Re: The war of all against all

1

Wrongshore characterized SF culture as fattening? 'Cause now I want some cupcakes.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 4:47 PM
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In the rest of the US cupcake lovers are persecuted. It's a good thing that that have a safe place where they can just be themselves.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 4:49 PM
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Would a vegan under the proposed taxonomy eat a fertilized egg?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:12 PM
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Maybe qua incipient animal, but not qua egg.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:22 PM
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Wrongshore characterized SF culture as camp. The summer kind, not the Sontag kind.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:30 PM
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The hipster vogue for cupcakes almost makes them turn to ashes in your mouth. (The cupcakes, not the hipsters.)


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:35 PM
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Huh, maybe cupcakes really are a hipster thing. My mom keeps talking about how cupcake places are this new, weird thing that my generation does. For some reason this irritates me enough to constantly be arguing with her about whether this is a real trend.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:37 PM
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Your mom is SO RIGHT, teo, that you, by virtue of holding the contrary position, are wrong.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:38 PM
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6: Has anyone read Christopher Noxon's book Rejuvenile? I think we're both intrigued by the same trend -- dodgeball! cupcakes! calling yourselves "the kids" even though you don't live with your parents!

But I gather he thinks it's a sign of a free spirited creative approach to life, and it strikes me as the desire to abdicate adult responsibilities.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:39 PM
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I like cupcakes. Does this make me a hipster?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:41 PM
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It does not, young teo.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:41 PM
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10-4.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:43 PM
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I love cupcakes. I make good cupcakes, too. They and brownies are the exceptions to the rule that I do not bake.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:46 PM
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The cupcake trend here started in coffee shops that were already selling pastries. Is that not the case elsewhere?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:48 PM
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Your mom is right, teo.

In Pittsburgh alone.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:50 PM
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15 to 14


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:50 PM
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15: Does the Pittsburgh example still count if I know one of the parties involved? From what I've heard, this is a very conscious attempt to ride the baking zeitgeist.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:56 PM
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That LA/SF thread was madness! Madness!

Also, when Saiselgy travels around Europe, he seems to only bring elementary economics textbooks with him for reading material. The world has enough advocates for the majesty of market prices.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:57 PM
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Also the cupcakes are too big. Cupcakes should be smaller. Like they used to be. The cupcakes from the grocery store are the exact right size.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 5:58 PM
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The cupcake trend here started in coffee shops that were already selling pastries. Is that not the case elsewhere?

In Albuquerque they seem to have started from scratch as cupcake places. Perhaps inspired by trends elsewhere?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:00 PM
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Cupcakes should be demitasse size.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:00 PM
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19: The cupcakes at the preeminent Twin Cities cupcake emporium, which is called, wait for it...Cupcake, are regular old-fashioned size. They also cost $2.50 a piece. They're pretty good, but the ones from the fancy grocery store are pretty much their equals and cost a dollar less.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:01 PM
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Well of course they're following the zeitgeist, #17, the cupcake trend started in LA like six years ago.

Also, I think Pgh is just now reaching the apex of Ugg boot wearership.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:02 PM
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||

Norm Coleman is Trying To Steal The Election -- What You Can Do About It

|>


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:02 PM
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We have one place that sells tiny cupcakes with enormous blobs of dry icing, and another place that sells bigger-than-normal cupcakes with moderate amounts of good icing. Both of them charge $2.50 per cupcake. The former one is now opening a second store to sell non-cupcake entities.

Haven't visited Vanilla Pastry Warehouse yet.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:04 PM
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regular old-fashioned size

I.e. about 8 fl oz, served in a tumbler, as an Old Fashioned would be?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:06 PM
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Norm Coleman will have to pry my cupcake from my cold, dead hand.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:06 PM
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26: Quite.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:07 PM
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Cupcakes should be just big enough to fill a champagne glass...


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:12 PM
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Cupcakes should be demitasse size.

More than a mouthful is too much.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:13 PM
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bacon in a cupcake, vegan, hopefully it was not sweet
i just feel that it's great how people can have so much will power to make a whatever decision and keep sticking to it, not cupcakes, but vegan vegetarians or any other self-classifying


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:13 PM
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Curse you, TJ.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:13 PM
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Apparently we're playing too.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:15 PM
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so much will power

It's not necessarily will power, read. I genuinely dislike the taste of meat. Admittedly, it baffles some vegetarians when I say I'd eat a hamburger tomorrow if I woke up with a taste for one. It's just that past experience suggests I won't wake up with such a taste.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:20 PM
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I've actually lost most of my taste for meat, although I still eat it at functions when it's in pastas or whatever. Slabs of meat are particularly unappetizing; I think because my digestive system shuts down.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:22 PM
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I went to a bar,
And I asked for some cake,
He gave me some flour,
And he taught me to bake.

Hallelujah, I'm a bum,
Hallelujah, bum again,
Hallelujah give us a handout
And revive us, again!


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:25 PM
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I would eat a hamburger today if I had a taste for one on Tuesdsay.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:28 PM
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I would eat a hamburger if it cured world hunger, no question.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:31 PM
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I would cure a hamburger if it ate world hunger, yes answer.


Posted by: BIZARRO HEEBIE-GEEBIE | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:33 PM
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If you cut cupcake in half along the horizontal axis and then used it as hamburger bun, that would be weird. Maybe not not if were a bacon cupcake.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:35 PM
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i get it, maybe food is the easiest choice to make, i for example can't eat anything with corn, if i were starving i would eat it of course, otherwise i won't just pick up anything with corn to eat
if i would decide to become a vegetarian, i would immediately crave meat perhaps, though i go without eating it 2-3 weeks
or if i decide to not read unfogged, for example, i would check it very often etc, total lack of self-control
it would be interesting to read how people control their will power


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:39 PM
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i ate a hamburger today, some frozen one
and this post inspired me to eat a slice of banana bread which was not sweet so have to eat something with guava, which was very like too sweet, but it gave me the energy to comment i guess
keep eating when home


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:47 PM
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41: See Dale Pendell, PharmakoGnosis "The Psychedelic Properties of Maize".
Maybe read is the only one of us who's not constantly tripping. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:54 PM
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d, fine


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 6:55 PM
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Here in LaLaLand, we have cupcake shoppes suing other cupcake shoppes over - wait, drum roll - dots. Yes, dots. Sprinkles, a Beverly Hills cupcake emporium, has a trademarked circle-on-a-circle, color-coded piece of candy on their cupcakes [modern dots"]. They're suing a place that had polka dots on its website and packaging. I'm waiting for them to notice that Wonderbread has been using dots on their packaging...

I have not experienced the other shop's cupcakes, but I must say I was underwhelmed by Sprinkles.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 7:02 PM
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it would be interesting to read how people control their will power

You. just. stop.

There was at least one thread here about it.

Cupcakes, eh, not so much a fan. Nor doughnuts, aka donuts. It's a fad, people!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 7:07 PM
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Now the donut fad, that one I'm not aware of. Unique to wherever parsimon lives (Minneapolis?)?


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 7:08 PM
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Donuts are a time tested pastry, and, unlike cupcakes, are not a fad.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 7:11 PM
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Canadia.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 7:12 PM
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There was at least one thread here about it.
i'd love to read it if there is a link
today's fortune reads 'trust noone'
very fitting


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 7:12 PM
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Now pizza, that's a fad.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 7:12 PM
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Every culture has fried dough.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 7:13 PM
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52: not the Chukchi.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 7:15 PM
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Grace in Los Angeles is known for their donuts.

My wedding will have a donut dessert in honor of those served once upon a time at the Catskill resort from whose founding family my bride is descended. Yeah, I'm marrying Jewish royalty in exile, but still.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 7:15 PM
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47: I wasn't referring to donuts per se as a fad, though it's true there's a rather popular newish place here featuring nothing but hot fresh donuts the toppings for which you can choose yourself. Pretty damn good, they say, if you like donuts.

This place, whose website appears to be a video which I haven't watched.

But no, I meant that embracing childhood treats is a fad.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 7:18 PM
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54: As long as no one puts Baby in the corner . . .


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 7:21 PM
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Isn't nostalgia a permanent and important part of American culture? Childhood something or other will always be in the midst of a revival.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 7:37 PM
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57: The key to my American Studies major was learning when to point out that things had actually been like this all along and when to point out that things were radically different from what had come before. It was always one or the other.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 7:46 PM
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59

Sounds like the history of philosophy.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 7:50 PM
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60

Is it "vee-gan" or "vay-gan"?


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:07 PM
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"bah-hee-na"


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:10 PM
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Yesterday I baked vegan cupcakes for a vegan potluck celebrating a friend's birthday. And I brought frosting in a ziplock bag so that I could first bicycle through the snow carrying the whole set of things in my bag and then frost them after I got done with my "racism and sexual violence" workshop which took place in a very chilly radical theater space. It was much the DFH-est day I'd spent in ages. The cupcakes were highly praised and rapidly consumed--vegans are starved for good baking, in my experience. Most vegan baked goods might as well be made out of damp cardboard. (I'm vegan now, sadly.) (The culture of veganism...boy, don't get me started.)

But I loathe and despise the kitschy culture of hipster baking , especially hipster cupcake baking--"oh look, we're so youthful and insoucient yet attractively ironic and vaguely decadent, as testified to by our enthusiasm not for an honest decent cake such as we might have enjoyed as children or even for a horrible twinkie, the same, but for an amped-up haute sugary lump with a witty name". This for example makes me cry tears of hatred, even though I'm told that the recipes are good.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:16 PM
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The cupcake trend is of a piece with the craft trend and the knitting trend and a general trend towards all things retro. I mean, cupcakes are okay. But it's not like they're any more okay than most other baked goods.

That said, it doesn't bother me that they're trendy, but then I am not a self-loathing hipster like W-lfs-n.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:23 PM
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On the other hand, and just for the sake of complicating things, I find the trend of vegan baked goods really irritating.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:26 PM
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Most vegan baked goods might as well be made out of damp cardboard.

Surprisingly enough, there's some line of cookies or other vended at one of my fav. working cafes which are vegan and quite good.

That said, it doesn't bother me that they're trendy, but then I am not a self-loathing hipster like W-lfs-n.

(a) It doesn't particularly bother me that cupcakes are trendy. I mean, I got a lot of cupcakes out of the deal today, and some of them were even good.
(b) I'll cop to self-loathing but not to hipsterdom.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:28 PM
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I just got done watching a movie with Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan. You think cupcakes are retro?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:29 PM
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I'll cop to self-loathing but not to hipsterdom self-knowledge, apparently.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:30 PM
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But the valence of the retro-ness is so, so...so irritating. For instance, I love to embroider. And I've always admired this really lovely botanical alphabet pattern my mother got some time in the late sixties or early seventies. She didn't finish it until about 1982, but it's gorgeous--realistic renderings of an interesting and unusual selection of flowers and their names, an attractive font, a simple classic border. We have it framed and it's about the prettiest thing in the house. I'd love to find a pretty, old-fashioned kit to embroider (and yes, I design my own but I'm not that good at it) but all I can find on the damn internet is either horrible cute country designs or awful stich'n'bitch preciousness. I don't want a pattern of tiny skulls and vintage kittens, or a ring of pin-up girls, or an adorable atomic-age martini glass with fully-rendered olive; I just want something old-fashioned and nice. Old fashioned as opposed to retro, I guess.

This bothers me more than it should, maybe.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:30 PM
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I think I need to wear more expensive clothing to be a hipster. But I love cupcakes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:31 PM
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I find the trend of vegan baked goods really irritating

I have no issues with vegan baked goods... as long as no one expects me to eat them.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:31 PM
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Not you too, Josh!

This is slander, calumny. It's more than I can bear.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:32 PM
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68: stitch

Surprisingly enough, there's some line of cookies or other vended at one of my fav. working cafes which are vegan and quite good.

That is surprising. I've had some good strong-flavored vegan cookes (ginger; molasses) but other kinds seem to get kind of candied if they don't get dry and crumbly. I plan to turn my attention to this matter as soon as I've worked out a coconut ginger cake recipe.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:33 PM
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You think cupcakes are retro?

Totally. They're all up there with oilcloth aprons and women (admit it) starting businesses selling labor-intensive crafty things that no one really *needs*.

68: You can't find old-fashioned embroidery patterns anywhere? I'm surprised.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:34 PM
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I think the secret to decent "vegan" baked goods is that they simply be baked goods which happen to be vegan rather than actually being "vegan baked goods," if you get my drift.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:35 PM
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W-lfs-n's not a hipster. A nerd, perhaps. Possibly a geek or a dork. But certainly not a hipster. Nerds, geeks, and dorks are "cool" nowadays but not "hipster cool". It's a different thing.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:36 PM
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74: loud and clear.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:37 PM
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I'm not sure how vegan baked goods would work chemically. But I've heard there are good vegan chocolate cupcake recipes, so I guess someone's worked it out.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:37 PM
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73: Well, not the kind I'm looking for. There are pretty embroidery patterns around, but I'm looking for one with a lot of satin stitch rather than chain stitch, and satin stitch isn't fashionable--it's tricky, it's not mid-century, it takes a lot of time and it's not something that works well for practical goods like towels or pillowcases.

Strangely, this book has some really nice examples of satin stitch in it--the best of which seem to have been done by a convent-schooled woman who later went to jail (IIRC, a drug charge) and thus had a lot of time to spend embroidering.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:38 PM
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75: Surely the categories aren't mutually exclusive.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:39 PM
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79: Hm. I guess I have a narrower definition of "hipster" than you (and a number of others) do.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:41 PM
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81

They may not be mutually exclusive but in this case they don't coincide.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:41 PM
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Of course not, Benjamin.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:42 PM
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A vegan secret: many vegans feel that regular sugar isn't actually vegan (bone char in the bleaching process in many cases) and thus they use raw cane sugar, which doesn't dissolve well. This causes texture problems. And of course one can't use egg whites for body.

The real trick is the leavening--my base recipe is a varient on war cake which uses oil and vinegar plus baking soda. It's particularly successful as an orange or lemon or pineapple cake since the acidic juice helps it rise. I'm trying to figure out how to make a good coconut cake with this base, compensating for the increased fat and decreased acid.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:42 PM
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War cake! If only Goering had known!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:46 PM
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81-2: One difference is that "hipster" is a negative label. I can't imagine anyone positively self-identifying with the category, which is not the case with, say, "nerd". Lots of people self-identify as nerds.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:46 PM
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Of course not, Benjamin.

I am a unique snowflake!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:47 PM
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It is difficult to give a precise definition of a hipster, because hipster culture is a "mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes and behavior[s]." One commentator argues that "hipsterism fetishizes the authentic" elements of all of the "fringe movements of the postwar era--Beat, hippie, punk, even grunge," and draws on the "cultural stores of every unmelted ethnicity" and "gay style", and "regurgitates it with a winking inauthenticity" and a sense of irony.

Wikipedia


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:47 PM
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many vegans feel that regular sugar isn't actually vegan

This explains the "vegan sugar" I saw at the supermarket the other day. I thought it was a joke, like zero-calorie water.

Didn't the cupcake trend start in New York with Magnolia, popularized by "Sex and the City"? In any case, I like cupcakes because they're cake and delicious.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:47 PM
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I can't imagine anyone positively self-identifying with the category

Right, including Ben. But we all know that hipsters do, indeed, exist.

Anyway, whatever. I like a lot of hipstery things. I totally have an Anne Taintor bag, so there.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:49 PM
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I am a robot hipster. Or a hipster-destroying robot. One of those.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:51 PM
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many vegans feel that regular sugar isn't actually vegan

Jesus pete. Being vegan often seems like one long exercise in making things as goddamned inconvenient for oneself as possible.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:53 PM
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I only identify with hipsters ironically.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:53 PM
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Some regular sugar is cleaned up using lime water, according to francois-xavier.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:55 PM
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Vegans.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:56 PM
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A vegan secret: many vegans feel that regular sugar isn't actually vegan (bone char in the bleaching process in many cases)

This is the stupidest one I've seen yet. Animals get killed constantly by the machines used to harvest, oh, just about every crop.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:57 PM
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Are there vegans who don't use petroleum products, 'cause, you know, dinosaur blood?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:59 PM
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Animals get killed constantly by the machines used to harvest, oh, just about every crop.

Are you saying that vegans don't know about double effect?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 8:59 PM
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I'm saying that they may try to take their beliefs to the logical extreme, but they will always be inadequate.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:00 PM
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96: I'm pretty sure that that's not necessarily true. That petroleum is dead dinosaurs, I mean.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:01 PM
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I was about to joke "shellac is right out", but apparently it is.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:02 PM
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No one is killing dinos for that purpose, anyway.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:02 PM
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101: A victory for the movement!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:03 PM
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I was about to joke "shellac is right out", but apparently it is.

