Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Happy Campers

It's summer so start using up your vacation time because we are going CAMPING! Come join the fun of Nature-Gone-Wild the weekend of July 16th (update: now likely leaving July 21 and back July 23) at the Nordhouse Dunes. Camping, hiking, swimming, cookouts, and canoeing plus the company of good friends... and strangers too if they read this post. Nordhouse Dunes are on the upper west side of Michigan about a 4 to 5 hour drive from Ann Arbor. Check here for a map. I have the whole week off so as long as there are people there I will be camping. Check back here for more updates or call me here: Rob 734-975-4404.

throw a tomato fest - coming this august!

ever want to throw around a bunch of tomatoes with a bunch of shirtless men in spain? Well then click here.






Tiffany Tomato

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Life of a Vegetarian in a Meat-Eating World

Hello. My name is Rob and I am a Vegetarian.

Yes, I said Vegetarian. Not self-righteous hippie, flaming homosexual or country hating left-wing liberal. However, some people still seem to think that the word Vegetarian must imply one or all of these labels. As was the case, yet again, as I was enjoying a recent meal with some friends. While shoving a kielbasa into his mouth, a friend stopped long enough to question my sexuality and then suggest that I must be part of the female anatomy because I don't eat meat. Since there had been several beers consumed and I was the only vegetarian present I chose to laugh off the insult rather then get into a heated debate. However, the comments stuck with me along with all of the other sarcastic remarks I have received since giving up meat. This led me to an article I had read about being a Veggie in a world of Carnivores. I think it illustrates quite well what it is like.... without being too preachy of course. -Enjoy.

The Life of a Vegetarian in a Meat-Eating World
by Rob Daugherty

After my first year of teaching, I took advantage of the summer off and drove across the USA. It may surprise you, but there are people in our modern world that really don’t know what a vegetarian is. I stopped at a diner deep in the heart of cattle country, where healthy eating is trimming the fat off the steak and sopping the gravy with wheat bread instead of white. When I asked if they had any vegetarian dishes the waitress responded, “Oh sure! Turkey or chicken?”

 I smiled politely, shook my head, and ordered what some of my friends call ‘rabbit food’ (a tossed salad). After a loud clanging of pots and pans, the waitress arrived at my table with a sheepish grin, “The cook tossed the salad alright - all over the floor.” Then she leaned in to whisper, “It’s probably better anyway. Most people around here don’t eat lettuce unless it’s on their burgers and I’m sure the stuff was a few days old.”

 What’s a vegetarian to do? I was starving and the nearest town was 70-80 miles away. I searched the menu and found the “heart attack on a plate”-deep-fried mushrooms, onions, zucchini, okra... beer-battered whatever. Instead of these or a casket of fried mozzarella sticks (did I just say ‘casket’? Freudian slip), I was happy to choose mashed potatoes, homemade macaroni and cheese, and green bean casserole. Not a bad meal, I thought, as a few folks glanced my way from beneath John Deere caps and cowboy hats.

 After eyeing this odd stranger for a bit, the waitress yelled across the counter, “You’re a veg’tarian? How come you don’t eat meat?” The room became silent. Eyes slowly lifted. Trigger fingers itched. My cautious response was heard by all: “I don’t eat meat because each time we ingest the flesh of a once living being, our souls slightly weaken, making it more difficult to achieve enlightenment.”

 The waitress stared at me blankly, but I felt the booth behind me shake. “You saying I’m going to HELL because I eat MEAT?” I escaped thanks to the conveniently greasy floor between myself and a very large belt buckle. I realized on my way out that telling the full truth every time in every setting is NOT the best thing. I made a personal pact as I saw a small crowd of flannel shirts and cowboy boots through the dust in my rear-view mirror: to make my explanations for not eating meat fit the circumstances. My next opportunity came a few weeks later.

 I was in northern California, home of the redwoods, Bigfoot, environmentalists and crusaders for legalizing marijuana. I had chosen a hip-looking café for lunch. After they saw my east coast license plates, an appropriately hip-looking group invited me to join them. This time I was prepared. “I’m a vegetarian because it bothers me that there are people starving to death while we waste 16 pounds of grain to make one pound of beef. Why not use those 16 pounds of grain to make 16 pounds of food?” I began to feel the warmth of admiration and continued with even more passion, “If Americans ate just 10% less meat, the amount of grain saved would feed the starving of the world.” The cool people with eyebrow rings and tattoos nodded with approval as they ordered veggie burgers and plates of steamed vegetables. I left this town high on hipness, surfing the sea of cool.

