Eating Animals

This book, though hard to read, was important for me to read. I am so grateful to Jonathan Safran Foer for presenting this information in an easy-to-understand format that is helping me make choices with my eyes a little more open. I’m glad I read it because it’s important to make informed decisions whenever possible. It’s okay to be ignorant and then educate oneself, but it’s not okay to be proud of ignorance or choose to be willfully ignorant. I think it’s important for anybody who eats to read this and make informed choices.

Upon reading this book, I won’t say I’m a vegetarian or vegan or whatever. But I will say with this information, I choose not to eat animal products today and probably tomorrow. I will have this information with me and make an informed choice every day. I was heartbroken upon reading this book and though I knew about most of this stuff going on, I chose to push it out of my mind. To conveniently “forget”about it. But I hope not to do that in the future. If I choose to eat meat, I will do so with full knowledge of the consequences of my decisions.

So I won’t urge people to read this book so they will stop eating meat, but to be less ignorant. Keep an open mind when you read and make informed choices.

I copied this in my journal off the book. “Every time you make a decision about food, you are farming by proxy.”

Drink water in the morning

I had to get a fasting blood test in the morning the other day and even though I drank a half a glass of water before leaving the house, the phlebotomist poked me twice and got nothing. It was like trying to squeeze juice out of a raisin. I didn’t realize how dehydrated our bodies are in the mornings. Though it makes sense now that I think about it. I mean, we sleep for 7 or 8 hours with no water breaks in between. It’s no wonder we’re dried out. Since then, I’ve been making myself drink a full glass of water before heading out for work, or before eating anything, if it’s not a work day. I imagine it plumps up my pruney body as the tiny shriveled up veins take their first drink of water. So yeah, moral of the story, drink water in the morning. Even if you don’t feel thirst, you need it.

Paranoia for the day: Mattresses

Slow day today. I started researching online about mattresses.

Here’s some bad news:
1. If you bought your bed after 2006, more than likely, it’s covered in a fire resistant chemical called polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE). Some law in the U.S. requires mattresses to be fire resistant. Who smokes in beds these days anymore?? And keep your candles on the other side of the room away from the bed! The bad part about all of this is, PBDE is bad for your body. I don’t know how bad, but I don’t want to be the guinea pig to find out.

2. If you purchased your bed before 2006, there’s no guarantee it doesn’t have this chemical either. Manufacturers aren’t required to label it. Beyond PBDE, there are a slew of other toxic chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that come out of these mattresses – benzene, naphthalene (mothballs).

3. If you have a standard mattress with innerspring metal coils, you could be sleeping in a nice little electromagnetic field (EMF) of radiation. Radiation which is bad for your body. Again, I don’t know how bad, but I don’t want to be the guinea pig to find that out either.

The good news: We have alternatives!
Bad news: They’re expensive! Prepare to spend $2,000 to $4,000.

But here are the alternatives I found in case you care to splurge. Made in the USA!
The Natural Sleep Store sells SavvyRest which is made of rubber latex. Latex isn’t completely chemical free but it’s a little better than conventional mattresses and there are no innerspring coils.

Organic Mattresses, Inc. sells a few options too. Some are like SavvyRest’s latex beds and some are more traditional-style.

The bad news is, you have to choose the firmness without getting a chance to lay in it. The good news is they let you exchange it if it doesn’t feel right. I would imagine that would be a big PITA so just get it right. Talk to a sales person before buying!

So following up after having just got a bed, order it from a store that sells these brands. They will walk you through the best fit for your needs, which brands, models, customizations, and they’ll even quote you a better price than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. I went with Your Organic Bedroom.

Doing it all wrong.

I was taught to use 2 spaces after a period. Blame it on the typewriter. Even now as I type this, I have to go back and delete the extra space after my periods because my thumb automatically hits the space bar twice after I hit the period. Typographers decided that it ought to be one space after a period. I had a 60-year old boss who would correct every document to ensure every sentence had two spaces after each period. She made a point of it each time.

I was also taught that Pluto was a planet. It’s really a dwarf planet.  Not a planet.  Basically it’s considered just a big rock flying around in the Kuiper Belt.
And I was taught that saying “and” between two numbers indicated a decimal. 602 is “six hundred two” not “six hundred and two” which would indicate 600.2. Is this still correct? I’ve seen so many instances where this rule is ignored that I’ve come to think of it as another failure in my education.
I don’t know what to think!