Vegans probably don't care for Rapeman, either.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:05 PM
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I'm a long lapsed vegan, and I'll cop to being a quasi-hipster. It's just how things worked out for me.

I was at the ,a href="http://nocoastcraft.com/">Craftorama sale on Friday, and while there was nothing there that wowed me there was plenty that was pretty fucking adorable. I choose to gloss my generation's enjoy of childhood aesthetic as a healthy embrace of the idee that we can hold down jobs and raise kids and such, without having to give up the joy of bright colors or stuffed animals or whatever.

However, I find cupcakes misguided because they generally have too high a frosting ot cake ratio for me.

The perfest storm.


Posted by: JPool | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:05 PM
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103: Flour, on the other hand, is acceptable.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:08 PM
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Stupid eggs destroying my ability to type.


Posted by: JPool | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:10 PM
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I find cupcakes misguided because they generally have too high a frosting ot cake ratio for me.

You know, this is true of the new trendy retro hipster cupcakes, and I'm a person who totally loves frosting, even.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:10 PM
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Also, has anyone yet commented on the bacon cupcake idea?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:13 PM
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They're previously attested, actually.

I can imagine it being good. Salty, smoky, sweet.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:16 PM
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After all, bacon + maple syrup is a treat of long standing.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:17 PM
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111

When I were a lad they were called fairy cakes.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:34 PM
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After all, bacon + maple syrup is a treat staple of long standing.

Will I eat it for breakfast ?
Just watch me.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:40 PM
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112 continues to be me.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:41 PM
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Vegan baked goods are awesome. Haters.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 9:55 PM
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Is honey vegan?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 10:00 PM
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Vegan baked goods are awesome.

Butter is awesome. Vegan baked goods are doing the best they can.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 10:00 PM
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I by-and-large self-identify as a hipster. Frequently skinny jeans, nearly all my t-shirts going back several years are from bands or Threadless, and actually I quite like Pitchfork.

If you're going to be close to some subgroup, there are far worse ones. At least hipsters have pretty sweet parties.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 10:01 PM
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If you're going to be close to some subgroup, there are far worse ones.

Enough hating on NAMBLA, PMP. They have sweet parties too.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 10:02 PM
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Butter is awesome. Vegan baked goods are doing the best they can.

God's own truth, right there. Thou shalt not bake without butter.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 10:11 PM
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It's perfectly possible to make good baked goods without butter. Olive oil cakes, for instance, have no butter.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 10:14 PM
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Vegan baked goods are doing the best they can.

Let's hear it for the soft bigotry of low expectations!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 10:18 PM
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Is honey vegan?

Opinions vary. The sort of vegans who won't eat regular sugar generally won't eat honey either.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 10:21 PM
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"The simple fact is that the bees are enslaved."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 10:28 PM
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I haven't read all of the comments yet, but I have to say that I read "SF" as "Science Fiction" and was thus quite confused by this thread.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 10:28 PM
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Real hipster cupcakes.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 10:29 PM
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Unbeknownst to me, vegan cupcakes took over the world two years ago.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 10:35 PM
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"999 items matching cupcake in the vegan with a vengeance (and friends) pool."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 10:38 PM
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Huh, maybe cupcakes really are a hipster thing

OMG, my daughters might be hipsters. And to think I used to be so fond of them.

Other thoughts:
1. If the vegan to whom I offered honey for his tea is typical ("I don't eat honey," he sniffed haughtily, "because it exploits bees"), then non-honey-eating vegans are cunts.
2. Maple meets bacon in baked eggs in maple toast cups.
3. I have just now finished making two pot pies from the very last of the turkey leftovers. They may be the best I've ever made, with a silky velouté, but judgment must be withheld pending pastry results. The suspense is fucking killing me.

[Why, I shoulda shellacked him.] /max


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 10:52 PM
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127: The cupcake lip tattoo in that group is a bit much.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 10:55 PM
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The assertion in the caption that the bearer of the tattoo is vegan seems hard to reconcile with normal notions of veganness.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:00 PM
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130: Perhaps "Cupcake" is her new nickname.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:03 PM
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non-honey-eating vegans are cunts


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:10 PM
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Vegan baked goods are awesome pathetic.



Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:22 PM
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128.3: I am very sad to report that I totally overdid the nutmeg in my own turkey pot pie, which would otherwise have been fabulous. Luckily Mr. B. likes nutmeg a lot, because I won't eat the thing at all.

The stock turned out nicely though, at least.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:23 PM
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If honey isn't vegan because it exploits bees, then isn't all fruit banned because the same process that makes honey is also pollinating the plants? Looks like it's down to celery, potatoes, and corn (wind-driven pollination.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:24 PM
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I'm shocked by all the negative stereotypes about vegans as people.

In my experience, vegans are almost guaranteed to be people who are good at cooking, combining things together and knowing what can and can't be done. Whereas non-vegans almost never do any sort of creative cooking.


Posted by: Crypetc Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:24 PM
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123 missed the boat, which really should dockhere.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:26 PM
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People would eat my cooking more if they weren't so afraid of cayenne pepper.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:26 PM
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136, meet 95.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:27 PM
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People would eat my cooking more if they weren't so afraid of cayenne pepper.

Now that's a term for it I hadn't heard.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:30 PM
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Cayenne improves nearly everything. Pancakes and waffles especially.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:31 PM
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I just watched Logan's Run.

Wow.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:32 PM
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|| Synecdoche New York is a work of genius, maybe one of the greatest movies ever made. At the same time it's sort of oppressive and claustrophobic in its relentless insistence on facing the Meaning of Life and the Presence of Death in practically every frame. And it's clearly made by an almost pathologically depressive person (though it's also extremely funny). It revives the high modernist tradition of art as a kind of parallel humanist theology, but with a wild, playful, anarchic quality (it completely jettisons conventional narrative but somehow maintains a powerful story arc) that feels very fresh. The closest recent movie to it I can think of is I Heart Huckabees, but much less slapsticky, richer, deeper, and more...I don't know, teutonic, operatic, depressive? Anyway, I laughed, I cried, and I'll probably have to see it again, but I'm somewhat apprehensive about the prospect. ||>


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:36 PM
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the second sentence should probably have read "facing the Meaning(lessness) of Life"


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:44 PM
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To me, baking + hipsters = the bread & honey food blog. One look at the knuckle tattoos.....

(I don't want to give a direct link because, well, I actually rather like some of their recipes and I don't want them to think I'm making fun. Even though I am. The site is easy to find, though - just google bread and honey blog. The pictures are your reward.)


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:45 PM
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From the title I'm guessing they're not vegan.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:49 PM
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The link in 137 is priceless. Think of the bees, people.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:51 PM
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146: Nope, but at least one of them used to be.....and vegan recipes do pop up from time to time. While I'm on the subject of vegan food blogs, I must say that vegan lunchbox amused me greatly when it was running on a regular basis. Not that I really wanted to eat much of it, but. (And ain't that the case with most vegan food?)

And I do have to agree with Nid's comment about creativity and vegans - Cafe Gratitude in SF, while somewhat scary in its earnestness, also has some of the most creative dishes I've ever eaten.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:52 PM
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I contest the lexicographical claims linked in 137.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-08 11:56 PM
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145: Meh, so they're people of a certain age and demographic who are really into food (which is part of that demographic, anyway). I don't see what the point of making fun is, aside from the "they're different hahaha" issue.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:00 AM
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|| It took me a second to get today's XKCD.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:00 AM
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|>


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:00 AM
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150: I bet you'd be laughing if they were goths.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:01 AM
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Also, I think Pgh is just now reaching the apex of Ugg boot wearership.

That means they should become available at West Virginia retailers any day now.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:02 AM
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Virginia wears West Virginia like an Ugg boot.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:04 AM
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151: no, it was longer than that.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:06 AM
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150: Point taken, but for me the making fun has something to do with a tendency towards making fun of the combination of earnestness and knowing irony. There comes a point where, for me, the wink, wink retro-cool becomes too much. I don't think they're actually much different from me (minus that attitude) so that's not really the source of teasing about it for me.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:08 AM
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In another case of so San-Francisco-cool that it had to move to Oakland to afford the rent, on Friday I went to a super-earnest street theater reenactment of the last general strike in the history of the USA after which they served mini vegan cupcakes and distributed dollar off coupons to the nearest hipster bar.


Posted by: hipster in name only | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:25 AM
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||

143: I'll see it again with you, PGD. I thought it was profound and wished I'd taken the time to write down some thoughts about it. (Actually, now that I recall, I wrote down a list of structuring oppositions in my little notebook. Yes, it's a goddamn Moleskine. $7 for a 3-pack of tiny paper pads that fit in my purse.)

I also loved Huckabees. Far more than Life Aquatic, which people seemed to split on that year.

While we're on the topic of art, I've been playing 69 Love Songs for my fi in the car, and she loves it, which is gratifying.

|>


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:34 AM
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It's probably a little late in the day to go calling things off on aesthetic grounds.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:37 AM
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Hipster.

Hipster.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:39 AM
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Didn't the cupcake trend start in New York with Magnolia, popularized by "Sex and the City"?

My understanding as well, but that could be caused be typical east-coast centrism.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 6:09 AM
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Whereas non-vegans almost never do any sort of creative cooking.

That's just so cute!


Posted by: Auguste Escoffier | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 6:25 AM
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vegans are almost guaranteed to be people who are good at cooking

This does not describe vegans I have known, who have tended to be as follows.

Anecdata: Some omnivorous friends of mine moved into a vegan household, on the understanding that they would not eat animal products on the premises. This didn't bother them, they were both unfussy eaters.

The first night, dinner was boiled dried beans and overcooked brown rice. The second night, dinner was boiled dried beans and overcooked cous-cous. The third night, they prepared a spread of salads, which were mostly untouched (except by them). Then they called a house meeting, and said, "Look, we don't mind being vegetarian, but can we have some vegetables, please." They moved out soon afterwards.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 6:51 AM
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95: I wish to make clear that I use regular sugar. And indeed, the vegans who do use regular sugar argue that the only possible approach is a harm-reduction one so we're just going to use the regular sugar thank-you-very-much. I tried the vegan sugar (it's at the co-op just like the sugar I generally use) and the resulting cake was so embarassing that I decided to give it up. Although actually about 1/3 vegan sugar to 2/3 regular sugar does give a deeper flavor if that's appropriate for a particular cake. (I'm using a blend to use up what I bought)

The thing is, I was mostly vegan before anyway, so it hasn't been too difficult. And I'm planning on an ugly, unadmitted off-the-wagon dairy binge at Christmas. Because, camembert.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 6:59 AM
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I kind of like the Jain diet as it permits consumption of dairy products but forbids consumption of root vegetables. You get to be all superior to those potato-murdering vegans but you still get cheese. I've partially adopted Jainism in order to justify my dislike for potatoes. That's pretty much to extent of it, though, since I still eat meat. And carrots. But I will not burden my conscience with the silent cries of murdered spuds.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:47 AM
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Re: Embroidery patterns

I don't actually know, because I don't embroider, but with crochet, old patterns back to the nineteenth century are really easy to find on ebay and such (and there are a lot of modern books that just reprint old patterns). This is going to sound like "have you googled?" but do you know the technical vocabulary that describes the sort of pattern you're looking for?

On vegans, I've met both stereotypes -- people who like food, and so who become interesting, creative cooks to get around the difficulty of not having animal products to work with, and people who seem to be vegan partially because it provides an excuse to eat unpleasantly dull and punitively repetitive meals.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:50 AM
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Further on the embroidery -- is the word for the stuff you're doing crewel work?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:24 AM
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Hey Frowner, are you looking for something like this?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:53 AM
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Not exactly (at least based on a quick search of Google images)--less vine-y, more silky, more detailed and naturalistic--but obviously influenced by what I have just leared was a sixties revival of crewel work. That's very helpful indeed. I'd always assumed that crewel work was only wool and not silk, but I was wrong!

Thanks, Unfogged! Or really, thanks, LB.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:57 AM
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169: Almost exactly. Holy mackerel. (That's either a very vegan exclamation or very not vegan, depending on the state of the mackerel). Wow, gee, that looks extremely promising and certainly expands my searching ideas. Thanks!


Posted by: frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:59 AM
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This does not describe vegans I have known, who have tended to be as follows.

That's pretty weird, and totally doesn't match my experience. You sure this lot wasn't into macrobiotic weirdness or whatever?

CN overstated it, but vegans (at least ones who've been at it a while) tend to be reasonable cooks because they don't have many options. I guess there is a subset of vegans who don't care about food....but still I'd say the majority are reasonable cooks.

In the general population, large majority of people are pretty bad cooks in my experience at least.

Which isn't to say the majority of decent cooks are vegan or whatever, of course.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:22 AM
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unpleasantly dull and punitively repetitive meals

I have a friend who seems to be kind of like that - she does dietary restrictions "just for the challenge". She went vegan for Lent (but is an atheist), decided to stay that way, and followed it up by adding in kosher for Passover.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:32 AM
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re: 173

It's very common in teenage girls, I think. Used to piss me off [we were a vegan family for most of my childhood] when girls i knew told me they were 'vegetarian' or 'vegan' when what that actually meant was 'I'm going to be capricious about what I eat, but not actually stick to any dietary restriction other than 'only eat whatever is least convenient for everyone else' with any consistency ...'. I suspect if I hadn't actually been a vegan at the time, I'd have just ignored it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:43 AM
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We have a vegan friend who prepares elaborate food for parties, none of which she can eat. (On Saturday she threw a party with a large table of hors d'oeurves, all with dairy in them.) Plus knowing her personally leads me to believe its a symptom of disordered eating. It is certainly strange and everyone always comments on it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:54 AM
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Cupcake Wars (WaPo - check the charts under the "view all items in this story" link for data).

I like the idea of cupcakes, but I'm too much of a cheapskate to make a habit of them. Also, I dislike frosting except in very small quantities.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:56 AM
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We have a vegan friend who prepares elaborate food for parties, none of which she can eat.

It's as if Tantalus had to plant and tend the fruit trees.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:57 AM
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re: 175

My mum is still veggie [but not a strict vegan anymore, she drinks milk and eats cheese] but cooks meat for guests.

But yeah, I think quite a lot of people who have dietary restrictions -- vegetarianism, veganism, or whatever -- are working out 'issues'. That's unfair on all the people who aren't, of course, who get tarred with teh same brush.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:58 AM
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175: Knew a girl who did that in college -- vegan, with the addition of a medical condition (candida overgrowth) ruling out most vegan food with any significant sugar content, including most fruit and many vegetables. At the time I took it at face value, in retrospect I figure it was an eating disorder.

170, 171: Looking around a little more, maybe you're thinking of 'silk shading' or 'needle painting'? This woman's books look something like what you're talking about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:00 AM
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174: Actually, very common in women (and sometimes men) with eating disorders--"veganism" as a psychological or material cover for basically just not eating very much.

(The fact that if you're fairly thin the vegan lifestyle often makes you a bit thinner only confuses matters. Also the fact that a lot of vegans are really into bicycling, at least around here. I've lost about eight pounds since the end of August while eating fairly large quantities of food, for instance, and that's pretty much due to the change in caloric density of what I eat. No one notices, though, because I'm not actually fairly thin.)

174: You grew up vegan? My goodness. I don't believe I've ever met anyone who did, except for certain toddlers I know.

The thing is, veganism does produce some hostility, and not just because a lot of vegans are self-righteous prats. I'm personally not at all interested in being the food police, don't talk about what others eat except when asked, tend to try a bite of this or that homemade non-vegan thing to be polite, etc, and people still get all up in my grill, so to speak, about food choices. Even some activists do, although there I have the moral superiority thing in my favor.

The fact is, I'm doing something as an individual that I believe should be a sorta-kinda universal practice (not that everyone should be vegan per se, but let's be honest, I do think we shouldn't kill animals for food and I think that getting rid of large-scale commercial food production would require a much less dairy intensive diet...I really do look sadly at the pork roast and think "pigs are affectionate creatures and very smart". (Even though, ZOMG, I really miss dim sum.) I also really am opposed to the sort of "if it feels good, I should be able to do it" line that some people pull out in favor of eating meat. If you really think that animals are totally subject to human dominion and can be killed with impunity, fine, but don't pull any of that "mmmm....I don't care how pigs feel, bacon is so fuckin' good" routine.

I don't think it's productive to hector people, I know that meat-eating has a lot of cultural and emotional weight for people and thus am not interested in judging or making a fuss, I don't like lifestylism, I don't really want other people getting on my case about buying things from Target or doing other hectorable things, etc...But it's always going to be uncomfortable when one person is refusing something for moral reasons, no matter how gentle and laid-back you try to be about it .


