Happy Christmas 2003 from ArtLung

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46 ArtLung posts from December, 2003

December 1st, 2003

Yesterday Recap

Church.
Breakfast.
Swap meet.
Christmas gifts.
Turkey cooking.
Lose main pair of pants on drive to laundry.
Laundry.
Second degree twisted ankle.
Pain.
Turkey and squash dinner
Scrooged. Cleanup.
Bedtime.

The swelling has gone down, but it hurts still. Ow.

Today: work; bus pass; new pants; leftover turkey; HEALING.

December 2nd, 2003

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

One of my favorite internet errors is to get an email where the recipients were, instead of BCC’d, merely CC’d. In this way, one can extract out the domains to see what kinds of websites the folks on the same mailing list have. By the looks of it, this is an interesting San Diego List! Here it is: www.2by2.net www.3maw.usmc.mil www.abac.com www.adelphia.net www.ainsburg.com www.allenbarron.com www.alltel.net www.aol.com www.appleone.com www.att.net www.awionline.net www.barnes3centcopies.com www.bateman.net www.bechtel.com www.bigfoot.com www.bisson.us www.boursorama.com www.ccdc.com www.ccdsd.org www.cgey.com www.chapman.edu www.chsd.org www.ckcdglobal.com www.clarusenergy.com www.co.san-diego.ca.us www.coi-world.com www.compuserve.com www.copleypress.com www.course.com www.cox.net www.cs.com www.csc.com www.cts.com www.dashields.com www.ddc-web.com www.delmarglobal.com www.designsolutions.tv www.dielectric.spx.com www.dor.ca.gov www.driveu.com www.dstec.com www.earthlink.net www.ecrmc.org www.edd.ca.gov www.email.com www.engineer.com www.ericsson.com www.excite.com www.fctcpac.navy.mil www.ftscpac.navy.mil www.gageteeple.com www.gat.com www.gen-probe.com www.genica.com www.gisws.com www.halliburton.com www.hansenusa.com www.home.com www.homebuyeragents.com www.homedepot.com www.hotmail.com www.household.com www.hp.com www.imbrettjackson.com www.impactengine.com www.infinet-is.com www.ixpres.com www.jud.ca.gov www.juno.com www.klondikemarketing.com www.kp.org www.kyocera-wireless.com www.kyocera.com www.l-3com.com www.lionmail.com www.lmco.com www.maxim.com www.mcmillinrealty.com www.memcg.com www.mfr.usmc.mil www.missionfcu.org www.monster.com www.morrisandbrown.com www.msn.com www.navair.navy.mil www.navy.mil www.navyads.sdcoxmail.com www.ncr.com www.netscape.net www.netthere.net www.netzero.com www.nimitz.navy.mil www.nmcsd.med www.nordstrom.com www.metrocall.com www.oldendorf.navy.mil www.one80.biz www.onebox.com www.orincon.com www.orlandoward.com www.pacbell.net www.palm.com www.pec.com www.pendleton.usmc.mil www.peoplepc.com www.power-find.com www.prepaidlegal.com www.prpllc.com www.pulselink.net www.rayaintegration.com www.reddoor.biz www.rehabwest.com www.roving.com www.saic.com www.salientnetworks.com www.san.rr.com www.sandi.net www.sandiego.gov www.sandiegometro.com www.sannet.gov www.sbcglobal.net www.sciti.com www.scrippsclinic.com www.sdcaa.com www.sdcb.org www.sdccd.cc.ca.us www.sdccd.net www.sdchcc.com www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us www.sdcounty.ca.gov www.sdreader.com www.sdsheriff.org www.sdvideoanddesign.com www.simasd.navy.mil www.simincsd.com www.softaire.net www.southlandtechnology.com www.spawar.navy.mil www.stcnet.com www.stevensassoc.com www.stichler.com www.swc.cc.ca.us www.syndham.com www.talksmartwireless.com www.tei4cal.com www.telesis.org www.themarlinalliance.com www.thermogammametrics.com www.tijuanaestuary.com www.titan.com www.tlcstaffing.com www.tns.net www.tolchin.net www.tpsoft.com www.trw.com www.tycoint.com www.ucsd.edu www.uniontrib.com www.unisys.com www.usa.net www.utm.net www.va.gov www.verizon.com www.verizon.net www.vincent-enterprises.com www.virtuallyblack.com www.vue.com www.vvsd.net www.websidestory.com www.wopikamarketing.com www.workforce.org www.worldnetatt.net www.worldtravel.com www.yahoo.com www.yahoogroups.com

December 2nd, 2003

Flattering?

