Jan 122020
 

To be plain, I’m not a vegan; I’m a vegetarian and have been for over 30 years now. Somebody has to eat all that surplus cheese, and what else am I going to put on my morning muesli? Navy-strength rum? It’s a nice idea, but I doubt my employer would be too impressed.

The old joke goes: “How do you know if someone is vegan? They’ll tell you.”. And somebody always makes it every time veganism is mentioned.

Here’s a few thought on that …

First of all, how do you know that all vegans will tell you and preach? The existence of noisy ones doesn’t provide you any information about quiet ones – you (and I) don’t know whether it is 1% of vegans being quiet, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 99%. From my experience of vegetarianism, the ones most inclined to make a noise about it are the newly converted … and vegans have been around for ages. I even know a few that have been vegan for longer than I’ve been a vegetarian.

Secondly, I know from my own experience that eating out with a bunch of relative strangers (co-workers, sales critters, and the like) is likely to result in being questioned on your menu selection: “Why are you eating that bloody rabbit food?”. It’s kind of hard to avoid the topic when you’re being interrogated all meal long about it.

Finally, I think that ‘normals’ overlook just how much pressure there is to conform to the standard carnivorous diet – from the restaurant menu that sticks vegetarian/vegan choices in the ‘restricted diet’ section, through to jokes about a steak is overdone if it doesn’t “moo” when you stick a fork in it.

Is it any wonder vegans are in your face?

Lastly, with the exception of a certain Twitter exchange, vegans have never been in my face.

Grazing In The Misty Morning
Jan 052020
 

So the US has blown up Soleimani with a drone strike; what’s the problem?

Well it isn’t that Soleimani didn’t deserve it, although I would lean in favour of being imprisoned for life after a conviction for crimes against humanity (yes this would be a lot more difficult to arrange). And no it isn’t because the one effectively pressing the button was an orange-painted idiotic sociopath.

No, it’s the way he was killed.

What seems to be commonly overlooked is that a total of ten people were killed by the drone strike – did all of those there deserve to die? Each and every one? No, probably not.

And who made the decision to go ahead and make the drone strike? The president of the USA with an arbitrary decision rather than any proper due process. In other words, this ‘execution’ (or assassination) wasn’t sanctioned by a court of law .

And lastly, this was an act of war by the USA against Iraqi territory and an Iranian general. Either could use this act as justification (as much as any war is justified) for war with the USA. And as the USA has used similar acts by others as justification for war, it can hardly claim that they are not. At least not honestly.

In terms of reactions to this assassination, it doesn’t matter what USA citizens think; it matters what Iraqis and Iranians think. And judging by the public reactions so far, they don’t appear to like it much. That will further radicalise ordinary Iranians and Iraqis and make them more likely to side with the Islamic terrorists.

Unoccupied

Jan 012020
 

The vegan sausage roll. What is it made of? Given the logic of naming meat products (“Pork sausage”, “Beef sausage”, “Turkey sausage”, …), you would kind of expect it to be made out of vegans. Sorry … that’s a joke I keep making because I find it funny.

But who is the vegan sausage roll (and all meat-free meat products) really for? I’m no vegan, but I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years, and I say the vegan sausage roll is not really for vegans at all.

It’s not bad, but the best part of it is the pastry wrapped around that faux-meat. The faux-meat is too much like meat to be something that a vegan or vegetarian hankers after (except those who are newly converted). I’ve also just tried an incredible burger, and the results were quite similar – the burger was impressively meat-like, but frankly a spicy-bean burger is nicer (for me).

No, this stuff is for those who hanker after meat but want to limit their meat intake. Which is no bad thing, but can we at least start naming these thing properly? Apart from anything else, it’ll stop me making really bad jokes about meat products consisting of vegans.

Two Bridges

Dec 222019
 

One slightly amusing aspect that seems to have been missed during the recent (to me at least) kerfuffle on Twitter between TERFs and trans-women regarding whether the later should be allowed into safe spaces for women, is the irony of feminists defending single-sex ‘spaces’ when their predecessors spent so long fighting against them.

Now let’s get a few things out of the way :-

  1. If a woman is so keen to be a man that she queues up to have her ‘bits’ re-arranged, then of course he’s a man (this way around doesn’t seem to get said enough). And the other way around.
  2. I’m not arguing that women need ‘safe spaces’ away from men.
  3. I’m not arguing that men should have ‘safe spaces’ away from women (although the non-orthogonality of this position disturbs me). The male-only clubs of the 20th century (and earlier) were unofficially used to exclude women from power.

TERFs are clearly in the wrong here – if women need safe spaces, so do trans-women … because they are women as well.

Oct 312019
 

Today it is Samhaim, I spotted an off-the-cuff remark on Twitter about women being executed for ‘witchcraft’ in the past, and I also knew that many men were executed for ‘witchcraft’ in the past, so I decided to see if I could get some half-reasonably accurate data on the genders of executed witches.

I got rather rough lists of names from both Wikipedia and here. Processing the two lists was not fun :-

  1. First I removed duplicates where possible.
  2. I flagged as M(ale) all the names that were obviously (to me) male. Or where there were other clues (“husband”).
  3. I flagged as F(email) all names that were obviously women, those where there was some doubt, and those where there was a hint (“daughter”).
  4. I flagged as F(emale) all surname-only names.

This quite possibly over-estimates the number of women executed for witchcraft, and is nowhere near accurate (a list of 477 names out of tens of thousands is a hopelessly small sample).

Out of that list of names, 384 were women (approximately 75%) and 113 were men (approximately 25%). This is nowhere near equal, but neither were male executions so rare that you can honestly say “women were executed for witchcraft”; it has to be “women and men were executed for witchcraft” (or some variation of that).

Having said that, it would be nice to see some proper historical statistical work done to see if a more accurate ratio could be determined.

The Red Door
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