29 August 2008

Meat Is the Answer

There's been plenty written about the effects of meat on the environment as well as on individual human bodies. The antibiotics and hormones pumped into the animals to get them to grow faster on diets they don't eat in nature; the amount of water required to raise a cow or a pig; their methane gas emissions (see: diet); the amount of petroleum used to transport the grain to feed the animals and then transport the meat to the place where it's eaten; the use of grain to feed animals in countries where people are starving.... The list goes on.

And there's actually something you can do about it. In the last paragraph of his article, "Think Before You Eat: The Widespread Effects of Factory-Farmed Meat," Brian Colleran quotes Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society’s Factory Farming Campaign:
“The silver lining is that this is one of the easiest ways for individuals to reduce their environmental footprint. Whereas switching to a hybrid car or worrying about coal stacks may be beyond our daily means, choosing more plant-based meals is something where we can stand up for animals and the environment every time we sit down to eat."
And a can of beans--or, if you're so inclined, a whole bag to be soaked and boiled--is a whole lot cheaper than a slab of meat.

28 August 2008

One Way to Kill a Mouse

After I dropped off my compost on the Pinehurst Avenue stairs at 181st Street, I saw one of those really big bottles of beer with an inch of liquid still inside -- and I thought I caught a glimpse of legs. I dragged the dog back up the stairs to take another look, and there was a drowned mouse in the bottle. Looked pretty tiny with its fur all wet. All I can say is, I hope it got good and happy before it went the way of all creatures.

13 August 2008

Calisthenics Through the Decades

After minor surgery to remove a small growth from the side of my foot, I'm to limit walking and avoid running for at least three weeks. How, then, to get any exercise? Last night I got out a yoga mat and started a little stretching, and then I saw some leg weights lying around and put them on.

I lay on my back, propped my feet up in the air, and bicycled my legs around in a move I remember learning in gym in the 1970s. I did some 80's style aerobics class leg lifts, and some other leg lifts I was doing in the 90s while recuperating from and ITB injury. And I finished off with some yoga arm balances and a headstand, which I finally learned to do recently.

I wonder if anyone has written a history of exercise routines in the 20th century.

Which reminds me: the lobster boat racing finals took place in Maine last weekend; there's another thing I was thinking it would be interesting to research the history of.

(I know, I just ended a sentence with a preposition. Did you really want to have to read "... another thing about which I was thinking it would be interesting to research the history"?)

07 August 2008

Big Book Business

Go to Barnes & Noble on line, and included in the pictures of books and videos scrolling across the screen you'll find Obama Nation. Think about the title for ten seconds: yup, "abomination." According to the blurb about the book, it argues an Obama presidency would give the nation "a repeat of the failed extremist politics that have characterized and plagued Democratic Party politics since the late 1960s.”

Huh. How did the Clinton years embody "failed extremist policies"? He was a moderate's moderate. And he presided over eight years of peace and prosperity. Bush, on the other hand, lied and prevaricated to get us into a war that the next generation will still be paying off, all the while deregulating banks and big business to land us in a crisis of mortgage and credit card debt that we won't be out of at least until the end of the decade.

Borders also lists the book (along with another anti-Obama screed) in its email promotions this week, but it identifies it as coming from the right, and promises a new book about the elections from Michael Moore to be published next week.

06 August 2008

War Surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq

War Surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq: A Series of Cases, 2003-2007 has been published by the U. S. Government Printing Office, but it's hard to get, as the New York Times reported yesterday in "To Heal the Wounded." It's written to teach surgeons on the ground the newest techniques for treating injuries of war. And it has pictures. Pictures that show wounded veterans.

According to the Times, "There were strenuous efforts within the Army over the last year to censor the book and keep it out of civilian hands," but the Surgeon General has insisted on releasing the book. For $71 (including shipping), you can order it direct from the U. S. Government Book Store -- but it's out of stock. Supposedly, more are being printed.

Given the Bush administration's record of suppressing information it finds politically unpalatable, I have to wonder how long it will take before more copies are actually made available.