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:02 AM
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And on the subject of cooking creatively, one of my birthday presents was The Flavor Bible, the bulk of which is an exhaustive list of food items, each given a thumbnail description and a list of compatible flavors, with the most compatible emphasized, and with multi-flavor-combinations given at the end. Never again will I be stumped by something that looked fascinating at the market, but which I've never cooked before. It's also great for when you wanted to make something and forgot to pick up an ingredient or spice, since you can probably figure out a reasonable substitution based on the lists in the book.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:03 AM
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I know people who eat nothing but food they buy at the 7-11. It's their affirmation of America.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:04 AM
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179: Oooh, pretty. I think my embroidery-related complaints upthread have now been proven groundless--or at least are proven evidence of my lack of google-fu, amazon-fu and general search-engine skills.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:05 AM
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re: 180

We only turned vegan when I was about 9 or 10. I stopped being a vegan when I was about 17 or 18. Although I had occasionally 'slipped' for a year or two before that. I didn't really eat meat regularly though until I was in my 20s -- I learned to cook veggie/vegan food first, and then branched out into meat later.

I still don't eat massive quantities of meat. I eat it regularly but it tends to be fairly small amounts [some bacon lardons in a sauce, etc.] much of the time.

My problem is that while I don't have an ethical problem with eating meat, I don't really live up to the ethical standards I do have either [not all of the meat I buy is good quality stuff that I can be fairly certain is humanely farmed,and I don't doubt some of it is intensively farmed].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:08 AM
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Preen, preen. I can now feel complacent about my search skills.

But I've done the same thing -- you chase down some dead ends, and give up right before you find what you're looking for. And just from poking around this morning, embroidery pages seem oddly poorly organized -- there are a lot of words I kind of know but couldn't define (Hardanger? Blackwork? Berlin work?) and I was expecting to have an easy time finding someone's page defining everying clearly and linking to examples. Most topics, that works pretty well, but embroidery I found I was staying confused.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:11 AM
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re: 180. I know dozens of people who grew up vegan (under some definition). To be fair though, only two of them were random european descent families, the rest are Jains and Sikhs.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:13 AM
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My problem is that while I don't have an ethical problem with eating meat, I don't really live up to the ethical standards I do have either [not all of the meat I buy is good quality stuff that I can be fairly certain is humanely farmed,and I don't doubt some of it is intensively farmed].

This. I don't know if I can even describe my situation as not living up to my own ethical standards -- I don't even remotely approach doing so. But I do think I'd do more if it were easier (that is, I'll buy the humanely farmed meat if I can locate it easily. I'm fairly price-insensitive for this sort of thing, but wildly hassle-sensitive, and buying humane products is a huge hassle.) (We tried to talk our butcher into stocking grass-fed beef. He was not pleased with the idea.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:15 AM
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Like LB, I think that the "food rules in order to challenge myself" or "person I know who always seems to be either vegan or cleansing or on Atkins or whatever" usually = "thinly veiled eating disorder."

I actually have one friend, formerly bulimic, who is quite open about this: that she shifts around in her dietary rules in part because she's got eating disorder issues. I suppose its better than bulimia, but it worries me.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:16 AM
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"person I know who always seems to be either vegan or cleansing or on Atkins or whatever" usually = "thinly veiled eating disorder."

Yeah, this makes sense to me. In fact, I think sometimes people in this boat are far more vocal about it than people who are say, vegetarian to avoid CAFE sourced meat or whatever.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:17 AM
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Whether to be vegan or vegetarian seems like a difficult question about which reasonable people ought to be able to disagree. But honestly, I can't accept as morally serious anyone who isn't in principle a vegatarian, at least.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:18 AM
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Complex and nonsensical dietary taboos have always been a fundamental part of the construction of communal solidarity, usually through religion.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:19 AM
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I'm not sure one has to believe it's okay to kill animals with impunity in order to eat meat. I eat meat, though factory farming and slaughterhouses bother me a lot; I'm not against killing to eat per se, but I am against the "impunity" part.

Once we get moved, I really want to get chickens or ducks for eggs and a deep freezer so's to locate a local producer of pasture-fed meats that pets them to death in the best possible way, from whom I can buy like half a pig or a quarter of a cow or whatever.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:20 AM
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190: I'm not morally serious! But Hitler was.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:20 AM
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that she shifts around in her dietary rules in part because she's got eating disorder issues.

If she's she's being healthy about it (like, obsessively requiring herself to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily), purposefully creating sensible eating rules to obsess over seems like it might be a reasonable way to manage an underlying eating disorder until she can resolve whatever's driving it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:20 AM
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187 describes me too.

At the grocery store, the eggs were either labelled free-range cage-free or labelled hormone-free all natural, but none were both. (Although plenty were neither.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:21 AM
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188: I suppose its better than bulimia, but it worries me.

'Cuz you know she'll be going through that cannibal phase sooner or later.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:22 AM
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But honestly, I can't accept as morally serious anyone who isn't in principle a vegatarian, at least.

Sure, *in principle* I'm a vegetarian.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:22 AM
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(We tried to talk our butcher into stocking grass-fed beef. He was not pleased with the idea.)

I don't know how your conversation went, but people in food industries are often much more receptive to these sorts of idea when couched in terms of personal health, rather than animal welfare. I.e., "I've heard grass-fed beef tends to be leaner and with higher Omega-3 content. I know it's wildly expensive, but I'd be happy to pay extra for it." Rather than "Those poor cows."


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:24 AM
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190: Huh. I'm pretty much at the "Animals eat each other, everything dies somehow, I haven't got a problem with killing for food" bench, and I don't think it's morally unserious. I have trouble with anyone who's unbothered by the treatment of farm animals as it actually exists, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:24 AM
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190: Are you being morally serious, Brock?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:25 AM
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Synecdoche New York is a work of genius, maybe one of the greatest movies ever made.

This could not be more wrong.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:25 AM
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producer of pasture-fed meats that pets them to death in the best possible way

I hope this wasn't a typo, because it's wonderful.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:26 AM
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202: What if it also levied tariffs on poor countries?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:26 AM
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199: agreed.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:27 AM
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198: Actually, we made a straightforward commercial appeal: "We'd buy it, and there's lots of hippie/yuppie/goofy types like us in the neighborhood who are probably getting their meat from Fairway now, but who you could suck in with 'Grass fed beef; humanely raised pork'". And Buck is fairly friendly with Bobby the butcher (Buck is fairly friendly with everyone), so we figured he could be persuasive.

Nope. Bobby's back went straight up, and he rejected the idea cold. Eh, maybe he'll come around.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:27 AM
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199: but animals do all sort of bad things to eat other, no?

Eh, this is an argument not worth having now.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:27 AM
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Whoops, 203 was to 201.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:28 AM
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187/195

You might be surprised at who is showing up at your local markets these days. We usually go shopping on a Saturday for the week, and there are two farmers markets literally on the way to grocers we'd go to anyway, both of which have yard eggs, pastured beef, range chickens, goose, lamb at one of them if I recall correctly, three different cheese places (local) etc.

It's essentially no hassle to stop there on the way. There are three days in the week with similar options. Maybe we're just lucky with location but it's not like this place is known for that sort of thing.

Grocery store eggs mostly all suck, unfortunately. As I understand it, there is a supply line problem to getting better eggs into the system.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:28 AM
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I can get access to pretty decent meat -- organic, grass-fed, whatever -- reasonably easily. Oxford has proper traditional butchers and game is easy to get. It involves a moderate amount of hassle but I'm just lazy and cheap.

Free-range eggs are easy to get, so I do that, I don't eat a lot of battery farmed chicken, but otherwise, I do quite a bit less than I could.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:28 AM
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206 s.b "each other" not "eat other'


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:28 AM
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208: We can get turkey at our farmers market -- the turkey sausage isn't bad, but other than that, who wants to eat turkey? And dairy. But not beef, pork, or chicken.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:30 AM
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We saw Synecdoche New York at a special preview with a Q/A with Kaufman, after which opinions were very clearly mixed. I loved the conceit and the scope, and Philip Seymour Hoffman turned in another one of his stunning performances, but it did feel like it could have been strengthened with a second creative voice pushing back more against Kaufman (director, co-writer, something). There's just so very much of it, all interesting but all very much the same.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:31 AM
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animals do all sort of bad things to eat other, no?

Bad is a human concept. How it applies to animals interacting with other animals is obscure at best.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:31 AM
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The farmers market is open on Tuesdays, and is pretty tiny. Jammies commutes up to Austin and could stop at Whole Foods or Central Market, but again at some hassle.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:32 AM
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I agree with apostropher's 213, but I think it makes his agreement with 199 slightly incoherent.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:35 AM
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209: The situation in UK wrt butchers has consistently been much better than typical in the US.

One of the really annoying things about this stuff is the way the terminology is fluid as big producers pressure to dilute the meaning. For example, iirc, here you want to look for `pastured' labeling on beef these days as `grass fed' is fairly meaningless. I could be mixing that up, though.

I have a pretty constrained diet for reasons of being pissed off at industrial agricultural practices, but I have the luxury of time to implement it without too much trouble (i.e. no kids) and also we like to cook. I can totally understand not doing this for reasons of practicality, but wishing one did more.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:35 AM
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who wants to eat turkey?

What is with all the Turkey hating recently?


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:35 AM
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Also, why did I capitalize turkey? I am not talking about the country.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:36 AM
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The farmer's market down here has all manner of humane and organic meat, and you can also get them at the various crunchy grocery stores. But then this is a fairly hippified area.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:36 AM
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215: But then...I am a vegetarian, but I still can't accept myself as being morally serious.

It is inconceivable to me that a morally serious person wouldn't find a more productive use for his/her time.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:38 AM
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219: Yeah, that sort of thing is unsurprising in, say, the bay area. Here though, it's still pretty easy to find --- and you can't get much less hippified in a major metro than here.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:38 AM
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202: It wasn't a typo. It was me being self-deprecating. Jesus christ, people.

Our farmers market only does fruit and veggies. I think the one up in Ojai does meat, too but I'm lazy concerned about the environmental impact from driving up there.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:38 AM
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Perhaps oddly, I agree entirely with 215.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:38 AM
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What is with all the Turkey hating recently?

Human rights abuses?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:39 AM
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In a weird sort of way, I think I went vegan because I'm lazy and cheap. (Seriously, the good butter? The organic local butter? Over $6 per pound. And I find it perversely easy to drop $5 on a teeny-tiny piece of imported, high-carbon-footprint French cheese. And of course from the laziness standpoint, there were far too many evenings of frozen pizza.)

It's much easier to be lazy and cheap when your fanciest regular ingredient is good olive oil and there's only one realistic choice for butter-like stuff. (Earth Balance 'buttery sticks', baking only, thanks. Garlic spread for bread.)

I cannot even imagine the number of ideological and gastronomic compromises I'd be making if I ate meat, although I suspect that convenience store sandwiches would figure largely. Let me tell you, it wouldn't be me biking all over the city for proper fancy meat; it would be me getting home hungry and buying the SuperAmerica 'Philly Steak' sandwich in the greasepaper wrapper.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:39 AM
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re: 216

Yeah, I pass an all-organic butchers on the way to work. It's also not super-expensive, either. They aren't price competitive on everything, but on a lot of things they are only a pound or two more than the supermarket stuff.

I do go there for game [rabbit, pheasant, etc] and for haggis. I should shop there more for other things.

http://www.mfeller.co.uk/deliveries.htm


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:42 AM
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I agree with apostropher's 213, but I think it makes his agreement with 199 slightly incoherent.

How humans treat non-human animals should be evaluated on a different scale than how non-human animals treat non-human animals.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:42 AM
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215: Not at all, I don't think. One can accept that humans are animals, too and also recognize that there's not some kind of pan-animal moral agreement or anything.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:43 AM
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How humans treat non-human animals should be evaluated on a different scale than how non-human animals treat non-human animals.

What apo means is stop sniffing his butt when you meet him.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:44 AM
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226: The local butcher, especially the local butcher that will carry game from local hunts, is essentially extinct here.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:44 AM
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Human rights abuses?

Fuck that shit, we're talking about animals here. People can stand up for themselves.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:44 AM
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Humane meat is manslaughter.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:46 AM
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225: I can totally see that. Even if your issue is cruelty rather than specifically killing (that is, the principles I would have if I abided by them even vaguely enough to call them principles), you can be sure you're not violating them without too much thought by being vegan, whereas trying to be a humane carnivore is always going to involve a lot of mental effort checking on people.

One of the really annoying things about this stuff is the way the terminology is fluid as big producers pressure to dilute the meaning. For example, iirc, here you want to look for `pastured' labeling on beef these days as `grass fed' is fairly meaningless. I could be mixing that up, though.

I run into this with eggs -- our grocery store carries eggs making all sorts of vague claims relating to humaneness. Cage free? Vegetarian? My lazy reaction is to figure that there's some social benefit to being a sucker -- if I buy the eggs that make the claims, whether or not they actually mean anything, I'm indicating the existence of a market that cares at least somewhat about the issue. And then maybe some reliable system of terminology will develop.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:47 AM
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We saw Synecdoche this weekend and I had the strangest, strangest experience right afterward, walking out of the theater -- I was completely overwhelmed by what seemed like a concentrate of all the emotional content of the movie and my own identifications with Kaufman's depressive outlook. I started crying and couldn't speak properly for a couple of minutes, to the surprise of my boyfriend, who was going on about Diane Wiest. There was something about the combination of the heavy themes, the restrained style, and the surrealism that really got me, but with a five-minute delay.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:47 AM
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re: 230

Yeah. I am quite spoiled, I think. Decent fish is accessible, too.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:47 AM
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"Humane meat is manslaughter."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:47 AM
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229: I sincerely doubt that Apo wants people to stop sniffing his butt.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:48 AM
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It is inconceivable to me that a morally serious person wouldn't find a more productive use for his/her time.

I'd feel differently about this if it were materially difficult to be vegetarian. (Veganism is another story, although not as difficult as people think unless you absolutely have to have imitation cheese or similar, to which, ick.) Seriously--beans, rice, sour cream, cheese, lentils, bread, peanut butter, frozen spinach, apples, carrots, olive oil, spaghetti sauce or canned tomatoes, various pastas, onions, frozen peas, tomatoes, oranges, bananas--all these are not only my rather dull staples but relatively affordable and available (sorta mediocre, I admit, but then so is the meat) at, for heaven's sake, my extremely non-deluxe corner convenience store. (Except the lentils. And I admit that I go to the co-op instead.) I think there are reasonable reasons not to be vegetarian, but "I have more socially significant things to do that keep me from making beans and rice with cheese and salsa" doesn't cut it. I would buy this argument if made regarding veganism, however.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:48 AM
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The strike function on a lower-case e is exceedingly subtle.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:49 AM
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The strike function on a lower-case e is exceedingly subtle.

But very germane.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:57 AM
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I run into this with eggs -- our grocery store carries eggs making all sorts of vague claims relating to humaneness.

I stay on top of these things when it's something we buy. In the US `free range' is essentially a meaningless marketing term, and `vegetarian' or `grain fed' is kind of stupid (chickens aren't vegetarian naturally -- - it tells you they aren't being fed some `bad' stuff, but doesn't tell you much good). What you actually probably want is eggs from chickens that wander around in a yard and eat stuff there, perhaps supplemented a little by the farmer if needed. There is neither agreed upon terminology for this, nor any large scale supply.

`Cage free' is sort of helpful, but not really telling you they haven't been highly constrained, just that the constraint isn't battery-style.

We buy yard eggs pretty much exclusively, but we'd do that regardless because they taste better than anything at the grocery store at any price. If you don't easily have that option, I think you're quite right that you can at least have some market signaling, even if the terms are mushy.

Unfortunately, the signaling can work the wrong way. As I understand it `free range' has become pretty much useless through lobbying of large poultry interests, whereby a protocol is established allowing the label `free range' without having any material change in the chickens lives or feeding relative to non `free range'


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:00 AM
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A butcher that sells meat from animals that were wild and locally hunted? I never even considered that such a thing might exist. Sure, in Cameroon maybe.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:02 AM
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I was completely overwhelmed by what seemed like a concentrate of all the emotional content of the movie and my own identifications with Kaufman's depressive outlook. I started crying and couldn't speak properly for a couple of minutes, to the surprise of my boyfriend, who was going on about Diane Wiest.

