Category Archives: Uncategorized

Do real vegans consume bacteria and yeasts?

My sister writes home periodically, which is nice, because she’s completely out of cell phone range (I sent a text a few days ago, and it took till today for me to get the notification that it couldn’t be delivered…far out). The farm she’s at now sounds like it agrees with her; which is to say, it functions well without a strict authoritative hierarchy. It’s spring, which means new babies are being born everywhere. While Claire missed getting to watch the birth of a goat, she did write about seeing a newborn kitten nurse for the first time, and the mother eating the placenta.

Let’s pause to talk about this. Mothers eating placentas is, for me, one of those things I never, ever heard about until—I don’t know—a month back when Claire told me about another WWOOFer who was flying home to assist in a friends birth and planned to ingest the friend’s placenta. It makes sense under scrutiny—eating one’s own placenta, that is—because it’s protein rich, and no savvy mother in the wild would let that go to waste. If you think about it, it’s kind of a cool concept, if only because a placenta is the only piece of meat you’ll ever find that didn’t involve the donor dying (or being horribly maimed). It rather speaks to how secure people feel about food, that most women in this society wouldn’t consider reclaiming the nutrients they lose during birth.

If you’re wondering at this point, my placenta happens to be buried in a pot, and the calla lilies it’s fed over the last 20-some years happen to be extremely robust.

Dad’s been exploring his bread-making craft for the first time in about a decade. He used to bake a lot when I was young; a friend of his from the Irish folk music community recently came back to the U.S. from Germany with a smuggled bread starter and sparked Papa’s interest in homemade bread. Last night over supper, eating the last of his (highly successful) first batch, we discussed the method of creating a starter from flour, water, and microbes. What happens, in a nutshell, is that the yeasts and bacteria from your hands and in the air combine with the basic ingredients to create a unique yeast. You just need a little of that substance to make bread, but it is a living and breathing organism mass that’ll grow in volume fairly quickly (unless you put it in the fridge, in which case it becomes dormant). You discard most of it every two weeks and feed it extra flour to keep the starter from maturing and making your bread sour. I was tickled to learn; it’s like we have a third pet.

The yeasts and bacteria feed off the flour by digesting gluten and “pooping” carbon dioxide. Ergo air pockets in bread. The majority of this activity occurs after the three hours of dough prep, while the dough sits for it’s final rise. I have to wonder how the gluten content of homemade bread compares to store-bought. If, imagine, Wonderbread were to have twice the gluten content of a loaf you bake yourself, mightn’t that explain the gluten overload that’s purported to have set off the rash of gluten intolerance across the country? I’m not researching anything; I don’t know how accurate my assumptions are—consider yourself warned—I’m just wondering. It’s pretty obvious to me that a diet high in processed foods will make you sick, but why isn’t it more obvious across the health and nutrition field that a loaf of Wonderbread might be so bad for you that it’ll make you straight up allergic to all bread and pasta? For that matter, would a (mildly) gluten-intolerant individual find himself more tolerant of a homemade loaf of bread with lots of air pockets?

I posed this question to my parents and my mother observed that she never used to see so many people allergic to grains or peanuts, but that “some things have always elicited a reaction from some people.” My father concurred, pointing out that his sister was born with an allergy to shellfish. I surprised even myself with an immediate response: that’s no surprise that shellfish and seafood allergies became prevalent before other kinds did. Not only is the ocean food chain a long, complex one, but the ocean has been the dumping ground of the world for centuries. Shellfish absorb and composite a heavier share of toxins from their environment, so it’s no surprise that humans developed an intolerance to shellfish and other seafood before developing symptoms toward other foods with a lower spot in the food chain and water cycle; we’ve been sending pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals down the river for ages…not to mention shitting everywhere, like untrained animals, for centuries more. Not a surprise at all.

What’s really disturbing is that some people are now showing intolerance toward grains. If the soil is ground zero, the crops grown from it are only a degree or two removed; we’re talking extremely low on the food chain. And if plants are provoking reactions like gluten intolerance, what sort of disaster does that preclude in all the subsequent levels of the food chain? I feel lucky to have grown up before the advent of GMOs. I’m lucky that my mother abstained from all meat and seafood until a few years after I was born. I’m lucky that we get a good number of our leafy greens, vegetables, and herb seasonings from our own backyard and that we can feed those plants with our own compost, instead of relying on nitrogen-heavy fertilizers. All in all, I feel I have a huge biological advantage over a lot of people, having no food allergies and consuming a lot of local produce, without having to worry about tainted meat products. And it all stems (hee) from my family’s and my diet.

