Mixed Salad of Thoughts

Monday, April 24, 2006

13 years!

Some facts that make me happy to be vegetarian and consider being vegan:

-Cost of hamburger meat if water used by meat industry was not subsidized by US taxpayers: $35/pound
-A report by the USDA estimates that 89% of US beef patties contain traces of the deadly E. coli strain. Reuters News Service 8/10/00
-Antibiotics allowed in cow's milk: 80
Percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin in 1960: 13%
Percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin in 1988: 91%

I've been looking into vegetarianism more and more lately and the reasons behind why I do not buy or eat meat. My number one reason has always been the environment; the large scale production of meat and meat products is one of the leading causes of deforestation and ruining of land, as well as being incredibly harmful to waterways, a large source of methane gases, extremely wasteful use of grains, water and land, and detrimental to the healthfulness of both the animal products produced and the vegetables produced on shared farmland or within the plume of factory farming waste.

I do not come from the viewpoint of it is immoral or wrong to kill an animal for eating, nor do I believe that occassional consumption of meat is detrimental to one's health. Yet the more I read about meat production in the United States today the more I feel that the way animal products are being produced today is morally reprehensible. From chickens that live in tiny cages for years on end never seeing the light of day or able to move their limbs, to the purposeful maiming of animals (beaks cut off or legs broken), to the yanking of a one day old dairy calf from its desolate and crying mother, I can't help but feel that mass production has led farmers to become the keepers of generation upon generation of tortured and tormented victims, rather than the farmers of old who reared animals for necessity and allowed them as natural a life as possible and as quick and clean a death as possible, with as much of the animal used as possible and very little wasted. That manner of honoring the life of the animal is long gone.

Not only have these industries suffered animals to live in a horrible manner, they also hurt the very consumers they sell to. Slaughter houses in particular have neglected the quality of the end product in favor of the quantity of the end product, with more meat than ever improperly handled and contaminated with e-coli. More eggs than ever are infected with Samonella and the amount of hormones, anti-biotics, dioxins, carcinogens, bacteria, and other toxins and contaminants found in animal products only continue to increase.

In the past my viewpoint was that I would not purchase these products and therefore would not support the industry that produced them. My feeling being that the only reason they treated animals worse and worse was to make the bottom line more profitable and that the only way I could make a significant statement would be to make it less profitable by refusing to purchase meat. Yet I see how this fails in certain ways. If I am no longer purchasing from the meat industry I am for all intensive purposes discounted-- I have no effect on them. I am NOT one of their customers, and as such why would my opinions hold any sway?

So I've been doing research on what I would consider to be more responsible farming. Organically grown, free-range, and pastured farmed animals neither live the horrific life, nor as dramatically contribute to the ecological decay that factory farmed animals do. Although there is little to say that the pasture raised animals are slaughtered more humanely or safely, it is still an improvement that I would like to support.

I've done a little (I plan to do more) research on companies supporting organic/environmentally conscious farming and ethical treatment of animals, and will be making an effort to support them...I will not be purchasing meat there, but will be buying other products with these companies. In this way I will not be supporting the grocery stores that support the unethical companies. Primarily I've found that Trader Joe's has been acting in a very pro-active manner regarding these issues, and perhaps even to a greater extent Whole Foods has been supporting it as well. In supporting these companies I am refusing to support those companies that buy, distribute, and in turn contribute to the prosperity of companies that put production and profits ahead of the environment, animal welfare and their own customer's health.

If you're interested here are some excellent articles on Trader Joe's & Whole Foods' efforts towards better animal treatment:

Whole Foods Market's "Compassionate Meat
Trader Joe's Goes to Cage Free eggs only

And for excellent info on Vegetarianism/Veganism and its related issues GoVeg is an great resource and is very interesting reading

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

more quotes

As the Guardian once commented, our World Order is founded on justice, not love. Our governing institutions are Houses of justice, not love.

O GOD, MY GOD! I implore Thee by the blood of Thy true lovers who were so enraptured by Thy sweet utterance that they hastened unto the Pinnacle of Glory, the site of the most glorious martyrdom, and I beseech Thee by the mysteries which lie enshrined-in Thy knowledge and by the pearls that are treasured in the ocean of Thy bounty to grant forgiveness unto me and unto my father and my mother. Of those who show forth mercy, Thou art in truth the Most Merciful. No God is there but Thee, the Ever-Forgiving, the All-Bountiful.


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A quote I ran across today:

Abdu'l-Baha teaches that we must never "belittle the thought of another" (Baha'i Administration, p. 22)

note to self: work on that one

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Nostalgia: a potent thing

So this week I've been updating my MySpace.com profile & friends and it has been an amazing week. I've been in contact with many people that I haven't seen or heard from in 10-15 years! I've heard about their jobs, their lives, their families. I've seen pictures of them and their friends and their children! I've been reminded of all the close bonds I have had with people that I can't see and don't know much about anymore, and realized those bonds aren't any less strong for our distance and time apart. I love them no less and care for them just the same.

Sometimes it amazes me how much loving other people can be more important than being loved. Maybe it's not about how much is given, and how much is received, maybe it's just the sum/total that counts.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

In the spirit

I've been seeing more and more short and meaningless posts and have been thinking "Weeeeeeeee....what fun!"

