A Stupid Butterfly Poem
Clipped between the window pane
and the screen,
two monarch wings
lay at wicked angles,
dusted with the world that passed
since they last beat
beat beat beat beat beat beat beat.
Against the scraping mesh.
Against the July-baked glass.
Against the sun.
I wondered how it happened,
how this fluttering wisp was trapped,
a cage on one side,
an impenetrable wall on the other.
Did its heart pound with more ferocity
than the slamming of its body –
its spindly, black legs as useless as dangling threads,
against its invisible warden.
Was it an unintended kidnapping,
or did some brute chortle,
watching the aching wings slam against the hot screen?
My disappointment in Humanity hung
thick and heavy as the humidity.
It was then that I noticed the screen
gaping away from the window.
Only inches of freedom to me, but acres to one
who fits in my palm.
– Miss Snarky Pants
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Copyright 2014 by C.C.L. and Miss Snarky Pants. All rights reserved. This is my poem. I wrote it. It is my property. Do not reproduce without my written consent or I will write a stupid poem about you and how you steal stupid poems.
First, it was women. Children. Now kittens?
Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher whose armed protesters recently forced U.S. Bureau of Land Management agents to withdraw during an attempt to herd and impound Bundy’s cattle, which are illegally grazing on federally-protected lands, has come up with a new tactic to deter future attempts by agents: newborn kittens.
Former Arizona sheriff, Richard Mack was, reportedly, the mastermind behind decision to put women on the front lines, in the event that a “rogue” federal agent opened fire at last weekend’s Bundy protest, which involved close to 1,000 people, including armed members of Operation Mutual Aid, a non-government sanctioned militia.
“We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front,” Mack told Fox News. “If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.”*
“If they’re going to start killing people,” Mack told radio host, Ben Swann, “I’m sorry, but to show the world how ruthless these people are, women needed to be the first ones shot. I’m sorry, that sounds horrible. I would have put my own wife or daughters there, and I would have been screaming bloody murder to watch them die.”**
When Mack was asked if he thinks putting women on the front lines would deter federal agents in the future, he responded, “No, we’ve played that card. We’ve asked Bundy’s supporters to bring kittens next time.” He explained that the plan is to attach cameras – connected to live YouTube feeds – to the newborns’ heads. The kittens will then be placed on the front lines, with the children and women behind them. “If a rogue agent takes a shot,” Mack said, “America will be watching kitten heads explode on the Internet.”
Mack further revealed that discussions originally included: playful otters in a tank, cute pandas, baby chicks and bunny rabbits.
In a related story, Richard Mack’s wife, Barbara, hastily filed for divorce this morning in Arizona, citing “irreconcilable differences.” She is seeking sole custody of the couple’s daughters.
**Also, an actual quote.
Miss Snarky Pants is a humor and satire blog for horrible people.
Miss Snarky Pants loves kittens. You should share this post because everyone loves kittens. Or photos of kittens. Or those really short videos of kittens that repeat over and over again. I don’t know what those are called, but, sometimes, they’re funny. Anyway, share this on FB and Twitter or on all those hipster sites I’m not cool enough to know about. If people like the post, they’ll remember that it was YOU who shared it.
And you get points for that.
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FT. LEE, NJ – Copies of personal emails between Chris Christie and his former Deputy Chief of Staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, were released to several media outlets today, in which the Governor directs Kelly to “f*ck [sic] with that black kid, the one from the rally,” now identified as Ft. Lee second grader, Nate Hoffman. “Plant some pot in his locker or something,” Christie directed Kelly.
Kelly’s immediate email response: “Governor, he’s eight. He doesn’t have a locker.”
“I don’t care. No calls me Christie Pisstie, anymore, and gets away with it,” Christie replied minutes later. “Aren’t his parents those D-word, organic farmers who refused to let us put a billboard on their property? F*ckin’ hippies.”
“I’m not going to stash marijuana in his [Nate Hoffman’s] desk,” Kelly wrote back, explaining that buying pot would be “illegal, and I’m just not willing to do that.”
After Christie asked Kelly what she proposed, Kelly replied that their investigation into the Hoffman family indicated that Nate is “autistic and attends a private, special needs school in the city. He can become agitated when trapped in a car or any small, enclosed space for long periods of time.”
