Monday, February 28, 2011

Just 'Cause

This rooster loves vegans!

He Decrees and Declares

Yeah, I was kinda in evangelist mode in my last post, and I mentioned people whose minds are on profit. It reminded me of of a video Kat played this morning. She can sure find interesting stuff.

You know, I really hope that his preaching is some sort of miracle, but I can't help think of Marjoe Gortner, a very popular child preacher who later made a documentary exposing the business.

Just so you don't think I'm being anti-Christian, how 'bout a quote? "For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." Romans 16:18, KJV. There now! All is in balance.

Yeah, I Know Using This Word Will Make Me Sound Like an Old Hippie

I'll just go ahead and use it though. Hold your breath... Consciousness. There now! I said it!

As in "raising consciousness," "higher consciousness," even. Ye-e-e-e-s, it makes me sound fruity or flaky or whatever. but give me a chance here.

I think that too many people use those terms for personal profit, so they mystify them to the point of absurdity. If you understand what they mean immediately, you won't pay for their book or make a donation. You don't really need a special vocabulary to know what they're about. And it's good to know a little about them, because the vegan diet is, at least ostensibly, about higher consciousness for many of us.

I promise that this is not what I'm talking about...

Higher consciousness, apparently.

I can't tell you how often I've wished I could remember the exact quote that impressed me in Nietzsche's The Gay Science. It's something about charlatans aiming to confuse and wise people aiming at simplicity. Or something along those lines.

Okay, so... do you know someone who does things that make other people uncomfortable? Being too aggressive maybe, or acting like a perpetually-lamenting Eeyore, or not knowing when to stop? Did you ever wish you could find a way to tell that person, "You'd be a lot happier if you made a few small changes?" Good! It means you care about the happiness of another person. Of course, for such people, the changes would mean losing themselves. Maybe you've heard it before. "That's just me."

People who bring a lot of extra difficulty into their lives generally blame luck or life or God or whatever, never seeing that they're causing a whole lot of trouble for themselves. Well, if someone actually did realize that there's a better way, if the sadly self-defeating friend decided to get practical about behavior and try to learn new ways, his or her consciousness has been raised.

It's all in how you think about things.

It's really simple and practical. It's not easy, but it's simple and practical. If you act in an unpleasant way, people end up resisting you. You need the help of other people in order to get by, and to thrive even. We're social animals.

Ahhh, now can you look at yourself that way? Yeah, that's a lot harder. But once you learn to do it, you can't stop. Long ago, Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." A-men! You know, you go to school to learn skills so you can do a job well, but then you're unwilling to develop some skills in your life? Nothing you can buy with that income will make you as happy as living well.

And yes, it can get abstract. What happens when you learn to stop expressing yourself however you want to and start expressing yourself in a way that others can accept and understand better? You start considering others more. And it makes you happier than selfishness did. A Hindu may start talking about transcending the subject-object relationship, and others may pull out the old Golden Rule. Y'know, do unto others, etc. You may start caring about the well-being of non-human animals and find you can't bring yourself to eat them any more. Do it in the way that makes sense to you. Just do it, for the sake of your own happiness.

No matter how you choose to understand it, it's something we all need. It's what makes life good. It's what makes life work.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Best Picture on the Internet

If you're not sure that it really is, click the picture and check the URL. Reading is believing!

The Best Picture on the Internet

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's a Sign!

Something we came across on US 19, somewhere in Florida. Disclaimer: No, I haven't gotten religion, nor am I putting Christianity down. I will always promote religious freedom here. Yes, even for ... gasp... Muslims and atheists. For everyone.

Anyhow, enjoy!

The World Phones in Pizza Orders to Resist Oppression

Have you heard about Pizza ordered from Egypt in support of Wisconsin's protesters? People all over the world are phoning in orders to feed opposition to yet another example of Tea Party extremism, Governor Scott Walker's attempt to curtail collective bargaining rights. You can read about it here.

It seems that the protesters are doing more to stimulate the economy than the governor.

I can't help but think, though, about all that dairy being sold. Would vegans be involved in such a thing, or are we all too busy scanning recipe blogs for new ways to fill our bellies? Since it seems that many people who have recently taken it on see veganism as the latest fad diet, are we all sitting on our uninvolved behinds, thinking about how skinny those behinds have become, while the world is being made and lost all around us? I really hope it's not so.

