Thursday, September 25, 2008

Got Milk?

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, cofounders of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., urging them to replace cow's milk they use in their ice cream products with human breast milk.

Human. Breast. Milk.

In my ice cream.

The letter specifically reads:

September 23, 2008

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Cofounders
Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.

Dear Mr. Cohen and Mr. Greenfield,

On behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters, I'd like to bring your attention to an innovative new idea from Switzerland that would bring a unique twist to Ben and Jerry's.

Storchen restaurant is set to unveil a menu that includes soups, stews, and sauces made with at least 75 percent breast milk procured from human donors who are paid in exchange for their milk. If Ben and Jerry's replaced the cow's milk in its ice cream with breast milk, your customers-and cows-would reap the benefits.

Using cow's milk for your ice cream is a hazard to your customer's health. Dairy products have been linked to juvenile diabetes, allergies, constipation, obesity, and prostate and ovarian cancer. The late Dr. Benjamin Spock, America's leading authority on child care, spoke out against feeding cow's milk to children, saying it may play a role in anemia, allergies, and juvenile diabetes and in the long term, will set kids up for obesity and heart disease-America's number one cause of death.

Animals will also benefit from the switch to breast milk. Like all mammals, cows only produce milk during and after pregnancy, so to be able to constantly milk them, cows are forcefully impregnated every nine months. After several years of living in filthy conditions and being forced to produce 10 times more milk than they would naturally, their exhausted bodies are turned into hamburgers or ground up for soup.

And of course, the veal industry could not survive without the dairy industry. Because male calves can't produce milk, dairy farmers take them from their mothers immediately after birth and sell them to veal farms, where they endure 14 to17 weeks of torment chained inside a crate so small that they can't even turn around.

The breast is best! Won't you give cows and their babies a break and our health a boost by switching from cow's milk to breast milk in Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Thank you for your consideration.


Tracy Reiman

Executive Vice President

Rather than comment on my feelings about this letter, I decided it would be best if I, on behalf of Messrs. Cohen and Greenfield, responded in kind.

Dear Tracy Reiman,

With specific regards to your letter to the Ben & Jerry Homemade, I felt obligated to respond to the idea of replacing bovine milk used in the making of their ice cream with human milk instead.

While it is an incredibly intriguing concept, I feel that you have quite possibly lost your fucking mind.

Forgetting the absolute silliness of asking a major corporation to replace a food product - which, incidently, human beings have been consuming for as long as mankind has learned to domesticate animals - with HUMAN milk, I would like to address the impracticalities of what you've asked this corporation to do.

You use, as an example, a solitary Swiss restaurant that is paying human volunteers to donate their breast milk so that they can make sauces for their dinner menus. While I believe this is a novel innovation on the part of the Swiss, the fact that you have extrapolated this concept to be used by a corporation that uses more milk in a day than this restaurant would in five years shows your complete and utter (udder?) ignorance and stupidity. Perhaps you should have directed this to the Swiss chocolatiers, as I'm certain you would enjoy milk chocolate made from human breast milk?

Do you intend for this major corporation to then reduce itself to relying on the good graces of female volunteers to fill their milk vats? Perhaps, instead, you envision deprived women in third-world countries lining up by the thousands, on a daily (if not hourly) basis, in order to donate their limited quantities of breast milk such that this corporation can meet their distribution goals?

You voice such concern for the state the cows exist in, and for that you should be applauded. You should, however, be bitch-slapped, several times in fact, for your implied suggestion that while it is deplorable for cows to exist in these conditions, it would be perfectly acceptable for human women to take their place. Perhaps we, as a nation, could enact a mandatory government draft - conscripting women by the thousands, in the name of public consumption - to volunteer for Milk Duty. These women would then spend, say four years of required service at the pumping stations to supply the needed milk for companies such as Ben & Jerry's to survive.

Conversely, as we seem to now be a nation of conquest - as evidenced by our soon-to-be annexation of Iraq, Afghanistan, and in the upcoming years Iran - we could instead enact slave labor camps. As you care only for the state of cows, you may be happy to know that there are very few cows in these countries; we could, instead, relocate our dairy factories to these otherwise useless nations and chain their women to these machines, creating a Nike-like cheap labor that would suit our digestive American needs.

I would not, myself, go so far as to suggest the methods by which these women would remain in a state of pregnancy - which, as you so pointedly noted, would be required in order for the women to consistently produce the milk needed. However, should the need arise I would be more than willing to volunteer my own services in this regards. No payment would be necessary, and travel to remote locations would not be a concern.

