Sunday, April 5, 2009

From now on...

I'm going to be blogging here.

Werd to yo auntie.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Last Straw.

Jesus. Look at them. I hate people who just don't stop smiling. I mean, really? What delicious benzodiasapine are you all on? There are starving children in Ethiopia. Polar bears are eating each other while Klondike Bars lie in puddles. Michael Jackson is touring again. There are people passing you by who think that there's actually some kind of bean in a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino (true story)! And you just stand there in a politically correct diverse group, with your perfectly-mixed-breed dog, smiling to yourselves, wearing your Old Navy clothes (which are always so weirdly proportioned that the few I actually like never fit me). And 3.5 kids in the scene! What the hell? Where's the barbecue and Arbor Mist, you bastards? I bet you're gonna have fancy Jello-molds too. And Neil Diamond on the stereo (you do know that he sucks, right?). Stop deluding yourselves, Suburbia! Life is tragic. It has weird smells. I hope one of your kids sprains an ankle on the Slip'n'Slide.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

They're waiting for you...

Kiosks are the evil trolls of the mall. They're always around the corner, waiting for you and your unsuspecting children, ready to steal your souls and curse you with senseless trends and tacky, over-priced products. Like Wind Spinners...
"Ooh. Look at the shiny..."

They lurk outside the food court and in front of your favorite stores. If you walk quickly and don't look at them, you may escape. Sometimes they call out to you, nail-buffer in hand. You must not oblige them. They will hypnotize you, manipulating your impulses with bright colors and demonstrations of their magic tricks. You will end up buying Lucky Eyes, silk wrap skirts, hermit crabs, back-scratchers, steam-irons, or worst of all, Crocs. You will realize only when it's too late that you have paid too much for mere novelties, or thrown away a week's worth of what could have been coffee or gas money. Then you will walk past the dollar store, and see the same hot pink Crocs (which you shouldn't have bought anyway) being sold for the price they're really worth. You will bite into that "gourmet" cupcake and realize you could've bought a box of cake mix for the same price and had twelve cupcakes that taste the same! Tragedy!

Do not give them a chance! Pretend to be on your cell phone; act like you are blind, deaf, or foreign; make yourself busy and hit your child! Do not succumb to the retail trolls! Save yourself...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ceiling Cat is Watching You Be a Jerk

Crazy Jesus Man was on campus again this week. The guy usually comes at least once a semester, sometimes with minions, and stands by the fountain while shouting to all the students that they're going to Hell. He's awesome like that.

Usually he angers enough students to start a verbal rumble and we all watch and wonder how people like him reproduce. Someone once told me the whole schpiel is just a psychological experiment and I still wonder about that, because those people always seem a little too crazy-- but then again, Fred Phelps is just a synonym for psychotic so I don't want to downplay the potential of our campus visitors. I'm sure if Jesus had a facebook, he would totally ignore their friend requests.

Anywho, when I saw Crazy this past week I came up with the most amazing idea. Ever. I want to do my own picketing, but in the name of Ceiling Cat, and read passages from the LOLCat Bible. I want to tell students that if they just believe in Ceiling Cat, they too can have bountiful cheezburgers and ride invisible bikes in Heben. And I want to get a group of Ceiling Cat Believers together (and their cats, if applicable) to picket with me. I just have to find out when Crazy Jesus Man will come again so I can tell him that his path is leading him into the paws of Basement Cat.

(Ceiling Cat punishes Adam and Eve for forbidden noms)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Thoughts over free wine...

Dear Sir,

It's been such a pleasure meeting you and your wife. You seem like a lovely, mismatched middle-aged southern couple. I've enjoyed talking to your wife about the education system and the progression of the women's movement. (She's pretty intelligent, how'd you manage to snag that?) And you have also been enjoyable to talk to-- you apparently have a lot of experience in bullshitting people. I can appreciate that, as well as the relationship advice you tried to give me; sure, I may find it pretty useless, but I can see you're just trying to be nice and that it's not your fault your perception of relationships is so dated and stagnant. Perhaps you'd be interested in the Ashley Madison Agency? Oh, and don't worry, I already know the bartender just wants some tang. Men are like that, right? By the way, sorry to burst your lesbian-porn fantasy bubble-- my friend and I have not engaged sexually. I know, hard to believe. I guess not all girls have sexy pillow fights. And thank you
so much for the wine you bought for us. It's not everyday a rotund, married middle-aged man buys a couple of young gals a drink. I do love a good shiraz.

