I need to confess something. Try not to run away screaming. I’m a vegetarian. Ok, I’m a part-time pescetarian, part-time vegan. And I’ve been off fish for a few months, and I intend to keep it that way. But I’m not giving up eggs that come from humanely treated chickens (though I rarely, rarely eat eggs) or cheese produced with milk from humanely treated animals (no animal rennet, no selling male cows to veal producers). So I’m going to go with vegetarian.
I’ve been pretty hesitant to discuss this part of my life, unless explicitly asked in a non-aggressive way. A few weeks ago, I was out to dinner and someone offered me a piece of chicken. I said something like, “No thanks, I don’t eat chicken,” and a friend sitting nearby immediately began criticizing me for making her feel bad, judging her food choices, and trying to indoctrinate her with my radical beliefs. This kind of rhetoric is frustrating but generally no longer fazes me; I’ve been a vegetarian/part-time pescatarian/part-time vegan since 2006, so I’ve heard it all. I used to keep completely silent about my choices, claiming that I wasn’t hungry or that I didn’t like [whatever meat was being offered], but I think that needs to change. It seems silly for my obscure food choices, especially when I’m asked point-blank whether I’d like to try a certain food. There are legitimate and incredibly important reasons for choosing to abstain from eating animals and animal products.
This whole vegetarian thing seems to be a pretty hot-button issue, but rest assured that I’m not trying to indoctrinate you. I may, however, encourage you to think about the foods you’re putting into your body, the way the animals you eat are treated, the working conditions of the humans who process your foods, and the codified and practical rights of those humans.
To go along with this admission of vegetarianism, I should probably mention that I’m currently on a tiny crusade to change the way I live in a more general sense. I plan to consume less, and when I consume, do so thoughtfully and sustainably.
I think I do a pretty decent job right now: I buy organics when I can (fine, when I remember to); I think about the importance of buying local; I buy cheeses that use microbial, rather than animal, rennet; the only animal products that regularly appear in my apartment are one container of parmesan cheese and one container of organic yogurt; I turn off unused lights, use environmentally friendly cleaning products and soaps, and recycle.
But there is so, so much more I can do: buy local — that means purchasing from farmers markets or asking at my local grocery store which products are locally sourced; always buy organic — this means I’m going to need to cut down in other areas of my life, e.g., fewer trips to starbucks; speaking of starbucks, use sustainable/reusable containers — that means carrying a refillable waterbottle (I already do this), a reusable travel mug when I plan to order coffee, and canvas bags when I go shopping, including shopping for clothes and other non-food items (I already do this too); think about where non-local foods and clothes I purchase are produced and how far they travel before they arrive at my local stores, as well as the materials used in the manufacture of non-food items and sustainability of those materials; stop buying so many new clothes (!!) — check thrift stores first, then buy organic items whenever possible and only when necessary; make my own natural cleaning products when possible (I read that raw honey can be used as a face wash — I’ll let you know how that goes!).
There’s just so much I want to say, so many issues I want to address, and I simply can’t do that in one post, so I’m going to make this a regular thing. I’ve been researching this for a while now, so I’ll take up a few issues every week, answer some questions (feel free to ask away — this will be so much more interesting if it becomes interactive), collect a few tips (send them my way), try to figure things out for myself, and maybe convert a few of you into people who think about sustainability a little bit more than you do now.
an article aboutTonya Harding before she was better known as Nancy Kerrigan’s attacker.
an argument to convince you to start smoking. or, if you’re going to continue to stubbornly protect the health of the tiny bronchioles within your perfectly pink lungs, you could read here about why you should at least not be so concerned that others aren’t as careful.
I totally trust the New Yorker to advise me on ways to prevent or eliminate my hangover.
“I had a ritual once of lighting a candle and writing by its light and blowing it out when I was done for the night … also kneeling and praying before starting … but now I simply hate to write. My superstition? I’m beginning to suspect the full moon. Also I’m hung up on the number nine though I’m told a Piscean like myself should stick to number seven; but I try to do nine touchdowns a day, that is, I stand on my head in the bathroom, on a slipper, and touch the floor nine times with my toe tips, while balanced. This is incidentally more than yoga, it’s an athletic feat, I mean imagine calling me “unbalanced” after that. Frankly I do feel that my mind is going.”—
I am not a painter, I am a poet. Why? I think I would rather be a painter, but I am not. Well,
for instance, Mike Goldberg is starting a painting. I drop in. “Sit down and have a drink” he says. I drink; we drink. I look up. “You have SARDINES in it.” “Yes, it needed something there.” “Oh.” I go and the days go by and I drop in again. The painting is going on, and I go, and the days go by. I drop in. The painting is finished. “Where’s SARDINES?” All that’s left is just letters, “It was too much,” Mike says.
But me? One day I am thinking of a color: orange. I write a line about orange. Pretty soon it is a whole page of words, not lines. Then another page. There should be so much more, not of orange, of words, of how terrible orange is and life. Days go by. It is even in prose, I am a real poet. My poem is finished and I haven’t mentioned orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery I see Mike’s painting, called SARDINES.
Kerry Max Cook was wrongfully held on death row in Texas for sixteen years (the years Cook spent in prison totaled twenty two). even after his release, he was not quite free, and, to this day, seeks justice.
the Hebrew University of Jeruselum and California Institute of Technology are working jointly to digitize the over eighty thousand records held at the Albert Einstein Archives the two universities. the project began on March 19, 2012 with two thousand documents, ranging from manuscripts to diaries to letters.
for those of you who are still hoping that Amelia Earhart will be found alive, she would have turned 128 this July. you might have better luck simply hoping for the discovery of Earhart’s aircraft and likely crash site.
Steinbeck passes along writing tips. on the other hand, “If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another.”
I LOVE dear zachary as much as one can say that they love what has to be the most depressing movie ever created. I actually had a date recently where I made the boy watch it because I wanted to make sure he didn't kiss me and it was the least romantic movie I could think of.
there you go folks. a movie recommendation and a date night recommendation, all rolled into one. make sure to bring a brand new box of tissues, because you and your new (platonic and definitely not boy- or girl-) friend will be sobbing through the entire movie.