 Sometimes, though, no matter what I say, no matter how many points I make, I am wrong. Wrong wrong wrong, dammit. Such a time came one evening, as I was having dinner with a friend and her buff, thick-haired, knows-everything-because-his-daddy’s-a-doctor, drives-a-BMW boyfriend. When my friend asked if I was still a vegetarian, I was laughed at and subjected to a lengthy tirade about what a complete imbecile I was. After my usual brief explanations were shot down, I had heard enough. I began MY tirade…

“You need to eat meat because you’re a serious athlete? The strongest animals in the world - elephants and gorillas to name but two - are herbivores. Studies have shown that most people eat too much protein and this blocks the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals. All amino acids can be supplied by plant sources alone and fiber comes only from plants. A vegetarian diet isn’t healthy?” I picked up speed. “Vegetarians are less likely to form kidney or gall stones, have lower risk of getting osteoporosis, have drastically lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and almost no heart disease. Cancer death rates for vegetarians are one-half to three-quarters of those of non-vegetarians. The most respected oncologist in my town is a vegetarian and raised his children that way. Hmmm… I wonder why? Maybe he’s just not all that educated on the subject...”

To my surprise, a young woman sitting behind us interrupted me: “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation. I just published an article on chicken farms and the beef industry. If you saw how disgusting and unsanitary things are, if you had any compassion whatsoever for animals, you’d never eat flesh foods again.”

I think Mr. Studmuffin was overwhelmed by all the reasons not to eat meat, but he wasn’t giving up. He tried another angle. “But what do you eat? There’s really nothing but salad and vegetables.” He continued in a condescending, belittling manner, “What would you do at business or social functions if you don’t eat meat? Or you’re on the road and in a hurry?” He looked at me as though I must not get out much.

“Nothing to eat?” It was my turn for condescension. I smiled sympathetically. “The variety of foods is limited only by one’s lack of creativity.” I began speaking quickly with little pause between sentences. I was inspired.

“Let’s start with Italian. Any kind of pasta will work. On pizza you have onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, pineapple... you name it. Mexican-there’s nothing better than a free bowl of warm tortilla chips and salsa while I wait for my bean burrito, cheese and onion enchilada, refried beans, and Spanish rice. Chinese? Vegetable Lo Mien, vegetable stir-fries--broccoli, snap peas, leeks, carrots, those tiny corn cobbies served over rice... even egg rolls. Oh, and don’t forget Indian restaurants.

  “But if I have a meeting in a good old hot dogs, apple pie establishment? Hmmm… I love grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches. And soup... do I love soup! Tomato, broccoli and cheese, corn chowder, cream of potato, vegetable rice, minestrone, vegetarian split pea...

“You can order a submarine sandwich - or ‘grinder’ if you live in the northeast - and fill it with lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, carrots and olives. You can completely forget that you used to put a slice of meat on the thing.

  “You’ve got breads and grains in general. You’ve got hummus, peanut butter, nuts, legumes... sorbet, frozen yogurt, watermelon, bananas, strawberries… I shouldn’t mention some foods but I will: chocolate, cinnamon rolls, donuts, ice cream, potato chips, biscuits, baklava, cheesecake, pudding…

“While we’re on the subject of deadly foods, what options does a vegetarian have in fast food restaurants other than french fries and salad? Veggie Whoppers and grilled cheese are on some Burger King menus. McDonald’s cheeseburgers are actually quite good without the meat. Wendy’s offers vegetable pitas and baked potatoes. Kentucky Fried Chicken has corn-on-the-cob, mashed potatoes, green beans, and excellent potato wedges. You can order Taco Bell bean burritos, rice, and Nachos Supreme or Mexican Pizza without the meat.

 “And if you can’t live your life without the taste of meat, vegetarian ‘meats’ now taste so much like the real thing you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference. Chicken patties, chicken nuggets, hamburger patties, ham and cheese rolls, sausage, bacon, hot dogs - you actually know what’s in the veggie ones - and more.”

 By the time I’d finished, I had an audience begging for more and a BMW guy openmouthed and speechless. I left the premises amongst applause and with the satisfaction of knowing that another opinionated butt-wipe has been set straight by my brilliance.

 My mother-in-law (notice the transitional element) is annually offended that we don’t eat her slaved-over-for-hours Thanksgiving turkey. She has often chided me for raising my children as vegetarians. “You should let them eat right until they are old enough to decide on their own.” My response is that I wholeheartedly agree! When my children are old enough to increase their chances for disease by choosing less healthy foods, they can do so. Until then, I have the responsibility of providing them with their best chance for good health.

I’ll admit that before switching some ten years ago, I thought that being a vegetarian meant I would eat only salads, tofu, fruits, and bread. I thought that I would die of meat-withdrawal symptoms, quickly tire of leafy green vegetables and go crazy as I fruitlessly (no pun intended) search for places to eat. On the contrary, I’ve found that it’s actually quite easy to simply not add meat to my meals.

