2014 Real Book Challenge: September Roundup

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

I read four whole “real” books this month! I know, I know; so sad. But I was sick for the good part of two weeks, preoccupied with VeganMoFo, and doting on two foster dogs who were soon on their way home. Full plate, I had one. Still 11 books ahead of schedule though. 50 books, I will beat you yet. As in next month.

By the by, if you have a chance to read The Underground Girls of Kabul? DO IT! It’s easily one of the best books of 2014.

 

 

  • The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg (2014); review coming soon
  • Swan Wreck by Casey Renee Kiser (2007); review coming soon
  • Zenia by J. Gallagher (2014); review coming soon
  • Camp Utopia and the Forgiveness Diet by Jenny Ruden (2014); review coming soon

     

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  • Kelly G.’s Pancakes and Sausage ON A STICK!

    Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

    Like Jimmy Dean’s Pancakes & Sausage on a stick, but VEGAN! (So only slightly less horrifying than the original.)

    The Daily Show, Thursday October 19, 2006
    Intro – Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick
    Finally, the classic taste of a chocolate chip pancake wrapped around
    a sausage with the convenience of a stick.
    ——————————

    You might remember that I promised to veganize this, um, “foodstuff” last mofo, after the husband baked Lightlife Smart Bacon into a batch of blueberry pancakes. He found it an excellent idea, but I couldn’t get past the blueberry-bacon flavor combo. (Ewww!) This year I thought I’d up the ante, and boy did I. But not in a gross way! These baked sausage pancakes are delicious, and surprisingly easy to make. All you need is a batch of pancake batter, eight vegan sausage links and a canoe pan. (Like you’d use to make vegan Twinkies. Which I’ve also done!)

    If you don’t have a canoe pan, try a cupcake shape! Probably you’ll need to cut the links in halves or thirds so that they’ll fit – but on the plus size, you’ll have silver dollar-shaped pancakes instead (and more of them, too). It’s a win-win!
     

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    Kelly G.’s Pancakes and Sausage ON A STICK!

    Ingredients

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    8 vegan breakfast sausage links (I used Lightlife Smart Links)
    2 cups Bisquick
    1 1/2 cup soy milk
    Egg substitute equivalent to two eggs (I used Ener-G Egg Replacer)
    1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
    Cooking spray
    Powdered sugar (optional)
    Chopsticks, 4 pairs (optional)

    Directions

    1. In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons of olive oil on medium. Add the sausage links and cook on medium until golden brown. remove from heat and set aside.

    2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the Bisquick, soy milk and egg substitute and mix well. (A whisk might come in handy here!) If desired, toss in a handful – 1/4 cup or so – of chocolate chips.

    3. Spray your canoe boat with cooking spray; be careful to get the surface areas as well as the canoe cavities, as the pancakes will puff up when they cook. Carefully pour the pancake batter into each cavity in turn, until each one is just under 3/4 full. Add the links: center each sausage in its cavity and then gently press down with a butter knife (or your fingers) until it’s submerged in pancake batter. If necessary, use the knife to spread the batter around and evenly cover each link in batter. If desired, sprinkle a bit of powdered sugar on top of each pancake sausage.

    4. Bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the pancakes from the pan immediately.

    5. Enjoy warm with a side of maple syrup! If you’re feeling fancy, serve them on a stick: ram a chopstick through each canoe horizontally (they go in surprisingly easy). This is really only practical if you buy them off a street vendor, though; easier to slice them into fifths and eat with a fork. Whole canoe pancakes also make for a fun (but greasy!) finger food.
     

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    Optional: Sub in your own favorite pancake recipe in place of the Bisquick-based stuff.

    Full disclosure: When all was said and done, we only ended up making one chocolate chip pancake; instead of adding the chips to the batter, I threw a few into a single canoe cavity after I’d poured the batter. If you’re the experimental type, this is an easy way to try out different flavor combos.

    FWIW, Shane was a fan of the Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Sausage à la Jimmy Dean and ridiculed by Jon Stewart. To each his own, eh?
     

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    Vegan MoFo 2011 logo banner

    Rape-rape and Money-rape

    Saturday, February 5th, 2011

    @TheDailyShow‘s @kristenschaaled on rape-rape and money-rape: http://bit.ly/hwWTQG Trenchant as fuck. #dearjohn #prochoice #rape #taxes

    Pass this one along the the libertarians and “small government” conservatives in your circle who equate money with bodily autonomy – and taxes with rape – mkay?

    Direct link: Wednesday February 2, 2011 | Daily Show: Schaal – Rape Victim Abortion Funding | Kristen Schaal doesn’t think hard-earned tax dollars should go to women who have only been rape-ished.