The reason I was meeting Andre in the first place was that an acquaintance of mine, George Grassfield, had called me up a couple of days ago and just insisted that I had to see him. Apparently George has been out walking his dog in some odd section of town when he had suddenly come upon a solitary man leaning against a crumbling building sobbing uncontrollably. Well, George was about to walk by rapidly, as one does in New York, when he suddenly realized that man was Andre. . . . Andre had explained to him that he'd been watching the Ingmar Bergman movie Autumn Sonata about twenty-five blocks away, and he'd been seized by a fit of ungovernable crying when the character played by Ingrid Bergman had said, "I could always live in my art, but never in my life."

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:04 AM
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238: Sorry, Frowner, I was being incoherent as usual and so you misunderstood this --

It is inconceivable to me that a morally serious person wouldn't find a more productive use for his/her time.

That was just me mocking myself for commenting here when I should be doing my job.

Or else me mocking myself for having this job with zero social utility...

In any case, it had nothing to do with veganism/vegetarianism.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:04 AM
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242: From what I've seen it's still pretty common in (particularly rural) UK, to be able to get game birds at least from a butcher that way. The butcher can also often tell you what farm their beef or whatever came from, and maybe give you directions to it.

In my experience butchers here in the US today are incredibly ignorant about the sourcing of their products. They can tell you all sorts of things about the cuts, etc., but have no idea at all where it came from or how it was raised. This can go beyond ignorance into active misinformation --- I've heard a butcher extoling the virtue of grain-fed beef to a customer, how this was the `best stuff'. It's astonishing.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:08 AM
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241: Mmm. Buck reminisces about the chickens he kept as a kid all the time (his family was broke, and it was the Rodale press 70's, so there was a serious vegetable garden going on, and the chickens were pest control as well as eggs), and about how good they tasted (described as 'like grass'). That's a downside of a city apartment. There really isn't a place for a chicken coop.

(Are there breeds of chicken that have been bred for quiet, so as to be non-obnoxious to neighbors in close quarters? Non-crowing roosters? Still no good for us on the eighth floor, but people in Queens and the Bronx have back yards.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:10 AM
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grain-fed beef to a customer, how this was the `best stuff'

Yeah, beef-fed beef is the best stuff, because it's pure.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:11 AM
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This can go beyond ignorance into active misinformation --- I've heard a butcher extoling the virtue of grain-fed beef to a customer, how this was the `best stuff'.

Is this false, or just a different standard? I've always believed that grain-fed beef was the 'best stuff' if you don't care about the animal, and you're interested in the tenderest, fattiest meat. Which is one definition of luxury beef.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:11 AM
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I buy these eggs. I fully expect that someone will now tell me that the website is full of giant lies and there is an extremely secret source for accurate information about egg ethics.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:12 AM
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(Are there breeds of chicken that have been bred for quiet, so as to be non-obnoxious to neighbors in close quarters? Non-crowing roosters? Still no good for us on the eighth floor, but people in Queens and the Bronx have back yards.)

Chickens aren't loud. Just don't buy the rooster.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:12 AM
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Portland is to roosters as the FLDS is to humans


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:13 AM
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Portland is to male chickens as the FLDS is to male humans


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:14 AM
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Plenty of information.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:14 AM
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There's a rooster living in a (very urban) backyard a few streets over from us. It's not legal, and it's very loud, and those people must be lucky to have very tolerant neighbors. Maybe they buy neighborly toleration with free fresh eggs.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:18 AM
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That's a downside of a city apartment. There really isn't a place for a chicken coop.

The roof!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:18 AM
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the yellow of the 249 website reminds me the first eggs i ate here, in Orlando, very pale, almost white, i thought what a strange colour for the egg yolk, around NJ the colour's restored to normal deep yellow


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:19 AM
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the normal


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:19 AM
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Yes, I plan to have chickens but no rooster. Who needs roosters?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:21 AM
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Sigh...after I get laid off and thus have lots of time to garden and cook fancy meals from dumpstered scraps and all that, I plan to acquire a couple of chickens so that I can once again have eggs. I am told that chickens are quite interesting and affectionate and make good outdoor pets...some vegans would say that by keeping them for eggs I am robbing them of the chance to raise offspring, but I tend to assume that chickens don't have that sophisticated consciousness; if they do, why haven't they taken over the world by now? (Vegan logic around pets and commensals gets a bit peculiar....)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:21 AM
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I've always believed that grain-fed beef was the 'best stuff' if you don't care about the animal, and you're interested in the tenderest, fattiest meat.

I'm an unrepentant meat eater originally from Oklahoma, so when I moved to DC I noticed the difference in meat immediately (In OK it's all grain fed because, well, there's grain everywhere). I've heard this the other way though, that corn feed is farther from the natural diet of cattle and thus harder on their digestive tracts (but cheaper for mass production). But I'm not going to stop eating meat either way.

I'm quite ambivalent on the taste of poultry, though, so while I could attempt to claim moral high ground on not eating mass-produced poultry, it's really just that I don't like it enough to make it worth the hassle of picking the meat off the bones.

And I buy the eggs labeled "cage free, natural" under the assumption that I'm being cheated, and I don't think about it too much. Our egg consumption is too sporadic to try to accommodate it with local, farm-fresh eggs. Plus, we never leave the house in time to make the farmer's market on weekends.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:22 AM
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I suppose a nanny goat would be stretching it -- even if you could reconcile milking the goat, to keep her lactating you'd need her to be having kids, and then the kids would end up being slaughtered.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:24 AM
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261: Although if you were to raise a kind of goat which you could card for its fur, then make yarn...Then the perpetually expanding flock wouldn't be so much of a problem, and you'd have a splendid set of hobbies for those long, dull New York evenings.

Veganism! One cannot have wool, one cannot have leather, one cannot have feather pillows, one is dubious about silk. Naturally, I'm hoarding my existing wool, leather shoes, feather pillows, etc and living in dread of that far off day when I have none left...(Actually, commercial wool production is pretty awful; it's probably way better from an anti-animal-cruelty standpoint to buy cage-free eggs and local milk than to buy a commercially produced wool sweater.) I expect that in the long run I'll stretch things a point and just continue to buy used clothes regardless of fabric content, though.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:30 AM
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Chickens aren't loud. Just don't buy the rooster.

Yup. You don't need one unless you want to make more chickens.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:30 AM
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One day, I may own a chicken farm. I plan on divesting myself of it quickly.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:33 AM
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Frowner, I'm not clear on why you've gone vegan. You sound unhappy about it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:39 AM
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PK was totally trying to talk me into a goat. But I do not want to breed goats, or have goats annoying the neighbors. Or annoying me. Or eating everything.

Corn fed beef is not only less good for the cows, but it produces more methane. You're HARMING THE ENVIRONMENT.



Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:43 AM
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265: Not unhappy so much as slightly self-mocking. The thing is, when I create new habits I find I'm more successful if I complain a bit. I really do regret some of the convenience of mere vegetarianism and I really do regret fancy cheeses and the use of eggs in baking (everything else I don't miss much, oddly enough) but I just don't feel that my weak attachment to those things justifies eating them when I'm intellectually convinced that it's probably better not to.

I know myself well enough to count on inertia--given six more months of veganism, my habits will be so ingrained that it won't bug me, I will have stopped looking at new wool sweaters in the shops, I'll have a new range of favorite foods about which I'll feel enthused, etc. I don't think that my life will contain less pleasure in the long run. (Except if I really do have to sleep on synthetic pillows, which are horrible; but I have four feather ones counting the guest pillows and they should last me a while.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:45 AM
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One of my big pet peeves is vegans who don't eat honey but do eat almonds, blueberries, etc. The link in 123 at least addresses this issue, but does so really badly. As far as I can make out the argument is that almonds *could be* made by non-enslaved bees, even though in practice they aren't, thus it's vegan to eat almonds. This is silly.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:47 AM
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Is this false, or just a different standard? I've always believed that grain-fed beef was the 'best stuff' if you don't care about the animal, and you're interested in the tenderest, fattiest meat. Which is one definition of luxury beef.

Yeah, it's pretty wrong. The only particular benefit is cost for a high energy feed. Cattle here are typically are fattened on a diet of corn and usually chicken shit and mix of whatever else is cheaply available because it's cheap (e.g. livestock remains). Cattle can't naturally digest corn (or most grains, iirc) so they also get a cocktail to break it down and change their stomach chemistry, but still it makes them sick, which is why they also get a boatload of antibiotics which keeps them (mostly) standing long enough to reach the slaughterhouse. The fattening stage is pretty short (weeks) so they can survive this.

What makes them tender and fatty is primarily not letting them move much and secondarily fattening them up rapidly. You could do the latter just as effectively with all sorts of diets, but there has to be lots of it, and it has to be high energy (so yeah, `pure' pasturing at this stage won't work) . Not using corn as the base will make things more expensive. My objection to what the butcher was saying was that it amounted to `corn is the best way for beef', which is wrong on a ton of levels. (I think I misquoted him earlier, pretty sure he said `corn' not `grain', but same-same). In other words, it's not a property of corn (which is in fact rather problematic in this context)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:52 AM
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265: Don't dietary changes make everyone grouchy? I know that whenever I try to change my diet, I become grouchy and obsessively brood on the desireability of whatever it is that I'm trying to eat less of.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:52 AM
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No credit for not making the perfect the enemy of the good? I can see being interested in whether the bees were 'enslaved' without being willing to commit, for consistency's sake, to understanding whether animal labor, broadly understood, is necessary to the production of every plant food you eat. (I also think that worrying about bee slavery is goofy -- my capacity for sympathy is restricted mostly to animals in my phylum. And octopuses. But I can't think of anything else outside the Chordata that I have qualms about exploiting.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:54 AM
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251/252: Addendum to the linked article: in Portland, you can keep pygmy goats, ducks, doves, pigeons, rabbits and chickens without a permit, three animals total. If you have a big enough lot, you can keep a cow; the county permit costs $31. Neighbors a couple of houses away have goats, which—surprise—aren't the quietest animals, but I suppose they're no worse than most of the dogs around here.

As long as nobody's exploiting bees, I'm fine with it. Bee exploitation just makes my blood boil.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:56 AM
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i always thought honey is what the bees excrete, never looked into what it really is, maybe it's their food, then they are exploited


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:57 AM
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273: It's stored food. Left alone, this is how bee colonies survive the winter iirc.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:00 PM
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Isn't the idea that in the case of honey you are taking it away from the bees, and they made it for themselves, and that you're doing various things to encourage them to overproduce, just so there's enough for you?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:00 PM
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In order for this to be a case of not making the perfect the enemy of the good you'd need some argument that honey-making is the right place to start. But I've never seen any evidence or argument suggesting that honey-making is worse than commercial pollination.

In fact, as far as I can make out almond and blueberry production is much worse for bees than honey production. In the case of almonds its because of the long travel required (they need 75% of the bee colonies in the country shipped to the central valley, they're mostly coming from places like Montana) and the early time of year. With blueberries its that honeybees hate blueberries and will only pollinate them if nothing else is around. Honey production on the other hand is what bees want to be doing anyway. Even from the vegan point of view it's something like feudalism:honey::slavery:blueberries.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:01 PM
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||
Read, I ordered several items from your Mongolia shopping links. I'll report on the overall experience when the stuff arrives. (Partly I just had to buy something from e-Mongol.)
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:01 PM
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Good ol' pwnage strikes again.

At this rate, I'll have to actually do this stack of grading.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:02 PM
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Pollination is exploitation.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:04 PM
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Would your vegan students be happy if they knew you were *forced* to do that grading?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:05 PM
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Not to put too fine a point on it, but hand-wringing over bee slavery has got to be one of the most morally inane things I've ever heard of.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:06 PM
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I'd extend from octupuses to all cephalopods, but otherwise agree with LB in terms of which animals are deserving of sympathy. For other animals cruelty is only an issue insofar as it means the person being cruel is likely to move on to being cruel to bigger things.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:07 PM
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276 is downright demoralizing. Maybe I'll compensate for knocking off almonds with a loaf of honey wheat bread, since if I was eating almonds before then there's a net benefit to the world if I switch to honey.

I admit that vegan logic crumbles at the edges, but I'm still not going to eat milk or eggs.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:07 PM
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has got to be one of the most morally inane things I've ever heard of.

Not that I subscribe to it, but I've always viewed veganism in the same light as anyone else actually trying to be consistent. Every phil. or moral system I've heard of has weird edge cases --- it's not about the honeybees, really.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:10 PM
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By refusing to eat honey, vegans are indirectly reducing the number of bees in the environment, and thereby preventing plants from having sex. Enough, I say!


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:10 PM
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OMG did you know that New Yorkers are trying to eradicate bedbugs? It's a fucking holocaust, I tell you.

First they came for the pathogenic bacteria, and I did not speak out because I was not a pathogenic bacterium.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:12 PM
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281: Meh, I suppose if you're ignoring larger abuses in favor of handwringing over bee slavery, but it doesn't seem entirely unreasonable as one issue among many. I'm not absolutely wild about injuring animals to produce things that I merely want and don't need, even if the scale is small. I'd say that letting bees live relatively pain-free natural-life-span lives (even though bees probably don't have too much by way of consciousness) edges out my need for honey on my toast. (And if it is in fact true that commercial honey producers kill the queens and sometimes the hive at the end of the season, well, I can't be having with that.) Again, it's a bit silly, but I don't particularly need honey.

Would I fuss about being served honey-wheat bread at someone's house? No. Would I neglect larger political work in order to scour the city for honey-free bread? Also no. Would I buy the honey-free bread if it was just sitting there, one option among many, at the co-op? Yes.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:14 PM
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Well, yeah. Worrying about bees implies worrying about mosquitoes. And I'm not going to do that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:14 PM
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If I'm reading it right, and of course assuming you're mostly just being silly, 286 shows a fundamental misunderstanding about what they're on about, I think.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:16 PM
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Shorter LB: No blood for mosquito spit.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:17 PM
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some vegans would say that by keeping them for eggs I am robbing them of the chance to raise offspring

you're providing them with birth control. Unlimited sex with no consequences!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:19 PM
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Frowner, there's an easy way to stop the vegan logic from crumbling at the edges: admit that insects are a different category from chicken and cattle! You already need to draw the line somewhere (plants, fungus, bacteria), veganism makes sense if you draw that line on the other side of insects.

Despite my hating on vegans who won't eat honey, I admit that there's a lot of good that would result from people avoiding dairy. And although there's a lot to nitpick about veganism in any form ("Oh is that organic food? So you're ok with enslaving and killing animals so long as its to make fertilizer?") I think most of those nitpicks really are just mean. Vegans can't be expected to research all their food and be responsible for everything everyone has done. What makes bee pollination different is that it's not hard to figure out which foods are always "slave bee" pollinated.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:19 PM
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You already need to draw the line somewhere (plants, fungus, bacteria), veganism makes sense if you draw that line on the other side of insects.

David DeGrazia makes a strong case that insects do not have consciousness.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:22 PM
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I'm not advocating bee flogging or anything, just for the record; I even support the gentle treatment of bees, of whom I'm quite fond. But there's a point where principle has to bend to nuance, and moral outrage over beekeeping is well past it, to my mind. Also, the guy I mentioned above who wouldn't eat honey was on his way to shop at a well-known bookstore where people had recently been fired for participating in a unionization drive.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:26 PM
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Yeah, it seems a little nuts to insist the line be drawn at "all animals" rather than "all vertebrates"; clearly it's impossible to draw it at "all living things", so one has to pick somewhere. Do you really think we should avoid harming sponges? Jellyfish? One could make a reasonable case that a desktop computer is more sentient than a bee. And besides, who doesn't like honey? Smooth, pale, translucent....

I've probably mentioned here before the guy I knew in college who claimed to be vegan but extolled the virtues of the In-n-Out Burger at great length?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:26 PM
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advocating bee flogging

Hott.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:29 PM
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Do you really think we should avoid harming sponges?

We should probably try, they seem to be a decent bellweather.

Oh wait, that's not what you meant, is it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:31 PM
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Yes, I plan to have chickens but no rooster. Who needs roosters?

People who want to make coq au vin.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:31 PM
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You know, I think I may end up drawing the line at bees--now that I think about my other reasoning (my needs/wants versus animal lives comes down to the same set of questions--what is a want, really? Where is the bright line that distinguishes it from a need?) I don't plan on buying honey, partly because I don't like honey very much, but I don't really want to have to overthink almonds and the question of pollination. And if I'm going to eat almonds, that pretty much means a sad life for some bees. But then if I operate at the level of almond-anxiety, my life really will become consumed by food neurosis and that's not very helpful to anyone.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:32 PM
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I won't date a vegan. It's like an absolutist cult. Vegetarians are OK, I'll compromise on no meat, but no eggs and cheese goes too far.