Of some concern, however, would be the potential "taint" posed by, shall we say, less sanitary women and the milk they would in turn produce. Perhaps B&J could enter into the drug trade, as I'm certain a large percentage of the women volunteering their services would already be some form of substance abuser. Kill two birds with one stone, as they say; Ben & Jerry Crack Houses could become a new franchise and source of income for the company.

I do have some trepidation; the costs of these enterprises would likely increase the price of ice cream tenfold. However, by putting the label "organic" on each carton, it by default enhances the quality of the product and guarantees the ice cream's inclusion on the shelves of Whole Foods. Price, as we already know from current Whole Food shoppers, would then not be a concern.

As I'm more than certain Ben & Jerry's is strongly considering your suggestion, may I be so bold as to further compliment your idea by proposing names that the company could use, in their new Breast Milk line of ice cream flavors?

Brownie Brown-Eyed Susan
Hazelnut Honkers
Tropical Fruit Melons Medley
Bouncing Berry Betties
Traffic Light Triple Medley
Around the Globes
Bananas 'n Bongoes

If I may be so bold, I would like to finalize this letter by sending you several mops; by now, after reading this document, your floor must be flooded with the dripping sarcasm it has left. You may also find the wooden handle of the mops very helpful, as the stick you already have up your butt is by now completely splintered by your tight-assedness.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bubbly Goodness

When I was young, there was a candy we all loved (at least, in my Bronx neighborhood we did) called Orbits.

Orbits, for those of you not in the know, were tiny pebble-sized sugar dots that came in a small box for maybe, 10cents. The boxes also came with a straw, the type that they give you with drinks at a bar, so that you could suck up the candy in the box with the straw.

Kids being kids, we all very creatively found a much better use for the candy AND the straw.

Pellet shooting.

I mean let's face it, they were absolutely perfect for this; tiny pellets, spherical, that came with it's own projectile launcher. They SOLD it to us, we'd be remiss if we didn't take full advantage of it. Who needed paper spitballs when you could literally shoot someone's eye out with sugary goodness? It came WITH the pea shooter, for christ's sake! This, to a child's mind, meant it was LEGAL!

When you shot someone with an Orbits pea, it was practically government sanctioned!

I bring this up, because there is a phenomenon that, admittedly, I do not see the appeal to. Not in the normal, sane-member-of-society sense, anyway.

We're talking about bubble tea.

To the typical American who has no idea what the freak I'm talking about, bubble tea is an asian - Taiwanese, to be specific - import that has overwhelmed the chinatown areas of our major cities. The abridged version of the Wiki description is as follows:

The distinctive characteristic of bubble tea is the presence of chewy translucent balls of pearl tapioca (that sit at the bottom of the glass). Cooked, large pearls have a diameter of at least 6 millimeters. The pearls are prepared by boiling for 25 minutes, until they are cooked thoroughly but have not lost pliancy, then cooled for 25 minutes. After cooking they last about 7 hours. The pearls have little taste, and are usually soaked in sugar or honey solutions.

Bubble teas are generally of two distinct types: fruit-flavored teas, and milk teas. However, some shops offer a hybrid "fruit milk tea." Milk teas may use dairy or non-dairy creamers.

The original bubble tea consisted of a hot Taiwanese black tea, brown large pearl tapioca, condensed milk, and honey. As this drink became more popular, variations were created.

Today one can find shops entirely devoted to bubble tea, similar to juice bars of the early 1990s. (They are served with a straw.) The straw may be brightly colored, and is oversize, large enough for sucking up the pearls.

I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.

So. These drinks come with rounded, tasteless wads of sticky gluten. And a fat straw.

Why am I the only one who seems to see the dangerous applications of this?

I have to tell you...these straws and tapioca balls are perfect for spitballing. Per-fect. I wish they'd had these when I was growing up!

Forget the drinks they come with; I could pour snapple over beheaded gummi bears and come up with the same flavor. The draw, to me anyway, are the wonderous projectile applications of these tapioca balls! Why aren't there more kids being suspended or given detention in school for having bubble tea wars?

What the hell is wrong with kids today?! I've personally tested these, many times, and I have to tell you - with the size of the straw and the rounded consistency of the tapioca, you can achieve considerable range. And we have the added bonus of the stickiness of the tapioca upon impact.

Walking with a friend who *snort* actually buys them to DRINK (!), she didn't believe me on the range and accuracy of these pudding dots. I then fired off a round or two at the stop sign across the street, smiling satisfactorily at the metallic *ping* that followed each.

I'm sure she was impressed. Really.

We decided, in the interest of science, to continue to prove this theory and found multiple targets for me to practice my sharpshooting (sharpspitting?)