But please, if you don't mind...

Stop. Touching me.

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I think Karma's ready to pounce on these guys.

A few times in the past month, I have heard an interesting radio commercial for The Ashley Madison Agency. Of course, we all experience a variety of reactions to the different advertisements out there. Some make you smile, like the mildly cute and quirky Geico Gecko; some are annoying (Lucinda Bassett, I'm looking your way); some make me angry, like the ones for San Giuseppe wine (not only are they annoying, but wine should not need a radio commercial, which is why I refuse to ever try San Giuseppe); some are just too. Damn. Much. (I'm shaking my tiny fist at you, Brandsmart U.S.A!) And then there are ones like this Ashley Madison ad, that make me go wha?

What type of service does Ashley Madison provide?


Mmm-hmm. Affairs for married people who want a secret side dish. Or as the people at Ashley Madison like to call it, "married dating". Like so:

"Ashley Madison is the world's #1 Married Dating service specifically for ATTACHED men and women who are looking to have an Extra-marital Affair."

Or as I like to call it, "volunteer prostitution".

Apparently, it works like a dating service, but the members are mostly married people whose spouses are unaware of their membership. Basically, if it's not enough for you to just have an online affair, or an unexpected incident at your office party because you had too much schnapps, you can actively seek out someone on Ashley Madison to have sex with behind your partner's back. Finally! So long Craigslist!

Hmm. I don't want to judge, but this just strikes me as, eh, kinda dumb. If you want more excitement, go to the Spice of Life store and buy some whips. Rent some Japanese porn for you and your partner (no, really, dont. Please. Not the Japanese porn.) If you want to have sex with others,
talk your partner into having an open relationship. (Good luck with that one, by the way.) Join or form a swingers' club! (They were big in the seventies, I don't know what the hell happened.) It's extra-marital sex without the guilt! And you don't have to create a lame-ass profile to try convincing a stranger you're hot enough to have an affair with-- because you just know the only people on this site are those who can't manage an affair in person.

But. If you are going to have an affair behind your spouse's back, be bold and do it the old-fashioned way: pull a stranger into an elevator, make them feel happily violated until the fifteenth floor (but don't look them in the eye!), and walk out while smoking a cigarette.

The end.

Monday, March 16, 2009

And now it's time for a lesson in...

Good Plaid, Bad Plaid.

Good Plaid:
Wearing a guitar and political frustration with your flannel shirt, like Neil Young. It is also a good idea to find some old boots and not wash your hair for a week. Do not attempt, however, unless you have talent.

Bad Plaid: Wearing a keffiyeh with your flannel shirt because the display looks cool. This makes you look like a pretentious east coast performance artist. Or emo. Especially if your hair covers one eye. Either way, not cool. If you are a pretentious artist, or an emo kid with no taste, proceed with the ensemble.

Good Plaid: Purple plaid pants and a taste for homicide and balloons. Jack Nicholson struts his stuff with a matching purple coat, nifty cane, and some kick-ass one-liners.

Bad Plaid: Yellow plaid pants and no credentials. Really, you better be damn hip to wear these things. Like Prince-hip. He can wear anything.

Good Plaid: Fiery red hair and a plaid skirt, a la Tori Amos. Works best in small, gay/lesbian-saturated music venues, or coffee houses. Also a plus if you've been playing the piano since you were two and a half and take drugs with shamans. (Oh yeah, and she's amazing.)

Bad Plaid: Suspenders and Pepto-Bismol plaid shorts. Who designed these? They look too retarded even for Avril Lavigne. But hey, never underestimate the power of dumb.

Good Plaid: Being a rock icon and symbol of the nineties. Just don't ever move to Kurt Cobain's hometown, Aberdeen, Washington. Let's just say "depressing" is too weak of a word to describe the place.

Bad Plaid: Being an icon for paper towels. You're not even the original Brawny Man! Grow a beard, you pansy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Doom Strudels

"Schnell, Klaus, Schnell!"

