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Author: Bill Ziegler
Master of Arts Degree: Germanic Languages and Literatures.
Master of Arts Degree: Geography.
Certified Teacher of German Language.
Functional specification writer for databases
Logistics Chain for Automotive Concern:
Technical Specification for a Filtering System:
Translated a German patent for a steel-drum facility
Translated terms and conditions (Allgemeine Geschäftsbedingungen)
Taught German language and culture kindergarten to advanced.
Designed curricula Cincinnati Waldorf School
Created programs using PL/SQL, Oracle, Unix, Visual Basic,
Cleaned data for the P&G Commercial Products Group.
Developed program to establish optimal vendor routes
Designed IVR call-in for field agents to detect scheduling problems and determine their location.
Designed programs to maintain a vendor database in an
SAP application for product supply from a single pilot plant with 1,300 records to 40 plant locations with 45,000 records.
Developed programs to identify specifically critical data errors and potentially duplicated records.
On Saturday Lisa and I met Peter Schreiner and his lovely family for an incomparable vegan celebration at their home. Anyone fortunate enough to know Peter’s steady mindful support for animal rights and the wisdom of veganism knows that this would become a singular moment. Of course it was much more than a wonderful experience, it was immensely fruitful and vegetable-full.
Here is a reblog from October 2016 that speaks to the power of Mr. Schreiner’s voice. Written a bit over a year ago, the sentiments still reverberate.
Dedicated here to all sentient creatures gifted with this planet.
Peter Schreiner is the voice of Crows Head Soup. His post Animal Welfare is stirring enthusiasm for the pillars of Veganism and the bedrock supporting those pillars.
Veganism happens one human at a time, one awesome realization at a time. As Peter suggests, the information is out there. And so is well funded disinformation.
I have found that adopting a vegan lifestyle is not privation. It’s not like “giving up something” at all, unless you view toxins as dietary supplements. Detoxing is uncomfortable and wearying. Eating a portion of animal or animal byproduct provides short term relief. It’s like waking up in the morning with a coughing fit that goes away when you light up the first cigarette of the day.
Nicotine is also a cough suppressant. But it takes a while for nicotine to excrete completely. Withdrawal is agony. I am an ex-smoker as well…
I wish the NYT had asked Andrew Kirschner to write this post on their editorial page. Aaron Carroll’s opinion piece should never have been approved by a media giant that proclaims itself the newspaper of record. I could not have done a better addressing the false statements myself — actually I would probably have lost myself to rants and ravings, so my grateful appreciation goes to Kirschner’s Korner for countering so much misinformation.
In the New York Times article “Relax, You Don’t Need to Eat Clean,” Aaron Carroll writes that food should be “a cause for pleasure, not panic.” He states that people should “cut fear” from their diet. To relax, Carroll suggests people eat bacon and steak.
Carroll erroneously assumes people who eat plant-based food aren’t relaxed and that the aftermath of eating animals is comforting–perhaps for people without a conscience. In fact, eating clean is relaxing, exciting, rewarding, energy-boosting, and responsible. Eating animals should instill catastrophic fear in everyone far beyond the health risks Carroll dismisses.
While Carroll is correct in his assertion that some people fret too much about gluten, salt, and fat, he misses the mark on eating animals. In fact, his comments are irresponsible and myopic.
I appreciate my readers and am ever grateful for each of you — including those who disagree with some (or all) content here, or those who have tripped into my blog by entering a type O graphical error in a Google search bar. Say you’re interested in discovering something germane and find German instead. Many (most) might feel that nothing I write is germane to many (most) surfers’ interests.
Today’s comment of the day is from Robert, creator of Words for Breakfast, a worthwhile blog I recommend to your attention on the basis of its inherent interest and merit:
“…Vegans, Vegetarians and proponents of sustainable living should work together more, be more receptive to each other instead of trying to convince each other of the rightness of their opinion…”
Please allow me to quote from my reply:
“… You are absolutely right about the need to work together with as many fellow travelers as possible. I believe in joining with others in solidarity, even if you disagree with them on many other issues. Creating enemies by edict solves nothing and poisons the soil… — crap drains no sewer…”
Vegans are not the only planetary inhabitants who recognize that a sustainable environment is not a luxury or a fantasy. Solidarity for sustainability unites many with whom you may disagree: mildly or vehemently. We have no Plan B Planet.