    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.
    ——————————

    (More below the fold…)

    Smart BLT Love (& a Veganmofo Bonus: "Bacon" Franken-pancakes!)

    Saturday, November 20th, 2010

    Even though I wrote this post several weeks ago, I’m eating yet another Smart BLT right this very moment. Crazy addictive, I’m telling you!

    After reviewing The Owl House at veganmofo’s opening – or, more to the point, kvetching about the chef’s choice of vegan meats with which to fill out the vegan BLT – I found myself craving a BLT made with Lightlife’s Smart Bacon. In my 14+ years as a vegetarian/vegan, I’d never made a BLT sandwich. Crazy, right? Bacon – whether vegan or not – has always struck me as more of a breakfast food, certainly not the main filling in a lunch- or dinner-time sandwich. Too thin and wimpy!

    (Cue: that annoying “Where’s the beef?” lady from the ’80s. Speaking of, I wonder whether my parents still have that “Where’s the beef?” dinnerware set I remember them trying to unload at a family garage sale waaaay back in the day? Note to self: must ask mom about it the next time you phone home.
    / inexplicable digression)

    Or that was my convoluted thinking, anyhow. Well, no more. Enter: the Smart BLT!

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    My precious.
    ——————————

    We’re looking at:

  • Six to eight slices of Lightlife Smart Bacon (I usually bake ’em in a toaster oven, but they’re even better fried);
  • A variety of lettuce and shredded veggies (from a bag of pre-made salad);
  • My Super Secret Special Sauce (Kidding! It’s mustard mixed with Nayonaise);
  • And – here’s the kicker – a sprinkling of sundried tomatoes (I was all out of fresh tomatoes, and happily so; the sundried tomatoes are much more flavorful, and don’t spray sog-inducing juice onto the bread when you bite into them!)
  • All on an everything Ciabata roll. Can I get a nomnom?

    I am seriously hooked on this sammie, y’all. It’s yummy, it’s filling, it never disappoints. Piggy love, all around.

    (More below the fold…)

  • 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!)

    (More below the fold…)

    The Dangerous World of Butterflies: More dangerous for butterflies than for humans.

    Saturday, June 20th, 2009

    On Wednesday, journalist Peter Laufer appeared on The Daily Show in order to discuss his newest book, The Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors, and Conservationists. While the material might seem rather lighthearted – especially in comparison to his previous subjects, which include neo-Nazism, illegal immigration and the Iraq war – the illegal butterfly trade is nothing to scoff at, as he explains:
     

     
    Naturally, even the so-called “butterfly huggers” (e.g., the North American Butterfly Association, the International Butterfly Breeders Association) view butterflies as a collection or a part of nature or ecology as opposed to the many individual beings that they are. Or, put another way, butterfly conservation is more about environmental protection than animal rights – or even welfare. Even so, The Dangerous World of Butterflies sounds like an interesting read, since butterfly collecting isn’t normally a “hobby” that’s equated with danger (nor are butterflies the first group of animals to come to mind when one thinks of wildlife “poaching”).

    During the interview, Jon wonders why one might want to collect butterflies, due to their short life spans of a week or two. According to Wiki, this is a bit of a misconception:

    It is a popular belief that butterflies have very short life spans. However, butterflies in their adult stage can live from a week to nearly a year depending on the species. Many species have long larval life stages while others can remain dormant in their pupal or egg stages and thereby survive winters.

    Butterflies may have one or more broods per year. The number of generations per year varies from temperate to tropical regions with tropical regions showing a trend towards multivoltinism.

    Not that the butterfly’s life span really matters – for, as Laufer explains, it’s not the aim of collectors to house a population of living butterflies. Rather, collectors view butterflies as objects to be exhibited, much like artwork. In this way, the appeal of “owning” the corpse of a butterfly belonging to a protected or endangered species is much like that of owning a stolen piece of art.

    As morbid as this attitude is, I’m not sure it’s all that different from that of butterfly conservations, who view their objects of admiration as pieces of a whole, cogs to be manipulated and controlled in order to achieve a desired result. A thousand Schaus Swallowtails, for example, aren’t significant as a thousand living beings, but as representatives of an endangered butterfly species. To conservationists, the beings are all interchangeable members of a species, much as their corpses are interchangeable pieces of valuables and artwork to poachers and collectors.

    (More below the fold…)

    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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    Bob Woodruff on boiling humans.

    Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

    Journalist Bob Woodruff made an appearance on The Daily Show last night in order to promote his latest project, Earth 2100:
     

     

    I find it interesting that Stewart and Woodruff open the discussion with a clip of Earth 2100 that invokes the anecdote of the frog submerged in a pot of boiling water: namely, if you put a frog in a pot of water that’s already boiling, she’ll jump right out, having sensed the heat and danger. But if you place her in a pot of cold or lukewarm water and gradually raise the temperature, she’s none the wiser, and will remain in the deathtrap until she becomes frog soup. In this metaphor, humans are the frogs, and the pot is earth.

    Which is all fine and good, except according to Snopes, this is a folk tale:

    Like a fable, the “boiled frog” anecdote serves its purpose whether or not it’s based upon something that is literally true. But it is literally true? Not according to Dr. Victor Hutchison, a Research Professor Emeritus from the University of Oklahoma’s Department of Zoology, whose research interests include “the physiological ecology of thermal relations of amphibians and reptiles to include determinations of the factors which influence lethal temperatures, critical thermal maxima and minima, thermal selection, and thermoregulatory behavior”:

    “The legend is entirely incorrect! The ‘critical thermal maxima’ of many species of frogs have been determined by several investigators. In this procedure, the water in which a frog is submerged is heated gradually at about 2 degrees Fahrenheit per minute. As the temperature of the water is gradually increased, the frog will eventually become more and more active in attempts to escape the heated water. If the container size and opening allow the frog to jump out, it will do so.”

    The “boiled frog” legend is a ubiquitous one – one that, given its falsehood, is both speciesist and completely inappropriate for what I assume is supposed to be a scientific documentary. The latter point is a given, but allow me to explain the former: central to the anecdote’s premise is the idea that a frog is so utterly stupid that, given subtle but entirely discernible cues, “it” would remain oblivious to the increasing danger and allow “itself” to be boiled alive. “Let’s not be like those lesser animals!” the tale cautions. Except. In denying climate change and poo-pooing slight increases in average global temperatures as “insignificant,” the human species is actually exhibiting less sense than Dog gave a frog. The frog isn’t earth’s complacent village idiot – we are.

    Also of note: Jon alludes to the presumed vivisection which led to the “discovery” that frogs might allow themselves to be boiled alive, given the right circumstances. Both Stewart and Woodruff appear to think that such gruesome experiments probably took place years ago, in the distant past. Except.

    “The legend is entirely incorrect! The ‘critical thermal maxima’ of many species of frogs have been determined by several investigators. In this procedure, the water in which a frog is submerged is heated gradually at about 2 degrees Fahrenheit per minute. As the temperature of the water is gradually increased, the frog will eventually become more and more active in attempts to escape the heated water. If the container size and opening allow the frog to jump out, it will do so.”

    While I can’t locate citations for these experiments, Wiki suggests that they’re more recent debunkings of “research” performed in the late 1800s (“research” on which the legend is apparently based).

    So, yeah, we boil frogs alive – or attempt to, anyway. And that’s not even the worst of it.

    Anyhow, back to Earth 2100.

    (More below the fold…)

    The "right" to guzzle gas.

    Thursday, May 21st, 2009

    Tom Coburn is fast becoming my pick for Douchebag of the Week.

    See, for example, minute 2:30 of this Daily Show clip:
     

     
    Coburn’s complaints re: CAFE standards: “What if you want to drive a gas hog? You don’t have the right any longer in this country to spend your money to drive a gas hog?”

    Yes! And should I be struck with the desire to toss a barrel of arsenic in my pond, who is the government to tell me I can’t? It’s MY arsenic and MY pond, goddammit, and my grandfather fought and died in WWII so that AMERICA THE FREE would remain FREE from this sort of BIG GOVERNMENT FASCISM.

    What’s better/worse, Coburn defends the “right” of individuals to pollute and consume to excess while also working to strip women of the right to bodily autonomy and privacy. He opposes abortion even in cases of rape and supports the death penalty for medical doctors who perform abortions. (Nor does he care to reduce the need for abortion by increasing the availability of and access to contraception.)

    In Tom Coburn’s mind, a person has a greater “right” to decide what car to drive, than a person woman* has to decide whether or not she will lend her body and organs to another being – a potential being, which in its early stages exists as a tiny clump of cells – for nine months.

    Car purchase > Bodily integrity

    Seriously, what a douche.

    (More below the fold…)

    In which the right wing celebrates an act of terrorism.