Maybe I've just been looking at too many vegan blogs. I truly hope so.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Is Veganism Natural?

Nope. That's the short version. Of course, it depends on what you mean by natural. If you mean those parts of us that have gotten buried in overcivilization, the things we were built to do but for which we're given only poor substitutes, the losses that are killing us now, no, veganism isn't natural.

You know, I think nothing makes vegetarianism and veganism look sillier than phony arguments. People are built to be omnivores, plain and simple. We're opportunistic eaters. The old argument about teeth is just wrong, because have both teeth for tearing meat and teeth for grinding vegetables. The end. You can find a more detailed discussion here.

So if you appeal to biology to say that avoiding animal food is natural, you're going to seem uninformed at best, and foolish or fanatical at worst. Not great publicity.

If you look to archaeology too, there's no evidence that hunter-gatherers ate only vegetables, and in fact it seems like they ate a lot of meat. It's generally believed that the Clovis people hunted mammoths to extinction, handling that natural resource as carelessly as we handle oil today, though the position is controversial. Nevertheless, they certainly did hunt, as did other hunter-gatherers.

Hunting a mammoth

Even humans that have been stereotyped as carnivorous cavemen, it turns out, ate more of a mix. Neanderthals, it seems, ate their veggies. Sorry guys, there's also no evidence of empty beer cans, sports jerseys, or issues of Maxim magazine at digs. I'm not giving quarter to diehard steak-eaters either.

See, look at this guy. He's more sensitive than that. The selfish-but-lovable-oaf type in sitcoms isn't any more natural than anyone else. Don't blame this poor fellow for the decadence of your empire.

What a nice Neanderthal!

Anyhow, it seems that people have generally just been people, and that we've eaten in roughly the same way. We eat everything we can.

So I guess you can't call veganism natural.

But what is natural, really? I mean, is it possible for people, as animals, to do anything outside of nature? Are we not skyscraper-building animals? Are we not polluting, warring, blogging animals? Are we not animals that create decadent empires, and moronic, egotistical TV characters, and the fictional smart-mouthed termagants that love them?

There is something in our nature that seeks higher values, that produces moralities and philosophies, that strives for something better. In this, as in many other things, we're unique as creatures on Earth. We can conceive a bigger picture, we can respond to conscience, we can choose to limit ourselves, we can make choices for the sake of something other than mere survival.

So I guess being vegan is natural after all. It's just not natural like a paper napkin with brown dye in it, sporting a big recycling logo. It's natural as yet another strange thing that the human animal does.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mount Rush... Less. Much Less.

I love presidential kitsch. It connects me to my country's culture of patriotism, but it also sets me outside of it, providing a healthy vantage point. Kat, sensing that somehow, wanted to take me to The Presidents Hall of Fame in Clermont, FL. On an unusually drab and hazy, but pleasantly cool morning, we arrived to find the place closed. The exterior sights alone made the trip worthwhile though. Behold!

Ah, but what's behind Mount Rushmore? Ever wonder?

And how 'bout a look at the rest of the place?

We've got to drive out there again, as soon as we can. If this is the outside, what wonders could the inside possibly hold? Kat assures me I'll be amazed. Roadside America doesn't make it sound any less inviting:
Presidents Hall of Fame is packed full of kitschy, interesting memorabilia. It has a real folk art component, since many of the miniatures are hand-made and show the workman's handiwork. Real artifacts like Tom Thumb's carriage and Lincoln's death mask (replica) exist side-by-side with hand-carved Christmas and circus displays. Push a button and dioramas light up, figures move and music plays. A constant running video of Ronald Reagan's funniest jokes sets the scene in the background.

The lighting is dim, but there is just so much to see from dresses of the first ladies to White House china. Being Florida, of course they had a voting machine from the 2000 election. And ephemera from the 2008 election, including an Obama cut-out in the oval office!
We found out at the nearby Citrus Tower that they're closed on Wednesdays and Saturdays for some unfathomable reason. Poo. Oh, but we must return. Of course I won't be selfish; I'll share some pictures with you!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Singing Mew-Mews

Wah ha haaa! It's all part of my plan to take over the world! What, you don't like singing kitties?

And what does hugging do to you?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Circadian Rhythm...

...low point... zzzz... aw, I'll post later.