I believe that sustainability is a rock-solid rule of Mother Nature, a rule enforced by her forces of evolution and devolution. You break the rules by stacking the deck in your favor, resulting in expulsion.
Before going any further, let me recommend a recent review and summation of a recent symposium in Sheffield UK by Mira Lieberman, a scholar who combines voice and verve at a sustained level of competence. Thorough and well written? Yes, indeed.
Sometimes the rules are blatantly not caused by planetary inhabitants. Sizable meteors are also a force of nature, as is a dying sun. The dinosaurs had been around far longer than mammals, for example. Extinction Event Number 5 was not of their doing. Sometimes being in the wrong place at the wrong time just happens. Sorry ’bout that.
Venus became enshrouded by clouds, setting hypothetical Venusians up for the heartbreak of The Greenhouse Effect. Your assignment: write an essay (50,000 words or less) on the topic: what I think happened to Venus.
Extinction Event Number 6 may be well on the way to completion, I’ve heard that nothing is completed until it is finished, or something. Unfortunately most other innocent fellow species are thus endangered. Many species have already disappeared through a process known as ‘extinction’ — something as natural as getting hit by a largish meteor or squeezed into a cul-de-sac by a human crave for lebensraum or some other geopolitical impulse.
Extinction events usually take millions or billions of years to complete. Leave it to the self-appointed kings of the hill, self-named topper of the food chain to deserve an “anthropocentric” geological era.
Perhaps robots invented by homo sapiens will begin a “cene” of their own after their creators leave the scene.
Vegan Venn Diagram o’ the Day
Venn diagrams are useful heuristics. Here is one from VeganStreet.com that departs from the conventional Meatist perspective. I’m calling it the Venn diagram o’ the day.
Hoping that you like the idea of complimenting a comment with a complementing commentary. 🙂
Being out of synch with society is one way to identify iconoclasts.
Being out of synch with a jury of my peers is something I value, though it seems to preclude all those traits identified with career-ladder climbers.
Being out of synch with majority perspectives lends me a contented smile. However it’s not something I leverage and monetize. For much and more on the phenomenon of contentedness, I recommend the works of Hariod Brawn.
Arcane topics of personal interest elicit mighty yawns, eye-rolls and eye-flinches among my fellow sapiens. This realization makes me most mindful and grateful for the readers who lend me their attention span, I am curious about the value systems of those who choose the seldom trod path for a living. I also suffer from “fear of not learning something.”
Now, let me test your patience with some more evidence supporting the existence of THE ANTHROPOCENE, something that elicits yawns, eye-rolls and eye-flinches among the masses of asses who would rather shrug shoulders, move bowels and move on.
What are the odds of each of us actually being present on this planet as it prepares to shrug off the shoulder shruggers? Staggering or no?
Consider the sheer number of homo sapiens presently residing on this orb.
Now consider that our population is increasing at an increasing rate, and now stands at 7.x billion, 97% of these guys consume 70.x billion edible and appetizing fellow Earth inhabitants per annum. Each of those non homo sapiens possesses a highly developed central nervous system, each has two eyes. There’s a market for every part of an animal, from fur to marrow, nose to tail. See my piece Inverting Pork Rectums for a Living for more. By the way, that article was inspired by William Brigg, statistician to the stars.
Here’s the thing about veganism methinks: it removes a complicity with this butchering of 70.x billion this year and 70.x butchering of brand new beasts readied for butchering next year. By the way, I’ve an issue calling the slaughtered “beasts” and the slaughterers “consumers.”
Did you know that only a few rodents survived the firestorm that accompanied Meteor Meets Planet. We are the descendants of those rodents.
In 1915 a chemist named Fritz Haber discovered a process for isolating nitrogen atoms from the atmosphere and combining them with hydrogen for the mass production of fertilizers, explosives and pesticides.