Yesterday everyone assumed my injury was racquetball related. It would make a better story for sure.

December 2nd, 2003

WiFi, pedal powered

December 3rd, 2003

NewsFlashes

Leah and I now have a cat. Formerly named “Leo” and later “Mustang,” we think his new name is “Basilone” — for the exit off the 5 we got him from. We met his former owner and acquired all manner of cat gear. He’s a well mannered, housetrained, spayed, bengal. He was pretty quiet all night. Seems like he’ll be a fun cat.

In other news: My ankle continues to get better! It’s now many shades of purple I really didn’t want my ankle to ever be.

Additionally: I’m way behind on many things.

This is cat and catch-up week!

December 3rd, 2003

The Prophet

A link from my friend Steve K: THE PROPHET – Kahlil Gibran — for future reference.

I like this:

Your daily life is your temple and your religion. Whenever you enter into it take with you your all. Take the slough and the forge and the mallet and the lute, The things you have fashioned in necessity or for delight. For in reverie you cannot rise above your achievements nor fall lower than your failures. And take with you all men: For in adoration you cannot fly higher than their hopes nor humble yourself lower than their despair.

December 3rd, 2003

Voltes V Videos Question – Now in the FAQ

I get a lot of questions about this, it’s been added to the FAQ.

December 3rd, 2003

Respiratory Work Coming Out of My Ears

So because of my RT Resume I get calls occasionally from people googling for Respiratory Therapist Resumes. It turns out RT work is hot and heavy right now. In the past month I’ve gotten at least 2 calls or emails a week for per diem, part-time, full time, pulmonary function testing, floor care, ICU, etc. The thing is, the work pays much less than my web development skills. I’d be tempted, but apparently the society values health care less than it values websites.

I must say, I’m conflicted about not taking RT work more seriously. I do maintain my California license though.

I may yet return to the work in some form.

Perhaps I’ll start a web based RT employment agency. I certainly have the Google PageRank for it.

December 3rd, 2003

Cat Update

So Basilone is coming around. He’s still reticent to come out and play, but he sat on the bed with Leah and I for about an hour tonight, watching The West Wing. He seems playful and pretty loving, several times augering inbetween Leah and Me for extra cuddling.

He’s still exploring this old house. He’s using the litter box as he should, and is not so perturbed at us he might do any retaliatory marking or peeing. His former owner couldn’t keep him at his new apartment, so he had to let him go. So, he is here. I do feel a little bad for him though, his front paws are declawed, and playing with a shoelace with him is just not the same when he can’t really grip.

We have a cat!

Still a bit hard to believe.

I find domestic animals fascinating. If humans ceased to exist, they would be very different creatures. When these animals ancestors did not live with humans, they were very different creatures.

Cool! Wikipedia has some things to say about domestication. And more about domestic cats. The ontology for a cat would be: Animalia: Chordata: Mammallia: Carnivora: Felidae: Felis: silvestris: catus. I love that.

Like many other domesticated animals, cats lived in a mutualistic arrangement with humans. The benefit of removing rats and mice from humans’ food stores outweighed the cost of allowing a formerly-wild animal to enjoy the relative safety of a human settlement; hence, the relationship between cat and human has continued. However, unlike other domesticated species, housecats’ ancestors did not hunt socially or enjoy the safety of a herd, as other domesticated animals did. This evolutionary history may be the reason cats do not ‘understand’ the desires of humans in the same way that dogs do; before humans, cats had fewer social relationships to benefit from. This may also contribute to a sense common among pet owners that cats are both more aloof and more self-sufficient than other pets. However, cats can be very affectionate towards their humans, especially if they imprint on them at a very young age and are treated with consistent affection.