Four Hugs a Day

I hadn't even half finished my last post, working on the laptop, when Kat started playing this song on the computer. Guess that's what comes of preschool experience.

She also found out where the idea came from. Good work!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Puritans Die Earlier

It was bath time for doggies, and I pet Snowball, the one who generally runs away, before picking her up. I spoke soothingly to her. She didn't pee when I grabbed her, as she sometimes does, possibly because of that old fight-or-flight reaction that, at least in part, justifies the word "nervous" in my blog's name. It takes one to know one. She'd be happier with some affection. She was.

Common sense to some and mush to others. Well, the "common sense" people develop better, live longer, and overall have a healthier life. "Mush" people don't fare so well. How 'bout some evidence?

The one who bravely yells "get a room" from a passing car when you're merely showing some moderate, healthy affection for your partner should maybe choose the phrase for an epitaph.

My tone may be a bit... satiric, but I say what I do out of concern rather than mockery. People, you've got to loosen up. And remember, a stranger's hand doesn't do the trick. Imperonal sex is just the other side of the repression coin. A lack of intimacy is a lack of intimacy is a lack of intimacy.

I think that the health side of physical affection is a good subject for this blog. This is only the beginning, like it or not! If you came here for recipes, may I direct your attention to about a billion other sites?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Hot Rush?" Not the First Words That Come to Mind...

...unless it's that flush of sudden confusion, when you wonder if you've wandered into a weird dream.

This place is called a flea market, but really it's an endless confusion of just about everything you could think of. It's a rural, slapped-together supermall.

Yes yes, I know. Not the stuff of which health nuts' dreams are made. But when in the flea market...

And you do need calories to live, y'know.


We saw this on US 19 driving from somewhere to somewhere else in Florida. Yep, it's supposed to grab your attention, and it worked. You stopped for a moment too, didn't you? It's sorta... eh... unsettling, right? Not entirely... good for the soul...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hey Everybody, Look at My New Old Shirt

Yep, buy old stuff from thrift stores and avoid supporting all sorts of awful, Wal-Mart-y type things like sweat shops and environmental destruction. And you can find swell goodies if you're diligent. How 'bout this gem? It's made of thin, 50/50 material, the design is a transfer, and it still has its original price tag! When I pulled the tag off, the glue was dry and the paper was brittle.

Some design, eh? I'm partial to shirts from tourist attractions anyhow. The color has actually bled through to the back of the shirt a little. I'm thinking... thirty years old, about?

Now how much would a phonily-aged, vintage-style shirt from some big company cost you, and it doesn't look half as good as the real thing!

Faking Mr. Lincoln

Isn't it amazing that humans will go so far to imitate, or maybe to recreate nature? What does it say about us? People have lots of different ideas about it, and they'll try to convince you too, but what are we, really?

Friday, February 18, 2011

KF... W?

It's a trick! He's trying to lure me in with something tasty! I know what they sell inside!

More Japanese Colonels here.

McWedding... I Kid You Not

You think, or maybe just hope, that it's a joke? Have a look here.

I like how Next Media Animation caricaturizes situations, so why not post one more video? "Skankz." Hee hee!

Cute and Then Not so Much: At an Antiques Auction

I'm a bottom feeder. I mean, you know you're not supporting sweatshops over self-sufficiency in some struggling country when you shop at a thrift store. I may think in terms of ethics, but I like nice stuff, and may I never become one of those stringent, anti-culture moralists. Caring about animals and people doesn't have to mean becoming tight-lipped about the aesthetic side of life. Pleasure is good.

Kat and I go to antiques auctions now and then, hoping to catch a rare bargain. Often, the sightseeing is more interesting than the actual bidding.

Sometimes, when cultural artifacts are just thrown together, the combinations say something about what people do. Here's a juxtaposition that says a lot I don't particularly want to hear, but it deserves two pictures, anyhow.

Oh! Have I stumbled into a nightmare?

Yep, a nightmare. I'm probably rolling around and disturbing Kat's sleep.

Wahhhh! Somebody pinch me and wake me up!


Of course there has to be food in there somewhere. It was Fritos for us. You need calories to live, y'know.

Torture, bloody murder, shredded flesh... it's not a nightmare, it's one of those movies I refuse to watch!

That does it! I'm hitting the off button...