Sunday, May 30, 2010

Then Again, Maybe Be A 24/7 Vegetarian

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How much would we suffer - really - becoming vegetarian? How much longer can we stick our heads in the sand about the way millions of animals are treated. When will we realize the simple connection between our happiness and health - and theirs?

The truth is hard to stomach and even harder to act on - except for children. It is a question of whether selfishness is stronger than compassion - as in all things.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Be A Weekday Vegetarian!

Here are a few basic statistics, and some good common sense advice...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Doctors And Attorneys In Court

We received this email from a friend today...

These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts,
and are things people actually said in court, word for word,
taken down and now published by court reporters who had the
torment of staying calm and straight-faced while these
exchanges were actually taking place.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?'
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.
_____ ______________________________
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his
                sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He's twenty, much like your IQ.
_______________ ____________________________
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shitting me?
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: getting laid
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney.
              Can I get a new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.
____________ __
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I'm going with male.
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a
                deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?
...and the best for last:

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you
                began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Daugher-In-Law And The First Lady

When I see the First Lady digging in the dirt, and vegetables growing green and lush, right there in the middle of Washington D.C. known more for its ugly political infighting and powerful careers than peaceful vegetable plots - and then see hoards of children planting, and suddenly chopping vegetables in the White House kitchen - I feel the world - even Washington D. C. - is still a wonderful place. And I think of my daughter-in-law at home with her toddlers, weeding the vegetable garden with her two helpers before it's time to make dinner for such hungry little gardeners - who turn into enthusiastic cooks once you trade them their shovels for their cooking spoons. Simple things like this make life rich, and a great joy.

GoodGuide it is!!! TADAAAA....the company I have often dreamt of starting in my wildest fantasies, while folding the laundry. 

A Berkeley Professor beat me to it! Those PhDs have the edge. He and his team did an amazing job - while I was sorting underwear and cooking brown rice... hey, I could'a been a contender

Well, having written a children's book isn't so bad either. The laundry definitely did NOT get done that year.

I was ahead of the curve thirty years ago, carrying a little booklet with "good" and "bad" product lists everywhere I went.  I think it was from PETA and I kept adding my own extensive lists to it. Even then, shopping for my household full of babies and toddlers was akin to wild mushroom hunting, potentially lethal to my offspring as well as the planet. Overdramatic thinking? Not really, as it turns out.

But now, we can go to the "GoodGuide" and be a highly knowledgeable consumer - with PhD powers, really - rather than the "gullible moron", preferred by the big corporations, who believes everything he or she sees advertised (or omitted) on a box. 

No doubt, the consumer product corporations must be getting a little nervous by now, and may just hop to it in a great big hurry, if they haven't already started in that direction. I have been quite impressed recently with, for example, Target's selection of certified organic food items in spite of that label's watered down meaning. Now, pleasing the consumer will mean passing - not the FDA - but the GoodGuide ratings and whatever else one reads about on other such sites and clever blogs. Corporations - if they are smart - will increasingly need companies like BuzzLogic just to figure out who is saying what about them in order to manage all this enlightened consumer chatter. The buzzword of today is accountability. Everyone can still run, but can no longer hide.

While big battles are being fought at the government level about HOW to properly and legally lie to consumers about the ingredients in our products - we can now be our own FDA - by just checking our GoodGuide and similar sites. What makes the GoodGuide so outstanding is its logical and easy to understand rating system. To get even more involved, read the GoodGuide Blog for up to date topics in this field, affecting all of us every day. The Internet is flushing everybody out.

We used to have to rely on word of mouth - "snail mouth" - to spread the truth about what was going on regarding food production, animal abuse and carcinogenic chemicals in our direct surroundings. Usually there was one of us "odd" canaries in a family, sounding the alarm, yet easily brushed of as an impractical dreamer who would grow out of it. Now, defenders of monkeys, bunnies, farm animals, the earth, and babies,  jump for joy when all that information lives in colorful images and researchable facts on the Internet, and "word of mouth" means having your own blog read by thousands. The Internet deserves the Nobel Prize! You thought I was kidding :-)

What is presently happening to the Catholic Church - to name another massive entity - is going to happen to ALL large organizations that have benefited from, and have abusively exploited trusting souls - be that animals, children or unsuspecting adult populations. The food industry will be no exception, and the pharmaceutical industry is right in line. "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free" - no doubt Jesus meant higher truths than this, yet the truth in general in all areas has a way to set us free - us from deceitful organizations, and them from having to live with such shameful secrets, that cannot even be talked about for decades, or listed on a box. Most of us today are in a fierce mood to throw out the good with the bad - since the bad has gotten way too bad. It's high time to reboot.

Destroying the planet, its animals, children and each other is easy when all our interactions are based on lies, not so easy when everyone knows what is going on. And - to be fair to the "evil" corporations - consumers need to own their part in all of this, as well. Constantly screaming for "more" and "cheaper", feeds this insane frenzy of lies, over-consumption and waste. 

The GoodGuide promises to become very powerful and may be in danger of getting corrupted over the next thirty years just like the FDA or the "organic" food label, but for now it seems independent and trustworthy.

In this jungle of questionable consumer items and the information gathering it requires, I am finding that, just like Michael Pollan in the Omnivore's Dilemma is encouraging us to have a relationship with the local farmer who is growing our food, I want to "know" the corporation I am buying from. I find myself "loyal" to "Bronner's Soap", for example, "Burt's Bee" products, and "Dr. Hauschka's" cosmetics,  because they pass my test and I don't feel lied to. I am starting to question "my thirty year relationship with Whole Foods" for all the less than ideal products showing up in their stores, but still love them for carrying Macrobiotic foods and many other high quality products that pass the toughest green tests. It is all about relationships, be it people, farmers, corporations or grocery stores.  GoodGuide has a lot of information about all the various corporations and businesses who make our products, so consumers can get to know the corporations they want to patronize.

As regular stores are adding the good stuff, and Whole Foods is adding some not so good - shopping is once again a lot of work in both places and the GoodGuide is a huge help. It used to be that you could relax and buy everything at Whole Foods, but that is no longer the case. Even though it is still my favorite store, the Super Target down the road with all its high quality products like Eden Foods and certified organic produce, is getting a good part of my Whole Foods dollars these days. Who would have thought? And - I am always on the lookout for the little guys - today's versions of Erewhon and Bread and Circus.

I could go on and on - for now let me just say - "Thank You" Dr. O'Rourke! I look forward to watching the GoodGuide grow ever more helpful and valuable. It's a powerful tool we have needed for a long time.