So I thought I'd post something short. But without any meaningful or even meaningless things popping up in my mind I spent time updating my links instead....at least now I have ready access to places where I might come up with something to say :)

In other news... I've been hanging out on MySpace for the last few days getting into contact with old friends (like people I haven't seen in 10-15 yrs). It's pretty crazy how small the world is getting. People I haven't even heard rumors about in years telling me they'd visited my blog before?! Crazy! Also crazy is the number of my friends that are now divorced and single parents. I'm going to be getting married for the first time when some of them are getting married for their third time at this rate. Maybe it will be like cheating in gym class by pretending to be a lap ahead of where you actually are: less tiring and no real harm to anyone.



Birthday:June 16th
Birthplace:Columbus Ohio
Current Location:Chicago Illinois
Eye Color:gray
Hair Color:blonde (Feria #94)
Right Handed or Left Handed:right
Your Heritage:all the really white people
The Shoes You Wore Today:crappy black work shoes
Your Weakness:chocolate
Your Fears:needles...at least those attached to syringes
Your Perfect Pizza:Adriatico's w/ lots of cheese & veggies
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year:Get a better paying job
Your Most Overused Phrase On an instant messenger:;)
Thoughts First Waking Up:push button...make stop
Your Best Physical Feature:my appendix
Your Bedtime:late...or later. Usually between midnight & 5AM
Your Most Missed Memory:I don't remember.
Pepsi or Coke:Dr. Pepper...although I've been breaking the addiction for years
MacDonalds or Burger King:which one is destroying rainforests quicker? We'll have the answer after THIS...
Single or Group Dates:dates?...huh?...oh, yeah just the two of us, I hate having to impress EVERYONE
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea:no thanks, Earl Grey if you've got it, with plenty of cream & sugar
Chocolate or Vanilla:yes please
Cappuccino or Coffee:none for me
Do you Smoke:nope
Do you Swear:is Mom around?
Do you Sing:horribly, but mostly in the car
Do you Shower Daily:is a day between sunrise & sunset or between getting out of bed and leaving the house?
Have you Been in Love:who are you again?
Do you want to go to College:sure....right after I pay off my first college loan.
Do you want to get Married:definitely, just maybe not to you.
Do you belive in yourself:probably too much
Do you get Motion Sickness:not usually
Do you think you are Attractive:I kiss mirrors
Are you a Health Freak:no
Do you get along with your Parents:most of the time
Do you like Thunderstorms:love them...unless I'm driving or walking
Do you play an Instrument:does using your body as an instrument count?
In the past month have you Drank Alcohol:no
In the past month have you Smoked:no
In the past month have you been on Drugs:no
In the past month have you gone on a Date:...hmmm...no
In the past month have you gone to a Mall:outside malls only...and just because I work in one
In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos:no
In the past month have you eaten Sushi:no
In the past month have you been on Stage:no
In the past month have you been Dumped:no
In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping:no
In the past month have you Stolen Anything:not that I'm aware of
Ever been Drunk:no
Ever been called a Tease:yes
Ever been Beaten up:no
Ever Shoplifted:no
How do you want to Die:with a full stomach and an empty bladder
What do you want to be when you Grow Up:young
What country would you most like to Visit:I want to go back to S. Africa

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Making a list, checking it thrice

Even before my life started self-disintigrating at the seams I had a plan to sort of fix things up. I have the looming THIRTIETH birthday coming, and like many others before me this has prompted some feelings of un-accomplishment, un-directedness, and general un-preparedness for this landmark of adulthood. But I thrive on deadlines and decided to use this one to my advantage.

So, I set goals for physical exercise, diet, and weightloss. I set goals for keeping in touch with friends & family. I wanted to be re-focused on being more active with my artwork and with the Baha'i Faith. I wanted to re-double efforts on finding a new job and on being a little more active on the dating front.

So on each of these goals I've been working...but apparently someone thought I missed out on the "re-evaluate your finances" goal and wanted to make sure I didn't forget that one. I got it, really, no...really! You can stop dropping the $300/shot hints now!

So I called the police this morning about the vandalism on my car and they told me NOT to remove it, because this is considered a hate crime and the police have to come out and see it....hmmm, I've had my car AND my house broken into and neither warrented having an actual police officer visit the house, just an automated telephone report, but a sharpie marker to the side of my car does? Weird!

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Life doesn't like me so much right now, and I'm not sure it's not mutual.

Where have I been? well....I've been fighting off the world and all the legions of demons it has been hurling at me to try to break me down.

Shall we review?

My car had an accident (without me...it was parked) about a month ago and I've been dealing with the consequences (mostly financial) ever since...It hasn't been fun throwing a $500 collision deductible into my already tight finances, but I could still keep my head above water

My car needs an additional $300 of repairs that I knew about before the accident and can even less afford now. I think it might be important, as the exhaust is leaking and I'm getting headaches when I spend too long in my car.

They just started construction on the major interstate that runs between my house and work. Please add another 25 minutes onto my 40 minute morning commute, thanks.

In the next week I also have to pay $250 in federal income taxes.

One of my credit cards told me that my debt to available credit ratio was poor and that was their excuse for raising my interest rate from 11.49% to 29.99%. I spent two days last week figuring out how I could close the account and transfer the funds to another card without ruining my credit.

I have a knee that hurts and is wanting to force a dr's visit on me but don't have time or money for it.

and add into that that it's the slowest sales month of the year so I won't be making much in commissions.

Okay, so that's bad, but it's not as if the world is just being mean, right? These are just the sort of things that happen, it just so happens that they're happening all at once?

Oh, wait, I forgot to add that this morning I walked out and found my car has a nice, BIG Swastika in permanent marker on the passenger side door....and it won't come off....yeah, great

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Random Salad Thoughts

So it's non-knitting focused and pretty much un-focused, and can include anything else.