The Germans must know that, despite their beer, rosy cheeks and dorky-ass lederhosen, deep down we are afraid of them (you may not realize it, but you are). I caught these two exercising their intimidation on Miami Beach. Klaus here was tossing Gertrude into the air like pfannkuchen, while her expression remained ever-so stiff, and unfeeling, because Germans are really just extraterrestrial superbots. Their jolly culture is merely a parody of humanity, a cover-up until they take over. (The whole Nazi thing? That was actually a mistake. Hitler wasn't even one of them; he came from the "uber-dark side" and fooled the other superbots into following him. Dumb bots.) I was afraid, being about one-eighth their size, that one of them would come and flick me into the ocean, or use me as a hacky sack.

Only once before have I come into contact with a German. On an overnight flight to the Netherlands a few years ago, my seatmate fooled me with his lanky physique and kind, benign aura (a damn clever disguise). I figured him out when he pronounced "school" as "shool" instead of "skool". But I stayed calm, conversing casually and saying,
"Ja!" to get him on my side. I think it worked because at 6 a.m., I awoke to him offering me a Sour Patch Kid- "Vould you like a sveetie?" And when a German offers you a "sveetie" ("sweetie" is another word for "candy" in Europe, by the way), you damn well take it. And you like it.

These guys? They left me alone, probably pitying my rabbit-like stature. Were they really even German? Err, I don't know. Maybe Austrian. Still. Scary, scary superbots.


Monday, March 9, 2009


Whatever floats your boat, turtle.

Dirty Ponies.

Pony ride! Every little girl's dream! Weeeee! (Sings My Little Pony song)

(What is it with little girls and ponies anyway? Why not camels or llamas? Or ostriches. Prejudiced little wenches. Anyway.)


Wait. What?

Yeah... maybe it's just me (I don't think it is), but that sign doesn't seem quite kosher. I mean, come on. Really... little girls and flimsy boys are the only candidates for this attraction, and that sign is implicitly rated PG-13. Who put that there? Where is the FCC? I could understand if we were at the 99 Kiss Country Chili Cook Off (and rest assured, you wouldn't catch me there on acid). But this was the Asian Culture Festival. And not kinky-Japanese-porn-and-manga Asian culture; we're talking about Buddhism, Thai fruit-carving, origami, folk dancing, bubble tea (I know, bubble tea is awesome). Wholesomely foreign family fun. And some bastard had to go and spoil the pony rides with a suggestive sign. What will the children think now? Their tiny tainted minds...

(sigh) I wish I'd thought of that sign.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

They're baaaack.

Apparently, Wednesdays are Neo-Hippy Days at FIU now. At the root of it, I think, is Obama, with his love for Honest Tea and Whole Foods and hugs. You know he'd grow a 'fro if it were fashionably acceptable in the White House. Even the Man is kept down by the Man. But anyway. I suspect the mini Woodstock is primarily a result of the Organic Farmer's Market being held every Wednesday afternoon, which started this semester. Campus seems pretty average and lame all week (as usual), except for those few hours the market is in business-- it's still lame, but in a peaceful, hempy way. Suddenly, the hippies sprout up everywhere, like magic mushrooms on cow dung. Just look...

Next to the market, playing acoustic music and getting high on love and tie dye...

Out by the lake with their quirky foreign instruments...

Feeding Sun Chips to the turtles...

Sunbathing until they're burnt beyond recognition...

I wonder how long this new age of hippies will last. What speedy drug will take them out of their daze and into some horrible post-modern disco era? Which of their musical heroes will OD and drown in their own vomit? Do they bathe? Obama, look what you've done!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A shaynem dank der im pupik

Shlep: (verb) to pull, drag, tug, yank; to move slowly or clumsily.
Shlepper: (noun) a lazy bastard, so to speak.

Besides Cubans and chongas, South Florida is full of Jews. Living here is basically the tropical version of New York, minus cool stuff (like Cash Cab and junkies in the subway). If you go to North Miami Beach on a Saturday, you will see kippahs
everywhere. I'm pretty sure most live between North Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. And having grown up in Broward, I feel quite cozy with Jewish culture, though my parents are Catholic. I remember the one good trade-off about church used to be the possibility of eating at a Jewish diner afterward (because with all the crap they've faced throughout history, they make some damn good comfort food. OMG, knishes).

My psychology teacher in high school was an older Jewish lady who smoked too much and had a raspy, New York or Jersey accent. She liked referring to Sigmund Freud as "Ziggy-baby". At the end of class she used to say to us, "Okay,
bubeles, pack up your chazeray and go". She would use words like schmatta, schmutz and bopkis. I wanted to know what the hell she was saying, so I started looking up Yiddish words and phrases.