The only thing: I do have a great love of shellfish and seafood. If I ever find myself with a placenta on hand to bury in a pot, I’ll need to look into plants that tolerate heavy metals.

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Tired of Lying

Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon

Tired of lying in the sunshine

Staying home to watch the rain

You are young and life is long

And there is time to kill today

This is what’s playing while I jumble around trying on and trying to take off my newly assembled Costumes d’Halloween (ハロウィーンの衣装) and everything between—ever since I got home from work, pet the bunny’s nose for some minutes to relax, and treated my arm and washed off. I came upstairs and offloaded, sent a text off to my darling Michele, who might be able to hang out, if the State rugby team doesn’t go to the weight room after practice. I gently took the snake around, and I think maybe she will warm to me. Associating with a grown corn snake is one of the most mind expanding things I’ve done lately. I just do not know what she is thinking. I can guess, but is it good? By rule of definitions, probably not so.

And so I had hiked a skirt on over blue jeans, pulled on a pair of my mother’s boots (without socks), and struggled into one of a dozen plaid flannelesques, tied Victoria’s, Miss Red’s, stars and stripes bandanna at my throat, forgot my cowgirl hat—it’ll be more use outdoors, anyway—and loaded my gun to go show my dad.

He was coming up the stairs! I jumped out in front of the staircase to block the path of a laundry-loaded Dad and pointed my six-shooter pistol square at the chest. Seeing how, later, the pistol turned out to fire its rubber band projectiles a little north over the sights, I’d have probably exploded his face off from my position. “Freeze and hold them high!” I cried, firing off some warning pantomimes.

He froze, stared up for a minute, and, with a wry twist, “You don’t ever point a gun at a person unless you intend to shoot them.”

“Oh, I intend to shoot you,” I.

“I don’t want you pointing that at people on the street. You never know who’s packing in a purse or a pocket. I do not want you shooting anybody.”

“I’m not going to shoot anybody! I’m just going to shoot you, yeah?”

More anti bombdy-firey-heat-my-shotgun! talk from Pop—It’s just a six shooter—and, later,

“Careful you don’t shoot yourself in the knee, why doncha?”

So I took out my pistol to shoot myself in the knee and, explaining that nothing could be worse from here on out, finally earned a smile.

I step up to the pull-up bar in my closet door for a proper stretch, and, as I feel the space between my vertebrae expand,

Breathe (In the Air) [Live Wembley, London 1972]

by Pink Floyd rings out clear as a stadium from my desktop computer. Boom. That’s the moment.

Photo of the Day (or, Suck it, National Geographic)

We call it: When Claire Gets Stoned And Spends Thirty Minutes Taking A Dump And There Are Sponge Animals In The Bathroom Sink.

When Claire Gets Stoned And Spends Thirty Minutes Taking A Dump And There Are Sponge Animals In The Bathroom Sink

While the Cat’s Gone (or, Cat Gets Poisoned By Antibiotics)

 

Gen

Claire and I have several engagements occupying us at the moment. And although we have some lotta awesome plans for the blog, we just can’t get to them often, or at the same time. This is why I’m going it alone for a round and writing a little myself. Claire can fill spaces in later!

The Cure – The Lovecats

I don’t know if Claire wants to say anymore about the whole prescription industry, but I actually have a little rant of my own to spill. The current state of medicine is a legacy of the industrial revolution and some freaky chemical Frankensteinesqueties that the industry sired forth. And our current medical insurance system is a remnant of the Roosevelt-era social programs, which made for a great social jump start during the second World War, when people’s attitudes were all ration, recycle, &c.—basically, when people behaved rationally and shit—but the times have changed, so everything is different from fifty years ago. The system doesn’t hardly take care of anyone properly, and the top 2% make all the money out of the GD GDP. There’s room for me to expand, but I’ll stay specialized on medicine.