I also note that: The cat was first domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians in 4000 BC, to keep mice and rats away from their grain stores. They regarded cats as embodiments of the goddess Bast

“Bast” sounds like what Leah calls him, “Bas” — short for — again — Basilone. She plans to take some pictures this week to share with family around the country and yes, with the whole darn internet.

One of my regular readers also points out that “Basilon is Cuban slang for someone or something that is a lot of fun” — which is a nice nifty thing as well.

Some google searches find a “John Basilone” who was a WWII Medal of Honor winner.

There was also a Naval Destroyer: USS Basilone.

Nifty random stuff.

December 4th, 2003

Forgot this: R Spot

Several weeks ago Leah, I, and some friends went to Ray at Night in North Park. One of the more interesting art galleries is actually part gallery, part bookstore, and part barber shop: R. Spot Barber and Books. They had some really great art. It had kind of a city vibe to it – very New York – very black. Really awesome. Worth a visit, for sure.

December 4th, 2003

Search Refit

So back in 2002 I upgraded to htdig, well, now I have something that so far looks simpler to maintain. Check Search for the latest search engine ’round here.

And thanks to Tom Bickle for spotting that my htdig installation was hosed. How embarassing.

The underpinnings are the open source Perlfect.

December 4th, 2003

Basilone

Also, there are now pictures of Leah’s and my cat on the Leah Peah Photos area: Bas.

He’s a great cat. More, and better photos to come in the next few weeks.

December 4th, 2003

Old Holiday Photos

For the New Header for the blog. This should last me till the end of the year.

December 4th, 2003

Paintings for Sale

Janece of janece.com has paintings for sale. You know, Leah has some older works around, which she would be willing to sell. I may not have a shopping cart for her, but I’d be willing to agent some of her work.

December 6th, 2003

New Stew Review: Coming Home To You

December 6th, 2003

First Positive Thing Bush Has Said?

Aside from being a good leader as we mourned 911, I think very little of President Bush. But the contemplation of a return to the moon is something I can unreservedly get behind.

Though I’m really beginning to think Dean has a shot to be the next President. The re-election of the President is not a fait accompli.

December 6th, 2003

My First Cease And Desist: 1997

My first and only cease and desist letter was some time back. When I got this GTM had been defunct for some time. Never mind that I had had a verbal agreement with my supervisor at GTM for permission to show the logo as part of my portfolio online.

They gave me “fine” business days to remove the page. I think they meant “five” Heh. Crazy lawyers!

Here’s the text of the letter:

Global Telecom Media
December 9, 1997
Joseph A. Crawford
3375 Manning Ave. #14
Los Angeles, CA 90064

A search of VOAA through YAHOO turns up the site //home.earthlink.net/~artlung/logos5.html, apparently your site. An examination of of that site turns up work done for our company (to wit; a VOAA logo and artwork for GTM.NET.) This work is the property of Global Telecom Media and is not to be reproduced without our permission. Please remove it immediately. If it is not removed within fine(sic) business days of this letter being posted, we will have no alternative but to turn this matter over to counsel.

Cordially,
James A. Lee

cc. P. Campbell, Esq.
GTM023.DOC
9713 Santa Monica Blvd. Suite 218
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 273-7760
(310)273-8860

December 7th, 2003

Some Links For A Sunday Morning

(Blogger was down when I wrote this part): A light rain is falling here. It should be a lovely day.

Leah and I went to a more solemn Catholic Mass this evening. Fulfilling. This has been a mellow weekend. My ankle is feeling better, too. Though we went to the store to buy an ankle brace and when we got home the box was empty. Oops. That makes me feel dumb.

It was a good day. I trust it will be a good week too.

December 8th, 2003

Cat Update

He growls.

He growls off into the kitchen, at unseen and unheard forces. Bolt upright, and growling quietly.

