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Should vegetarians allow themselves to eat meat from the plates of others?

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When I first became a vegetarian, I decided it was more important to withhold financial support from the meat industry than to be a stickler about diet. I wasn’t ready then (or now) to become an activist against the meat sellers by holding protests or burning down slaughterhouses. I felt that a vegetarian is defined by  living primarily on a vegetarian diet and not by the absolute absence of meat.

I decided I didn’t have a problem eating meat that would otherwise go to waste. [Read more →]
living poetry

“. . . out of the air, a zebra appeared, with the face of a man . . .” (Ruth Diamond-Guerin)

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That is my face on the zebra’s body.
The striped plain is habitat and prison,
But no dream, not even a vision.
Move but slightly, I become nobody.
I can’t remember how I came to be.
Perhaps I was bewitched by the gods.
I am a creature against all the odds,
A thinking, feeling singularity.
Animals are defined by their camouflage,
But not men, and I am neither one.
Come, capture me. I can dodge
Your eye — before you start, you’re done.
But, in doing so, I lose myself as well
In this dry, cold, vanishing point of Hell.

Note: This is one of more than 100 poems after paintings or images, which can be viewed at the blog, Zealotry of Guerin.

travel & foreign landstrusted media & news

Don’t tear down this wall

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Communism: it sucked.

The Berlin Wall was a powerful symbol for me of the rottenness of Marxist regimes as I grew up in the 1980s. After all, no country in the capitalist West ever built a wall to keep its inhabitants from escaping. Thus when I first visited the city in the late 1990s, one of the first things I did was visit the East Side Gallery of graffiti art, sprayed on a surviving stretch of the Wall.

I remember being surprised by two things: how bad a lot of the art was and the terrible condition it was in. Even the famous images by Keith Haring, Gerald Scarfe and that picture of Leonid Brezhnev kissing Erich Honecker were peeling away. “Hell,” I thought, “even if the Germans want to forget the DDR, they should at least take care of the Wall to keep the tourist dollars flowing in…”

Still, I never thought I’d see a news report about a developer trying to tear down a chunk of the Wall so that he could build some apartments for rich people. But that’s what happened last week, until a crowd of protestors showed up to stop it from happening. [Read more →]

politics & government

Sen. Rand Paul, drones and silence

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I was going to post this on my personal Facebook page, but am instead posting it here. I really try to avoid politics on Facebook. My friends are my friends for reasons outside of politics and I don’t judge people as people based on whether or not they share my view of the world or politics. I don’t want my Facebook to be a platform for political debate. Some spaces should be safe from the pollution of politics.

If George W. Bush’s Attorney General had said that, while he was speaking hypothetically, he could not rule out the right of the President to assassinate American citizens on American soil with a drone strike, without a trial, I expect some of my friends would have been objecting to it on Facebook in strong language. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think Obama would ever do it. If he has the power to do it, then so will future presidents. There will one day be a president you don’t like, maybe one you think is as bad as whatever President you think is the worst in recent history, maybe one as corrupt as Nixon or W. Bush, if you view them as the most corrupt we’ve had. If Obama has the power to do what Holder says he has the power to do, so will the next guy you don’t trust the way you trust Obama.

Sen. Rand Paul has been on the Senate floor for hours raising awareness about this and my Twitter feed is lighting up about it, yet CNN.com’s home page doesn’t mention it at all, and my friends, most or many of whom are Democrats, including some who don’t hesitate to post political rants or links on Facebook about the latest Republican outrage or stupidity, have been silent.

fashion & clothingThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that young guys in plucky hats are no longer allowed into bars

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I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 7 1/4: You know of whom I speak. You have seen him. He is not terribly good-looking, nor is he terribly ugly. He wears a tight T-shirt and carefully-cut jeans whose cuffs fall, frayed, just-so, over his sandals or Vans, but none of this has the same effect that it has on his more athletic companions. He’s not fat; he is not thin; he’s soft-ish. He probably is losing some hair at 23, so he has grown a goatee. And, he wears a hat to bars — a plucky, anachronistic hat. A Bing Crosby hat that Bing took seriously and wore without irony; but our young friend “gets the joke.” The hat is too small, on purpose, so that it sits high on his crown. Somewhere in his subconscious he probably feels it draws the attention of girls from his doughy torso and from his sub-handsome face…and up…up…up…to his “mind.” To his personality, which (it is made clear by the hat) is irreverent and…plucky. He is not Channing Tatum, this one. He is Jason Mraz. He is a madcap. He’s the guy who goes and gets the keg and makes up obscenely-illustrated paper tickets to sell from room to room. He is the assembler of beer bongs. He is the keeper of seeding charts during beer pong. He is the guy who talks to your girlfriend on Tuesday night, on a bench outside the humanities building, and who tells her that you kissed another girl the previous weekend… simply because she is “too nice and pretty” and he “can’t stand to see her get hurt” [read: because he feels he deserves to get sex for this altruistic sharing of information]. He will get a hug. That will be all.

The Punishment: If found in bars by the Imperial Bouncers, these plucky fops will be…well…made to eat their hats.

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Joe Flacco is the highest paid player in NFL history. Really.

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Professional athletes make a lot of money. Especially the ones whose names you know. Sure, some of them make a lot more than others, but even the supposed have-nots likely make a good bit more than you do. Some of them make more than you’ll make in your whole life, and if you lived multiple lives, you still might not get there. Usually, although not always, the best players make the most money. Sure, you can find a young superstar who has not yet cashed in on his first big contract who seems woefully underpaid, and you can also easily spot guys who had a big year, hit it big, and then never approached that level of accomplishment again, but I think it is fair to say that most of the guys making the biggest money are among the elite in their respective sports. Maybe I’m silly, but I feel like a guy who signs a deal that makes him the highest paid player in the history of his league should not only be the best player in that league, but one of the all-time greats. This week, Baltimore Ravens and quarterback Joe Flacco agreed to such a deal. Joe Flacco. Huh? [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtravel & foreign lands

Top ten new slogans for Carnival Cruise Lines

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10. Where the Ship Hits the Fan!

9. The Greatest Tow on Earth!

8. Drifting Along for Over 40 Years!

7. When You Need to Go, We Give You a Choice: Paper or Plastic

6. The Ship of Stools!

5. Less Port of Call! More Porta-Potty!

4. We Put the ‘Poop’ Back in ‘Poop Deck’!

3. Come for the Buffet! Stay for the Dysentery!

2. The Titanic with Shuffleboard!

1. Ship Happens!

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

living poetry

The Rock (Peter Blume)

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Is it a living or a dying rock?
The girl with ponytail and frock,
Kneeling without shoe or sock,
Beseeches the insensate block.
Men working beyond the clock,
They don’t pause to take stock
Of the closed universe they unlock,
Don’t hear the crowing of the cock.
They lift each stone, sleepwalk
Toward those with chalk and caulk,
Like able, obedient livestock.
Work isn’t something they mock.
Damnation will come as a shock.

Note: This is one of more than 100 poems after paintings or images, which can be viewed at the blog, Zealotry of Guerin.

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