Not surprisingly Haber received Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1918. Nobel knew a little chemistry himself.
Haber also invented Zyklon gas, a pesticide. IG Farben removed the odor from the hydrogen cyanide product so that the exterminated in German death camps would not be alerted until it was too late.
Ironically Fritz Haber’s achievement of increasing population ultimately brings the concluding moment of the Anthropocene closer.
You may have read news items on the massive decimation of flying insects in the last few decades. I am old enough to remember wiping the windshield clean of accumulated flying bugs every hundred miles or so on Summer drives. Today your wipers clear dust and debris only. You could put off cleaning bugs from the grill until they built up by the thousands. I recall seeing massive tanks along the Ohio River at Cincinnati — mostly labelled Sohio and Monsanto.
Rex Tillerson began his career with Exxon at the same time that Exxon scientists discovered that their product would tip the scales in favor of runaway global warming.
Most hardware stores in my neighborhood stock massive aisles of their über money-maker Roundup® — don’t buy into their propaganda. Merely a suggestion of course.
Ending on a positive tone — vegans and proponents of sustainable living have much in common. Go team!
Each of us originates in the bubble that is the womb, and proceeds into a larger bubble — a system of approved myths inherited upon birth. Mythical systems accrete over the centuries, they become the stuff of culture, of family, of traditions — of a certain mythos. Xenophobia is a fear of the foreign mythos, the strange, the other-wordly.
You’re talking about the dregs of society who have a way at doling off the rest of us. Not in our neighborhood, Bill.
Three monotheistic religions spring from myths. The triad started with the patriarch Ibrahim’s sexual relations with that woman (Sara) and with that woman (Hagar). Ibrahim stands atop an isosceles triangle, isosceles because Judaism and Christianity are more familiar with each other, they are the points at respective ends of the shorter line of the triangle. Together, they celebrate something called a Judeo-Christian tradition.
Bill, have you ever heard of a Judeo-Islamic tradition, a Christo-Islamic tradition? Hang out with scimitar lovers and you’ll die by the sword. Live safe or die, that’s our motto.
The progeny of Isaac and Ishmael revere their father Ibrahim, but they do not visit the mother of the other. A brother discarded at birth becomes a grotesque creature during centuries of banishment.
My birth certificate states that its described birth was “legitimate” — that I am not a bastard. Legitimate and illegitimate bring baggage to the children thus belittled. Do they not? Are there any possible connotations that suggest “bastard” might be a loaded word?
Takes one to know one, bastard. Your father was probably born in Kenya, too. We’d like to see if your birth certificate has an “il” erasure. Just the facts, man. Just the facts.
Yesterday was “Columbus” Day, it was also “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” Columbus myths are more important to its proponents than Columbus facts. Fortunately for them, those who favor myth have techniques such as confirmation bias to keep the 25th suggestion for an Indigenous Peoples Day safely at bay.
I listened to a disquieting interview yesterday with author Carol Delaney on her book Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem. Delaney offered much more than a standard defense of Columbus Day, she accurately and disturbingly connected the dots that most Columbus proponents ignore. In other words, Ishmael be damned.
She proudly connected those dots to illuminate an ambition far larger than a couple continents — the apparent need for never ending condemnation of Islam in polite company. Forever and ever, amen.
A few salient points on population movement:
The expulsion of Jews from Spain was completed in 1492, the expulsion of Muslims was completed in 1609.
The ethnic cleansing in the Americas began in 1492
The Inquisition in Spain was already underway in 1492
There still exists a longing nostalgia for the Crusades today
The Crusades are yet described as purely a matter of self-defense.
The sacred myth informs the non-indigenous that Columbus was a faithful Italian Catholic tasked with restoring Jerusalem to Christendom — or at least Judeo-Christendom — through a two-speared operation, from the east as well: completing the aims of the Crusades and the object of the Inquisition.
Columbus stumbled onto a foothold role that established ports for the grim slavers to reap the benefit of clockwise flowing ocean currents. These currents were perfect for purposes of logistic maximization. Cargo circuits brought plentiful human resources from Africa to “get the job done” in a properly fulsome manner. After emptying human cargo at the ports of Columbine discovery, they could deadhead those empty craft and load up bipeds in Western Africa. A logistical marvel of the first order.
