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But Don’t You Miss the Taste of Meat?

October 10, 2017

I like food and when I eat I try and follow a compassionate diet. What that means for me is a plant-based diet that causes no harm to animals and doesn’t involve the exploitation of animals and doesn’t cause any harm to the planet. Oh yeah, and selfishly I suppose you could say, a diet that’s also the most beneficial to my health. Call it what you’d like: vegetarianism, veganism or Whole Food/Plant Based; I call it simply trying to eat and live mindfully.

For me, eating a whole food/plant based diet for health at this point in my life is a no-brainer, and while I have a lot of love for vegans (sorry vegetarians, but between ‘ovo’ and ‘lacto’ and ‘ovo-lacto’, you don’t make a lot of sense to me so my love meter for you falls a little lower and lands in the “bunch of respect” category ) the focus on animal welfare and harm makes the vegan diet a little difficult for me. Not because I want to eat animals, but because the attitude of some individual vegans is off-putting and that makes the overall lifestyle unappealing to me.

And also – and this is sad – animals, in one form or another, are (again, sadly), involved in pretty much everything in our lives. Because of that, I wonder if it’s not almost impossible to live a truly ‘vegan’ life.

I don’t defend or necessarily condone any of what follows, but . . .

There are animal parts in house paint (casein). So do I live in a home with unpainted walls?

I have an old hammer in a drawer that I use to pound nails into the wall to hang photos and I think the handle might be leather. So I can get rid of the hammer and replace it with a rubble-handled hammer, but rubber also contains animal ingredients (stearic acid).

Forget about the rubber tires on my car, how about the asphalt I’m driving those rubber tires on (glycerin)? So do I stop driving and walk everywhere, careful to avoid stepping on asphalt and walking on grass only?

If I do that – walk on grass only – I’d better make sure what type of fertilizer was used on that grass because . . .  yes, animal parts (bone meal, manure).

And speaking of driving: I can’t drive my car in the summer without bugs and insects smashing up against the windshield and the front grill so by driving am I inadvertently putting insects and bugs in danger and harming them when I drive to the grocery store to buy vegetables and fruit and other non-animal food products to eat?

Vaccines, what do I do, just say no? (I have no real idea what’s in a vaccine but I’ve read a lot of nauseating things about fat and milk and blood and bone and brain and muscle being used at one point or another in the process)

It goes on and on:

Plastic bags (animal fat)?
Condoms (casein and glycerin)?
Fireworks (stearic acid)?
Computers (stearic acid)?
Wine (casein, gelatin, isinglass)?
Beer (gelatin, isinglass, glycerol)?
Red-colored applesauce and lollipops (carmine or carminic acid)? Some bagels and bread (L-cysteine)?
The Minnesota Orchestra (and by extension all Classical music because of the catgut for stringed instruments and glue to hold the wood of those instruments together)?


The summer of 2017 has been tenacious here in Minnesota and the other day I took a beautiful walk through the Westwood Hills Nature Center (if you’re ever in town check it out, and if you let me know I’ll try and meet you there) and while I was enjoying the trees and the grass and the water and the wildflowers and the breeze, a bug flew into my mouth and my immediate instinct was to cough and then I involuntarily swallowed and it all happened so fast I had no idea what was going on until the bug was on his way down into the gloomy acid-filled pit of my belly. So do I need to stop outdoor walking?

Yes, I’m using very extreme examples here and I understand that my examples might be every bit as absurd as saying that the bible tells us not to kill, but when we wash our hands we’re killing bacteria so as hand-washers concerned with sanitation and personal hygiene we’re guilty of murder. And I know that by the definition provided to us by the Vegan Society, veganism is living – as far as possible and practicable – a life that limits anything that would exploit or cause cruelty to animals for any reason, and I know that sometimes in life there are things that are simply out of our control. But the point I’m trying to make – and I took a long and windy way to get here but if you go back to the second sentence of the second paragraph you’ll see what got me started on this – is that no one is perfect and I think that life would be a lot simpler if people stopped believing they were perfect and other people weren’t.

Wow, man, how’d you get from there to here and who’s talking about being perfect and criticizing others for not being perfect?

Well, I’ll tell you.

