Seeing Eye to Eye

In regione caecorum rex est luscus — a proverb from at least as early as 1500, authored by Desiderius Erasmus. A short story by H. G. Wells.

illustration of 3 reaching hands to nunez
The guys without the eyes are trying to locate those two roundish objects  in Nuñez’ face. They feel like peeled grapes, perhaps the source of the hallucinations that cloud his mind and prevent Nuñez from fitting in. Would enucleation (surgical removal of an eye or two) correct his vision?

My father once mentioned to me that a curious aspect of growing old is a realization that you no longer fit contemporary society, and that immortality wouldn’t help you socially adapt. My dad was a sagacious fellow, he often told me that he would rather be healthy and rich than sick and poor. A little sage makes the dressing. That’s what I think.

I didn’t wait for old age to know that feeling of disorientation, confusion and re-disorientation that the inexplicable brings. The only thing 100% predictable in life is the unexpected.

quote-in-the-land-of-the-blind-the-one-eyed-man-is-a-hallucinating-idiot-for-he-sees-what-marshall-mcluhan-35-84-51

Let me tell you about my friend from Edinburgh, from that town north of Hadrian’s Wall that isn’t Glasgow.  Well, he met my son around 1981, said son was going on three — it’s what happened to earthlings born in 1978.

Any of the way, that Scot spent some time with my boy and proclaimed that he liked him because the youngster recognized the essential absurdity of life. Recognizer of essential absurdity, ‘twould make a fine line on a business card, would it not?

These are the confessions of a guilty bystander, to borrow a few words from Thomas Merton, a philosopher I heartily commend to your attention. He died young and he died tragically, but his works are immortal and always fresh. I wish to confess generational theft: squandering limited resources for a lifetime and lifestyle of self-absorbtion by elders who do know, or should know, far better. If the glove fits, don’t acquit. I must remember to have “generational thief” included in a future obituary.

We’re supposed to leave the planet better than it was when we inherited it. You don’t improve a tightly shared planet by chowing down on the products of animal husbandry, that’s what I believe.  No eyeball-equipped planeteer should consume similarly eyeball-equipped planeteers for the dining pleasure that meats you from the inside out.

You don’t just have a law passed that decrees husbanded animals as free of pain, so that you can just get on with it all legal-like by saying “So there! Now let us serve man.”

You’ve inspired us to write ad-copy, Bill —

“The only grass our cows eat spring from the fruited plain.”

“Our contented cows eat only amber waves of grain.”

Let’s talk about the creatures who developed eyes during the Cambrian Era. Eyes improve your odds of surviving, you see something dangerous and you get out of the way, you see something nutritious, like an apple, you eat it and you’re better for it.

james.herriot.soul.animals

Creatures with eyes also possess a highly developed nervous system, complete with complex nuanced nerves from brain to brainstem to tailbone, from tailbone to brainstem to brain. Back and forth, forth and back. Creatures with eyes are not interested in ending up on a plate next to peas and potatoes, or transformed into Andy Capp’s Hot Lardy Fries and Pinker Pork Rinds, Perky Pig Ears? Would you?

Thanks for reading.

 

Call Me Left-Over Man

Call me Left-Over Man — Feeder of Raccoons.

We’ll call you Ishmael. Waste is the birthright of might, the backbone of a God-fearing society. Raccoons spread rabies and babies, so keep your cans closed and your trap shut, pal.

I once attended a team-building session at Procter and God: marketing lion. Spoiler alert: I am not much known as a team player. Any the way, each team member was to reveal their inner animal. I chose raccoon. Quite unsurprisedly I drew beg-to-differ comments from the tigers and bears in the room.

Are you a dumpster-thriver, Bill? A social-justice warrior? Sharing and caring leaping gnome? A cow-worshiper from India who would die before eating a cheeseburger? It’s survival of the fattest now, Bill. You lose — bigly. 

I follow a lifestyle that fits me as well as the knapsack on my back. It also suits my societal role of iconoclast and vegan (several percent of humanity, we vegans). Competitive sports lure me not, particularly the concussive world of American football. I hug trees instead.

welcome.to.the.anthropocene

To the victor go the spoils. God loves US most because our unimpeachable forefathers, originalists to the man, trusted in Him. You’re rewriting history, Bill — an imprisonable offense.

Yes, I understand that criticizing the Oval Office tweeter can land you 20 years.

Advertisers sometimes lie about their products. Advertising lingo leans on ambiguity, truth in advertising has left the building along with business ethics. Gone south, now approaching Antarctic waters.we.come.as.liberators

All’s fair in love and lotion. We brought civilization and faith to the Indians. We gave slaves a free ride to faith and civilization. 

Today I celebrate something that a counter-advertising team in Canada started promoting in 1989: Buy Nothing Day. I step back from the freneticism that troubles my spirit often enough. Borrowing a tidy phrase from Bartleby the Scrivener: I would prefer not to.

buynothingday

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading.