We saw Synecdoche this weekend.... I was completely overwhelmed by what seemed like a concentrate of all the emotional content of the movie and my own identifications with Kaufman's depressive outlook. I started crying and couldn't speak properly for a couple of minutes,

It definitely got me crying too, but fortunately in the safety of the dark theatre when the movie was going. I think it's even more affecting if you have had people close to you die, because that movie is intensely focused on the physicality of dying, the indignity of the process of aging. And then the sense of being trapped inside a depressive's *vision* of the world, and a particularly compelling depressive visionary artist as well, is powerful. I have a depressive streak myself, so I have a bit of a bias toward thinking the depressive vision is somehow more realistic, that cheerfulness is based on success distracting oneself from reality, even though at the same time I think intellectually one can't rank things that way.

The thing is, 10 minutes after crying I'd be laughing at some slyly absurdist scene. Toward the end he had me laughing in a broader way, like I'd seen the sense in which life was a cosmic joke. Anyway. I'm not sure that viscerally I want to see this movie again, but I have to do it once before it leaves the theatres.

Roger Ebert's review pretty much nailed the movie, I thought, to the extent that one can sum this thing up in words. Doing that tends to diminish it though...I even thought the voiceover at the end was too heavyhanded. Something about the way the movie was designed, scripted, shot somehow transformed what seems on the page like some pretty leaden pontification about life into a dynamic and compelling experience (OK, at times it felt like a dynamic experience of depressive stasis, but still). Reviewers were very split about the movie, I thought Ebert was the only one that grasped its scope and ambition well. Certainly if you try to cling to narrative sense you are going to hate the movie.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:36 PM
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People who want to make coq au vin. more chickens.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:36 PM
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297: Yes, I worry about coral bleaching, but not because I care about the fate of algae and cnidarians per se.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:38 PM
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Vegetarians are OK, I'll compromise on no meat, but no eggs and cheese goes too far.

You do realize lots of vegetarians won't eat eggs a dairy, right?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:38 PM
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Given how common honey-avoidance is among vegans (very, it seems), are there any vegans that actually do avoid almonds and blueberries? (And lord knows what else?)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:38 PM
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304: If there are, I bet they're absolutely intolerable in conversation. Unless they're the very rare charismatic-altruistic-saintly variety of DFH.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:41 PM
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I'm not sure if there are any bee pollinated food avoiding vegans. I ran across all this stuff on pollination back when hive collapse disorder was in the news. Googling stuff like 'vegan blueberry almond' just gets you lots of vegan baking recipes.

But lots of times things catch on among vegans/vegetarians without other closely related things catching on. For example, it's widely known among vegetarians that Guinness isn't "vegetarian," but often they don't know why it isn't or that the same is true of virtually all Irish and British beers (as well as many Belgian beers, though almost all American and German beers are ok).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:46 PM
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actually, the only bad thing about the Ebert review was that he namechecked Mamet as a great writer/director. I think Mamet has become a joke, his movies now are bordering on becoming embarassing in their obsession with a narrow definition of masculinity.

As I think about it, what lifted up Synecdoche and gave it depth beyond meaning-of-life type generalities was how well it wove the details of relationships into its examination of isolation and solitude. I guess this is obvious enough.

You do realize lots of vegetarians won't eat eggs a dairy, right?

that would probably be an incompatibility indicator too. I mean, the bottom line for me is that I'm a somewhat lazy, careless and selfish person (not toward other people, not toward the immediacies, but toward the abstract duties). So someone who is really finds it compelling to micromanage the details of their life in accordance with a rigorous and highly abstracted ethical code is probably not someone I'll be compatible with. I like a streak of lazy hedonism in my partners.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:47 PM
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Yes, I worry about coral bleaching, but not because I care about the fate of algae and cnidarians per se.

If the algae or cnidarians were sitting in a tank on their own, I'd possibly go for benevolent indifference, but since the creatures in question are part of a highly complex ecosystem, I find it hard not to care, because, you know, reefs are awesome, and corals are pretty important in reefs. Also, you never know what diversity is going to throw up, whereas monocultures are pretty damn boring.

I suppose it's like if there was stuff happening that threatened grass, I wouldn't just worry about the megafauna that eats the stuff.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:47 PM
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Interesting, I guess. There is something profoundly stupid about this: The isinglass is retained in the floor of the vat but it is possible that minute quantities might be carried over into the beer., though: as if it would be ok to kill fish for their bladders as long as you filter them out afterwards?

Do vegans drink Campari? Probably not.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:48 PM
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You know, I think I may end up drawing the line at bees--now that I think about my other reasoning (my needs/wants versus animal lives comes down to the same set of questions--what is a want, really? Where is the bright line that distinguishes it from a need?) ... But then if I operate at the level of almond-anxiety, my life really will become consumed by food neurosis and that's not very helpful to anyone.

This is somehow reassuring to hear after all of your other comments making it seem oh so easy to be reasonable about food.

I realize, thinking about your comments, that the main reason I am wary about putting firm restrictions on my food choices is that I still feel like my food and cooking habits are rudimentary (I think I'm better than a rudimentary cook, but I still feel like I don't have strong habits of cooking).

I'm still working on developing those habits and I feel like the easiest way is to shorten the time between thought and action. If I think, "I'd like to cook [X] for dinner" the best way to make that happen is to immediately get the ingredients for X and cook it. If I stop to think "maybe I should do a vegetarian version of [X]" then I risk losing the original impulse, thinking that sounds too complicated, and just throwing something together out of whatever is in my fridge. Which would mean losing the experience of attempting to cook [X] and broadening my cooking experience.

But I am aware that this is, in no way, a moral argument.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:50 PM
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214: and could stop at Whole Foods or Central Market, but again at some hassle.

But then he'd have to feel bad about supporting a dirty libertarian (John Mackey, the owner). Plus, in only some markets does WF sell grass-fed beef. Most of their stuff is just hormone free.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:52 PM
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So someone who is really finds it compelling to micromanage the details of their life in accordance with a rigorous and highly abstracted ethical code

Fwiw, I'd guess perhaps roughly half (and certainly at least 1/3rd) of all the people I know that have such dietary constraints have them for reasons of being pissed off at the stupider side of industrial practices, not any sort of `highly abstracted ethical code'

To be fair, I guess this really isn't `I won't eat X', but rather `I won't eat X if it comes from Y. Find me some from a different source and I'm happy'.

So maybe that's not what you meant.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:52 PM
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Also, the fish aren't killed for the isinglass, it's just a byproduct that wouldn't otherwise be used and is thus a cheap source of gelatinous stuff.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:54 PM
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But then he'd have to feel bad about supporting a dirty libertarian.

Central market is just HEB though, isn't it? Is there another dirtly libertarian lurking behind HEB? But yeah, limited sourcing (and grass fed isn't the same as pastured anyway)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 12:55 PM
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311 was I.

Also, Frowner-is tehre non-dairy sour cream?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 1:06 PM
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314: soup, I don't know about Central Market. I was just proclaiming my anti- Whole Foods feelings.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 1:07 PM
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So, I have a genuine question about vegan beliefs that perhaps can be answered here.

What do vegans imagine will happen to the domesticated animals that we no longer use for food or other products if the vegan utopia came to pass? We've spent thousands of years making sure that breeds exist for no other reason than they produce something we like, and in the meantime also severely incapacitating their ability to survive in the wild. I also don't see us giving up large swaths of land to animals that are "useless." Wouldn't this mean a dying off of large number of animals and a reduction of diversity?

Also, am I very bad person for having spayed my cat and thus prevented her from having babies, even though she lives a far better life with me then she would in the wild?


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 1:13 PM
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Central market is just HEB though, isn't it?

Yeah. No reason to avoid HEB that I know of, any more than other grocery chains.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 1:21 PM
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What do vegans imagine will happen to the domesticated animals that we no longer use for food or other products if the vegan utopia came to pass?

A final orgy of meat-eating, and then no more.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 1:22 PM
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DL: I'm no vegan so I may be wrong about this but my impression from having talked to several long-term (even life-long) ones about there beliefs is this: It's not about the animals welfare so much as it's about our relationship to them. The point is not the abstract treatment of animals (although there is overlap with this often in practice), it's about not living a life dependent on the exploitation of animals.

This is completely consistent with the dying off strains of domesticated animals that are not needed any more. It's also consistent with the idea that it is in some sense better for an animal to have a worse off life of its own in the wild if it can than a cushy life domesticated.

I'm not sure your diversity argument holds, if only for the reason that we are really, really into monocultures in this sense, but it's something to think about. It seems orthogonal to vegan concerns though.

This:
Also, am I very bad person for having spayed my cat and thus prevented her from having babies

As far as I can tell, is also orthogonal with vegan beliefs.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 1:24 PM
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The vegan utopia wouldn't come about overnight, and during the decades of increased veganism the demand for animal products would decrease and so would the supply (because breading and raising animals wouldn't be worth it financially). Maybe you end up with some nature parks with cattle, but mostly they'd just all end up dead and eaten but not replaced by new cattle.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 1:24 PM
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*their beliefs even.

ah, who am I kidding, it's probably riddled with typos.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 1:25 PM
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317: Vegans come in three varieties: ruthless, mushy and confused. Each would answer your questions differently, of course.

I'm mushy, if that's not readily apparent.

But I'd tend to say that the issues with animal life are actual and not potential: I don't want currently existing animals to suffer, but I'm not concerned about the preservation of ecologically unnecessary tasty breeds as such. In an abstract, Frowner-rules-the-universe way, I suppose I'd suggest that such animals be given space to live out their natural lives but not allowed to reproduce. What actually happens--as with all social change--will probably be much more unpleasant, even if it's just that the demand for tasty animals declines to the point where the existing ones are slaughtered out of hand and sold for cat's meat.

Some vegans would say that no animal lives better with people than in the wild, even if it lives longer, gets petted, etc. I don't believe this, partly because I don't exactly believe in "the wild" as a stable concept and partly because I don't believe that animals engage in that kind of reasoning.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 1:26 PM
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Someone upthread remarked "but why eat turkey?". I've heard it said that (in this country, at least) turkey rearing is not quite as factory-like as chicken rearing and therefore the meat is probably healthier. I don't like turkey much, though.

At the moment here all pork products on the market have been withdrawn due to contaminated pigfeed - no bacon for anyone right now.

In a previous food thread I mentioned that Irish grass-fed beef has an image problem with Continental consumers who perceive the harder, yellower fat on the steaks as less healthy (when in fact it's more so).


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 1:30 PM
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The vegan utopia wouldn't come about overnight

Thank Heaven. I'll still have time to buy an enormous freezer.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 1:30 PM
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breading and raising animals

A delicious typo.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 1:34 PM
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Yes, I worry about coral anal bleaching, but not because I care about the fate of algae and cnidarians per se.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 1:37 PM
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Soup, thanks for the explanation on the difference between welfare and exploitation. I hadn't realized that there was that distinction and now some central tenets of veganism make more sense to me. I, as a naively vegetarian-raised, current meat-eater, assumed it was all about animal welfare.

Thanks for the other explanations as well. I think I'm still stuck on attempting to reason out the ecological impacts of the disappearance of domesticated animals (many of whom do still fill distinct niches and functions, which we don't really understand). I'm sure it's a fruitless job, but I suppose that beyond my personal love for leather, milk and meat, I have a hard time seeing what would result if vegans ruled the world as an unalloyed good, separate from the moral concern of allowing animals to fulfill their own evolutionary destinies. (Though, you know, really, animals like cats have made evolutionary choices to end up where they are - I'm not sure I understand how that doesn't fit with their potential. And yes, I know that logic doesn't hold on a grand scale when you look at commercial animal production).


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 1:43 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 1:51 PM
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I was a vegetarian for ten years, aside from a few crab cakes that I mistook for potato latkes. Mostly it was because my wife was a very strict ethico-spiritual vegetarian, wanting to keep death away from her door. Then when she moved out I graduated to pescetarianism, or what I called "fuck-you fish".

Every now and then I think I will switch to a kind of Michael Pollan conscious-eating omnivorousness, but I still seem to have a bedrock compulsive aversion against eating flesh or fowl.

A good friend has Peter Singer-like ethical vegetarian beliefs, and it's fun to run my occasional doubts by him to hear his lacerating contempt for my wishywashyness.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:12 PM
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I remember a meeting between animal-rights people and environmentalists trying to find common ground. Their was a whole lot of yelling after an animal rights person said something like"I see that bumper sticker, 'Extinction is forever" and I think, 'Forever Free from Human Cruelty!'"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:18 PM
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Mostly it was because my wife was a very strict ethico-spiritual vegetarian, wanting to keep death away from her door

In vain! In vain did she seek to escape her ownmost non-relational not-to-be-outstripped potentiality for Being!

It's good you're quit of her, Wrongshore, for she was clearly a fallen (in the technical, nonjudgmental sense) woman.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:19 PM
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331:"There" not"Their", you idiot!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:19 PM
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Every now and then I think I will switch to a kind of Michael Pollan conscious-eating omnivorousness

I think that vegetarianism used to be a pretty good short hand for these sorts of ideas, at least 10-20 years ago, and is becoming less so. Especially the vegetarian-at-home variety. It may not have been an exact match, but had an elegant simplicity.

I've known a few people whose vegetarianism is/was of that sort, and who've watched with some depression the increase in international and cross national sourcing for vegetables, the push for variety in the form of foreign produce, the right of big agribusiness in the vegetable section: little vacuum packed food units from the central valley are everywhere these days. Two of them have complained to me that now they have to research this stuff again, and years of feeling relatively guilt free about their shopping habits are gone for good.

Local sourcing is a great idea for many things, a confluence of tastes better and is better for you and is better for everything else (and hopefully not too much more expensive, but, well, you can't have everything). But it sure isn't easy to implement, most places.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:21 PM
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right of s/b rise of


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:23 PM
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But it sure isn't easy to implement, most places.

The people in those places just have to die, is all.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:23 PM
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Ah, ben subscribes to the "A world population of 500 million could all live well" theory, it seems


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:25 PM
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Actually, ben is alluding to a previous thread.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:33 PM
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337: This thread continues to stay relatively on topic to the post title, despite meandering in content a bit.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:33 PM
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I remember a meeting between animal-rights people and environmentalists trying to find common ground. Their was a whole lot of yelling after an animal rights person said something like"I see that bumper sticker, 'Extinction is forever" and I think, 'Forever Free from Human Cruelty!'"

I have a friend who thinks much like that....a sad person who doesn't like himself and semi-consciously wishes for a world without people (or at least without human society) as a way for wishing for a world without his own unhappiness. (He's rather young, of course, and could do with some feminism, since all this is really bound up in must not appear weak.) He's very opposed to keeping pets, for example, fairly opposed to unions (because why bother reforming capitalism?), thinks any kind of risk-avoidance is foolish and a sign of a kind of immoral greed for more life, etc. (Yet for all this is a rather appealing person, even though it doesn't sound that way.)

I don't think I've ever met someone whose main political focus was animal rights who was not a seriously damaged person--people who grew up abused or neglected or had a very serious illness and who both identify with what isn't human/what's totally permanently outside/marginalized and want some traction for their own (often justified) rage at the way society has abandoned them.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:37 PM
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They could live out their lives, but not be allowed to reproduce. That'd work too.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:40 PM
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What kind of life is that?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:43 PM
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What kind of life is that?

Eh, it's not so bad.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:44 PM
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342: A hipster life?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:45 PM
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Certainly, if that were true, one step in the "ben is a hipster" argument would be accomplished.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:48 PM
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I don't think I've ever met someone whose main political focus was animal rights who was not a seriously damaged person--people who grew up abused or neglected or had a very serious illness and who both identify with what isn't human/what's totally permanently outside/marginalized and want some traction for their own (often justified) rage at the way society has abandoned them.

This doesn't match my experience -- most of the serious animal rights people I've known didn't seem obviously damaged -- they had families and/or friendships, and if they had a generalized hate for humanity, they seemed to genuinely like at least a few individual humans.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:50 PM
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I don't think I've ever met someone whose main political focus was animal rights who was not a seriously damaged person

Academics who work on animal ethics and practice the ideas that they write about are all normal, decent people. I would say that they tend to be *better* adjusted than other academics.