I read different message boards looking for food and cooking tips, as well as recipes, and I see a lot of compassionate and humane people criticizing other compassionate and humane people for no real reason except to, I can only assume, make themselves feel better. I see vegans criticizing vegetarians for being hypocrites and vegans insulting other vegans for not doing enough or for not being compassionate enough, or in the case of one message I read, a person was criticized for not being “vegan enough”. What does that even mean? I never comment to anything on these boards because what’s the point, but after reading enough of those messages and absorbing enough of that anger and hostility I start to wonder what the point of it all is.

Someone lives a vegan lifestyle because they don’t want to bring harm to animals and yet they can bring harm to another animal online by shaming them. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

What does make sense to me is to live simply and to live mindfully.

Thanks for reading and now go live as the best being you can think to be. And if you have a recipe you’d like to share, please do. Or if you want to know where I get my protein, feel free to ask!


Twins v. Yankees

October 3, 2017

Disillusioned by the Minnesota Twins being a huge underdog in tonight’s game in the Bronx, I turned to my generally, more often than not, sometimes, always reliable Magic 8 Ball for some insight into what might happen in 10 hours in this one game playoff (undoubtedly MLB’s most nerve-wracking game of all) and learned that after Ervin Santana falls behind early and things are looking bleak, the Twins rally and get to Luis Severino in the 5th and (assuming they don’t pitch to Aaron Judge at all) go on to win the game 7-5 behind Joe Mauer and his four hits and Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler home runs and Jose Berrios’ five innings of brilliant middle relief. This is exactly what we wait 27 weeks and 162 games for! Go Twins!

What I’ve Learned from Facebook

September 29, 2017

What have I learned from Facebook?

The easy answer is nothing. The slightly more complex answer is, well, still nothing.

I took a three week break from Facebook and I was surprised at how easy it was. Here’s a place I dropped into every morning to see what other people were saying and talking about. How, I wondered, would my mornings ever be the same without that deep, meaningful social interaction?

Guess what? They were.

How so? Because for the most part, no one talks on Facebook; people just talk and brag and talk and struggle to impress and there’s no real interaction in that. It’s thought to be social networking, but it’s not, by my definition, anything close to social.

What I thought I’d miss, I found, was something I didn’t want in the first place. How very Wizard of Oz-ish of me. . .

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”

While I missed a few people with whom I share interests, and a couple of special interest groups, I didn’t miss the majority of the messages that are splattered across the timeline message feed. And to be honest, it felt good not seeing the inane messages of some. If you’re familiar with Facebook then you know what I’m talking about: the posts from people who believe themselves to be next Robin Williams, George Carlin, Steve Martin or Phyllis Diller when they’re more along the lines of Steve Urkel, Carrot Top, Gallagher or Sarah Silverman.

You put up with it because, hey, they’re ‘friends’, right?

Maybe Facebook isn’t really so different from real life, eh?

So, to sum it all up –

  1. Three weeks away from Facebook was not so difficult.
  2. Facebook takes a lot of time. And I’m not so sure that I’m willing to give it that much time.
  3. To the friends I missed on Facebook: I missed you!
  4. To some of the others: you’re still there, huh?

There’s a quote and I can’t verify who originally said it so take your pick between Robert Quillen or Will Rogers.

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.”

Facebook is sort of like that. It’s too many people saying things they haven’t the foggiest notion of to impress friends they don’t know.

I guess I like the old fashioned way of getting to know someone.

Random Thoughts #27: Kiwifruit

September 29, 2017

Kiwifruits are tasty and nutritious so why do they only make them in the small size?

(Random thought #27A: why is “kiwifruit” one word?)

Did ‘ya Hear the News?

September 28, 2017

Just two days ago I wrote about the Twins having a magic number of two to make it into the postseason. Well, the Minnesota Twins have just done what many – myself included – thought was impossible and in about 126 hours our hometown nine will be entering fall baseball and playing in the MLB postseason as the second Wild Card team and play either the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox in the one-game play in game.

For me there’s no sport that comes close to baseball and when we’re talking baseball there’s nothing that equals postseason baseball and when your team is a part of postseason baseball . . . damn, where are the words?