Veganism 101

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.

billziegler1947

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-is-not-a-sacrifice

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.

Caveat emptor

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…

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Relax and Eat Clean

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.

Kirschner's Korner

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.

Um, no.

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.

In his recommendation, he conveniently omits the abuse and suffering farm animals endurethe unsustainable environmental havoc

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Solidarity for Sustainability

My thanks to all and each who inspire this blog 🙂

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.

sustain.pakistan

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.

meatrix

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.

greenhouse.smithsonian

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.

vegann.diagram.veganstreet

Hoping that you like the idea of complimenting a comment with a complementing commentary. 🙂

Thanks for reading.

 

Veganism vs. Extinction Event

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.

ages

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.”

AnimalsVeganManifesto_CVF

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.

fritz.haber

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!

Discover veganism, another mere suggestion 🙂

Thanks for reading

A Vegan in the Agora

Hello all and each 🙂 Here is yet another post on a theme of vega..

nism from a self-righteous, self-serving wild-eyed V-Gun. Raving screeds spewing from an amino-acid-deprived, protein-starved snot brain…

…n perspective of an agoraphobic in the marketplace (agora is the Greek word for market). I’ve a field trip suggestion — be you agoraphobic or no.

shopper_selecting_meat

Three steps:

  1. Stop by your local übermarket with a weekly grocery list in hand.
  2. Encircle each line item on the list that contains animal-based ingredients: stuffs like meat, egg, dairy, variously mechanically separated body parts. Check product labels if applicable.
  3. Take note of the contents of grocery carts in your vicinity…

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.


Source

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.

Source

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?

Thanks for reading.

Hedonic Hyperphagia

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.”

potato-chips-eating-for-pleasure

“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.

Heather Morgan

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.”  🙂

quote-abstainer-n-a-weak-person-who-yields-to-the-temptation-of-denying-himself-a-pleasure-a-total-ambrose-bierce-210924

 

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.

non.vegan.limbo

 

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?

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

I Hear Ear Worms

Gradual hearing loss brings unexpected blessings: I shall name but two:

  1. An inability to overhear the conversations of strangers.
  2. An inability to hear programmed music in übermarkets.

Spongebob's_brain_in_earworm.

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.

raccoonInvitesOwl

Source

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?

cleared.houston.shelves
Source

 

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

“In Praise of Idleness” and Veganism

40 years ago I read Bertrand Russell’s “In Praise of Idleness,” an essay he published in 1932. The piece was already 40 years old when I got around to reading it — 40 years later I reread this essay, perhaps under visitation of some Jungian synchronicity. Reading it this morning allowed my imagination to stagger — where have I read a better statement on redressing an injustice: the theft of productivity gains? My tentative answer — “nowhere more succinctly.”

First of all : what is work? Work is of two kinds : 
first, altering the position of matter at or near the 
earth’s surface relative to other such matter ; 
second, telling other people to do so. The first kind 
is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant 
and highly paid. The second kind is capable of 
indefinite extension: there are not only those who 
give orders, but those who give advice as to what 
orders should be given. Usually two opposite kinds 
of advice are given simultaneously by two organized 
bodies of men; this is called politics. The skill 
required for this kind of work is not knowledge of 
the subjects as to which advice is given, but know- 
ledge of the art of persuasive speaking and writing, 
i.e. of advertising.

Source

I’ve alluded to Russell’s essay “Nice People” several times now. Actually it’s becoming a commonplace theme here.

I checked out the marvelously titled “Why I am not a Christian” from a West German library in 1971 Giessen — the librarian was not, not, not in the least amused. Not.

Das ist Blödsinn. Totaler Blödsinn.

how.to.love.and.eat.animals

I took up my practice of living iconoclastically shortly (about ten minutes) after graduating from high school — I’d completed 12 years of mandatory Catholic education and needed to discover why free thinkers were so despised by non-freethinkers.

By my estimation vegans are free thinkers who believe that all sentient beings are fellow free thinkers, Genesis 1:26 notwithstanding. Being a vegan just may qualify you as iconoclast. Hold that thought a moment. I’ll be right back…

Hey, it does qualify you as iconoclast.

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

I am convinced that veganism is the gentlest means for solving the ever unaddressed need for addressing global warming. It might even nip a certain extinction event in the bud: The Anthropocene. Is it possible that 7 billion homo sapiens consuming 70 billion animals (from fur to marrow) annually — a practice sanctioned by most religious institutions — might warrant more than a shrug?

Look here, Bill. Humans are created in the image of their maker. Read Genesis 1:26. ’nuff said.

Today’s bumper sticker suggestion:

Meatism kills. Veganism nourishes.

Was Venus once a lush planet? Are we preparing to become a one such once-lush planet?

Thanks for reading.