That stuff is not healthy for you. And before we get into it, NO, I’m not against medicine or medicating or seeking treatment for conditions. Yes, there are some amazing drugs out there, yet, almost all with some risk of extremely nasty side effects under the wrong circumstances. Now, one of the most useful and important medicines discovered in the last century, penicillin, was mold grown on bread. Case, point: we don’t need that over-the-counter shit. Homeopathic medicine is where it’s at; plants, fungi, and natural medicine will save us, if we don’t make extinct, deplete their genetics, or infect them all. According to Wikipedia,

Most pharmaceuticals are deposited in the environment through human consumption and excretion, and are often filtered ineffectively by wastewater treatment plants which are not designed to manage them. Once in the water they can have diverse, subtle effects on organisms, although research is limited […] In 2009 an investigative report by Associated Press concluded that U.S. manufacturers had legally released 271 million pounds of drugs into the environment, 92% of which was the antiseptics phenol [embalming fluid/bleach!] and hydrogen peroxide. It could not distinguish between drugs released by manufacturers as opposed to the pharmaceutical industry. It also found that an estimated 250 million pounds of pharmaceuticals and contaminated packaging were discarded by hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Uhm, did you understand this the way I do? We make and sell LITERALLY BILLIONS of pills that people’s bodies can’t even absorb to advantage and poop chemicals right into the storm drain, and throw away millions of pounds of them, undigested, in no way neutralized. Right? How big a factor is the placebo effect, really?

Claire

Fuck yeah I want to stay on the prescription industry! Because it’s perfect, actually, I read an article on NPR (while drinking fair trade coffee and simultaneously riding my fixie, gahhhh I’m so trendy) the week after we posted our most recent rant, an article that spoke to my heart, soul, and unshakeable desire to NOT to whatever the Government tells me to (which Government, you ask? YOURS). Titled, “Birth Control Without Copays Could Become Mandatory,” of course my first instinct was to spiral off into a post-apocalyptic fantasy featuring robots injecting high doses of sterilizing birth control hormones directly into women’s blood streams through their eyeballs (the most accessible of veins, duh) as they are passed down an assembly line of industrialized monotony. This is what I think about as I fall asleep. However, due to my lack of reading comprehension, which I blame entirely on a corrupt education system which does nothing but train us to bullshit our way through standardized tests (how well can you fill in a bubble? Durrrrr…but that’s a tangent for another day. Right?), I apparently misunderstood the main concept of the above mentioned article. I still find its report, though, highly disturbing in a slightly less dramatic respect:

The latest battle is set to come to a head Wednesday, when the independent Institute of Medicine is expected to make recommendations about preventive health care services for women. And one service that’s drawing a lot of the attentions is contraception.

Depending on the group’s recommendation, [oral] contraception could become part of a package of preventive benefits that every health plan would have to cover without patient cost-sharing. In other words, it would become effectively free.

OH THAT’S NICE, DA GOVERNMENT! What I’m hearing here is, Hey look guys, we’re such a nice, caring government, we’re trying to make it totally free now, SO THERE’S NO REASON TO NOT FUCKING TAKE IT. TAKE IT TAKE IT TAKE IT.

What?

Completely disregarding the good this could do for low-income families and those without access to condoms and shit (because my rants are always one sided and completely biased), this is creepy. I’m sure if one were to do some not-so-deep digging, some sketchy ties between the Institute of Medicine and all those wonderful privatized insurance companies (fucking Anthem Blue Cross…I’ll show you what happens when you make me pay fucking twenty-six dollars for a bottle of Prozac) could DEFINITELY be drawn. Hmmmm…

Gen

I made myself break there so Claire can bust in. I hope she writes about something completely unrelated.

Claire

Touché, my friend. I am so relevant in every way.

Gen

For bearing with Claire and I while we get righteous, I’ve got two of the freshest jams which will make all your troubles vanish for 7:11. Yes.

Southern Shores – Take Me Anywhere

Southern Shores – Grande Comore

And here’s a natural antibiotic that won’t burn your pretty eyes right out yr head: mix up chopped apple, honey & cloves. Eat once daily to fight infections.

Claire

Or replace the honey with agave syrup and stop killing bees, you prick. Seriously, they’re going extinct. It’s called Colony Collapse Disorder, and as usual, I’m not going to cite any sources to back up the statement that honeybees pollinate one third of our food supply, but Wikipedia’s always a couple clicks away.