First, congratulations to the Twins’ players, manager Paul Molitor, team staff and management for bringing some postseason baseball back to Minnesota. I don’t care if it’s just one game or four games or 20 games; this is baseball and this is the postseason and this is what it’s all about.

The last time the Twins were in the postseason was in 2010. We had won the AL Central with a 94-68 record and then went on to lose the AL Division Series to the New York Yankees in three straight games over four nights. (If it’s any consolation, the Yankees then went on to lose to the AL Championship Series to the Texas Rangers) What followed were some dreadful years where we finished in last place with 90+ losses. In 2015 it looked like we had turned the corner by finishing with a respectable 83-79 season but then last year’s campaign saw us tumble to an embarrassing MLB worst record of 59-103.

But, hey, that was then and this is now, and now says the 2017 Twins have set a MLB record by going from having the most losses in a season to making the postseason the following season.

Did I mention that the Twins are in the postseason? Or that I’m excited?

Who knows how it’ll play out but today it’s looking like we’ll be playing the Yankees next Tuesday in the Wild Card play in game.

The assumption is that staff ace Ervin Santana (16 – 8; .3.36 ERA; 1.134 WHIP; 173 hits/85 runs) will be making Tuesday’s start, but I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. Yeah, Santana is pretty good so you’d think you want your best pitcher on the mound in a win-or-go-home game, but if Santana starts the Wild Card game that means (assuming the Twins win) he’ll only get one start in the American League Division Series instead of two. If I’m managing the team, I’d want him on the mound for two in the ALDS. Also, assuming it’s the Yankees we have to play (which isn’t a guarantee at this point) Santana’s numbers against the Yankees aren’t so spectacular.

Santana’s numbers against the Yankees in 20 career starts: 5.66 ERA; 1.517 WHIP; 138 hits/81 runs

Those numbers are a little better against the Red Sox in 15 career starts: 5.17 ERA; 1.264 WHIP; 82 hits/52 runs.

If it were me taking this team through the postseason and toward a 2017 World Series I’d have Kyle Gibson as my Wild Card Game pitcher. While Gibson had a horrible first half (16 games: 5-7; 6.31 ERA, 1.770 WHIP; 106 hits/61 runs), he rebounded brilliantly in the second half and over 12 starts he put up a great 7-3 record with a 3.58 ERA and a 1.247 WHIP while allowing 69 hits and 29 runs. I’d start Gibson and keep him on a short leash and if he runs into trouble then I’d pull him as early as the second inning and bring in Jose Berrios and go from there.

But that’s just me and I’m just a fan and all I care about is that the Twins are in the postseason!


Go Twins!

And the Magic Number is . . .

September 26, 2017

If my math is right (and when it comes to math I never claim to be right), the Twins Magic Number to reach the post season is two. With five games left to play and a five game lead over the Los Angeles Angels, that mean a combination of one Twins win and one Angels loss will put secure the second American League Wild Card spot and put the Minnesota Twins into the MLB post season.

That’s pretty amazing.

It’s pretty amazing because the Twins finished the 2016 season with a horrible 56-103 season and the lack of substantial off-season moves didn’t give anyone anything to be excited about.

It’s pretty amazing because we traded away our veteran All Star closer, Brandon Kintzler, at the break and we lost our All Star slugger, Miguel Sano, to a stress fracture of his right tibia on August 21st.

It’s pretty amazing because players like Jorge Polanco (.260/.316/.414 with 14 HRs) and Eddie Rosario (.287/.327/.504 with 26 HRs) and Eduardo Escobar (20 HRs) have developed into legitimate baseball players, and starter Kyle Gibson has turned into a completely different person after reversing his terrible 5-7 (6.31 ERA) first half record into a stellar 7-3 (3.58 ERA) second half record.

It’s pretty amazing because Brian Dozier (32 HRs) keeps hitting homers and Joe Mauer has returned to form as an everyday player, both at the plate (.308/.384/.421) and in the field (.998 fielding percentage).

It’s pretty amazing because relievers like Trevor Hildenberger (2.95 ERA in 39.2 innings) and Alan Busenitz (1.50 ERA in 30 innings) and Matt Belisle (4.17 ERA in 58.1 innings) have stepped up and become legitimate relievers.