After Kelly rejected Christie’s suggestion that “someone rig the elevator at Hoffman’s school” as too dangerous to other students, she proposed, via email, “Why don’t we just conduct a traffic study and close a few lanes of the George Washington Bridge all next week?”
Christie responded, “During the first week of school? On 9/11? I love it when you talk dirty like that. Make it happen.”
The boy’s mother, Diane Hoffman, confirmed that “some Christie thug” visited their farm and questioned her about an incident that had occurred a week prior at a Barbara Buono rally. “I explained that my son is autistic. He wasn’t shouting, Christie Pisstie; he was hollering, Kristy Pisstie, because his little sister is named Kristy and she had just wet her pants.” When the man asked if her son had a vendetta against Governor Christie, Hoffman said, ” I told him that my son thinks the President is DJ Lance Rock. Unless Chris Christie is on Yo Gabba Gabba!, he’s not on my son’s radar.”
Hoffman’s father, Marcus, who drives his son to school every morning, is “infuriated” that the Governor would exact this kind of revenge upon a young, innocent child – all because of perceived name-calling. “Nate screamed for nearly three hours straight that morning,” he said. “Three hours in a Prius. My right ear has been ringing non-stop since September 11th.”
In an ironic twist, the Hoffmans decided to keep their son home until the lane closures ended, so Christie’s target “got the week off of school, and spent most of his free time watching Nickelodeon and playing games on his Xbox,” while thousands of drivers were forced to sit in traffic for hours each day, and local emergency services were severely impacted.
In response to the release of these emails, Governor Christie issued a statement, which reads, in part, “I’m thrilled that the Hoffmans have confirmed what I’ve been saying all along: Mayor Sokolich wasn’t on my radar screen.”
While the Ft. Lee family haven’t, yet, contemplated legal action, when asked how he thought Governor Christie should be punished for his actions, Marcus Hoffman said, “I think Christie should have to spend a weekend with Nate. In a Smart car. In bumper-to-bumper traffic. Windows up, motherf*cker!”
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This is a real ad that appeared on my Facebook page today. Yes, that appears to be a turd. Specifically, the turd of someone who likes peanuts.
Upon seeing it, I immediately thought to myself, “I have to share this with my readers.” You’re probably wondering what that says about you, right about now.
Don’t say I never did anything for you.
Miss Snarky Pants
Miss Snarky Pants is uber generous – and wants you to be benevolent, too – so SHARE this with your friends. Stop being selfish; do it now!
Thanks to the across-the-board nightmare the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics have been thus far, I realized there was a secondary irony in the rainbow-colored Olympic rings – one that didn’t exist until the games were held in a country that has recently restricted some of the most important aspects of the Russian LGBT people’s lives. In 2012, Russia passed legislation banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors. Last year, another law forbidding homosexuality in literature and the rainbow flag symbol were passed.
What’s next? Adios, Crayolas. Ciao, prisms. Do svidaniya, unicorn shit. Sayonara, Skittles. Putin doesn’t want anyone to taste your rainbow.
More recently, the country has enacted a law prohibiting the LGBT community from holding parades in the capital city of Moscow for the next 100 years. Hold up, President Putin. Stalin called; he wants his homophobic laws back…along with the title of “Manliest Man in Moscow.”
By criminalizing the dissemination of LBGT information to minors, Putin has officially stigmatized members of the LGBT community – not just in Russia, but across the world. Moreover, this law makes it nearly impossible for gays and transgender people to hold protests on behalf of restoring these basic, human rights – because children are everywhere. The shirtless, dickless, cowboy president has, in one swift move, set human rights in Russia back at least 60 years. Pull out your crinolines and penny loafers, comrades; it’s about to get Iron-ic Curtain, in here.
While I observed the Sochi facade crumble – along with its hotels – over the last few weeks, I also realized that its failure is merely a sign of a sturdier, steel shade that has been pulled across Russia’s windows to the world. Enacted in a country notorious for its propaganda, this legislation is nothing more than a manner in which to legitimize the beliefs and acts of every homophobic hate group within Russia’s boundaries.
Hmmmm. Why does this sound so familiar? A country systematically stigmatizing a particular minority, enacting laws meant to separate that minority from the majority, blaming that minority for the country’s economic downturn, and gradually eliminating that minority’s rights – to live – altogether. I can’t quite put my finger on it.