And if you’re ever deep in the heart of cattle country and you find yourself waist-deep in cowboy boots and belt buckles, remember the lessons learned; cater your answer to those around you. “My mother died just last year from eating bad meat, OK?” And then cry. Crying while mentioning your mother ALWAYS does the trick!

Rob Daugherty has managed to live an active lifestyle for the last ten years as a vegetarian despite dire warnings from the neighbors and in-laws. As much as he tries to eat perfectly he still has a weakness for pineapple and onion pizza and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. For more humor and enlightenment, check out Rob’s short stories on his two sites www.manlythoughts.com  and www.hypnosite.com

This article appears in New Renaissance, Volume 11, Number 1. Copyright © 2002 by Renaissance Universal, all rights reserved.  Posted on the web on March 2002.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Q: What is best in life? A: Wiffleball!

WIFFLEBALL: Gift from the Gods?

This question is still being debated by religious leaders and historians around the world. The only thing that we know for sure is that it is really, really FUN! The new season is in full swing (sorry, bad pun) so come out and catch the fun (oof, another pun) before the season comes to a close. Join in our friendly game every Thursday night (or any that you can). No skill or talent is required. Bring yourself, your kids, your parents, grandparents, neighbors, pets, friends (real or imagined), it doesn’t matter. If they WANT to play they CAN play. The only rule is No Meanies! So if you are a poor sport, like to yell, put other people down, or are in any other way just unpleasant to be around, we suggest looking for something else to do on Thursday nights. Anger management classes perhaps. The whole point of Wiffleball is to have fun. After all, isn't that what the Gods had intended? (The last comment does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Wiffleball council)
Hope to see you there!


The Wiffleball Facts:

Where: Wurster Park, Ann Arbor. 4th Street and W. Madison. Need a map? Just e-mail robt@giddyup.com for one.

When: Every Thursday starting at 6:30.

Why: Because it’s fun.

FAQ’s:

Q: What is Wiffleball?
A: It’s softball with a plastic ball and bat.

Q: What do I need to bring?
A: Just yourself. We will supply the equipment.

Q: What happens if it rains?
A: If it is too lousy to play then the players move to Leopold Brothers for Foosball, Pool, boardgames or just binge drinking. This is also the home for most After Parties.

Monday, June 20, 2005

One of our bloggers gets noticed...

Hey all, one of our own was a feature story on the front page of treehugger.com. I'll give you a hinTT, iTT wasn'TT me.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I think I would run out of ink

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

3 sheets to the wind

does anyone have any idea where this phrase came from?
Andy? You're full of useless knowledge.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Mmm....SPAM!

No, I'm NOT talking about the processed meat in a can or making some sort of Monty Python reference. I'm talking about everyone's favorite side dish...e-mail SPAM! Yummy yum yum. It seems that you just can't enjoy the internets without a heaping helping of this stuff shoved down your throat. However, it seems that someone has decided to play with their food. With such great subject lines like,"U are Stupid Dumbass If U Pay Retail Price For Softwares mentioned" and "can't beat this....ox" artist Steven Frank created Spamusement.com. Now you can see all of you favorite SPAM in cartoon form... It's much funnier than it sounds.
Check it out!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Movie Review?



So what did you all think of Episode III? I've heard various reviews but not necessarily from this crowd (and didn't many of you get paid to see it). I saw it (for free I might add) last night. I've heard some mention the horrendous acting, writing, and directing. Did they miss all the other 5 episodes? Frankly, that's never been a strong suit of the series. In the end, there's not much we can all do in this matter, we just have to take what they've given us so I just sat back with an open mind and enjoyed the ride. I felt like it was fun and bridged the story and was quite impressive visually. No real surprises but how can there be, we sort of knew how it had to turn out. I sort of like Ewan as Obi. I definitely liked some modern day political undertones that seemed to be in there, anyone else agree? Favorite line "Only the Sith think in absolutes". All and all, I'd say all 6 episodes were way better in our imaginative minds then they present themselves on film - that is, Lucas sort of lucked into where he is today i.e. very rich person. But I say oh well, as long as we all had fun. I think I will always be a fan of the original trilogy. With this episode, I was able to have some fun though unlike the first 2 that blew chunks. Let's just hope Lucas never tries to make anything else along the Star Wars story line.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Alright, who's the thief?


So this American Apparel store is under construction downtown A2 next to the Michigan Theater, not a local merchant but next best thing perhaps. Anyway, I saw these easy-on-the-eyes posters the day they put them up earlier in the week on the outside of the construction site. (I can't find the same pictures on their website but you kind of get the idea from the pic above.) Apparently later that night someone stole the posters. So who's the thief? Andy?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Cuke Skywalker


You will check this out. May the farm be with you.
(You might as well check out The Meatrix while you are at it.)