Peter Singer's ideas are strange, but he is by all accounts a nice normal human being in person. Just to take one example.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:54 PM
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I don't think I've ever met someone whose main political focus was animal rights who was not a seriously damaged person

This does not match my experience.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:56 PM
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In fact, I'm wondering if I should be personally offended by Frowner's comment. My two most recent bouts of activism were working for the Obama campaign and protesting Bush's human rights abuses. But I consider animal rights to be a pretty damn core value to me.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 2:58 PM
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fuck-you fish

Heh.

aversion against eating flesh or fowl

Nothing wrong with that. I have a similar relationship with mushrooms.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:02 PM
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Marignally On Topic

In fact, Harvard anthropologist Daniel Lieberman and his colleagues have argued that the human body (with our hairless skin and sweat glands, our springy tendons and twistable torso) is uniquely suited to long-distance running under conditions that would give other animals heat stroke. That's why we're the only animals that voluntarily run marathons. [emphasis added]

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:03 PM
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I have a similar relationship with mushrooms.

For me it's feces.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:04 PM
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And yet the first marathon was run by a swarthy greek! This is what Lieberman fails to consider.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:05 PM
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I don't think I've ever met someone whose main political focus was animal rights who was not a seriously damaged person

This isn't something I'd expect to hear from Frowner, but it matches my experience. I might substitute "sole" for "main", and "damaged" doesn't mean more than "continually suffering, with low self-esteem, because of bad experiences" . Some of them were very appealing people, but in a terribly sad way.

I have run into people heavily involved in animal rights who seemed completely uninformed and uninterested in any other issue, with rather vicious anti-human beliefs and a terrible unhappiness about their own life.

I would not count Singer as either damaged or normal. He seems to have taken the blind, contextless rationality of analytic philosophy and applied it to a randomly-chosen ethical issue.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:06 PM
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351: I've always wondered about that very point. Are there other animals that are good at long-distance running?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:10 PM
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For me it's feces.

You probably just haven't had it prepared properly.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:11 PM
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354: This is what Lieberman fails to consider.

To be fair it was MSNBC science writer Alan Boyle who came up with the odd marathon sentence.

run by a swarthy greek who immediately collapsed and died.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:12 PM
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I friend of mine says that some native Americans would hunt deer by chasing them on foot until the deer were exhausted.

East Africa, where a lot of the top Olympic distance runners come from, is an area where cattle are herded without the use of horses. A little kid there will routinely run ten miles just as part of his everyday activities. Filbert Bayi was internationally competitive within a year of the first time he put on shoes.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:12 PM
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That's why we're the only animals that voluntarily run marathons.

He says that's why, but I don't see how that makes running 26 miles any more sensible of a proposition.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:13 PM
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Feces are plural.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:13 PM
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Add me to the chorus of disagreement on the animal rights/damaged person thing. I've run into a few who fit the description in Emerson's 354.3, but that category includes a fair number of environmental activists, too. Most of the animal rights people I know are really quite grounded, albeit a little irritatingly earnest.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:13 PM
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And each fece is a unique snowflake.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:14 PM
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356: You probably just haven't had it prepared properly.

You may be right. I sometimes forget that's what brought me to Unfogged in the first place. ... (oh and the swimming).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:14 PM
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faex, if I'm not mistaken.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:15 PM
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Or maybe just fex, as in the well-known Ludicra album Fex Urbis Lex Orbis.

I wonder if Ludrica and Ludacris have ever considered collaborating.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:16 PM
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358: I friend of mine says that some native Americans would hunt deer by chasing them on foot until the deer were exhausted.

A number of years back there was a controversial story in Sports illustrated (I think) by a guy who did this and wrote it up (he did not kill the deer). As I recall, it got a lot of negative backlash that I don't think he or the magazine were prepared for.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:18 PM
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Isn't that theory (that bipedalism and hairlessness mean that people evolved for endurance running, particularly that sort of hunting) fairly old? I think I remember reading it in a SF magazine in high school. Analog?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:20 PM
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Well, we may just move in different circles, or maybe things are a bit different in the midwest, or maybe Emerson and I attract damaged people....I certainly know plenty of people who work on animal rights who are no more damaged than your average dirty hippie, but the people for whom it's their keystone political concern--I can't think of one who isn't messed up in some way. Mind, almost all of my very favorite people are significantly messed up; that's part of what drives the things that make them both good and interesting people. I'm not making some kind of argument against animal rights based on the people who support them. (If I were, I'd point to goddamn PETA)



Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:20 PM
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I have run into people heavily involved in animal rights who seemed completely uninformed and uninterested in any other issue, with rather vicious anti-human beliefs and a terrible unhappiness about their own life.

But aren't the monomaniacal always damaged in some deep way? I don't think this says anything in particular about people working for animal liberation.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:20 PM
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366: There was a story like that on This American Life -- I can't imagine that it attracted any controversy -- the would-be hunters were so hapless.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:21 PM
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You may also be thinking of different levels of "primary political concern". I think people read that as "seriously concerned with animal rights" rather than what I think you meant, "animal rights is this person's unquestioned most important issue."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:23 PM
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Link to the story mentioned in 370.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:23 PM
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There was a nice report a while ago about the evolution of the human ass, which argued that our butts are distinctly designed for running. The New York Times write up included a quote from a primatologist saying something like "Have you looked at a chimpanzee? They have no butts."

The idea of running large animals to exhaustion is a crucial premise in the argument that humans caused the extinction of the North American megafauna 10,000 years ago.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:24 PM
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371 see 369.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:25 PM
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Mad O'Malley wants tomalley.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:26 PM
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Yes, I think the human adaptions for distance running thing is not new. It was tangentially mentioned in an article on the differing efficiencies of dog versus cat hunting. I was just amused by the thought that the reason other animals don't voluntarily run marathons was because of their physiological limitations. I was thnking it was because no one ever tells them when they're being run or helps them register. Learn something every day.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:29 PM
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The people I'm thinking of---in each case, they feel so unlike, so apart from the rest of humanity, so at odds...people who make me look like some kind of good-time Charleena. In one instance, there was a history of sexual abuse, in another a loving but impoverished and addicted family, in a third a crippling childhood illness. (And then there's my sad friend whose issues I speculate on but will not post about, just in case) These were all people whose radical commitment to animal rights stemmed from deep-seated projection and identification--all obsessive vegans, all able to give chapter and verse on any kind of animal-suffering issue...None of them were bad people, or even unlikeable, or had obviously implausible politics. But they were driven, in a way that not a lot of people are. Not monomaniacal, just extremely, extremely committed, saints-and-martyrs committed.

How can I say this? Damaged people often have a deeper and more visceral understanding of how horrible regular old capitalist society is. It can be maddening and they can be difficult to deal with, but they're not wrong.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:29 PM
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And the controversy on the running down the deer thing was that although it was presented as basically a "kinder,gentler, you don't have to kill them, competing with them on their own terms " feel good in touch with nature story, it was criticized for the fear and pain that the animal suffered as it ran its involuntary marathon.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:33 PM
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I add--just in case I've said something unforgivable--that I am leaving more or less now to ride my bike in a snowstorm, because I am monomaniacal myself.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:33 PM
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377: That makes a little more sense. I self select away from such people so I wouldn't ever get to know them well enough to know if they were damaged. The people I'm thinking of are activists, but not really obsessive.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:34 PM
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Riding bikes in snowstorms is really fun. Unless it's below say -25C, then not so fun.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:36 PM
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Isn't that theory (that bipedalism and hairlessness mean that people evolved for endurance running, particularly that sort of hunting) fairly old? I think I remember reading it in a SF magazine in high school. Analog?

I think there's a Larry Niven story that takes this as one of it's themes -- one of the Draco Tavern stories?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:37 PM
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And the controversy on the running down the deer thing was

You have to admit, a bear hunting variant would be bracing.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:37 PM
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How can I say this? Damaged people often have a deeper and more visceral understanding of how horrible regular old capitalist society is. It can be maddening and they can be difficult to deal with, but they're not wrong.

That was particularly well said.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:49 PM
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Convincing the bear to flee from you would be a bit of a trick.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:49 PM
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If enough people ride their bikes into snowstorms, for better or worse it means that eventually snowstorms will become extinct. Frowner should think about that.

King Karl XII of Sweden hunted bears with a sharp stick because it was more fun that way. The lovely Queen Kristina was also a bear hunter, though possibly with a gun. Both were also notably for their apparently complete disinterest in sex.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:54 PM
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If we can find a third bear hunter uninterested in sex we'll have a trend.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:55 PM
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385: Actually, most bears would run from you .... at first.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:57 PM
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388: A friend of mine had a hell of fright once when she and some friends had unknowingly driving a black bear up a valley with their noisy bear-bells. Eventually it got tired of getting out of their way and ran back through them (feet away) roaring it's head off.

I think they all did laundry later.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 3:59 PM
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||

Tired of Modern Love?

ALDaily points us to this.

"According to Susie Ambrose, a marital psychotherapist and CEO of Seventy-Thirty, an upmarket introduction company that takes its name from the work versus free time balance, there has been an unprecedented demand from married women recently.

''We are being targeted by women on the fence between leaving their husbands who are on the brink of losing their wealth, and wanting to meet someone extremely rich straight away,'' she says.

Like a frog, the Toxic Wife needs to hop safely on to another lily pad, and a rich one, before leaving her husband. She won't stand on her own two feet. And finding a job is quite beneath her. "

|>


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 4:04 PM
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driving a black bear up a valley with their noisy bear-bells

I'm sure you know that one can tell the difference between black bear and and grizzly bear spoor is that the grizzly's smells of pepper and sometimes has little bells.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 4:04 PM
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391: We once saw some bear spoor about 6" or less away from the leather upper of a hiking boot ... everyone was kind of looking at it for a minute and going ....naaaaaah.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 4:09 PM
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not only was queen cristina NOT uninterested in sex, she was a famous lesbian who hunted rene descartes to death in a snowstorm with a pointed stick


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 4:18 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 4:35 PM
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Eat more bison.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 4:39 PM
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Even one bison is too much for me, Charley.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 4:45 PM
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Bison is delicious.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 4:56 PM
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And you living so close to Bemidji! You shuld be ashamed.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 4:57 PM
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396: Take little bites and chew very slow.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 5:00 PM
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I have run into people heavily involved in animal rights (fill in the blank) who seemed completely uninformed and uninterested in any other issue, with rather vicious anti-human beliefs and a terrible unhappiness about their own life.

Re. bee slavery, I think it's okay to care about insects--I take spiders outside, for instance--on the grounds that, y'know, it's a living thing and respect, people. But I think that it's a little nuts to apply anthrorpomorphic metaphors to animals that clearly live in ways that we would find immoral if they were people. I mean, aren't bee colonies *very like* slavery, if the bees were human?

The better argument would be that trucking colonies of bees all over the place causes a lot of them to die and is clearly not neutral as far as the bees are concerned. I'm not aware that honey production, per se, is particularly damaging to bees. It seems to me like the argument there is that it's "unfair" to take "their" honey, which strikes me as silly.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 5:16 PM
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If vegans really cared so much about the issue, they would have flooded the internet with funny pictures of bees screaming "Noooo they be stealin' my Honey!"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 5:25 PM
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the internet is way ahead of you


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 5:30 PM
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I mean, aren't bee colonies *very like* slavery, if the bees were human?

The next step after stopping human oppression of bees is stopping bee oppression of bees. We need to fund sensitivity training officers to enter each hive and reeducate bees to understand their own autonomy and cease making such sacrifices to the queen. "Soldier" bees need to retrained in more productive careers. UN occupation forces, may be necessary for some hives.

Likewise, the next step in the vegetarian agenda is retraining wild meat-eating predators to better appreciate soy.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 5:37 PM
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402: wow. I guess that's a corollary of rule 34.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 5:40 PM
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And all the bees should have sex, not just the queens. And the drones shouldn't be driven from the hive. And the queen should have to work like everyone else, instead of being pampered. And the bees should have regular breaks, two-day weekends, and paid vacations.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 5:46 PM
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It's typical of the Unfoggedtariat to mock the very legitimate and real oppression of bees.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 5:50 PM
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THE GRUMBLING HIVE: OR, KNAVES TURN'D HONEST

A Spacious Hive well stock'd with Bees,
That lived in Luxury and Ease;
And yet as fam'd for Laws and Arms,
As yielding large and early Swarms;
Was counted the great Nursery
Of Sciences and Industry.
No Bees had better Government,
More Fickleness, or less Content.
They were not Slaves to Tyranny,
Nor ruled by wild Democracy;
But Kings, that could not wrong, because
Their Power was circumscrib'd by Laws.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 5:56 PM
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The bees in turn mock Unfogged through their unceasing diligence and stoicism.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 5:58 PM
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I'm not aware that honey production, per se, is particularly damaging to bees

Smoking them, etc, to get them out of the hives so the honey can be removed is reputed to be harmful.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 6:02 PM
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SNORTING BEES CONSIDERED HARMFUL.


Posted by: OPINIONATED EDSGER DIJKSTRA | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 6:11 PM
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409: Meh.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:08 PM
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401: Bitch stole my honeycomb.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:11 PM
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Yeah, some of my best friends are animal liberation proponents, and they're all just about as screwed up as I am, which is pretty fucking damaged when you come right down to it.

Beekeeping is illegal in Minneapolis though.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:13 PM
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384 seconded.

All this talk of honey is reminding me of Robin McKinley's Chalice, which I am reading now, with some enjoyment if not total enthusiasm.

Do vegans have a position on the tapping of sugar maple trees? I ask in all seriousness, not having Googled.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:15 PM
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412: Bitch better have my honey.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:15 PM
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416

The right reason to take spiders outside isn't that you care about insects, it's that you hate insects and want the spiders to kill them.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:15 PM
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Something like 416 is the explanation for my disposition of brown recluses in various unlikely places.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:19 PM
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And the queen should have to work like everyone else

OMG so you think that a stay at home mother doesn't do any work. SO SEXIST


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:21 PM
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the war of all against all
what is really a trend this yr is riots imo, Greece now for example, what is happening, they say their anarchists are responsible for that, no?
starting from Tibet, my country, Japan, Canada, food riots in Central America, almost every month there is something,
Mumbai was terrorist attack though, still
something is really wrong, the excessive sun activity maybe


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:23 PM
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Food riots are the result of fluctuations in food prices, as I understand, combined with financial problems of some countries.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:25 PM
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aversion against eating flesh or fowl

Nothing wrong with that. I have a similar relationship with mushrooms.

But I suspect I'd rather like a tasty filet mignon, and continue not eating them out of hazy principle. I gather you just don't like mushrooms, even though you understand they're considered quite good.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:26 PM
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This thread is encouraging me to hunt for a vegan briefcase. I wish that being a conscientious consumer did not involve so much SHOPPING, though. It seems so unfair.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:32 PM
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i thought all the countries where were riots are usually very peaceful places, what is surprising, so it's kinda abnormal


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:32 PM
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It's finally Malthusian.

In a related note, Google gives no responses for "war of all against y'all", "war of y'all against all", or "war of y'all against y'all". How can I be the first person on earth to come up with an obvious pun, time and time again?


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:36 PM
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422: Unless there's something non-vegan about nylon, you have lots of choices.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:38 PM
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I know someone who swears by her cabbage briefcase. She had tried a turnip briefcase for awhile, but [your punch line here].


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:38 PM
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427

There's nothing funny about turnip briefcases.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:40 PM
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428

ah, i recalled, leap year


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:42 PM
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429

428 gets it right.

By this time in a normal year it would be December 9th already, but as you can see it's only December 8th. You can see why we're so worn out and frazzy looking.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:44 PM
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I didn't mean to minimize the tragedies caused by turnip briefcases.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:46 PM
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I return only to find you all still on topic. How odd. Total bicycle fail, though, which may necessitate bicycle replacement and which has pretty much done for two perfectly good pairs of tights. Irritatingly, it was integral structural failure rather than hard core punk rock snow-induced failure. I have nothing to add about bears or veganism except that I had a very nice dinner here. Momos!


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:48 PM
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||

Ha ha, missed me, stupid crashing fighter jet!

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:52 PM
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433

Unless there's something non-vegan about nylon, you have lots of choices.

Nylon unfortunately does not look professional enough for my purposes. I am off to Harrisburg, noted fashion capital. Although thankfully not until January, so my shopping-avoidance has time to continue.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:56 PM
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Um, Sifu, you okay?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:57 PM
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435

Yep! It missed by a couple miles, easy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 7:58 PM
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436

Missed me by a whole lot more than it missed you, Tweety.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:00 PM
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437

Damn. You missed the fun.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:01 PM
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438

Because I move like a cat.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:01 PM
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439

433: Huh. The East Coast is weird.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:01 PM
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I biked over to look, but couldn't see anything. It sure did smell nasty, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:02 PM
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438: you're not alone.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:03 PM
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442

OT: If only Ogged were here....