“We have our very own guard kitty,” says Leah.

She whispered it, lest he growl at her.

December 9th, 2003

Good Newsletter

M-THEORY MUSIC does a nice job with their online newsletter. I don’t think it’s on the web, but it’s a nice personal flavorful bunch of nuggets of opinion, new music, and local flavor. Kudos to them.

And if you’re in San Diego, you should check ‘em out.

December 10th, 2003

And You May Remind Yourself

Remind me to listen to this NPR piece about Talking Heads when I get the chance.

December 12th, 2003

Hurrumph

Lots to say. Much stuff happening. Wait for the weekend for more info. Here’s a word I didn’t know much about before I started reading Quicksilver: papist.

No really, more this weekend. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to burst with links and news, and this is one of those times. But not right now.

December 13th, 2003

UP AND AT THEM

I played my first racquetball in 2 weeks since I sprained my ankle. My ankle still hurts. The game was more like chess — with limited mobility, shot selection and placement is more critical. It makes me wonder if wearing really heavy shoes would be an interesting discipline while training. It was good to play, even if I did not do as well as usual.

Afterwards I bought an elaborate lace-up brace at Sports Chalet in Point Loma. I think keeping off it, and stabilizing it can only be good for the ankle.

Leah’s kids are here, though her youngest is ill. I am presently tired and lying in bed due to racquetball and because I happened to stay up till 4am or so working on some freelance. Yesterday’s timing of events and responsibilities was not optimal. I stayed a bit late at work, no problem.

But my Grandma asked me about getting one of my cousins’ varisty football games to show up on her computer. The archived games were available, but there was no video. Well, her Windows 98 machine had an older version of Windows Media Player (these were .asx files), so I advised her to upgrade WMP to version 9.

This of course produced only confusion on her part, and asked me if I could do it.

Under the circumstances, I decided sure, I can totally do this!

The downfall, of course, is that my Grandparents are on dial-up. So the 14 megabyte install took an hour and change to download.

Actually, it was cool to just chat with my Grandma for an hour about the holiday season, about helping her buy a gift for my Uncle (a computer guy), I showed her the photos of Bas on Leah’s site, she talked about having lots of cats when she was a girl. We talked a very little bit about Church. Last Sunday Leah and I went to St. Joseph’s Cathedral downtown, and I can’t think of any reason for me to have gone there with anyone other than her. So it was like a little oasis of a conversation in a hectic day. I feel lucky to have some Grandparents who are still around. She talks about how embarassed she is about having not such good control of her right arm. Twenty years ago she had a terrible stroke, which she has survived with grit and determination. But it changed her life utterly — she had been vibrant and active, and losing her right side catastrophically meant she could no longer drive, write, type, walk the way she once could.

I have a hard time seeing how I could do much better than she has considering she lost so much mobility and dexterity. She’s a marvel of energy and mental strength. Sometimes I even see myself in her. Or should I say, sometimes I see aspects of her when I look at myself.

So now I’m listening to Virgin Radio UK on iTunes. They played The Rolling Stones’ Undercover of the Night, a song I like. Ty brought me hot cocoa. Today we’re taking it easy. Chilling out in this 1892 house. Playing games, blogging, having cocoa, and soon I’ll be napping.

I like today. It could be a morass of stress, especially considering it’s the holiday season — presents to buy, lines to be in, and all of that — but today is good.

December 14th, 2003

News of the Day

Aljazeera.Net – Saddam Hussein captured has the best coverage at the moment of giving the full story. CNN (on TV) had President Bush giving a speech, but little in full details of how he was captured, and the context of same.

I watched Three Kings, one of my favorite movies, with Leah’s two older boys last night. I suppose this is the endpoint for one of its’ plot points, Saddam himself.

So the question is, what changes for the Iraqi people?

