Monday, December 20, 2010

An old one but good one from the myspace blog

Aug 13, 2008
Si Hoc Legere Scis Nimium Eruditionis Habes
Current mood:thirsty

Recently I missed my 20 year high school reunion due to the obvious condition of Gimp Foot and an underlying case of Cold Feet. Not so sure I wanted to see ALL of the people I went to St. Thomas Aquinas High School with. Although it wasn't completely bad---I received a really wonderful education that enabled me to go to an excellent college, graduate cum laude and subsequently become an alcoholic who works in a grocery store. Needless to say, staying at home in bed reading a massive pile of library books sounded really, really OK after visualizing myself standing in my high school cafeteria feeling surly and holding on to a ginger ale with a death grip. Ambivalent does not even begin to sum it up. Avoiding conversations about my present state of being seemed, ummm, integral to maintaining my sanity. Ok, yeah, I'm a total chicken shit. But really, I seriously couldn't get out of bed or put my foot down.

The one thing that I always thought was cool about my high school was that they offered Latin. Nevertheless, I decided to take Spanish for 3 years instead because I knew I could cruise by and spend most of the time gossiping with my high school best friend J. en espanol instead of actually having to study anything. I felt smugly sorry for all of the Anglo kids who struggled with the language and would get bored and sneak out to chain smoke in the bathroom. Being secretly Cuban never felt so good again.

My justification for avoiding Latin like the plague was that I was conserving my energy for AP Chemistry and Anatomy and Physiology. Really, I felt scared shitless of Latin. Fascinated, but not up for the challenge. Intimidated by the cream of the crop rich kids that were crammed into that classroom. Probably this was all a foreshadowing of my secret penchant for taking the easy way out (ie, vodka) that would rear its ugly head somewhere midway through my freshman year of college.

So in honor of my alma mater, here are some phrases I definitely wouldn't have learned in high school Latin class. Enjoy the raging nerdiness!

Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc: "we gladly feast on those who would subdue us" (actually, this is the mock Latin motto of the Addams Family but whatever, it's my blog)

Ubi nihil vales, ibi nihil velis: "Where you are worth nothing, there you will wish for nothing" (that pretty much sums up high school for me)

Amor et melle et felle est fecundissmismus: "love is rich with both honey and venom"

Asinus asinum fricat: "the jackass rubs the jackass" (Bush and Cheney, anyone?)

Cave laborem: "beware of work" (I'm going to use this as my email signature)

Descensus in cuniculi cavum: "The descent into the cave of the rabbit" (curiouser and curiouser!)

In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro: "Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"

Nemo saltat sobrius: "Nobody dances sober" (that would pretty much sum up the past year of my life)

Odi profanum vulgus et arceo: "I hate the unholy rabble and keep them away" (perhaps my family motto)

Post Coitum Omne Animal Triste Est: "After sexual intercourse every animal is sad"

Noli me tangere: "do not touch me"

Amicule, deliciae, num is sum qui mentiar tibi? "Baby, sweetheart, would I lie to you?"

Antiquis temporibus, nati tibi similes in rupibus ventosissimis exponebantur ad necem: "In the good old days, children like you were left to perish on windswept crags."

Diabolus fecit, ud id facerem!: "The devil made me do it!"

Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione: "I'm not interested in your stupid religious cult."

Friday, December 10, 2010

"I like to cheer. I like to hunt."

I was driving to work this week when I heard this piece ("For Some Girls, The Ultimate Goal Is To Kill A Buck") aired on NPR as part of their Hidden Life of Girls series. It's about a 15 year old cheerleader named Magan Heber who also is an avid hunter. The piece just got more and more disturbing as it went on. It describes her first kill:

"It took a year of hunting before Magan killed her first deer. It was a doe. "I started shaking when I put the gun up, so [Dad] had to hold it steady for me," Magan says. But she did it. She hit the doe in the shoulder. Marcy couldn't believe it. Magan was hooked. "I just like the peace and quiet," Magan says, explaining the appeal."

I don't know, maybe I am confused. When I want peace and quiet I go lock myself in my room, go meditate, go to the library or go on a hike, not pick up a gun and shoot an animal. That does not sound peaceful to me.