And that's when I discovered Yiddish is the best language ever. There is such an abundance comical phrases and smart-ass insults that I can't keep up. Half the fun is in the mere pronunciation of words like
schmekel and feygele. When studying Yiddish, you realize why people like Mel Brooks are so genius. I learned how to say things in Yiddish like "Drop dead", "Go to Hell", and "Kiss my ass". I discovered the wise authority and awkward beauty of all those phlegmy sounds. And I ate a matzoh ball for the first time. Finally, I understood my psychology teacher. I understood The Nanny. But Fiddler on the Roof was just lame. Yeah, I said it.

So shlep on, Shleper of the Boca Juniors, in your Mercedes. I know you're probably totally disconnected from your Yiddishkayt and you eat ham sandwiches. Whatever, I just like your license plate.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Your mom would be disappointed in you.

I found these abandoned items last night while closing at Starschmucks.

Really, people? You can't clean up after yourselves a little bit? You didn't even take your study papers. Did Abuela call and say she broke her hip, causing you to flee in desperation, forgetting everything else in your life? Or did you just meander away, thinking, "Oh, the supercool Starbucks peeps will clean up after me. That's their job, to give me over-priced, over-sugared, under-caffeinated hot milk and then pick up my crap. Like mom."

You know what?


It is not overtly in our job description to pick up your trash (and other materials such as school hand-outs that are not Starbucks-related.) Sure, we are supposed to go around and wipe the tables, sweep the floor, straighten things out. Yeah, if a handicapped customer can't really make it to the trash can, we'll throw out their cups and do whatever else they need. That doesn't make it okay to leave your mess behind so carelessly. At least consolidate your garbage and put the wrappers and napkins in your cups. Do
something. We're not bussers. This isn't Denny's. We don't come around with the big dish tray and pick up the remains of your consumption. There's a reason Starbucks kills thousands of trees to make paper cups-- so you can conveniently throw them away wherever there is a trash can, because you're big kid now. And I know there are... [doing mental count], two, three, four, five... at least five trash cans available to customers at my Starbucks, and more outside around campus. Use them, dingbats!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I know you're homeless, but you're not talentless.

Sitting in traffic, when suddenly:

Aaaw. (invisible tears stream down)

Two days later, sitting in traffic. Same time, same place:

Hey, man. Now you're just being repetitive.

How about a little creative begging? Do you realize that pretty much all the other bums are holding the same sign? What makes yours any more convincing? Do you expect me to really believe that your situation is more dire here on 117th and 40th than, say, the lady on 127th and 88th? I've seen one bum whose sign read: "Why lie? I need a beer!" And if I had been at a red light, I totally would have given him a couple of bucks. Because a) it's believable, and b) it made me giggle inside. And you know, a lot of bums in the past would actually perform some kind of small service or entertainment for money. It's hobo law #5: "When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts". It's not like I want you to clean my windshield (you can't compete with the street kids in Mexico anyway). Just add a little flare, charm me into giving you my money. Make begging lucrative! Write a limerick on your sign! Play the spoons! Or something.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Some people make it too easy.

High ponytail. Hot pink clip-on hair bow. Jeweled peace sign necklace. Pink Victoria's Secret track suit (from the Pink line, of course). Coach handbag. Sidekick with heart and star stickers. Hello Kitty credit card.

A customer came into Starschmucks sporting the ensemble described above. None of these fashions on their own are particularly ridiculous. They're mostly very "in" right now, from what I've seen (though I don't know about that hair bow). But when you pile them into one one outfit, and wear it when you're in college, it kinda screams, "I'm not ready!" (That, and, "I have a poor sense of fashion".)

I was really just in awe of her existence. It would have been perfect if she talked like one of the sorority girls, but she was so absorbed in her Sidekick she barely said a word beyond "Tall caramel macchiato". I wanted to ask her what grade she was in, and if she had seen the latest Hannah Montana episode. There's a point, like around adulthood, where you should start considering the image you project with your clothes and accessories. Hair bows and pink overload do not help. Sorry.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Your god let my kitten die.