No, I’m not giving you a link. Lazy fuck.

Gen

Sorry to contradict your royal veganess, but agave syrup does not have the antibacterial qualities honey does. The Egyptians even used honey as an antibiotic. Also, farmed  populations of bees aren’t the ones experiencing Colony Collapse; it’s bees in the wild that take the pollen from plants that have drunk up water that we poisoned with pharmaceuticals.

Without taking too much more of your time about about it, the current state of health insurance is practically medieval. I mean, it’s feudalism alive and well. Think about it.

I’m convinced people can stay healthy if they eat balanced diets, go outside, and engage in activities. The nation’s just too indolent, too fat, and underinspired. I sit at my computer instead of going on bike rides. My cousin tans and munches on chips instead of gardening. Kids thumb Gameboys instead of volunteering at their community center. Where is the community center, by the way? It’s, like, the mall, ennit?

Claire

Community and communism share the same Latin root: communis, meaning common/shared. Hey, if I share my Gameboy, that means, like, I can’t use it 24/7! You communists may know a little about equality in social order, but DAMN are you missing out on all the fun.

Gen

Speaking of utopias/dystopias, here’s a jam I enjoyed right off the bat. I’m not for sure, but pretty sure, I snagged it from Pigeons and Planes. This dude has an album coming soon, and I believe I’ll keep my eyes and ears open for news of that.

Sweatshop Union – Makeshift Kingdom

Claire

And here’s a fun fact that doesn’t have anything to do with the dialogue either above, or below, this paragraph-ette. The diameter of a blue whale’s veins are so large that a human baby could crawl right on through them. Citation? You’ve got to be joking. Actually, no, here’s my work cited:

Eiden, Joncannon (my friend that I stole that fact from). Random Knowledge Shared at the Kitchen Table. San Diego, California, United States of Assholes (Esquire). Like two or three months ago, yeah. 2011. Suck it.

Gen

Beautiful use of MLA format, Claire (unfortunately, this editor doesn’t have a way to create a hanging indent. We tried). Our capitalist education machine has trained you well. Well, by this time, us sisters are reunited and must away, because we’re going to work together. But we’ll be back before long with more jams and conspiracy theories with fancy quotations for you to digest with us. I hope today has been educational and enjoyable for all, and in the unfortunate scenario that you’re a complete dick and didn’t enjoy any of the above, I want to leave our readers a stream of Portugal. The Man’s latest offering, In the Mountain In the Clouds. Paste Magazine has a device that’ll let you listen to the full album, till you can get your hands on an actual copy. It’s sooooooo superb.

Save the Ovaries (or, All Babies Want to Get Bornt)

 

Gen

We’ll leave it to your fertile imagination why we’ve been gone for such a hot minute.

Claire

And our subject of the day will be…birth control! Think about it. This huge nationwide push to get all females on these hormones, supposedly for their own good. Why the push? Why do we mindlessly take these little white pills that the government tells us will keep us safe—there could be anything in those things. I mean, that sort of plays into my larger theory about prescription pharmaceuticals in general, but to focus: not only do they keep us submissive by forcing reliance upon a daily schedule, they keep us chained financially because we go back, month after month, to refill our prescriptions as necessary. It’s all just training us how to behave by doing the same thing at the same time, day after day—and we wonder why we are creatures of habit? Anyway, I’d like to preserve my ovaries in case I need to, you know, use them some day to grow a child or whatever. But that’s just me.

Gen

How titillating! Well, it falls on me to play Devil’s Advocate (or would that be Claire?) and fact-checker. For all fact-checking intents, Wikipedia is my go-to. If you’re very interested or you don’t trust me to report back accurately, check out the article on birth control yourself. And if you happen to be a research stickler, suck it. School’s out for summer; school’s out forever!

Alice Cooper – School’s Out

Humans have reportedly been practicing birth control since 1850 BC. The ancients used a bunch of plants that had various spermatocidal or contraceptive properties. Looks like Silphium, one of the more potent of these, actually went extinct due to scarcity of good habitat, coupled with high demand, 200-300 years before His Holiness Jesus even got bornt. Speaking of Jesus, apparently myrrh was also a favored contraceptive plant. I guess the good lord needed extra parental attention or something; I never heard he had any siblings. Not all methods of birth control were quite so floral; women who wanted to induce sterility in ancient China would ingest a mixture of oil and quicksilver. For those not versed in archaic terms, quicksilver is mercury—you know, the stuff they stopped putting in thermometers because it’s so toxic. So Claire, if you’re going to make a case against current forms of contraception, keep in mind—at least they’re not force-feeding you mercury!

