Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday Round Up...

So, there I was, in the beginning of December, finishing up my Christmas shopping, thinking I'm a paragon of good planning. Then, idleness happened (or didn't, I suppose) and over the past two weeks I've questioned most of the gifts I so thoughtfully purchased. Time constraints and shipping costs make it impossible for me to replace the gifts, though one will ultimately end up a gift to myself on Christmas. So, friends and family, let's all hope my early hunches were good.

Anyway, here are several assorted stories I thought were worthy of passing on...

Homelessness isn't just a problem facing cities anymore. Increasingly, suburban counties, like ours, are having to cope with high demand for supportive services, something we're not really accustomed to. This story mentions Howard but focuses on Baltimore County's situation, which is in many ways analogous to ours.

Almost 400 people (wow!) attended a meeting about the low-income housing project proposed for the Centennial area. Nothing really new came out – at least as far as I can tell—so I'll just leave things at that.

Now this is something we can all support. Howard County Library is leading an initiative "to position Howard County as a model of civility." The program is called Choosing Civility and the first event is scheduled for February 22. Tom Berkhouse: I'll go if you do. More information here.

Finally, it's no surprise to me, but it might be to you: Vegetarians are smarter.

Yes, I know all about confusing correlation and causality. But, still, we're smarter. Just ask either of my veggie siblings. Well, don't ask my brother, who eats fish and jerky and claims the title of Vegetarian only when it suits him, which is, typically, when he needs to appear smart.

21 comments:

FreeMarket said...

Vegetarians are smarter, because smart people become vegetarians. There is a vast propaganda system at work to make sure people think that eating meat is necessary to survive. That system is slowly breaking down, and one day meat eaters will find themselves in the minority. I do not find it surprising the Upton Sinclair chose to use the meat packing industry as an example of the ills of capitalism. It almost makes me want to join the Reds, and I lean heavily Libertarian.

Chris said...

whoa, a little upset about that email calling you an "anomaly" in the vegetarian study?

my kind of vegetarianism is primarily focused on the cruelty toward animals while they are alive and not on the lone act of killing them. Hence, fish and hunted meat are on a completely different level than cows, pigs (check out the recent Rolling Stone article on hog farms), and chickens.

In fact, occasional eating of meat can be viewed as a sort of spiritual reconnection with the earth. I believe Aldo Leopold said that....or was it Ted Nugent?

numbersgirl said...

Call me a liberal, but until you abstain from eating the flesh of animals, you are not a vegetarian.

That is not to say that I don't see where you are coming from. If I had to eat meat, I would choose the flesh of an animal that lived a happy life up until what is hopefully a quick exit from this world. And I would much rather that people know the process by which their food met their plate, be it by hunting, fishing, or raising their own meat.

Selfishly, though, it is a royal pain to us "real" vegetarians when people who eat fish and meat call themselves vegetarian. I can't count the number of times I have made special arrangements for a vegetarian dinner, only to have it include shrimp or chicken.

Hayduke said...

We can argue all we want about who's in the smarty-pants club, but my main concern is the scorn I get from people who don't like that I choose not to eat meat, as if there is something fundamentally wrong with me. Why is that?

numbersgirl said...

The reason is clear. Given that meat eaters are a few points lower in IQ than we vegetarians, the concept frustrates them intellectually. Frustration then leads to irritation and scorn.

I pity them.

Pescovegetarian Chris said...

likewise, how about the scorn i get from fundamentalist "vegetarians"? i dont typically use the word to describe myself, instead telling people "i dont really eat meat."

Of course i could tell people, I am a person who eats a 99.999% pescovegetarian, 95% lactovegetarian diet and 55% ovolactovegetarian diet. I wont stop a person from calling me a vegetarian because 95% of the time i eat a 100% vegetarian diet.

The term vegetarian can be used to describe a diet, and to describe an identity. I know a handful of people who were at one time vegetarians give up because they lost their will power and “cheated.” For these people, their momentary lapse caused them to lose their perceived identity of being “vegetarian” so they saw no reason to continue pursuing a vegetarian diet.

i dont think you can blame people like me for the countless time you’ve received a vegetarian dinner with shrimp or chicken. That is the fault of whoever prepared that dinner for not understanding what a “vegetarian” meal consists of.

FreeMarket said...