December 15th, 2003

Snapshots of the Yuletide season

  • I gave blood today.
  • next time I give blood I’ll drink more beforehand.
  • I’m still loving Quicksilver.
  • I have purchased some Christmas gifts.
  • I have more to purchase.
  • Going to Mass tonight.
  • Going shopping tonight.
  • I’m wearing an ankle brace.
  • The weekend was great — Leah and I had her kids.
  • The cat is slowly recovering from the traffic levels.
  • Reflective heaters ROCK!
  • I prefer too hot to too cold.
  • I like the game Go.
  • itsyourturn.com is nifty.
  • My iBook is a useful, versatile tool.
  • I reorganized some books last night and found some mouse droppings. Old ones. The cat found them before I cleaned them up. I hope Bas understands to associate that smell with “KILL!”
  • I enjoy french toast.
  • The Ukes of Hazzard are charmingly funny and silly.
  • Leah makes tasty french toast.
  • Old Christmas Content on ArtLung.com: Merry Christmas in other languages.
  • Target during Christmastime is busy.
  • Possible plans for New Year’s include a trip to Utah.
  • More as it happens.

December 16th, 2003

Racquetball Class

Is over. I may take it again sometime soon. I did well, and got good workouts. My ankle still hurts but has improved. Work is fine. Preparations continue apace for Christmastime. Found some older mouse droppings the other night. Bas smelled them, and with luck is primed to take action should he find the creators of said droppings. Though we’ve had no signs of mice for a while.

Still very busy now. I look forward to peace and quiet of vacation/holidaytime.

December 16th, 2003

Just worked on this:

Respiratory therapy – Wikipedia. Supposedly I know about this field.

December 16th, 2003

And don’t tell anyone, but “The Lab” is moving…

December 22nd, 2003

Saddam, Captured… by the Kurds?

So Saddam was caught the other day. Today, Mathowie and Anildash point to the first person account of the Saddam Raid.

But was Saddam awfully haggard in those photos? And was that spider hole: a of base of operations or more like a prison cell?

Looks like it was actually the Kurds that caught Saddam – note the sources are in the Arab world, Australia, UK, India. I don’t see any US sources there.

They say the first casualty of war is the truth.

So will we see the US domestic media tell this story?

December 22nd, 2003

Xmas Rap

Voom. So busy. Ankle feeling better. Christmas tree up. Crafts done. Stocking made for my Aunt for someone else. Freelance project going well. Lord of the Rings seen. Chocolate covered cherries made by Leah. Leah put up links to her articles on her blog. Some old decorations will be taken to Goodwill. Gifts purchased. Many Christmas cards mailed. Enjoying Fairytale of New York and A Charlie Brown Christmas music.

I am content, though a bit more stressed than usual. Supposedly, this is typical during the hoidays. Being aware of it is a nice change. To know my own limits is a wonderful thing.

December 23rd, 2003

Joe Namath: the new Mahir?

I want to kiss you! vs. I kiss you! (see what Mahir did with his fame at: ikissyou.org). More on the ESPN broadcast at oliverwillis.com. The reporter, Suzy Kolber, handled the incident perfectly I think. I think this is not sexual harassment of any kind, but I think people will be loathe to put Joe Namath on the air without a breathalyzer test.

December 23rd, 2003

Holidays.

I’m stressed out. Working on it.

December 23rd, 2003

Christmas Stuff to Enjoy on ArtLung.com

December 23rd, 2003

Links and Stuff of the Moment

It’s 11:24 on 11/23. Here comes Christmas!

Onward.

December 25th, 2003

Merry Christmas

That’s all I have to say, really. Peace and Love to you.

December 26th, 2003

Fascinating thing about memory

Scientific American: Unmaking Memories: Interview with James McGaugh — this is really interesting.

On the agenda today: getting out of bed, breakfast, laundry, and a birthday party.

December 26th, 2003

Fascinating Bible and Christianity Interview; Religious Update

The Fresh Air from December 17, 2003 is with the author of the book Lost Christianities: The Battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. The interview is both interesting and moving, as the author says he came from a very literal, Evangelical faith of “The Book” — and had his faith shaken when he realized the historical ambiguities and inconsistencies in the writings of the early Christians.

I’m putting the book on my wishlist.