It’s pretty amazing because after the Kintzler trade the team was left with no closer and that speaks to the rest of the bullpen. But maybe that’s not so amazing when you see a team averaging 6 runs per game in the second half.

It’s pretty amazing because Byron Buxton, league leader in stolen base percentage (96.43%) has, during the second half of the season hit .304/.354/357 with 11 HRs and blossomed into the bona fide superstar that people like me have been waiting three years for. Regardless of how the season plays out for the Twins, just watching Buxton these last couple of months makes this season a success for me.

Honestly, the success of the 2017 Twins has to be the most under covered news story in Minnesota.

With the optimism of Spring Training pumping through my veins I picked the Twins to play right around .500 back in February and it never felt better to be wrong.

So the big question now is with the Yankees and Red Sox running neck and neck for the AL East title, which team would I as a Twins fan rather face in the win-or-go-home play-in game next Tuesday? I’ll pick the Red Sox, but in truth I don’t like the prospect of having to face either Chris Sale of Luis Severino. But I go with the Red Sox because the Twins have a fairly decent history playing against Sale. And because the Yankees are the Yankees and it doesn’t seem to matter what year it is or what the game situation is or what the Twins roster is, the Twins can never seem to beat the Yankees. (No, I don’t believe there’s a Yankees jinx, I believe that the Yankees are simply a perennially better team than the Twins) The best-case scenario would be for the Yankees and Red Sox to battle each other in high-scoring extra-inning games and then by the time one of them faces us their bullpens will be so beat up that it won’t matter who we’re playing!

Of course this might all be moot if the Twins can’t win a couple more games. And it’s not going to be easy for them as they’re going into a three-game series starting tonight in Cleveland before ending up at home against the Tigers. None of those six games are going to be easy. The LA Angels, on the other hand, have the more favorable schedule as they play three against the lowly White Sox and then return home for three against division rival Mariners.

Baseball is the best game on the planet in the universe and for your team to be playing meaningful games in September is more than any fan can ask for. But to be holding a post season spot at this point is like heaven.

Go Twins!

Are you a baseball fan? Who’s your pick?

Colin Kaepernick and other American Heroes

September 25, 2017

This morning I saw one of the most absurd memes I’ve seen in a long time. The picture showed football player Tim Tebow taking a knee in prayer before a University of Florida football game and the dopey caption read: “Tebow took a knee in prayer and was too controversial. Now they #TakeAKnee in protest and are considered hero’s [sic]. #LiberalLogic”

“They”. Gotta love it, huh? Who are “they” anyway?

I’m sorry, but anyone who makes that comparison and who honestly believes that type of garbage, anyone who refuses to recognize and acknowledge police violence against African Americans and who is happy to bury that important issue under this type of nonsense is someone who I have no interest in talking with.

Someone who can sit back and refuse to recognize social – and racial – injustice, who is so blissfully unaware that he or she believes that NFL players who take a knee during the National Anthem are out there protesting the flag, who can – like some anonymous poster commenting on a news article sarcastically thanking NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem for “ruining football”, is . . .  well . . . deplorable.

Go away.

I saw another meme that read: “Thinking NFL players are ‘protesting the flag’ is like thinking Rosa Parks was protesting public transportation.”

That’s a great comment, but I’m not sure the people who believe the players kneeling during the National Anthem are protesting the US flag actually know who Rosa Parks was.

You want to keep on misrepresenting the issue and hiding behind the US flag? “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable.” – Howard Zinn

When did the brains of so many Americans turn to mush?

To Colin Kaepernick and every every other football player, coach, or team owner, singer or friend, to the Minnesota Lynx and the Los Angeles Sparks, to Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland A’s, to Stevie Wonder, to all who rally against divisive statements, who recognize diversity and tolerance and acceptance, and who, through their peaceful protest, bring the horror and tragedy of injustice to our awareness; to all of you who aren’t afraid to stand up: you’re all heroes.

To those who rant against and misrepresent the good intentions of others and who would deny the constitutional rights of those same people to peacefully express their beliefs, who think a peaceful protester is a “son of a bitch” who should lose his or her job: just go put on your MAGA caps and go away.

“It’s a shame and disgrace when you have the president of the US calling citizens of the country sons of a bitches.” – Minnesota Vikings running back Bishop Sankey

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