Claire

My vagina would be so silvery. Oh man. I sound so crazy right there. Good thing this blog doesn’t require me to cite sources. So maybe I’m a bit insane, but I just really, really love my natural levels of estrogen. I don’t fuck with them, except by including a disproportionately large amount of soy products in my diet (or is that just an urban legend thing?), and they don’t fuck with me, except, oh yeah, when they make me go crazy for a short period of time approximately every thirty days. But we like to keep things exciting, right? And I’m pretty sure my body’s good enough at maintaining homeostasis without me bombarding it with toxic synthetic shit to keep all my girly parts going. Me + hormones = bff.

And try not to leave with the impression that I’m some pro-life nut. It’s not the fetus prevention I’m against, it’s that particular method. Condoms? Go crazy! Use five! Heck, blow up some condom balloons and hand them out at your kid’s next birthday party. Just try to find a non-petroleum based material, out of respect for our most ancient Jurassic predecessors. And hey, smile—because your mom chose life. You special little thing. I saw that on a bumper sticker yesterday.

Gen

Personally, I see a great many reasons to take birth control pills. Oral contraceptives help a lot of young women regulate an otherwise irregular cycle; they can help with pain from cramps or PMS; if you’re with a long-term partner who you trust, you can do away with condoms—which are very fun, but, literally, get in the way. Conversely, if all five of your condoms break, and you have to take the morning after pill—well, that’s just a large dose of birth control all at once. Personally, I—who always have had trouble getting up and going to bed at regular times—take my birth control at 4:20 every day. That’s a habit I’m down with. And I, along with millions of other women, continue to receive birth control for free.99 from the very wonderful Planned Parenthood. As to Claire’s idea that there’s an extra hormone in birth control that brainwashes you…I can’t speak to that one.

If you want a real conspiracy theory, though, feast on this: the witch hunts that followed the Black Plague were very likely a political movement in favor of increased birth rates (to repopulate Europe) that lashed out against midwives who had extensive knowledge of methods of birth control. Today, very little knowledge is preserved of what kinds of birth control ancient Europeans used, because all the women who knew were persecuted and burned as witches! This medieval Baby Boom carried on through the Renaissance times and fueled the violent mercantilism and imperialism of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: there were plenty of—too many—youngsters larking around, so they sent them off to fight wars, knock up foreigners, and spread capitalism!

I’m sorry for stealing your thunder, Claire…sike not really!

Das Racist – hahahaha jk?

Claire

Capitalist spawn! Oh yeah, I didn’t even go into the secret ingredient. There’s definitely something in there that they’re not telling us about…I can’t tell you either though. Sorry, they’d kill me.

Hey, hey, hey, no one puts my tangents in the corner. Or tangents off my tangents. I’m the tangent master. Master those tangents, man. So let’s just clear that up: we’ll leave the conspiracizing to me, since Gen is clearly just another helpless victim of brainwashing. Of course she’s happy taking the pill at 4:20 every day—that’s what they want. Point. In. Case. And time’s just a manmade perception, man. Fucking magnets…

I’ll leave the ball in your court, dear reader. Will you take the red pill, the blue pill, or the white pill? Just think, in a century our grandchildren will look at this unnatural method with the same disbelieving disgust that we view bleeding and leech treatment and shock therapy—”They did WHAT to their ovaries? Poor ovaries!”

Ovaries out. Which, ironically, would be testicles.

Gen

You know, actually, I think I will speak about that “secret ingredient.” My brainwashed guess is that Claire just made that shit up. “They’d kill me?” Who’d bother killing you?

Um…I’ll leave you with a couple songs. Wasn’t that the point, before all those tangents off tangents? I’ve had these both on heavy repeat for the last week:

CSS – Hits Me Like a Rock

While we’re talking about sex, or a lack of sex—either way—here’s a new jam from CSS, one of the sexiest bands out there.