Also on the Christian tip, Leah and I attended Midnight Mass here in San Diego at St. Joseph Cathedral. And I got the book Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About by Donald Knuth, inventor of TEX (here’s his homepage). It’s about the intersection of, of all things, faith, specificlly Christianity, and Computer Science. It’s based on a series of lectures he gave at MIT on the topic. I’ve just finished the introduction, and I’m riveted. Here’s his own page about his book.

My evolving thoughts on religion are, I think, a direct result of having been asked to be the Godparent of my friend Chris’ (his portfolio site hosted here)son, Zac. It was into the Catholic faith, and it stirred my own heart on my own evolving feelings about Catholicism, Zen Buddhism, Atheism, Agnosticism, and Freethinking — in addition to talking with Leah about her own feelings toward her upbringing. I am not at all certain how I feel, but I continue to seek truth and light and goodness.

I quite like the emphasis the Catholic Church places on works. It makes me feel like it is not Grace what judges us. Rather, a just capital-“G” God would look at how we treated other people and judge us that way. I continue to be highly skeptical of the notion of a personal “God.” I reserve the right to be a Freethinker in the capital-“F” sense. I reserve the right to question EVERYTHING!

That’s the scientist in me, I suppose. Reconciling that with a person who “believes” in things like “art” and “love” and “trust” and “family” — which are abstract constructs, unsuited to scientific measurement. Not all things are explained by science, and that is acceptable. But where we can, we must look carefully at ALL things, to see where we can, and where we cannot apply a scientific method.

For the heart knows things that reason cannot know, and that I know to be truth, because I feel it in my heart.

Which of course is the kind of tautological explanation that sounds very like a zen koan. Ah well, sweet mystery of life.

December 26th, 2003

Lines of the Day

We don’t do that after nine o’clock. The grill is closed, dude.

Cats love printers.

December 27th, 2003

10 Year Anniversary of Philip Greenspun’s Dynamic Site

At Philip Greenspun’s Weblog he notes the 10th anniversary of his personal site, which mutated into photo.net, and which caused him to learn a great deal about building web community with database-backed websites, and so in turn he wrote books and put up sites and inspired people like me.

Kudos on that anniversary!

December 27th, 2003

Excellent Civic Metaphor about Money and the Occupation of Iraq

December 29th, 2003

Translations of “Joseph”

  • Arabic: Yousef, Yousuf, Yusef, Yusuf
  • Croatian: Josip
  • Czech: Jozef Josef
  • Danish: Josef
  • Dutch: Joop
  • French: Jose
  • German: Josef Iosef
  • Hungarian: József
  • Italian: Giuseppe, Giussepe
  • Kiswahili: Yusuf
  • Norwegian: Josef
  • Polish: Józef
  • Portuguese: Jose
  • Romanian: Iosif
  • Russian: Ioseph Osip
  • Serbian: Josif
  • Spanish: José
  • Swedish: Josef
  • Tamil: Susai

(via oxygen.com babynamer)

December 29th, 2003

Some jokes write themselves.

December 30th, 2003

FedEx buys Kinko’s

FedEx to buy Kinko’s for $2.4 Billion … I’ve been a Kinko’s fan for a long time – before the net broke big I liked renting computer time there to practice on Illustrator or Photoshop. Kinko’s is somehow associated, for me, with democracy. Perhaps it’s a result of remembering how “Xerox machines” were tightly controlled in the old Soviet Union. Kinko’s is basically a big retail printing press. If you want to print a leaflet, you can do it there. I’ve always liked that. I hope the purchase goes well for them.

December 30th, 2003

ipodsdirtysecret.com : triumph of the will

From ipodbatteryfaq.com:

Q: Apple only released their battery replacement service because of all the bad publicity from iPod’s Dirty Secret.

A: While often claimed, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Apple released the battery replacement program November 14. ipodsdirtysecret.com was only registered on November 20, and started being heavily publicized on November 21. Additionally, Apple had been planning the AppleCare programs for months – these types of service programs don’t just happen overnight – before Casey Neistat even had his first contact with Apple. The video campaign had nothing to do with Apple’s rollout of the battery replacement program.