I'm accustomed to evangelicals. Evangelicals as in, "Have you heard the good word, my friend?" My mom is one. She likes to buy me little books (like The Da Vinci Deception) and stuffed bears from the LifeWay Christian Store. And after a few months, I like to give them to Goodwill. (Don't worry, Mum will never read this.) It's not just because I've been resigned from Christianity for nearly ten years. I don't want a whole bunch of stuff lying around if I'm not going to use it.
Anywho, evangelicals. They're not only in my family, but all over Miami, because in case you didn't know, Hispanics are so Christian it hurts. Kidding, please don't douse me in holy water. But it's pretty common to have some kind of "missionary" experience in this city. A teenage girl at Barnes & Noble was very persistent with me one evening, returning even after I declined her mini-sermon. Twice. That was fun. Like being flogged. (Obviously not everyone is like that girl. I think most would get the message when one is interested or not.) And of course, it's always a Christian sect. Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, Lutheran, etc. In Broward County, where there's a bagel shop on every street, no Jew has ever tried to convert me.

But on campus at FIU, I have observed, and been approached by what I like to call "yoga thumpers". They walk around with Hindu scripture, asking if you're familiar with yoga and reincarnation. They're exceedingly soft-spoken. I'm pretty sure they ask for donations (donation to what, I don't know/remember). The best part is they're white. I have been approached a total of three times. The first time (which was last year) I thought, "Hey, this scenario is familiar. But wait, that's not a bible!" The second time (earlier this semester) I assured the guy that I had already talked to one of them in the past. The third time, before he even said anything, I just told him, "You guys got me yesterday." Before I met the yoga thumpers, I was already into karma and learning about reincarnation. I already own a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, which sits on my bookshelf like the family bible that never gets read. I had even named one of my kittens Shiva but then he freakin died a week later. Because I'm white like that. Yet these guys are still annoying to me. Frankly, I like learning about all that dharma schmarma and krishna krunch on my own. The more they hunt me down, the less attractive it is. Besides, why would the culture that spawned the Kama Sutra and Tantric sex need its own evangelists?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I can't believe I ate the WHOLE thing.

Mmm, Whole Foods Market. The patron saint of grocery stores. They're environmentally friendly; they have a ridiculous nutrition section; there's not a smidge of hydrogenated fat in their products; they're super vegetarian-friendly; they host cooking demonstrations; they rank as 22nd in Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For; and hell, the Obamas like to shop there. What more motivation do you need to go there RIGHT NOW?

Not convinced? What's wrong? The prices? Well, yeah, I know... the only people who can really afford to go there regularly are wealthy, New-Age white people. But here's a secret. There's another reason people go to Whole Foods. The
real reason...


(Left: Fig & olive crackers, Right: Feta cheese with sundried tomatoes)

Yes, indeed, 95% of the time you visit Whole Foods, you're going to find at least one tray of organic fruit, vegetables, cookies, gourmet chips, cheese, bread, chocolate, etc. You could go there on a Sunday afternoon and sample your way into a free lunch.

And you don't even have to be a neurotic health-food freak. Lardy junk-food addicts will find their share of delights. Look! Potato chips! Krinkle-cut!

Moral of the story? Everyone at Whole Foods may seem like good, pious people. But we're all just here for the organic/fair-trade/environmentally-friendly gluttony.

"Yeah, honey, I'm gonna pick up the wheat-grass, flax-flakes, and, oooh, granola bread!"


Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Walking iPod Ad

Man. This guy's cool. No, really. I mean, I admit I am being a wee bit sarcastic, and I don't know him, but I seriously think he at least looks pretty hip. Let's make a list. Afro. Check. Sunglasses. Check. Well-fitted dress shirt. Check. Wide-band wrist watch. Check. Pants not obnoxiously baggy or skin-tight. Check. Pointy shoes. Check. Apple-product placement: an ipod and what appears to be a Macbook. Check. Yeah, he's got it goin' on. He needs to have the Scissor Sisters playing in the background wherever he goes. And his shadow could be the dancing silhouette in this walking ipod commercial.

Strange. You see the people in advertisements, and wish you could be like them, but know it won't ever happen because God hates you or whatever reason. Then you buy the product, because you want it, and/or you still want to try to be like those people, which of course never happens. Some people think they pull it off. (Like these guys.) But this stud, who I'm officially renaming Cool-Beans McMan, actually did it. Whether he intended to or not, he has become one of those people from the magazine and billboard ads; a 3-D GQ guy. Congratulations, McMan. Can I have your autograph? Or rather, your awesomegraph?

The Dentist is Awesome.

This kid is ready for shrooms.