Portugal supplied missionaries to convert indigenous peoples surrounding the Amazon, pacification brought us Brazil, Spain pretty much tamed the rest of what is now known as Latin America. Access to pagans made possible by craven Conquistadors who rammed through the soft underbelly of the western portions of North America to the wealth of California and the expanse of Texas.
Does it matter a whit that the colonizers spring from European stock, possess Caucasian physiognomy, have a skin color not tanned by either the sun or made golden under a set of purple ultraviolet ray emitters?
You were probably offended by that Dove advertisement that got all you political correctors lathered. What’s wrong with being white? To the victors go the spoils. Says it all. That’s all you need to know, all there is to know. Get with the program or take the next flight out.
and upend any cart that doesn’t meet your approval. Glare threateningly at innocent grocery shoppers — including their youngsters — and arrange a funeral pyre in accordance with Hindu-friendly ceremonies for the dearly departed…
Did you know that junk food is subsidized by the USDA? The lobbies stuffing the rear, front and suit pockets in federal, state and local government offices include small-scale outfits such as Monsanto and Tyson. A merger a year keeps the arrears away.
Did you know that the North Koreans could use a few good fools? Sounds like a place you would find less threatening.
Global warming did not trend until the Industrial Revolution started spewing spent fossil fuels into that thin bubble of air blanketing the Earth. Perhaps there is a deity who could bring around a replacement planet? There is that. I’ve heard somewhere that a reduction in meat-baseless eating could help.
Vegans are at the brunt-end of many jokes, but the jokesters seem to tread a bit nervously these days — we’re still outnumbered 33 to 1, but our numbers are not decreasing.
You need to lighten up a little, Bill. We hope these help:
Q: Why did the tofu cross the road? A: To prove he wasn’t chicken.
Q: What did one vegetarian say to the other vegetarian? A: We have to stop meating like this.
Q: Why do people kill animals? A: Fur convenience steak.
There are more where those came from, but just remember: vegans are the joke, Bill.
The animal atop the food chain believes itself ordained to husband lesser sentient creatures to the highest bidder. All other species get to exist at the whim of human appetite and fashion. Is there anything questionable about this?
I love maps, all my life they’ve whispered to me. I spin imaginary globes in my mind and imagine a sphere metamorphosing from three dimensions to two in arcane and artful ways.
Lines of longitude and latitude: which is which? Here is a mnemonic to help:
Lines of latitude are like the rungs of a ladder extending from Equator to Pole. The ladder rungs connect along the long lines of longitude (left and right side of the ladder). There’s something curious about that ladder — it connects to a single point at the top or bottom of the Earth.
The Mercator Projection takes the two points of the two terrestrial poles and stretches them from zero to infinity. A Mercator projection was designed for one thing only, and though that one use is obsolete, Mercator dies on.
USGS topographic quadrangles describe a rectangle representing 7.5 minutes of arc. A quadrangle at the Equator is a square, a quadrangle at the North or South Poles is a triangle.
You can trace landscapes on a paper topographic quadrangle. There is a symbol available for every conceivable landmark, including the occasional sunken ship.
Our geomorphology tour now takes us to Cincinnati, OH. I’m the guide with the microphone at the front of the bus. Here’s what I am saying:
“A gently arcing dome once defined Cincinnati’s geomorphology. The most recent glaciation crushed the entire city under a couple hundred feet of solid ice, creating a set of hills carved from that arcing dome. When you stand on any of the surrounding hills you see all the other hills: 360 degrees surrounding a central point, each separated from the others by a number of miles. The technical term is ‘accordant summits’.”
Time to share a memory with you.
In the 1960’s our family would spend two-weeks in the northern oven-mitt of Michigan, we drove from Cincinnati on US Route 27 — a two-lane highway that also extends into Florida. We would unfold a free gas-station roadmap and wait for a city limit sign to appear on the horizon. I would run a black marker up the lap-held map as the drive progressed northward. A pre-cursor if you will.
