Sunday, February 16, 2020

Great great book

She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity

Got it from the library and found myself wanting to tell Anne about something from just about spread. It is a huge tome, so I used our Amazon credit to "buy" it so all three of us can eventually read it on our Kindles. (And I never buy books, except this one.)

Friday, February 14, 2020

One is an inhuman extreme

I don't understand why people think that 98 degrees Fahrenheit is a bad temperature. A high of 98 is close to a perfect day!

Yesterday, a colleague in Minnesota said it was -26 degrees there. That is extreme! That will kill you! I absolutely do not understand why Arizona is considered crazy, but Minnesota isn't. (And the humidity and mosquitoes there in the summer -- oy!)

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Personal Is Not Always Political

Ezra Klein recently had a good comment on his podcast that people often mistake statements of personal affirmation for efforts at persuasion. That's a really excellent point. He went on:
Jia Tolentino writes about that in her book, but there’s something about online discourse, perhaps the immediacy of conflict and criticism and feedback, that makes actions of personal expression feel to people like acts of political changemaking when they’re not...
To which I would add that I think another factor might be the relative amount of actual real-world influence a person or community feel they have.

For example, vegans (speaking in general / caricature) have basically no influence in the U.S. – per-capita consumption of meat has never been higher. So they take out their (justifiable) rage on each other instead, as well as through angry / futile stunts that only serve to give people more reason to hate vegans and ignore animal issues. (PS: this is funny.)

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Text Exchange

I don't know how they got my cell number or why they think my name is Loren, but.... (I also should have added that I care about who will be strongest for down-ballot races, too. But first things first.)

“We’re losing our damn minds”

Of the two things that really test my mindfulness, this is probably the worst much of the time.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

The desert in winter

Thanks to medical science and some short-sightedness, Anne and I went on a great hike. Here are some pics (as always, click for larger). The waterfalls are extra cool.

Water flowing down cliff (you could hear it)



Thursday, January 30, 2020


Regarding modern medicine and the irrational obsession with "natural," a comment I saw on Facebook:
Natural: smallpox, high child mortality, and poison ivy.Unnatural: anesthesia, contraceptives, and reading.I’m grateful for technological progress!

Also, here is an example of acting with kindness and respect:

Transgender kindergartner loved for who she is

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Modern Medicine

As mentioned before, we do a "moment of gratitude" (which we call "catitude") ever day.

A recurring theme is our gratitude for modern medicine. Doctors saved my life when I was a toddler. They saved it again in 2014 and then in 2017. They do a lot more for me that I won't bother listing here.

A few years ago, I read a biography of George Washington. If I'm remembering correctly, Martha Washington was born into a wealthy family and married a wealthy man as her first husband. She buried him and married another wealthy and powerful man (George). Yet with every possible advantage of the age, she buried all her kids and her grandkids too.

How effing horrible is that?

I know many people in every generation think they live in the worst possible time. But it really is hard to imagine what it would be like to have your spouse(s), kids, and grandkids dying all the time.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

From Andrew Tobias re: Equality

Reading this makes me wonder: Does being rich make you evil,* or do only evil people get rich?

Just 162 Billionaires Have The Same Wealth As Half Of Humanity.  It’s not “radical” to think the pendulum has swung too far.   Yet Republicans keep wanting to push it further.  To eliminate the estate tax, for example.

*I know not every rich person is evil.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Repeating Myself

Reading this article, which seemingly tries to list every way any animal suffers, reminds me of the blog posts I've written before about how using big numbers hurts animals. (I'm also not a fan of titles that start by saying "We can't..." when we very clearly can.)

More importantly, when we list and demand basically everything, the only response will be vegans liking and retweeting. Meanwhile:

This is why, to be a broken record*, I still argue for harm-reduction advocacy.

*I'm hoping that the Amazon show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will make more people aware of records.   :-)

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Health Is a Privilege, Not a Virtue

This is a really great article (thanks to Ginny for linking to it).

Related to this:

I've been vegan for over 30 years. When my health allows, I exercise. I have never smoked. My BMI is 20.5. I do "all the right things." Yet I've almost died several times and have multiple ongoing chronic diseases. After heart surgery, it took more and more drugs to get my cholesterol down to where Anne's is naturally, even though we eat the same thing.

So please stop saying that health is a choice.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The need for harm-reduction advocacy

This Atlantic article not only makes the case for plant-based meat but for real-world-based advocacy like this.

"For the past 50 years, Americans have responded to the case against eating animals mostly by eating more animals.
"They have heard again and again about the moral and ecological costs of eating meat—from philosophers like Peter Singer and polemicists like Jonathan Safran Foer; from viral documentary footage of slaughterhouses and tortured poultry; from activist organizations like PETA and scientific reports on the fossil-fuel cost of producing a medallion of beef.
"The collective sum of all these books and films and eco–guilt trips has made little difference. The share of Americans who call themselves vegan or vegetarian hasn’t increased in the past 20 years. In the 1970s, the typical American ate about 120 pounds of meat each year. In the 1990s, she ate about 130 pounds annually. Today, she eats more than 140 pounds a year, or about 2.5 pounds of meat every week—a record high, according to government estimates.

"The case against eating meat is a case for the mass renunciation of real human pleasure. (Yes, this is coming from someone who delights in little more than a well-cooked ribeye.) Like the case for reducing our carbon footprint, the vegan argument requires that the large majority of people sacrifice their lifestyle for outcomes that are often invisible to them as individuals. A cultural or moral revolution designed around the elimination of pleasurable options and the restriction of individual human choice is a hard sell, particularly in a country like the U.S., where materialist choice has been elevated to a kind of civic religion."