My good friend Shawn sent me this. Now I don't care how much it costs, I can't wait to watch my own child have an existential breakdown after the dentist.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Move Over, Jesus Fish.


Honestly, I don't understand. Did I miss something? Can someone tell me why these damn family stickers on car windows are so popular? Am I the only one who wants to sneak around a parking lot and place an ominous X over random sticker-family members?

I know this little fad has been going on for a while now, maybe a couple of years or more. But I have to talk about it. My main question is, Why would you advertise your family like that? For one, it's just annoying, like the parents who send album-loads of baby pictures to their family and friends (your kid can shit on the toilet now, congrats). Secondly, it sometimes feels like the beholder of the stickers is boasting some kind of social perfection- "Check it out, 2.5 kids and a dog! Quintessential suburbanite, bitches!" And on that note, how does one not feel like a sickening sugar-coated cliche? Beaver Cleaver could kick your ass. Then what about the people who have but one or two stickers? They're just asking for pity, especially if that one sticker is of their dog.

But more than anything, I question the logic behind this fad. The first time I saw these stickers, however long ago that was, the first thought that came to my head was, "Now if I were a predator..." Call me cynical, evil, disturbed, whatever. If I were a predator out on the road, these stickers are all I'd keep my eye out for, because then I'd know which cars lead to households with plenty of possessions, and if there are any kids or teens for the taking. With any luck, the school at which the children are "Honor Students" will be on the bumper too. Stalkerlicious. Some stickers even have the names of the family members! Really, people, come on. That's like holding your baby over a balcony. Okay, not quite, but it's dangerous. Keeping-It-Real-Mom knows what I'm talking about! (Now, I don't know exactly how real she keeps it, but at least she would agree with me).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bambi is Dead, Get Over It.

I overheard a discussion about meat a couple of weeks ago. One girl had identified herself as a vegetarian. The others, who were omnivorous, somehow got onto the subject of venison (deer meat). The vegetarian responded, "How can you eat that? That's like eating Bambi!"

And then I noticed her leather boots.

Well, you know what?
If eating deer meat is like eating Bambi, then wearing those boots is like wearing Elsie the Borden Cow!

I don't know how a vegetarian can act so righteous about what's on the dinner table and ignore what's in his/her closet. It's hypocrisy, simple as that. You won't eat animals but you'll wear them. Guess what? They're still dead!

Now, I myself am a vegetarian. I am of the ovo-lacto type, one who eats dairy and eggs. I do not eat beef, pork (no mammals in general), poultry, fish/other seafood, reptiles, etc. I try to avoid animal by-products as well, including lard, beef/chicken stock, gelatin, and those found in cosmetics. (I was sorely disappointed when I found out Junior Mints and Skittles had gelatin, but I have nevertheless refrain from them. And I miss marshmallows, but at least the fluff has only egg whites). And I avoid buying clothing/accessories made from animal skins (like boots).

However, I know my habits of consumption are not perfect, and others might find inconsistencies about them. I'm not a level-five vegan. I know there might be oyster sauce in all the vegetarian selections at a Thai restaurant; I eat honey; and I know most of my clothing was probably made by a little underpaid Chinese kid on the other side of the world. There are so many factors that are out of the consumers' hands. We can rarely be sure if a product truly meets our ethical/moral standards. (And unfortunately, all the products that really do meet those standards also tend to be really expensive.)

Here's the thing. I don't give a shit if you eat meat, as long as you're not trying to convince me to abandon vegetarianism (besides, it won't work). In turn, I won't preach to you about becoming a vegetarian. I won't try to make my reasons yours. If you ask, I'll tell you my own veg story, things I've read or heard, and I won't do it while holding a big-eyed calf. The fact is, shit happens, it's the unfair-trade circle of life, and even if everyone went veg, there would still be problems in the world.

As for the girl with the boots, I don't care if you wear a fur coat to match. And I know you weren't trying to convert anyone. But don't tell or imply to people there's something wrong with what they're putting in their mouths when you're putting the same crap on your credit card.

(Edit note: the Level Five Vegan blog seems to have disappeared. [Hopefully not from malnutrition.] Here's another relevant link.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Put down the pop!