This was immediately followed by the next comment, which almost sent me over the edge:

"She says she likes it when she sees a mother deer playing with her fawns. "I think it's cute. 'Cause, you know, you can't kill them yet. But when they grow up, it's really good food. I don't know. I just like it.""

Yeah, fawns are ridiculously cute. Do I ever look at them and think, "Hey, there's my future food! Grow up faster so I can eat you! ". Nope.

I am, and always have been, baffled and disturbed by hunting (and cheerleading too, actually). As a child, I couldn't stand the idea of my parents putting out mouse traps, never mind shooting deer from a deer blind. I used to steal and dismantle mouse traps constantly as a kid (never too early to start a career in activism, I suppose).

Part of me really wants to understand why. Why would this little girl be so enticed by shooting and killing animals? What is the real, unspoken appeal of this activity for her? Does it make her feel powerful? Does it give her a sense of control or safety? Is it just a big rush? Does she feel like it puts her on equal footing with her father and brother? Is it rebellion: proving to the boys that girls can do anything, including hunt? Or perhaps it's none of the above.

I also have to ask myself a few questions as well, starting with why does this disturb me so much more than the idea of teenaged boys hunting deer? Is it the juxtaposition of cheerleading with hunting (definitely disturbing)? Or do I harbor some sexist illusions that girls are less prone to violence against animals than boys? It made me think of The Sexual Politics of Meat by vegan feminist Carol Adams and her use of the term from linguistics, the "absent referent":

"Behind every meal of meat is an absence: the death of the animal whose place the meat takes. The "absent referent" is that which separates the meat eater from the animal and the animal from the end product. The function of the absent referent is to keep our "meat" separated from any idea that she or he was once an animal, to keep the "moo" or "cluck" or "baa" away from the meat, to keep something from being seen as having been someone."

Well, there's definitely no absent referent here. This is some immediate, hands-on DIY killin'. And it blows the theory that women have some sort of inherent, spiritual kindness and kinship with animals right out of the water.

The pictures (warning: dead deer right away) in the piece confused all of this for me even more. She's just a tiny little thing, posing happily in these grisly shots of deer hung upside down or splayed on the ground with their tongues lolling out. She looks truly thrilled in both of the shots, actually. I don't even know where to begin with that. It was easier when I didn't have such a vivid visual image of her as an individual and there was just a disembodied voice in my head.

Vegan Pizza at The Pizza Place, Wynn Casino: review

I HAD to do it. Gotta work my way through the Wynn's vegan offerings sooner or later! I went last weekend to investigate with some of my vegan and veg friendly friends who were visiting from Florida. We had the vegan pizza with Teese cheese and all of the available veggies as well as the salad and vegan garlic knots. They even had vegan gelato on the menu (!!) as well as gluten free options and other clear allergen listings. It was a totally separate menu that they whipped out from behind the counter.

This is also one of the less expensive places to eat at The Wynn, as well as somewhere you could easily bring omni family and friends. There's even a beautiful manmade waterfall outside! And if that isn't your scene, there's flatscreen TVs with sports for those who are so inclined.

The pizza was quite tasty. The Teese cheese was a pleasant change from Daiya: more stretchy and less oily. I liked it and would definitely buy Teese if I could get my hot little vegan hands on it! The pizza came out very fresh (obviously made to order) and the service was great. My friends even asked, "Why are all the servers so incredibly nice here?" Oh, and the garlic knots were amazing! Real East Coast style---I devoured them all by myself.

Ironically, a few weeks ago I was with my vegan buddy Easy Ice at the Riviera while she was working an event and I overheard some guys talking about working at the Wynn. One of them stated that Steve Wynn was "totally fucking insane" and really didn't sound like he liked working there all that much. He also said that he's a control freak, but that he thought it probably takes being a control freak to build a casino empire. Yeah, probably! I've also heard a lot of blowback from my brothers' friends in the restaurant industry who know people who work there. Apparently a lot of the employees (including some of the chefs) think Steve Wynn's vegan thing is a very annoying kick that he's temporarily on and that hopefully he will get over it soon. I hope not, because selfishly I want to keep eating all of his awesome food!!! And obviously, it's great for the animals and for creating awareness of veganism locally and in the media. Thank you, Steve Wynn---I'll be back!