Pussytrot, the Cat – Transmissions Through Outer Space

And here’s another fresh & awesome jam by the one and only Jakob McWhinney, who’d better appreciate the exposure.

Claire

Okay, you made me go there. The secret ingredient is cinnamon.

Gen

Be safe!

First Things First (or, Old Beginnings)

 

Gen
I knew I wanted to blog about music. I had always known. One night, a speckled shrew came in my dreams and whispered to me of the vast cyber chasm and the other dimensions that it bordered. The shrew told me to listen to every song, every rap, and every comedic cover I could find. And then it told me I’d find my destiny amidst—and, indeed, through—the inter webs.

Claire
So how does one go about starting a blog, exactly? Well, besides resulting from the necessity to do something on an idle Saturday afternoon, my question presents to you the topic of the day: the catch 22 that is our world. For you must have a blog to blog, and in order to have a blog, you must blog. Equal opportunities in the education system, you say? Well, you have to know how to read in order to read books, and in order to learn how to read, you must read books. No red tape, eh?

Gen
No, no, no: this was a real conversation, not out of an essay written by my sister, which received the following feedback: Excellently phrased and argued, though a bit off-topic. Rants, if you will. How do you start a blog? I don’t know, but it seems hard. How do you find a server? WordPress.com. What angle to take? We’ll come to that. How do I attract readership? Love me, internets! Claire thinks I can only spell words like “readership” because Microsoft Word taught me, but I say it’s because I studied, unlike that fool. How the hell do I navigate this WordPress “dashboard?” In a car, I put my feet on the dashboard! Where is my confidence coming from? A question better left unanswered.

We bring you, as a result of that conversation, “Fresh Jams With a Side of Conspiracy.” It is a revolutionary concept that combines commentary on the most relevant of tunes with the most speculative of conspiracy theories and also makes a punny bon mot having to do with food. We’ll start out today on the most broad of topics: life!

Claire
I gotta amend my accusation, man. I wasn’t insulting her intelligence, just observing: that arbitrary combination of letters, of symbols, they only have meaning because we subject ourselves to believing whatever Microsoft Word tells us is true. I meen, cum awnnnn, there’z all theeez lyke red linez under maiii werdz, and what does that even mean? Do you still understand me? YES, and why does it matter if I spell intelligence with an extra “e” instead of an “i”? Fucking spelling, man. And on that note, we’re supposed to be the most intelligent of species, correct? That’s why we live inside drywall boxes and eat all those other fuckers (“fuckers” has a red line under it…coincidence?). To illustrate: why is it that when I go into my room and try to pick up my pet snake, Fluffy, he double crosses my ass and tricks me by wrapping his little endoskeleton around my nightstand leg? So much smarter than me! Why, then, are we considered so superior in comparison to all these life forms that are constantly outwitting us by stealing our Cheetos at the beach and chewing holes in our forgotten winter coats? Are we so far ahead of Fluffy the Snake because he lives in a hole in the dirt and we live in a hole in the interstellar dust of the Milky Way Galaxy? You think?

Gen
Yes. At this time, it seems appropriate to present to you, dearest readership, our first contemporary jam: “Son of a Nun” is, like this blog, a collaborative mashup. It features Country Grammar-era Nelly over a relentlessly chopped sample from Oh Land’s “Son of a Gun.” This one’s both relevant and a paradox, because as they’ve pointed out at Pigeons and Planes (where I nabbed this from), it makes Nelly seem cool again. Do not misunderstand! I love me the old-school Nelly, which is why this joint sits so nicely with me, but to me, his stuff is inescapably nostalgic. I can’t listen to those jams without harking right back to the few middle school dances I was able to bring myself to show up to. Not so with this new take! It sounds fresh and modern to me. Throw it on this weekend when your girlfriends come over for drinks. I mean, come over and play board games.

D.veloped – Son of a Nun (featuring Nelly)

Claire
Oh, so we’re special because we can make noises and call them music. Well…crickets make noises. And so do skunks. You know, that weird clicking noise. Suck on that.

Gen
I’d also like to leave our readership (whoever’s left) with two songs that are good for whistling. You can act oh so innocent, when you’re really guilty.

Air – Alpha Beta Gaga

Modest Mouse – Worms vs. Birds