Sunday, October 29, 2006

Irony, too late

This summer I was almost late to a movie because the traffic light outside the theater was malfunctioning, and I called 311 to report it. My friends made fun of me because we had walked to the theater--I don't even have a car--so the fact that the light was out of order didn't affect me.

But today the real irony of the situation was pointed out. The movie we were going to see was A Clockwork Orange, the best pro-anti-social behavior movie ever made. And I almost missed it for my civic duty...

Be careful, people!

Jeanine Pirro, in an ad for her campaign for NY Attorney General, makes a subtle faux pas, which I really hope is an unintentional oversight.

In it, she says she has "protected women from abuse, children from pedophiles, and gays from hate crimes," but it's far too easy to hear that she has protected children from pedophiles and gays...

A moral dillema

This is an honest question that no one has ever been able to answer to me, and I only ask it because I'm really curious about veganism.

We all know that honey is not vegan. Honey production requires the exploitation of bees, which removes it from the vegan diet. Agreed.

But what about all the fruits and vegetables that are pollinated by bees and other--particularly captive--animals? Are those foods no longer vegan as well?

Are foods pollinated by commercial bees vegan? How about wild bees? How do vegan people know the difference?

The British Vegan Society defines veganism as:

"A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment."

The thing is, there are commercial beekeepers, who rent out their hives specifically for the purpose of pollinating farms. These bees are exploited just like any other commercial, captive animal. The weak and unproductive are killed. The queens are replaced periodically and by human devices. Hives are moved, split, and otherwise manipulated in ways that the bees would never naturally choose to do.

Sheep are not hurt by shearing for wool, but they are exploited nonetheless, and as such, wool is not considered vegan. Why not foods pollinated by captive animals?

Jo Stepaniak of Grassroots Veganism ( writes, "Even though humans inadvertently benefit, the bees do not pollinate plants in order to serve human needs; it is simply a secondary aspect of their nectar collecting," but based on the practices of commercial beekeepers, bees are forced specifically to serve human needs. So why is it okay for Vegans to abuse these animals?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Why can't they just smell like shampoo?

For a while I had been using a relatively expensive brand of shampoo, and while the price per bottle is high, it is very thick, and two bottles cleansed my head for about a year and a half.

Now I'm using a shampoo that cost about half as much, but my early projections indicate that it will last less than 3 months. So despite it being cheaper, it is in the long run, more expensive. I guess I'm paying for all the glitzy commercials that influenced me to buy it in the first place.

But the strange thing is that at the moment of applying shampoo to hair, they both emit odd scents that resemble in no way cleanliness. The less expensive one smells of pot smoke, and the more expensive one smells a bit like vomit.

The smells disapate withing seconds, but they are distinct enough to completely alter my showering experience. It's hard to sing Wilson Philips songs with the scent of vomit in the steamy air.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I may have been a very different person...

Monday, October 09, 2006

The war on blowingpeopleupism

Last week Eric and I were walking around midtown wasting some time before he had to go back to work, and in our wonderings, we came across a section of Lexington Ave that had been closed off with police line. A couple of cops and a few dozen civilians milled around, peering down the empty street, looking for signs of ensuing tragedy. The most often overheard phrase was "suspicious package".

I'm a simple person, and I think in simple terms. This is the strongest evidence I can see that terrorists are winning. We are afraid. We have been inflicted with terror. We fear forgotten suitcases. We fear cameras. We fear powdered donuts.

For more than a year, bags and packages have been subject to random search on NYC subways. Last time I checked, the US Constitution said that my right to be secure in my person, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. But it has been, and I stood there and let it be violated because to refuse to allow the search meant that I would be late for a meeting. The lowest point of my life was unzipping my backpack to prove to disinterested cops that I was not a terrorist.

I am afraid, but I'm not afraid of Iraq or of the Taliban or of Al Qaeda. I am afraid that I won't have the gumption to stand up for what is right. I'm afraid that I'll be willing to submit to someone who claims to be able to provide stable, if orange-alerted, comfort.