I wish more meat eaters would challenge their moral stance on eating meat. There are quite a few great books out there like Dominion, Animal Liberation and Eternal Treblinka, which do just that.

Anonymous said...

There must be a study that shows vegetarians are sick more often.

I'm sure there is.

I can't tell you the number of times I've had to disinfect my workstations at the office after a sneezing, coughing, runny vegetarian visited. Love working with the people, but yow, something is definitely wrong.

Smarter? I think not.

Chris said...

you think that it is just that they are sicker, or perhaps just not as able to cope with sickness because vegetarians are, shall we say, pansies. I work with a guy, one of those "former" vegetarians I mentioned earlier, who, I kid you not, called out of work because he stubbed his toe. now that he started eating meat it takes at least a thrown out back before he calls out.

numbersgirl said...

I don't know...my father's recovering from shingles, and he's a meat eater. In fact, the only people I know who've gotten shingles have been meat eaters. Maybe vegetarians are immune from shingles?

FreeMarket said...

Buried in these “criticisms” of vegetarianism is the accusation that vegetarians are malnourished. This is not the case. Sure, you can be a vegetarian and be malnourished, just as you can be a flesh eater and be malnourished. I have found meat eaters to be the fat asses who are sick and lazy. Vegetarians are much healthier.

As far as all vegetarians being “pansies”, that is just name-calling. I am wearing a pink shirt as I type this, and I think Chris is the pansy.

Hayduke said...

Here's my vegetarian sickness personal anecdote: The same bug that kept me out of work for a day has forced my wife, a meat eater, to stay home three days. And I dare anyone to call her a pansy.

numbersgirl said...

Yeah, but she's a woman.

Chris said...

shingles? nope. that coworker i mentioned got shingles while being a vegetarian and has not had shingles since eating meat again.

now lets not forget that one sickness that was a topic of discussion here recently: food poisoning. A bad case of food poisoning on my last night at my first college was a contributing factor in why i gave up meat.

Citing fear of food poisoning for a reason to not eat meat? yeah, i guess that makes me a pansy.

numbersgirl said...

Too bad. My college's "Chicken and Waffles" night was almost enough to turn me back to a carnivore.

Anonymous said...

Freemarket: I'd have left out that part about the pink shirt (if the goal was to have more credibility regarding the non-pansy position).

Chris: Did you call yourself a pansy? Are you vegetarian?

Of course some meat eaters will be unhealthy, but too many of the vegetarian population are ill too often. It's a statistical item that, again, I'm sure someone has studied.

If vegetarians care enough to be careful what is ingested, I would think that the vegetarian population would care enough to find out why immunity is compromised for too many on this diet.

numbersgirl said...

anon 5:22am: "but too many of the vegetarian population are ill too often"

Care to expand on that? Anecdotal evidence of a sick vegetarian you met at the office doesn't count. Cause I can counter that with at least 6 times the anecdotal evidence in favor of vegetarianism.

Chris said...

i did call meself a pansy. However, I dare not call myself a "vegetarian" as my twice a month salmon filet and a nibble on some elk or jerky once or twice a year disqualifies me.

I'm stilll googling to find out if immune systems for vegetarians are really worse.

So far, i got this strong recommendation of a vegetarian diet from the American Dietetic Association. Also, this here i think captures the misperception that perhaps anon 5:22am is guilty of. Of course there are vegetarians who eat unhealthy diets (Hayduke comes to mind) and meat eaters who eat unhealthy diets, but most studies show that on the whole a veg diet is healthier.

Anonymous said...

Chris, you're sounding more and more like a mountain man, whatever that means (jerky and elk I guess). Salmon = very good, who doesn't like a good salmon fillet. Oops, I guess a true vegetarian doesn't like salmon.

If vegetarians ate the recommended diet on your link, they probably wouldn't be so sick, but they eat twinkies! and candy! and awful things that make the meat eaters sick as well.

But, they are s.i.c.k., the sneezing, the body fluids, yike!! Get some high quality protein, people. Eat an egg.

Where's Berkhouse when ya need 'im?

Anonymous said...

Vegetarians don't eat twinkies. Twinkies aren't vegetarian due to lard content.

As far as high quality protein, a review of my bookshelf reveals that books on bodybuilding- purchased long before my husband abandoned his carnivorous ways- recommends only plant-based proteins as those being of high enough quality to build muscle and increase performance.

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