Oh, that’s it! Danka schoen.
Here we have the Russian President still in the dawn of his third term. Let’s face it – the dawn of his third and fourth, 12-year long term. When you’re a former KGB agent and sociopath, you don’t accept the legitimacy of silly things like laws that prevent you from being in charge. No, before you complete your first 8-year reign, you restructure the government so that Russian governors report to the Prime Minister, select and endorse your successor, step down, and immediately accept the title of, wait for it, Prime Minister – from your tag team member, the new President Dmitry Medvedev, who looks like what would happen if Colin Firth and James Bond made it. And enjoyed it.
Except you probably didn’t know that. Why? Because no one ever talks about former President Medvedev, who is, currently, Prime Minister Medvedev (seeing a pattern here?), unless they’re explaining Putin’s rise to power. Or how much taller he is than Medvedev. Or how Medvedev was a pawn and his presidency was a tiny, 4-year bone thrown to Russian liberals that accomplished nothing. Simply put, Dmitry Medvedev was to Russia what President John Tyler was to the United States.
Never heard of him either, have you? All you need to know is that Tyler’s opponents reportedly didn’t take him or his presidency seriously, and referred to him as “His Accidency” or “The Acting President.” He’s widely considered one of the United States’ worst Presidents. So don’t expect to see Firth onscreen, wearing one of Medvedev’s characteristic, fat Windsor knots, and stuttering his way through one of the invisible, former president’s speeches anytime soon.
But back to Putin’s rise to power. After ensuring that the presidential term length law is extended from four to six years, Medvedev conveniently declines to run again so that Putin is elected President of Mother Russia in 2012 for a third, non-consecutive term. Russia’s revolving political door circulates just one leader, a cycle seemingly limited only by Putin’s lifespan. Or is it? I’d bet my Stoli-packed linen closet* that Putin had himself cloned long ago, and, somewhere in a remote, Siberian laboratory, miniature Vlads are chasing one another around a playroom. With their shirts off.
So, while I appreciated and respected President Obama’s bold decision to not send any Cabinet members to Sochi and to, instead, appoint several openly gay athletes as U.S. Delegates to the Olympics, I think a brighter, louder message representing our antipathy for Russia’s homophobic stance would have been a change of costume – you know, rainbow-colored uniforms. We could ask Calvin Klein to design them. They could be partially-striped like a rainbow flag and —
What the f**k?
Wait, GERMANY beat us to it? The Germany? The Germany that nearly exterminated the Jews and, likely would have succeeded, had they not tried to beat the Soviet Union on its own turf. In winter. The Germany that allowed Hitler, possibly the most widely-despised man of the last century, to lead them into the heart of cruelty and evil, then abandon them – a scorched and scorned country – to pick up the pieces and apologize. To everyone.
You know, Germany. Junior. He’s that kid you picked on in school – the one who overcompensated for his father being a despised, homicidal dictator, by throwing keg parties, which everyone promptly vacated, as soon as the beer ran out and the house was trashed. Even though it wasn’t Junior’s fault that his dad murdered your grandparents, you’ve never really forgiven him. Sure, at reunions, you dismiss any ill will. “It’s all good,” you say, but, deep down, you’re not gonna have anything to do with Junior again unless free beer is involved. Craft beer. American craft beer.
Sure, President Obama gave Putin the finger with his LGBT-loaded U.S. Delegation. And, don’t get me wrong, I felt good about that. It was like a shot of testosterone surged through my estrogen-loaded body. I walked like I had balls. Buffalo balls. I was proud of my president. Proud to be an American. Shame those balls turned out to be hemorrhoids.
But then Junior comes along and, not only shoots the Russian President a huge, colorful BIRD at the internationally-aired, opening ceremonies of the most important event of his presidency, he then sticks that rainbow-wrapped middle finger up Putin’s ass – an act not yet illegal in Russia – and demonstrates that Germany has huden so big, they make Putin’s look like a mosquito’s eyeballs.
Holy comeback, Batman!
By the way, I feel it’s only appropriate that I share with you that I am one quarter German. Both my mother and grandmother were born there.
Until today, I’ve never been really proud of that fact.
Danke schoen, Germany.