Winter Solstice

Shortest day of the year, about 9.5 hours. First day of Winter, but I don’t care because it’s just gonna be longer days now! And if I understand things correctly, even though it’s the shortest daylight hours, it’s not the latest sunrise or earliest sunset. The latest sunrise (for us) is January 1st (2014)! at 7:27 AM and the earliest sunset was the first week of December at 4:46 PM.

So the reason for the shifting sunrise and sunset times is because by late December the Earth is closest to the Sun (the orbit is elliptical) so it’s actually moving faster around the Sun right now. Spinning faster and everything! So during the equinoxes (Spring and Fall) the usual full Sun to full Sun would usually be 12:00 PM to 12:00 PM but not in December. Day to day, the Earth spins so fast, solar noon goes from 12:00 PM to 12:03 PM the following day. It shifts forward a little each day. What a zoo. A revolution of the Earth around its axis in December isn’t a full 24 hours! When we get to Summer Solstice, the Earth is furthest from the Sun so it’s going slower and spinning around slower too. A full revolution takes a little longer than 24 hours. I just learned this! My mind is blown.

I probably botched the explanation.  Look up equation of time. Or check this out: The Atlantic.


Things I learned from Tina Fey:

  • “Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.”
  • “Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through.”
  • “When people say, “You really, really must” do something, it means you don’t really have to. No one ever says, “You really, really must deliver the baby during labor.” When it’s true, it doesn’t need to be said.”
  • “When faced with sexism, or ageism, or lookism, or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way.”

And a whole thing on cruises:

  • Cruises are for people who are afraid of flying.
  • The entertainment staff are in charge of running the life raft in the event of an emergency.
  • Those staff have guns and can shoot people who freak out on said life rafts.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

I recently read a book by Michael Pollan called The Omnivore’s Dilemma.  I don’t usually read non-fiction because it’s boring.  There’s no story.  But this guy’s voice, or prose, or whatever was so conversational, so engaging, I was hooked.  And also I’m kind of into the topic of food.  This book delves into where our food comes from.  How it used to be, and what it is now.  It’s eye-opening and yet, sadly, not surprising.  Cows in feedlots eat a blend of corn and animal parts and shit.  Literally.  Poop.  We then eat the cows.  The corn, by the way, contains a mix of pesticides and herbicides known to cause a myriad of illnesses and death.  Atrazine for example, is banned in Europe because a little bit of it can fell a human.  American corn farmers use that to grow beef feed.  All of this is subsidized by the taxpayer so even if it looks cheap in the grocery store, it’s actually more expensive to society overall.  When we purchase cheap food, we’re paying for it somewhere else and ultimately supports big agri-industry.

There’s also the amount of fossil fuels our industrialized farms burn just to make the corn. We end up with negative net energy generation by growing corn.  So this ethanol in our fuel nonsense is lining someone’s pockets but it certainly isn’t helping our gas supply.  We burn more fuel than we create by using plants to make the ethanol in the first place.  Actually, I was aware of that because I knew the USDA highly subsidized ethanol in fuels.  Yes, we, the taxpayers are subsidizing oil companies to get richer and shaft us even more at the gas pumps and supermarkets.  Lobbyists are a powerful bunch and the agri-business is run like oligopolies.  A small group of very wealthy very powerful corporations.  Goliaths.  Think of the jolly green giant more like the greedy green giant.

Even though it paints a dismal picture, I thought it was good to know.

If I had to sum up my takeaways after reading this book they would be:

  • Eat locally.  Make more of an effort to hit up farmers markets.  Local > Organic.
  • Grow something.  Even though I can only grow a few items in containers, it’s a start.
  • Buy in season.  Citrus, winter squash in the winter.  Berries in the summer.
  • Meat is a treat.  Enjoy in moderation.  Meat is less energy-efficient to produce and it’s not the healthiest for your body either.
  • Eat animals that lived well and ate well.  Grass-fed beef.  Healthier animal, healthier meat.
  • Processed foods are essentially processed corn products with very little nutritional value.  Just eat the corn.
  • Home cooked meals make for better quality control.  I know exactly how much sugar and salt I use.