The Dirty Secret folks have a great guerilla movie. The sad thing is that I put it in the category of “Triumph of the Will” — brilliant marketing for a hollow, misleading cause.

I would like to see the Neistats do something more substantial with their marketing talents. (background: ipodsdirtysecret.com )

December 31st, 2003

Mad Cow Disease New Year: Animals you eat must be vegetarian

I’ve avoided talking about hot and breaking news for a while. I did not post about the recent quakes in California and Iran; and I’ve somehow managed not to post anything about Paris Hilton. But Mad Cow Disease is a horse of a different color. Go read Alton Brown – It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Cow where he says:

No…that’s not nature. Cattle are not cannibals. They are turf munchers…cud chewers, and they are meant to feast on the salad bar that is open pastureland. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or “mad cow disease” results when the people who raise cattle feed them chow that includes the brains of other cattle that were infected. Why would anyone want to feed cattle to cattle? Economics of course…it’s a cheap way to bulk up feed. And why would someone want to do that? To get the price of beef down. Why? Because we like it that way.

That’s right, Mad Cow disease isn’t the beef industry’s fault, it’s not the USDA’s fault, and it’s surely not the cattle’s fault. It’s our fault.

That’s right…you and I are to blame for the fact that hundreds if not thousands of animals will have to be destroyed because of the threat of BSE. We are to blame because our culture has come to value two qualities above all else: “cheap”, and “more”. How else can you explain the cancerous creep of Wal-Marts across our landscape, or the ever swelling American waistline.

And then read this, from the author of a book that got no media coverage in the USA. Read AlterNet’s story: Mad Cow USA: The Nightmare Begins. Which is surely scary, but necessarily so. Government is in the pocket of the beef interests, this needs to be fixed, and this is important. An excerpt:

Since the announcement of United States mad cow disease our phones have rung off the hook with interview requests. The New York Times noted that “The 1997 book ‘Mad Cow USA’, by Sheldon Rampton and John C. Stauber, made the case that the disease could enter the United States from Europe in contaminated feed.” Articles in the New York Times also cited other warnings from Consumer Union’s Michael Hansen, and Dr. Stanley Prusiner, the Nobel Prize-winning researcher who this week called the current United States practice of weaning calves on cattle blood protein “stupid.” All of this would be very vindicating, except for one problem: the millions of dollars that the government and industry are spending on PR to pull the wool over the public’s eyes might just succeed in forestalling the necessary steps that now, at this late date, must still be taken to adequately deal with this crisis.

The good news is that those steps are rather simple and understandable. We should ship Ann Veneman and her smartest advisors to Britain where they can copy the successful feed and testing regulations that have solved the mad cow problem in Europe. Veneman and her advisors should institute a complete and total ban on feeding any slaughterhouse waste to livestock. You may think this is already the case because that’s what industry and government said they did back in the summer of 1997. But beside the cattle blood being legally fed back to cattle, billions of pounds of rendered fat, blood meal, meat and bone meal from pigs and poultry are rendered and fed to cattle, and cattle are rendered and fed to other food species, a perfect environment for spreading and amplifying mad cow disease and even for creating new strains of the disease.

The feed rules that the United States must adopt can be summarized this way: you might not be a vegetarian, but the animals you eat must be. The United States must also institute an immediate testing regime that will test millions of cattle, not the 20,000 tested out of 35 million slaughtered in the past year in the United States. Japan now tests all cattle before consumption, and disease experts like Dr. Prusiner recommend this goal for the United States. And of course, no sick “downer” cows, barely able to move, should be fed to any humans. These are the type of animals most likely to be infected with mad cow and other ailments – although mad cows can also seem completely healthy at the time of slaughter, which is why testing all animals must be the goal.

So. People, get active. Learn about this. And tell the truth about it. Animals you eat must be vegetarian. It’s that simple. The USA can solve this problem.

December 31st, 2003

Happy New Year

Yes indeed!. Coming real soon now. Less than 7 hours.