wonder if she has visions of drumsticks while conversing with other humans?


Echoes of (the ghost of) Bobby, anyone?

Sometimes I’ve just got to laugh, otherwise I’d never stop crying.

(Crossposted.)

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