For the past 3 or more weekends people have been knocking on our door to encourage us to vote for xyz candidate.  I consider it a nuisance and just don’t open for them.  So I’m glad tomorrow is election day and then they’ll leave me alone to watch my marathon tv shows.

This election day is such a conundrum for me because both of the major candidates are skeezy.  Which leaves me with the third party candidate, and that’s kind of like throwing my vote away.  Usually, I know exactly who I’m going to vote for but this time, I’m really not sure.  I feel like I’ll be at the booth and just select impulsively.  Last minute quick decision.  Maybe that’s the best way to choose.  Go with the gut.

Fantasy Football Week 6

This week I’ll be playing against the Flea Bitten Varmints (formerly known as the House Rabbits). For those of you that don’t know, their owner has decided to change the team name hoping to inspire the same out of Dan Snyder. The new team name isn’t official, but I can only assume this was the one logical alternative. I just want everyone to know that when I put the beatdown on them I will do it compassionately.

I want to clear the air from any confusion from those who I think I might be trying to eat them (those earlier “in the pot you go” remarks, who said that?). Even though I have a new cast iron pot up to the job, the fleas have beat me to it and ruined that tasty tasty meat. This will be more like the compassionate act of Old Yeller being put down at the end of the movie.

Their last hopes of stealing this victory were pretty much sealed Thursday night by stacking the lineup with Bears players against the hapless Giants. Yes, Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall racked up 30 pts between them, my Leafs capped every scoring drive off with Robbie Gould putting the field goals and extra points. As the Fleas owner must have been watching this game feeling conflicted on every drive, hoping her players yards would get them just out of field goal range, or some how hoping they would go for the 2 point conversion.

Today at 4:05pm we’ll all be watching the one even more uneven unfair matchup of the mighty Peyton Manning (Leaf’s starting QB) with Eric Decker (Leaf’s starting WR) attempting to run up the score to over 50 pts for a third straight week. Run out the clock and just have Peyton hand it off you say? Hand it off to my RB Knowshon Moreno you mean leaving my fantasy team likely to invoke the mercy rule. And what will be the Varmints response on QB, Cam Newton? Seriously, are they even trying anymore? Great choice, if this was 2 years ago. Was John Elway not available? According to Sportsxchange “QB Peyton Manning has more touchdown passes (20) and a higher completion percentage (75.8) and passer rating (136.4) through the first five games of a season than anyone else in league history.” I believe they also went on to quote Mr. Manning as saying he’ll gladly pile on the points though I can’t find that reference at the moment.

Think the Rodents might be saved by WR Larry Fitzgerald? Check again and you’ll notice he’s listed as Questionable for this weeks game. For those of you smart alecs out there, that’s his INJURY STATUS, not his sexuality (not that there would be anything wrong with that. In fact I’d commend him for it if he were coming out of the closet, but he is just less likely to put up big numbers or even play – get your mind out of the gutter). Also, less threat from the Cardinals will make things even better for the SF defense owned by none other than, you guessed it, this one (me pointing at myself).

Note I’ve also got T.Y. Hilton from the Colts this week playing against SD. Does South Dakota even have a team, let alone anyone that can stop my players? I think not! Also, don’t overlook LeSean McCoy. While he has been averaging 14.90 points per game, the Eagles will be without Dog Killer at QB who has been stealing my RB’s yards, but not this game so I expect double the points from him this week.

Trivia time folks, do you remember when Peyton Manning was drafted who was drafted right after him?


Seems like the only thing on the news these days.  Gubment shutdown.  I thought the metro would be a ghost town around here.  It’s not.  Rush hour is sometimes still crowded enough to have some standing room only moments.  However, I noticed they’re running just 6 car (as opposed to 8 car) trains, even at peak times so that might have something to do with that.

I didn’t think this day would come but lo, it has.  It’s such an odd situation because I used to hear about such events and think, wouldn’t that be fun?  And part of me is giddy about a snow-day like event where nobody shows up!  Yippee!  But part of me feels like dang, this is just weird, in a bad sort of way.

Tomorrow, I’ll be going out for lunch with a friend at Bonchon.  Yes I mostly avoid meat to be healthier, but then have fried chicken every other week.  But see?  Friday?  Doing what’s usually a weekend activity is weird.  It’s a positive and fun activity but it’s at the expense of a lot of waste.