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:08 PM
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good, you are safe, ST
i thought it's so strange that all these happenings are so close with internet
as if people were the earth's neurons and now are getting connected in this stage of the earth's evolution
i've read somewhere that after 9/11 there were like waves of some kind of magnetic? forgot, signals recorded all around the world, as if it was like that, collective consciousness impulses


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:13 PM
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Local sourcing [...] is better for everything else (and hopefully not too much more expensive, but, well, you can't have everything).

Is kind of nonsense, if you actually stop and think about it. Why should the distance between two points on a map be more important than, say, the environmental impact of farming in that location?

Especially, why should places that are good to live be the same as (or near) places that are good to grow food?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:15 PM
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You're thinking of this, read, but as I recall there's pretty good reason to not pay too much attention to its findings.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:15 PM
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after 9/11 there were like waves of some kind of magnetic? forgot, signals recorded all around the world

We call those "television broadcasts".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:16 PM
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The East Coast is weird.

Yeah, very different cultures. I think I've mentioned here before that it took about ten years of steady visits to the PNW before I really accepted that I did not have to pack a dress "just in case."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:16 PM
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431: Bummer. Fixable bicycle fail, or new-bike time? And hopefully only your tights were hurt?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:16 PM
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Why should the distance between two points on a map be more important than, say, the environmental impact of farming in that location?

Especially, why should places that are good to live be the same as (or near) places that are good to grow food?

But distance is at least to some extent a proxy for environmental impact; moving food over a long distance will always carry a carbon footprint, at least. It's not the only thing to take into account, but in the absence of more detailed research, it doesn't seem like a bad rough approximation.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:20 PM
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438: you're not alone.

That's a well-told little news item, too. RUN, POSTMAN, RUN!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:23 PM
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Actually, I quite like wearing dresses.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:23 PM
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Except when fleeing incoming fighter planes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:24 PM
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Even then, depending on the dress.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:26 PM
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For some reason, advocacy of local farming irritates me more than any other idea on the Left. I'm sure this isn't true of anyone here, but most of the advocates of the idea seem to be drawn to the aesthetics of the idea more than anything else, and the environmental impact is an afterthought.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:26 PM
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454: it doesn't irritate me, but I've been trying for several minutes to find the thoughtful recent debunking I read of the idea that transportation adds all that much to the carbon footprint of food production.

453: wait, so, what kind of dress are you talking about, here? Something breathable in asbestos?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:29 PM
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448: No injury to me except a little bit of a sore knee. But I think it may not be worth fixing the bike--it was a super-cheap reconditioned nineties frame and I've had a lot of trouble with it. Time to to go to the bicycle co-op! Sadly, though, no biking until then.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:35 PM
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456: what broke? The frame?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:37 PM
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it doesn't seem like a bad rough approximation.

Unfortunately it is a bad rough approximation. Not only do you have the fact that container ships are pretty efficient means of transport compared to trucking or planes [1], local conditions outweigh the (reasonable small environmental cost of shipping) transport often enough it is useless.

[1] See Alex here.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:39 PM
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Note that for self-interested reasons I think local farming is bad, and you should all buy NZ produce.

If you want to do localism, that's OK, but don't pretend it is an inherently virtuous choice, or that it should be a major public policy consideration.

(I'm especially looking at Ezra Klein here -- there's probably a collection of bureaucrats at the FAO in Rome who know more about food supply than Pollan does, but Pollan's well known, so Klein takes him seriously, even though he's not necessarily that good.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:45 PM
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In theory, buying non-local is a good way to support agriculture in less-developed countries. In reality, I buy bananas and the money goes to Chiquita.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:48 PM
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Keir is part way right.

Container shipping is one of the cheapest things we can do. But there are other considerations that really need to play in. Such a:

Truck shipping mostly sucks, so if you're doing a lot of that you've got a problem from an impact point of view.

Chasing `seasonal' all over the world is mostly gives mediocre results.

Fresh shipping is always a problem over distances (containers aren't an issue here, heated/cooled (and sometilmes both in the same trip) trucks are.

Food that has been optimized for shipping tends to suck in other ways (you can always buy hothouse tomatoes from california or ontario. They aren't very good tomatoes)

At this point in time local does mostly equal better food, but that isn't an inherent property, so much as a measure of how bad some of the big production stuff has got at taste and nutrition (via optimizing for other things)

contra Keir, I think local farming as a major public policy consideration is a pretty good idea, so long as it isn't dogmatic. It addresses some of the stupider things done in agriculture today, but only in some cases. So by all means push it where it makes sense, and don't, where it doesn't.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:53 PM
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Frowner! glad you're ok.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:54 PM
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455, 458: Interesting. I would have thought that most (certainly not all) of the food I buy comes from somewhere in the U.S., and that within the U.S. it's a reasonable approximation that everything is delivered by truck, which carries a significant environmental cost per unit distance. Is this false? I'm also curious about where I can see estimates of the effects of local conditions....


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:54 PM
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Chasing seasonal in Minnesota leads to STARVATION.

"Not twigs again, mom! Couldn't you find any fieldmice?"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:57 PM
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in case it wasn't obvious in 461, I think there are perfectly good reasons to value local production, especially if you like eating well, but it's no kind of panacea, nor a quick fix for environmental woes.

Also, just because it was produced nearby doesn't mean it was done well.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:57 PM
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Does Frowner's knee trump Sifu's fihter plane crash? I think not. Sorry, Frowner.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:58 PM
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463: Your gut feel is just about right for US, essear. In fact it's worse than you think ... often things are shipped away from you and then back.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 8:59 PM
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466: I dunno, none of my clothes were ruined by the fighter plane.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:00 PM
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Also, just because it was produced nearby doesn't mean it was done well.

This is basically my position, with added `look, just get rid of ag subsidies, implement a proper carbon tax, and then let's talk about local food'.

Is this false?

I've no idea (look, I've been primed with Federated Farmers propaganda, doesn't mean I have a clue about the big picture of world food production), but remember subsidies distort the US market hugely.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:02 PM
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Yeah, but your psyche may be ruined for good.

Poor Blume.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:02 PM
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463: further, I suspect what Keir meant there is that from an energy/environment point of view, shipping something from NZ to the US is down in the noise compared to trucking it around the US afterwards, which is true enough, but a tiny corner of the issue (one that should be filed under "use the real numbers in global analysis, they may surprise you")


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:02 PM
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My parents, who are semi-retired and live in Bucolic Northeastern College Town, are big local food advocates now. Seems okay to me. They get most of their dead animal products from a family farm about 4 or 5 miles from where they live, which also stocks local vegetative produce. And they belong to a CSA where you cash in chits at the farmers' market as you like. I think aesthetics is part of the draw, but you can't tell me it's better to eat dead cow parts from 3,000 miles away, rather than from a place where you can actually see where the cows live, and meet the people who killed them.

Also, everyone should watch The Take. And if you've already watched it, watch it again. All power to the workers' and farmers' soviets! Remember Kronstadt!


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:03 PM
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but you can't tell me it's better to eat dead cow parts from 3,000 miles away, rather than from a place where you can actually see where the cows live, and meet the people who killed them.

Well, actually, yes, you can. If you live in in the Arctic Circle, then eating cows shipped from NZ is probably a better bet all round than eating cows raised in the Arctic. I don't know enough about local conditions to answer the specific case, but common sense isn't very good with these kind of things.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:07 PM
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This is basically my position, with added `look, just get rid of ag subsidies, implement a proper carbon tax, and then let's talk about local food'.

Fair enough on both counts, as far as it goes --- but a lot of industrially ag produce actually does kind of suck. So it cuts both ways: `just because it was made by a big well established conglomerate and marketed under a familiar brand doesn't mean it's any good' is at least as telling.

Pricing smaller producers out of the market makes this worse, but as you note much of this is implicit and explicit subsidies. Beyond that, CAFE outfits really ought to be paying for their impact, etc. etc. etc.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:07 PM
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467: often things are shipped away from you and then back.

Yeah, remember that Harper's or Atlantic piece about the lobsters a coupla years back? It sure sounded like, if you were eating lobster in a Red Lobster in Portsmouth, NH (for instance), it could have been caught within 30 miles of the front door, then shipped to New Brunswick, then shipped to Memphis (Knoxville? Whatever), then shipped to NYC, then Boston, then to the restaurant. Huge embedded energy.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:08 PM
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473: Why eat cows in the Arctic? For real, there are a lot of places so geographically removed that insisting on Standard American Diet when you live there is just perverse.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:10 PM
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Yeah, I'm just not sure if it is fair to treat the US ag industry as synonymous with ag industry in general (esp. in cases like NZ.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:10 PM
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Why eat cows in the Arctic?

Seal blubber is disgusting.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:11 PM
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If you live in in the Arctic Circle

To be fair, advocates of local food would say the answer is don't live there, not ship from NZ.

The problem isn't with the idea of local food, it's a great idea in many ways. The problem is using `local' as a proxy for `all that is goodness and light', and the converse.

Some agricultural products make a lot of sense to ship worldwide. Unfortunately, it's not a lot of the ones we currently ship (and the shipborne part of that isn't really the problem)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:11 PM
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473: Why eat cows in the Arctic? For real, there are a lot of places so geographically removed that insisting on Standard American Diet when you live there is just perverse.

Yes. Arguably that includes large parts of the United States.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:11 PM
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475: Lexington, Kentucky. The article was in The New Yorker.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:13 PM
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I argue that the solution is more and better domestic rail!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:14 PM
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Eat more bison from Baltimore.

I hadn't realized until just yesterday that there used to be bison along the Anacostia River. I still don't think that's how the Howard sports teams got their mascot -- there's probably a story in that.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:15 PM
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477: I don't know enough about NZ system to comment. But it's hardly the US. Holland is famously shipping pretty looking but highly mediocre hothouse produce all over the world, Canada does it's fair bit, as does the UK.

If NZ is avoiding CAFE approaches and US style feedlots etc., great. It's a tiny place with a great ag. climate, I can see some pretty efficient infrastructure for too and from shipping centers etc. I doubt much of anything in that generalizes well (but as I noted, I don't know).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:15 PM
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481: Yes, thank you. "Whatever" covered all of that.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:15 PM
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David DeGrazia makes a strong case that insects do not have consciousness.

I hear, however, that they do have false consciousness.

Such ideological distortions will wither away when the ideals of the revolutions of 403 and 405 are implemented.
Long live PGDism/Emersonism!


Posted by: Amit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:15 PM
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*hardly just the US


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:16 PM
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Huge embedded energy.

Yup. And marketing practices like shipping fruit from all over to a central place to re-sort by size & color then shipping back out sometimes next door to the orchards. This practice is pretty stupid for a number of reasons, energy use is one of them


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:18 PM
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Can you imagine the mass of sexual frustration accumulated by generation after generation of worker bees. That's a lot of negative rat orgasms.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:18 PM
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485: also collected in the book Uncommon Carriers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:19 PM
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PGDism-Emersonism. Get it right.


Posted by: Amit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:19 PM
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Can you imagine the mass of sexual frustration accumulated by generation after generation of worker bees. That's a lot of negative rat orgasms.

It's not so bad. I think it's a tantric thing.


Posted by: Amit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:21 PM
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It would be nice to find a way to exploit the mosquito.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:23 PM
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You sit in your rat warehouse and say that, but have you listened to the bees? They're seriously emotionally-damaged individuals, in the sense of "seriously emotionally-damaged identical interchangeable bee units."

Don't let them get started talking about how their mother never really loved them. Believe me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:24 PM
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Do remember my knowledge basically consists of press releases from Federated Farmers, so my view of NZ farming is pretty rosy.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:30 PM
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||
Momentary internet connectivity and interminable boredom. Want to make Mr. Buzz Kill go have a drink. If any of the SF locals can recommend something within a short walk from Bush and Mason, email me.
|>


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:30 PM
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Keir: Even if it's all a rozy as they say (and I'd be really surprised, as that would make them pretty much unique amongst such organizatins) I don't know how much you can read into it. NZ is an unusual setup, geographically blessed for some agriculture, but probably too small to matter much in the big picture. I can see all kinds of things not generalizing well, there.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:33 PM
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Li Po and Saha are both several blocks away, but both totally fun for different reasons.

Okay, that's half assed. What can I tell you.

The bar at the W is neat, and also several blocks away.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:34 PM
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btw, sifu, what the heck were you using contraction mappings for the other night?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:34 PM
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Probably too small to matter much in the big picture.....

Not really the right thing to say to a Kiwi, not because it's not true.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:36 PM
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Actually if you're on an expense account the top of the mark is pretty cool, and only two blocks away.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:36 PM
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Say: you've ten minutes to give useful advice for a high school ball attendee.

Go!


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:37 PM
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Not really the right thing to say to a Kiwi, not because it's not true.

God's Own!


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:37 PM
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Not really the right thing to say to a Kiwi, not because it's not true.

Keir knows I meant from the point of view of global-ish ag policy.

probably,


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:38 PM
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499: finding an upper bound on the error of an MDP update rule.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:38 PM
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"a MDP"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:39 PM
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i'll just leave that hanging there, pretending it was a period.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:39 PM
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507: I was thinking that was your new formal comment close.

"I'll tell you what I think: it stinks!

Probably,
Sifu Tweety"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:40 PM
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506: fixed point as estimate then? get it sorted out ok?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:40 PM
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You sit in your rat warehouse and say that, but have you listened to the bees?

It's true that the rat working-class has trouble empathizing with the lived experience of the bee working-class.
That's why we've never been able to get a real socialist party going in this farmhouse.


Posted by: Amit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:41 PM
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509: I pretty much just did what it said to do in my notes. Not a lot of theory was required. It involved taking the max over a couple of ranges and letting some distributions go to one and yeah, I dunno.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:43 PM
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If being jerked off were my whole job, probably I'd be less empathetic too. These are objective structures of society we're talking about.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:43 PM
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Hey, we may be small, but we punch above our weight!

First to give women the vote! Nuclear free! All Blacks! UN thingies!


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:44 PM
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511: gotcha. iirc, those are like markov chains with time-varying transitions, so a (non sharp) bound that way would seem natural...

anyway, i was just curious, not meaning to derail the thread or anything.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:46 PM
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No quolls, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:47 PM
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Hey, we may be small, but we punch above our weight!

Yeah, but there are fewer of you than the population of the city I'm in right now, and it's not really a big one. It matters, in the big picture.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:48 PM
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514: the transition probabilities and rewards are fixed for a given action; the optimal policy is what you're trying to converge on. But yeah the large point was to prove that the iteration eventually converges on the optimal policy.

We're not derailing the thread! I bet everybody is absolutely fascinated by Markov models.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:48 PM
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What's a high school ball attendee? Like someone at prom?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:49 PM
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Bigger and less bankrupt than Iceland!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:49 PM
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517: right, but if the transition probabilities are fixed for all time, it's exactly a markov chain (something I'm much more familiar with), so i'm going on gut feel from them.


Everyone should be fascinated by Markov models; it's good stuff!

contraction maps are in or near the foundation of all sorts of stuff (fractal compression, wavelets, etc..) too!


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:51 PM
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you'll have to excuse the excess exclaimations ... i'm drinking (good) scotch.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:53 PM
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518 -- yeah, but less of a big deal, I think.

516 -- shuddup! Everest! Rutherford! I can smell the uranium on your breath!

(Is dragged away, foaming at the mouth, waving a Silver Fern flag....)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:54 PM
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520: oh, it definitely is a markov chain, it's just that the state at t+1 is determined by both the previous state and the action (deterministically) selected by the policy, with an aim to maximizing the long-term reward (also deterministic from each state).

Wavelets are indeed super rad. I need to learn more about them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:55 PM
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I think aesthetics is part of the draw, but you can't tell me it's better to eat dead cow parts from 3,000 miles away, rather than from a place where you can actually see where the cows live, and meet the people who killed them.

There should be a balance somewhere between industrial agriculture as it is currently practiced and only eating locally. I mean, parts of the U.S. are better for grazing cattle than is, e.g., Arizona. It seems like it makes more sense to raise the cattle in the grazing parts than never to ship it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:56 PM
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Samuel Butler! Sheep!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:56 PM
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that end of harmonic analysis is one of the things I do, sifu, let me know if you'd like some references or whatever.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:57 PM
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More seriously, do remember we've a land area like GB, and there is both more productive land and the land is more productive.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:58 PM
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Sheep! Moa (oh, wait.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:58 PM
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There should be a balance somewhere between industrial agriculture as it is currently practiced and only eating locally.

Exactly. `everything to save a buck' has turned out to be a pretty bad idea, but `let's pretend it's 1750' only appeals to Mennonites and DFH's.