There were no automobile seat belts in 1964 — each occupant had the unfettered freedom to pass directly through the windshield in a way explained by Isaac Newton. To paraphrase Isaac: an object in motion wants to just keep on moving: even when everything else stops moving.
Time now for an anecdote.
We were headed to a cottage in Michigan in one of those years (1964) when no passenger vehicles came equipped with seat belts.
I’m the guide with microphone at the front of the bus again:
“My mother held my youngest sister securely in her lap, front passenger side. Shifting her position, mom leaned against the passenger-door, felt that door open and saw the rushing roadway beneath them. But my mother knew about the first law of motion. Her objective: stop two objects in motion from following the lawful course identified by Newton. She successfully moved the center of gravity leftward by shifting their inclination inward, and by yanking the passenger door to a latched state.
The moral of this anecdote: understanding physics saves lives.”
Announcing an alliteration to accompany my entry to Club Septuagenarius. Have I mentioned being born on my mother’s birthday: September 17, 1947? Well, I found a clinical word pair to celebrate a new decade — hedonic hyperphagia — eat one and you’ll eat them all. Whether potato chips (or crisps), Oreos®, All Hallows Eve candy: ad nauseam. It literally describes a fulsome moment. I raise my hand to admit something to a jury of my peers.
“My name is Bill and I am an hyperphagic.”
“Revealing the scientific secrets of why people can’t stop after eating one potato chip” couches that couch-potato moment in an article from Eurekalert.
Here are fifteen words to digest while digesting the last thing you consumed, such as Deep-fried Oreos® breaded with finely crushed chips (the crisp variety).
I know from studied experience that animal-based product may result in hedonic hyperphagia. You might not wish to know that the consumption of humus, not to be confused with hummus, is termed “geophagia.” I once (circa 1970) read an article in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers that earth-eating is associated with a low mineral diet. I also recall that Frank Zappa once warned about eating yellow snow.
Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.
As a former loyal-to-a-fault meat and hide consumer I know that items containing meat and meat by-products are based on animalian cells. These cells are comprised of molecules that have a psychoactive effect on an homo sapiens’ brain, “hedonic hyperphagia.” Detox from such a diet is enervating to the extreme, both painful and discouraging. I had previously gone cold Tofurky® from tobacco and alcohol consumption before abstaining from animal-fare. I admit to the character flaw that accompanies total abstention however. Ambrose Bierce tosses well deserved water on my countenance. It’s called “total abstention.” 🙂
Vegans stand as infuriating reminders that they serve sentient beings to man. Damon Knight wrote the definitive “To Serve Man,” most familiarly associated with its adaptation into a Twilight Zone episode. I wish Rod Serling had kicked smoking. You too?
That introductory pith drawn from the work of Heather Morgan inspires me to join Morgan by paraphrasing her:
“Every time you eat or drink the lifeblood of another, you are either feeding nihilism or fighting it.” — Bill Ziegler
I leave tales of nihilism for a future post.
Here is another envisaged scenario: what would occur were I to show up at a pro-life rally with an enlarged photograph of an aborted calf fetus? It’s surely happened at some rally somewhere. Would one or more protesters counter that there’s a deity-informed difference between the immortal soul of a God-created icon found in a book called Genesis? Who made homo sapiens the boss of other sentient beings? May I beg to differ?
Gradual hearing loss brings unexpected blessings: I shall name but two:
An inability to overhear the conversations of strangers.
An inability to hear programmed music in übermarkets.
Lisa and I will be sitting at a table within earshot of others and I will be enjoying the still of an enveloping bubble — it’s like a meditation garden, monastery or babbling brook: a way around the babbling of maddening Babel. Couldn’t hear it if I squinted my ears.
Cut to the chase, Bill. Your annoying alliteration and meager metaphors test us to the teeth, they crawl into our craw, they bites our hands, they gnaws our feet.
Privacy without private spaces. Lisa will burst forth with OMGs and WTFFs and I’ve not a single clue to her consternation nor inspiration. By the bye, we’ll be a 25-year item next year, we’re now able to decipher misstated and unintended word misses and annoying affectations. We also assume the identities of avatars: German moose and Italian owl.