While waiting for my linguistics class to start, this guy, who we'll call Jabba (you can guess why), walks in with an eight-pack of Diet Sunkist and sits down a few seats in front of me. First, I noticed the change in Sunkist's logo design. It reminds me of Billabong. Then, I thought, "Why the hell does this guy have a pack of soda with him?" Perhaps there was a reasonable explanation. He could have brought that for some gathering of people either before or after class, maybe a student government meeting (he did have a SGA shirt on). Maybe the case didn't even have soda in it, maybe he needed the box for a project, or had put some other item(s) in it, like a gold bikini-clad princess or something. That box has multi-purpose potential. But then Jabba pulled out a Sierra Mist, diet, I believe. Okay, so there was at least one can of soda in there.

Later on during the class, I got up, walked past the case, and with my quick ninja skills, peeked inside.
Diet Sunkists! I didn't want to assume it, I didn't want to believe it, but all the soda case had was soda. I consulted with two other classmates about this, and they confirmed that the soda was indeed for him, and this was not the first time. And I thought this guy had a problem.

Why, Jabba? Are you
that thirsty for the bubbly, orangey, artificial sweetness? And what was with that one Sierra Mist? That's disloyal-- Sierra Mist is owned by Pepsi Co. and Sunkist is owned by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (yeah, I didn't know it existed either)!

But really... that's too much soda to carry around for oneself. And diet, schmiet, soda is simply not good to consume in excess, and Americans drink way too much of it. I know you all know this. Like so many things we take into our bodies, it's an addiction. A pathetic addiction if you ask me, because it's just caffeine and/or sugar. They seem like mild-enough stimulants to have more resistance against, so it's strange how one gets to that point of "needing" eight pops a day. Before it ever becomes a problem, why do we not think, "I guess I'll stop at two for the day and have a glass of juice/milk/water/gin and tonic instead"? What's worse is that the information is out there, on the news, in the papers, magazines, and on the web about the effects soda has on the body. Then again, the same can be said for crack and heroin and people will still use them. But at least those are more likely to make one lose weight. I guess addiction is addiction.

Jabba, you're not alone. These people know what it is to yearn for that carbonated bliss. Reach out to them, feel the soothing hand of empathy, and start working together toward a new day. By the way, have you tried coffee?

Born to Be (and Dying) Wild

I love these guys. The retirement home runaways. I spotted them in Deerfield Beach, like pints of ale among glasses of lemonade. They could sit at home in easy chairs and watch M*A*S*H reruns, fussing over their blood-pressure medication, what time they’re going to have supper, going to bed at nine. They could have decided that it was all a slow ride downhill from sixty-five, but apparently they’re going wherever the hell they want (I think they were heading southwest, actually). Funny that they’re in the middle of South Florida, the retirement capital of the world, when they appear to be anything but tired. These guys are usually hard to find, and I admire when “getting old” is not on one’s agenda. I may be assuming too much. Maybe they didn't party all night and shoot smack like Keith Richards. Maybe they headed back to their senior community that night and played bridge. But you have to admire that they’re still riding their bikes, doing what they love as long as they’re able to. Of course not every elder should live like a rebel of sorts, and I know not every senior is a bore. But to an extent, age truly is a state of mind, and I believe if anything is gonna slow or bring you down, it should be bad knees and incontinence, not a number.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

OMG, Obama.

So, yeah, Obama’s in. (Confetti falls down, woo. [This is not sarcasm, I really am happy about it.]) And if this has not been the biggest inauguration hullabaloo ever, I’d like to know what was. Starbucks even had patriotic cup sleeves for a day, each with squishy, heart-warming quotes from past presidents. On my way out of school to watch the swearing-in at home, I saw a big gathering of people in the library watching George Sr. and Barb on the tellie, waiting for the big moment. Of course, some people were decked out in their Obama gear. So cute. It’s great that this past election has gotten even the most apathetic people (such as myself) to take an interest in the political situation. But I’m tempted to say that it’s really another fad/trend; throughout 2008 I saw the bumper stickers, the pins, the t-shirts, the hats, but I didn’t hear much about why people sported the propaganda (for either Obama or McCain). A lot of it seemed compulsive, though ultimately, just about all of us had our reasons besides party affiliation. And if it is/was a trend in any way, shape or form, it’s been one that’s actually significant and socially beneficial-- we’re all paying attention now, aren’t we? At least more than we were before. Or maybe it’s not so much a fad as it is a reaction of desperation and fear. We know we’re in deep shit, but we’re still doing the wave for some kind of upward potential (or at least those of us who support Obama are). It’s one of those “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” periods… as long as we can still afford the sugar.