Somewhere in there, there's a better way (it probably involves an lot fewer cattle, though.)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:59 PM
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The odds that any thread in which both Sifu and soup are participating will drift to Sifu's homework approaches one as the thread continues.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 9:59 PM
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527: Oh, I know (remember geographically blessed). It's just a drop in the bucket compared to the big grain belts etc. And it's somewhat specially situated, so things that work really well there may not work well almost anywhere else, is all.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:00 PM
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Oh and di, check yer email.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:01 PM
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530 is empirically false.

truth be told, this subthread properly belonged elsewhere, but I couldn't be assed to find it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:02 PM
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If NZ only had adequate dark Satanic mills, they'd be a major power.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:03 PM
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526: I don't quite know where I'd start as far as finding the overlap. The applications I'm interested in came from statistical physicists, but have gone off in a rather different direction.

(Tangentially, the professors in all of the higher-level AI/ML classes I've taken began their careers as statistical physicists. What's with you guys?)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:03 PM
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Don't make me get my Rainbow Warrior out!

(More seriously, useful advice would be much appreciated. (This thing could be awful.))


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:03 PM
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530: what fun, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:04 PM
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536: drink heavily?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:04 PM
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529: You have to go further back than that. So many cuisines that we know today have essential ingredients that originated on another continent. Peppers, tomatoes, potatoes. People have been trading stuff to eat for a long time.

I love eating locally in the summer, but in the winter, it sucks. This is why we invented canning and freezing and other methods of preserving.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:04 PM
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To 534 -- Seddon wanted NZ to have a little Empire in the Pacific, in the way the UK had a big Empire everywhere. Cute, in an evil way.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:06 PM
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538: looking pretty good at the moment...


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:07 PM
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535: I was actually responding to the wavelet comment (we do multiresolution analysis stuff), but for what it's worth I happen to do machine learning stuff too though I haven't done much in the areas pointed at by MDPs (more classification problems, etc.)

I know people who do face recognition, but you're probably more interested in how to characterize the properties of analysis filters for the task, which swings back to more pure harmonic analysis


stat physics is a pretty decent place to start for a lot of this stuff actually. my original (undergrad) background was math & physics, but more interest analysis than stochastics.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:08 PM
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543

This is why we invented canning and freezing and other methods of preserving.

And do YOU can?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:09 PM
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544

New Zealand imperialism, pshaw. Here's one of New Zealand's colonies. Looks pretty damn impressive, no?


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:09 PM
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545

Even if it wasn't fixed for all time, can't you make your 'state' biggger and achieve all the same stuff?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:10 PM
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546

People have been trading stuff to eat for a long time.

Sure, probably forever. But there is a pretty fundamental difference between importing plants that will grow where you are, and importing ingredients that won't, isn't there?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:10 PM
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547

543: those who can, do.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:12 PM
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548

Well, Seddon wanted Samoa and Fiji, (and ideally Hawaii) but the British wouldn't let him.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:12 PM
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549

545: are you asking if a MDP is equivalent to a MC in a larger state space?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:12 PM
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550

Are wavelets interesting? Why? I can see why they're practically useful, but I can't see why they're interesting. (Unless they're interesting solely because they're practically useful, of course.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:12 PM
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551

548: Back then, Hawaii had oil.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:13 PM
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552

yep


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:13 PM
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553

543: I'm not really good with canning, so I tend to turn a lot of tomatoes into sauces and freeze them. Mmmmmmmmmmm.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:14 PM
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sifu, fwiw on a quick look over that link seems like using orthogonal wavelet decomposition which at first glance seems the wrong tack for that type of problem....


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:14 PM
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(Unless they're interesting solely because they're practically useful, of course.)

Well, right. They're practically useful, and algorithms built on them can at least nominally be biologically plausible.

545: I think that may be the case, but the point is that actions in this case actually refer to actions taken by an autonomous agent. So you're really more interested in knowing them than in calculating everything there is to know about the larger state space.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:16 PM
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554: I picked that page at random and haven't read it. I do know that people have had some success using wavelets (and then, I think, PCA?) for facial recognition.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:17 PM
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557

Ah.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:17 PM
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558

550: generalizations on the idea (e.g. frames) are interesting. They're also a very useful tool in some applications, yes.


552: I'd have to think about the details but I'm going to say I expect in general no but in constrained cases probably.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:18 PM
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556: sure, I guessed that was random. I should have been more explicit --- my point was lots of people nowadays treat them as a black box, but they often apply filters that really aren't the most appropriate for their problem (for various reasons). So if you do end up playing with this, I'd suggest looking a bit further afield.

PCA/ICA whatever makes sense in that sort of setting, sure, at least as a place to start.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:21 PM
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and if your wondering why that was my gut feel --- orthog. DWT pairs (except one) can't give you symmetric filters. Going even just to biorthogonal gets you that ability with no additional transform cost.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:22 PM
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545: are you asking if a MDP is equivalent to a MC in a larger state space?

I thought he was asking if a small state could gain new capabilities through conquest.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:23 PM
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562

Cyberrthogonal DWT pairs are where the real action's at.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:24 PM
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563

I suspect helps to have a good navy, ben


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:24 PM
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562: slippery little buggers though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:25 PM
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560: I'm not sure if it's relevant to that question, but this page talks about why gabor wavelets are used. (Is that relevant?)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:26 PM
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566

Even better is a good navy bean.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:27 PM
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567

yeah, there have been nice connections between the human visual system and Gabor filters done.

otoh that's not all that's going on biologically even, let alone psychovisually, and also depending what you are doing emulating the HVS may not be your best goal.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:29 PM
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568

hard to get navy beans locally, for most people.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:29 PM
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569

and on that note i'll bid you goodnight, as I've an early meeting


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 10:31 PM
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532: Thanks, ben. My question probably shouldn't have been what bars can the locals recommend, but "are any of the locals anywhere within walking distance"?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:01 PM
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571

Ah, well, how long are you in town?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:21 PM
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572

Wow, you leave a thread for 24 hours and it becomes 500 comments long and totally incomprehensible.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:24 PM
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573

Don't worry, it was incomprehensible five minutes and 5 comments in.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:29 PM
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574

Point taken.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:32 PM
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575

I bet with a bit of work we can make it more incomprehensible.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:36 PM
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576

Looking at the sidebar, he thought to himself: "Wow, a whole bunch of people I like are online tonight."

Clicking through to the comment thread he read one, two, three, twelve comments, and slowly realized that: "Shit, they're talking about math. Or something that seems like math."


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:37 PM
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577

No no! We're talking about killer robots!

Except not anymore.

Now let's talk about history!

Or, you know, whatever. Anything other than studying.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:40 PM
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578

576 gets it exactly right. Except that there are tantalizing hints that they are also talking about more interesting subjects, like canning and New Zealand.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:43 PM
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579

577: Too late. I've moved on.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:45 PM
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580

Mostly I'm just bemused by the fact that this thread is so much more active than the vibrator thread.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:45 PM
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581

Agar canning is on the upswing in New Zealand.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:46 PM
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580: I tried, but these people are so jaded they have to freebase ground up moonrocks just to get to normal.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:49 PM
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583

Seriously Ari it's been forever. Tell us about the rabbits one more time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:49 PM
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584

Did you get my card?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:50 PM
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585

Springer has Google Ads on its website? I guess academic publishing really has fallen on hard times.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:50 PM
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586

Sifu and soup were talking about some kind of computer programming shit. I tried to divert the topic to math, but failed utterly. Here's a quick summary: Abraham Lincoln introduced to the world two key innovations -- the Emancipation Proclamation and the Discrete Fourier Transform. The Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery, while the Discrete Fourier Transform enables internet porn, so really it's a toss-up which is more important. Supporter of Ron Paul have banded together to end the tyranny of both Lincoln and the Discrete Fourier Transform by introducing wavelets which have "finite support" which is computer-science-speak for "dialectical materialism".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:50 PM
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587

Also, the article in 581 is from 1987.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:51 PM
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588

Abraham Lincoln introduced to the world two key innovations -- the Emancipation Proclamation and the Discrete Fourier Transform.

And what role does Fourier himself play in this story?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:52 PM
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587: Agar is very slow moving.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:52 PM
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588: tragically, he died a slave... to outmoded frequency-to-time-domain transforms!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:54 PM
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"Fourier" is eighteenth century socialist Charles Fourier. There are no coincidences, teo.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:55 PM
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Charles Fourier? Wasn't he a pervert? It comes full circle to porn, then.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12- 8-08 11:57 PM
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[Imagine a long comment here on how the Emancipation Proclamation didn't do much of anything, especially end slavery, here.]


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:00 AM
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Given that I don't give a damn about animal welfare or healthy eating and I love the taste of meat, the only reason for vegetarianism is the environmental/sustainability argument. But that's not really a good one for full on vegetarianism but for eating less meat. I eat it almost every day, but far less in total than the average American. I do make up for it with dairy though. I also try to eat free range stuff but that's largely for the taste.

I'm also wondering about how people imagine animals live on traditional peasant farms. At least in winter they're cooped up in little stalls full of their own shit.

For LB: All the NYC greenmarkets I know have meat. The Fort Greene one has two beef/veal/pork stands, one fish stand, and one turkey stand. If yours doesn't, try another one a little further away, or near work.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:01 AM
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595

But the part about Lincoln inventing the Discrete Fourier Transform is true, right?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:02 AM
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596

At least in winter they're cooped up in little stalls full of their own shit.

Who, the peasants?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:02 AM
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I got the card, Jetpack. Thanks to you and Blume. I hit reply and said thanks. But it occurs to me as I type that that I probably just replied to the card company rather than you. I'll learn to use the internet as soon as I finish writing this long birthday card to Abe Lincoln (his 200th is coming up), pr0n enabler.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:02 AM
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[Imagine a long comment here on how the Emancipation Proclamation didn't do much of anything, especially end slavery, here.]

I may not be a "historian", ari, but I think that setting the stage for the Revolutionary War counts for something.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:04 AM
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One would think that honest abe's porn collection would lean towards the stag.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:04 AM
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Charles Fourier? Wasn't he a pervert? It comes full circle to porn, then.

Yeah, the "Furry" spelling is a backformation resulting from folk etymology.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:04 AM
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The problem wavelets from the perspective of the young radical is that so often practitioners insist on the presence of both a mother wavelet and a father wavelet. I suppose I need not explicate the heteronormativity of this structure to this crowd.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:07 AM
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595 gets it exactly right, Walt. Except those parts which contradict the irrefutable 598. Rock meet hard place.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:08 AM
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601: truly, all wavelets should be able to exist in harmony.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:08 AM
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604

I think I meant, "irresistible force meet immovable object."


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:09 AM
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605

But is not a wave defined by being separate from the sea as undifferentiated mass?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:10 AM
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606

Irrefutable farce meet incomprehensible threadlet


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:10 AM
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Oh, for the simplicity of food threads of yore.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:18 AM
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That is a sad looking pita sandwich. Like Pac-man got skin cancer and then was just starting to vomit up his food due to his medication when Ogged too the picture.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:28 AM
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609

*took*

but "too" has a certain resonance.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:29 AM
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"Fourier" is eighteenth century socialist Charles Fourier. There are no coincidences, teo.

Indeed. Further insight can be attained by considering the reactionary nature of the use of finite support in multiresolution analysis. No longer willing to provide unlimited support to features of all sizes, Morlet et al. wished to partition our world in a much less equitable way, and in doing so to create a society in which a few big wavelets were allowed to lay claim to much of time-frequency plane and a much greater number of smaller wavelets were left with the dregs.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 12:46 AM
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611

This thread, after all, comes back to the Prime Directive: Don't be such a cunt about it. And its First Corollary: Forget purity.

One of the things about Pollan (and I'll synecdoche a load of other people in here, too) is that their insistence on a certain very specific vision of agriculture is at variance with their own vision.

What, for example, if you've *got* rangeland, or rainy but acidic British uplands? Then your only option to produce food from it is livestock of some sort, almost certainly cattle or sheep. Which further implies that you're going to be a meat exporter. Or alternatively, if you've got the kind of soil that likes Mike Pollan but you're nowhere near town? Or if you live in the city, and therefore use far less land and energy just being there? (New Urbanists meet the Slow Food team uptown! Fight! Fight! It's like a Bruce Sterling/Irvine Welsh mashup!)

Also, I think Pollan in particular may not realise how much his own vision is conditioned by the kindasorta standard Anglo-American idea of a proper farm, which is a very specific form of medium-scale mixed farming traditional to the South-Western U.K. and not necessarily applicable everywhere. (We had some pretty good disasters in the colonial era trying to mixed farm Australia and Canada. Turns out, if you import your assumptions from Dorset, or Wester Ross, into Saskatchewan in winter....you DIE!)

If you believe in localism, then you better believe in specialisation, because localities are...local. Different. Specialisation, of course, implies trading. Those 18th century mixed farms derived a big chunk of their income from feeding up cattle raised in Scotland and the Yorkshire Dales and driven south, before being driven on to Smithfield market in London. (Hence the existence of so many pubs called the Drovers')
Which is not that local, after all - it implies you're moving cattle 400-500 miles before slaughter. Obviously slower than in a truck, but not that much more slowly than on a ship.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 2:43 AM
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re: 611

Indeed. My village in Scotland was the site of one of the big* cattle fairs (or Trysts) where the cattle from the Highlands were collected and sold at market before being driven south.

The Tryst is hundreds of years old [it still goes on but these days is just a fair, with amusement rides and drunks fighting].

* the biggest, I think, as it's directly south of the Stirling Gap, so any cattle coming south are going to go near there.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 3:49 AM
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340: I have a friend who thinks much like that....a sad person who doesn't like himself and semi-consciously wishes for a world without people (or at least without human society) as a way for wishing for a world without his own unhappiness.

"Don't you find it a beautiful clean thought, a world empty of people, just uninterrupted grass, and a hare sitting up?"

(From Women in Love, and also part of the plot of Michael Innes's Hare Sitting Up).


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 6:13 AM
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612: My village in Ireland was the site of one of the big cattle fairs where the cattle from the west and western midlands (where soils are poor) were sold to bigger farmers in the east of the country (where soils are good) for final fattening.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 6:18 AM
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I used to live near a pishkun. Do you suppose ur-vegans boycotted it?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 6:55 AM
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I took Sifu Tweety's advice; the evening ended badly.

I do not think the events were correlated, though, rather noting that playing drinking games with obviously unfair dice is a Bad Idea, as is gin,

This connects to the human eyesight (OK, strictly facial recognition, but...) discussion; one of my eyes is much worse than the other in seeing terms. Under drunken conditions, my brain wants it to stop trying, give up, and just let the other eye deal with sensory input (which is to say Unfogged.) Sadly, when I said ``much worse'', the other eye isn't that great, so I'm having fun squinting,

(We had some pretty good disasters in the colonial era trying to mixed farm Australia and Canada. Turns out, if you import your assumptions from Dorset, or Wester Ross, into Saskatchewan in winter....you DIE!)

Heh. Is also true of Aussie; especially if you assume that trees grow at a constant rate...

(By the way, that agar paper? I may know the grandson of one of the cites. (As in, saw them at the god-awful do.) Soup wasn't wrong when they said NZ was small.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 7:00 AM
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I met a guy once whose Peace Corps job (1970s) was trying to introduce American farming practices into Afghanistan straight across. I'm sure that Afghan agriculture could have used improvement, but not the way they did it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 7:08 AM
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618

Check out Version II of how pishkuns came about. It's basically a ML column.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 7:09 AM
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619

Further to 614:
http://www.bartelby.org/250/5.html


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 7:31 AM
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re: 619

http://www.sothebys.com/app/ecatalogue/ecat.do?dispatch=displayImageViewer&lot_id=4GKX5&SIZE=smaller


http://www.the-mccalmans.com/lyrics/lyrics-The-Falkirk-Tryst.htm


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 7:35 AM
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I missed a chance to visit Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump in a cross-Canada trip. I did see a famous inverted siphon.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 7:41 AM
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Head-Smashed-In is a great name. Vivid.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 8:05 AM
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623

Famous inverted siphon. It really is pretty impressive.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 8:12 AM
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624

Emerson, your Vikings are back in the news. Specific parts of them, anyhow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 8:13 AM
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625

What he said "at least they didn't catch me coming out of the pool" -- meaning, I think, "It was nice and long, not all shrunken".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 8:23 AM
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626

Wow, he looks really good naked.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 8:31 AM
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627

Caroline Kennedy looks far too much like Ann Coulter.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 8:37 AM
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628

You like 'em chunky, eh?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 8:37 AM
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629

I took Sifu Tweety's advice; the evening ended badly.

I have the feeling this may not have been the first time this phrase has been used. ("Hey, we'll take...err...this much of this stuff and go play with the 5ESS!")


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 8:44 AM
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628 to 627.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 9-08 8:52 AM
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