Listen Bill, you are dancing to the tune of thin ice. Life is to be gotten on with, not sallied about in the figments of a forest, feeling the fauna. Get a grip and move on. We sincerely hope you get the help you need.
Some years ago I packed my ears with sound deadeners to shop without agony. Such is the life of an agoraphobic tree-hugger. When I could hear proper my ear canals became desecrated by ear worms from worn tunes of outrageous decades, looping indefinitely. Gradual hearing loss now permits me to wander the aisles without mulling music lyrics and the likes, dislikes and “likes” of fellow shoppers.
Are you not also one of those annoying people who trundle about with a rücksack on your back, Bill? Do you deny this unfortunate character flaw?
I plead guilty with conviction and with impunity. A backpack permits right and left hands to page-flip a tome, pick up the ultimate stone or dead-head twigs along an arboral path. A pack on the back frees pockets, it supplies the only items necessary for a becoming existence: spare books, blank paper, full pens and what-the-nots.
I live in the land of the frenetic and the home of the Atlanta Braves (Atlanta was once the home of the Cherokee Nation), a left-handed vegan with a name at the tail of the alphabet, a card-carrying member of Jewish Voice for Peace (you do not have to be Judaic to join), a believer in the inalienable rights of all sentient beings and a speaker on the pompetous of love.
I leave this writing moment with a ponder. What reveals the following photograph from Houston Harvey? How might I convey the moment?
Some decades ago I read the confessions of a language fanatic — she was unapologetic about toting foreign language books to the beach. I have not been able to find that article on the internet, actually any article about readers who find escape that way, now my interest really piques.
Speaking of piquing, here is a peek at two vacationers who look upon language references as beach books, but they’ve chosen different dictionaries to read. That’s what I do — just ask Lisa. Last minute check before leaving the house: have I packed enough language tomes?
I’ve affixed Arabic-alphabet stickers to my keyboard to make life easier — electronic text editors know how to connect the letters correctly and smoothly. However it is important to write by hand while learning Arabic, it’s akin to hiding the calculator while memorizing multiplication tables.
Left-handers are accustomed to covering up what they write as they write, so it’s revealing to actually see my writing without contorting my writing hand. Calligraphic design is already demanding work. The Roman alphabet is as clumsy as Roman numerals, isn’t it? They did not even have minuscules available to lighten things up, perhaps they just liked to SHOVT a lot. Well, it is true, to paraphrase John Cleese, that they had an empire to run. There is that.
Methinks their alphabet was fashioned with stone-chiseling in mind.
As a left-handed calligraphic hobbyist I have to lift my hand frequently to know what is happening. Arabic calligraphy flows from designs inherent in the alphabet. Rather than arranging letters chosen from A to Z, you recognize the minute detail that permits extravagantly wild art with unambiguous pen strokes. This allows the pen wielder to proceed without limit, a dot or two or three makes everything explicable.
However you’ll experience heightened subtlety when you include the ten diacritical marks available in Arabic script. Reading a text that contains the full range of marks gives the writer and the reader a means of communication faithful and considerate of each.
These ten marks are omitted in normal written communication. The small fonts selected for most published works also make text too busy. How do you critically distinguish letters and words if diacriticals are in the way. Once you have seen an Arabic word a hundred times it is hardly necessary to bludgeon a reader with something she already understands quite well.
Of course this is why those marks only appear in scriptural texts or instructional language books. Clarity is critical, each and every millimeter of the way. The author cannot assume that a reader has seen each word hundreds of times already. I personally recommend acquiring the incomparable Sugar comes from Arabic.
Back to Wehr. Arabic is based upon a system of roots: constant consonantal characters in a specific sequence: A SaFaRi into the SaHaRa. The most useful Arabic-English dictionaries are organized by root. Looking up those roots is not easy for a beginner. Now there are ingenious online sources and mobile apps available to grease the learning process.
Learn from your mistakes. I often encouraged my German students that way —the learner who makes the most mistakes gets the most gold stars 🙂