In hindsight, I did consider that perhaps defacing public property was not the brightest move. Doing so by the Department of Corrections and the Chinatown prison, possibly even less brilliant. Fortunately we came to this conclusion before any police could watch our demonstration.

She did manage to get off a shot of our handiwork before we ran for the hills.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Checkpoint Charlie

After dropping Deli home tonight I figure hey, it's 7:30 - i've got enough time to make it home in time to drool over Felicia Day on "House", and I won't even need to kick in the hyperdrive engines.

Of course, this didn't take into account the U.N.

The fuckers.

A 20-25 min drive turned into nearly an hour, thanks to the single-lane checkpoint the NYPD has set up along the FDR.

This kaleidoscope of color you see isn't xmas come early - this is the highway as I sat in it, cursing myself for not crossing to the west side before heading uptown.

And what draconian procedure do the cars have to endure, as they reach the checkpoint?

I stopped. They shone a flashlight in my face. Then waved me on.


Was the flashlight some star trekkian genetic scan, some futuristic facial recognition device as yet unheard of by the general public? What purpose did that serve?

"He's american. Let him through."

It really does beg the question: what would have caused them to pull me aside? Did I need to have bombs in the passenger seat?

Or maybe, things would have been different if i'd been wearing a turban.

Arab IS the new Black, after all. Are Pakistanis going to complain about getting pulled over for DWAs now?

That checkpoint...concerns me. I don't want to return to the Jim Crow days.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thanks, FDNY

here's the scene this morning as I patiently (hah!) wait for the fire trucks to eave, so I can move my car :(

Monday, September 08, 2008

Worldly Concerns

Bless me father, for I have sinned. It's been nearly two weeks since my last confession.

Blog, confession. Whatever. You get the point.

I can't say why, really; perhaps, as in all things in life, I just needed a slight break. A digital vacation, a literary getway. There have been so many things to talk about, things of great import - the Democratic Convention, McCain's Vice Presidential choice, the US Open, the hurricanes, the start of the NFL season. My brain is stuffed near to brim with all of the possible topics; how, I ask myself, do I start my first day back on the blog? What topic could I choose, from amongst so many?

Cat poo coffee.

Yes, you heard me. Coffee, from cat poo.

Perhaps I exaggerate. Slightly. But not by much.

It's called Kopi Luwak, and is coffee made from coffee berries which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet.

The civets eat the berries, but the beans inside pass through their system undigested. This process takes place on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi in the Indonesian Archipelago, in the Philippines (where the product is called Kape Alamid) and in East Timor (locally called kafé-laku).

The inner bean of the berry is not digested, but it has been proposed that enzymes in the stomach of the civet add to the coffee's flavor by breaking down the proteins that give coffee its bitter taste. The beans are defecated still covered in some inner layers of the berry. The beans are washed, and given only a light roast so as to not destroy the complex flavors that develop through the process. Some sources claim that the beans may be regurgitated instead of defecated. eager as you obviously are to rush out and get your freshly shat pound of coffee, consider this. Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world, selling for between $120 and $600 USD per pound.

Can I get a collective WTF, hallelujah and amen?

Seriously. WTF? W-T-F?! Why is shit-flavored coffee more expensive than others? Insanely more expensive? know, in retrospect, I guess it makes a certain amount of sense. I mean, let's face it - you're gonna have to pay me a shitload (pun intended) of cash to chase after a nasty little bugger that looks like a raccoon, dig through it's feces looking for berries, to turn into coffee. Cuz that's not exactly a job that's gonna bring in the ladies, 'knamean?

But consider this question, which naturally popped into my head.

How, exactly, did this whole enterprise get started?

Think about this for a second. Some guy in kuala lumpur, wandering through the jungle, steps in some cat shit and, as he's wiping it off with a handy leaf, discovers coffee berries.

This guy, being of obviously sound body and mind, then popped said berries into his mouth. And oh-boy oh-boy, what a taste sensation THAT was!

Fast forward, and now he's living in a giant plantation house with a backyard pen full of these nasty little weasels. All they get to eat are coffee berries, which incidently probably makes them fairly exciteable little things. Which may also be why the coffee is so expensive, because fuck YOU if you think I'm going in a pen full of weasel-cats hopped up on caffine and NOT get paid a ton of cash.

Now...forgetting the fact that someone came up with this shit of an idea.

Someone had to actually BUY these beans from him, KNOWING it came out of a civet's ass. And did so eagerly.

In light of this, Governor Palin calling Obama a Sambo just doesn't seem all that staggering, does it?