    Sunday, April 12th, 2009

     

     

    What I most love about these tea party protests – aside from their being an unintentional comedy goldmine – is that much of their support comes from the right wing: Republicans and conservatives, including Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, Sean Hannity (all of Faux News, really), Alan Keyes, and Missouri’s own Peter Kinder. The same group of people who are quick to label acts of theft and property destruction acts of eco- or animal rights- terrorism are – wait for it – emulating an old-school protest which would most certainly qualify as an act of terror under their definition of the term.

    And then we have Chuck Norris, right wing godbag extraordinaire, advocating an armed revolution against President Obama on World Net Daily.

    Oh, the irony, it burns.

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    The horrors of modern fetus farms.

    Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

    The (d)evolution of animal agriculture sounds so much more insidious (and comical, natch!) when applied to human vs. non-human animals!

    (Cue fetus frenzy at 1:10.)
     

     
    If only they could grow in vitro embryos. Oh, wait.

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    Ambushes for Justice (in your UTERUS!)

    Monday, February 23rd, 2009

    ZOMFG! Bill O’Reilly believes in a Constitutional right to privacy!

    No, it’s true. Well, kinda sorta:
     

     
    Apparently the Constitution only protects the rights of the rich, the white, the heterosexual, the cisgendered, the faithful and the non-pregnant – and only when they’re in complete agreement with all opinions O’Reilly, natch.

    Well done, Jon, well done.

    Veg*n Videos: Blinders, Pit Bull Hysteria & the Chicken Justice League

    Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

    My tubes are clogged with veg*n videos, so rather than post each separately, behold this handy dandy video roundup!

    Via Mary at Animal Person, Blinders: The Movie is now available online, in its entirety. I’m fairly certain it’s the full documentary, anyway; with a running time of 50 minutes, I haven’t yet had a chance to watch the whole film. Tonight, maybe, while the Mr. records his podcast.
     


     
    Mary urges us to watch and circulate the video; please do!

    Next up: those charlatans at the Humane Society of the United States. Even as they profit off the publicity that comes from their admirable dogfighting raids and rescues,
     


     
    the HSUS actively campaigns to have these rescued dogs murdered. What a warped idea of “rescue,” eh?

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    Liam Neeson is a Fooking Wanker

    Monday, January 26th, 2009

    Liam Neeson was on The Daily Show Thursday in order to promote his latest movie, Taken (which – and it pains me to admit this after sitting through his idiocy – doesn’t look half bad). In case you hadn’t heard, Neeson recently penned a letter to the New York City (City?) Council in opposition to recent legislation which would ban the horse carriage “biz” in NYC.*

    Host Jon Stewart begins the interview by asking about Neeson’s efforts to “save” New York City’s carriage horses. By “save,” I mean continue to enslave and exploit. It’s tradition, dontchaknow!

    Cue the stupid:
     

     
    While I’ve enjoyed TDS off and on for years, I’ve always found Stewart’s interview skills to be, shall we say, somewhat lacking. And yet, with only a minimal grasp of the issues – and playing the most amiable Devil’s Advocate ever – Jon p0wns Liam. He offers up the rather commonsense observation that the horses would probably be happier in a more pastoral setting (as opposed to the stables next to his studio), where they’d be able to roam free without worrying about dodging NYC traffic. How about we build a home for the horses in Central Park, where citizens can “enjoy” them in a more natural environment, he suggests? A nice “compromise,” no?

    In response, Neeson insists that the horses are treated well, blah blah blah, it would be irresponsible to lay off 400 workers while the economy’s in the toilet, yada yada yada, insert your standard appeals to tradition here, and – here’s the kicker – the horses actually prefer working a 9 to 5 job and spending all their off time confined to tiny little prison cells! They’ve been bred over thousands of years to love the city life! They get holidays off, yo! Hey, those stables are so clean and warm and comfy, I’d even live there, Neeson cries with glee.

    Honestly, he comes off as borderline batshit.

    Post-interview, Jon works in a nice little stab at Neeson’s expense. It’s not on the Moment of Zen video clip (damn you, Stewart!), but it involves a joke about Monday’s guest, Jimmy Carter, who’ll be coming out in favor of horse meat sandwiches.

    * When it’s you vs. Alec Baldwin, and Alec Baldwin looks like the sane, kind, compassionate party in the dispute…well, that’s not a good sign, brother.

    (More below the fold…)

    But what for the bedwetters?

    Monday, March 5th, 2007

    tds-dancedance.jpg

    “My six-year-old, Catherine, she said to me ‘Father, they came for those with cooties, and I said nothing. Then they came for those with boogers, and I said nothing. And then they came for me, a poopy-pants, and there was no one left to speak.'”

    – Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Nebraska, on his precocious little poopy-pants, as interpreted by The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart.

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