Miss Snarky Pants
*As if I’d drink Stoli. Ketel One, please…
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And don’t be a Selfish Shellie or Sam – Share this post with the people who are most likely to get the joke and will not send me hate mail in the form of public comments. I’m more sensitive than I write.
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What Is Fictionary?
It’s a clever word coined by my blogging buddy, Kylie, over at The Life of Kylie, that refers to new words, phrases, or new definitions for existing words or phrases – often punny in nature – created by people like me who have way too much time on their hands. What’s more, she’s turned it into a game. More accurately, a contest for which the prize is muffins or cupcakes. How could I not participate? Due to recent weight loss, my muffin top is shrinking at an alarming rate. A win, on my part, could help me regain my title as the Muffin Top Queen of the Blogosphere.
Will You Help?
Sure, images of starving children in Africa or pitiful pups in cages shown on television accompanied by any Sarah McLachlan tune are probably the triggers for the heart strings attached to your wallet. However, I
totally want don’t need your money; I need your likes. Just one like and a comment celebrating my Fictionary genius from each of my loyal readers is all that is standing between this:
Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Once my muffin top has gone the way of the Dodo Bird or the Saber-tooth Tiger, there’s no bringing it back. As I’m sure you are aware, the future of Miss Snarky Pants’ muffin top has been threatened recently by the destruction of its natural habitat (i.e. encroachment of high-waisted, stretch jeans), climate change (i.e. Bikram yoga), and, most critically, an interruption in the food chain (i.e. I’m out of vodka and lard!). Will you allow your children to grow up in a world devoid of Miss Snarky Pants’ spare tire? I didn’t think so.
Miss Snarky Pants’ Fictionary Entries
Adorababy: (adj.) The point at which an infant stops looking like a potato and begins to resemble a cute homo sapien.
Ex: A few days ago, the sight of little Katie’s squinched-up eyes and crimson cheeks made me recoil in terror, but now she’s adorababy.
Opression: (noun) The mark left on one upon whom Oprah Winfrey has fallen.
Ex: Though my broken arm has finally healed, the opression that the talk show host left on my wrist will never disappear.
Litterate: (noun) The score given to various forms of litter.
Ex: On a litterate scale of one to ten, a cigarette butt rates only a three, whereas one of Lindsay Lohan’s used fire crotch tampons is a ten.
Shampoo: (noun) 1. Faux fecal matter; 2. Non-Disney approved Winnie the Pooh merchandise
Ex: The old lady nearly shat herself when she discovered she’d been sitting on the shampoo that I placed on her seat.
Middlebrow: (noun) The third brow which typically connects the left and right eyebrows.
Ex: Though many people think Michael Stipe was the driving force behind R.E.M., insiders claim that it was drummer Bill Berry’s middlebrow that inspired most of their hits.
Nexus: (proper noun) Blood supply store popular with vampires.
Ex: Forget that True Blood crap; I’m heading over to Nexus to stock up on some O negative.
Microwave: (noun) 1. A small salutation made with the hand when one is unsure as to whether or not the recipient is someone he or she knows.
Ex: He looked familiar, but after last week’s tequila binge, I wasn’t sure so I just gave him a microwave.
Nativity: (noun) The percentage of Native American ancestry that a Caucasian claims to possess.
Ex: I’m at least 1.25% nativity since my great great uncle’s sister’s friend once shook hands with a Cherokee.
Melodrama: (proper noun) Any situation involving alcohol, profanity, verbal rants, racial slurs and actor Mel Gibson.
Ex: Due to the number of recent complaints of Melodrama, the LAPD have assigned a police scanner code specifically for incidents involving Mel Gibson.
Mangrove: (noun) A nightclub or bar regularly frequented by single men.
Ex: Now that Bruce dropped that tranny he was dating, he’s been prowling every mangrove on the strip in search of a sugar daddy.
Collide: (past tense verb) The act of two people lying about the same thing simultaneously.
Ex: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan collide about the details of Ryan’s tax plan during yesterday’s press conference.
Vulcanic Eruption: ( proper noun) The physiological response that occurs when Spock engages in sexual intercourse.
Ex: Oh, Spock! You’re hot and all, but if you have a Vulcanic eruption in my mouth, I’m going to bite your dick off.
1) Take a moment. 2) Like this post. 3) Comment on my sheer wit and your favorite Fictionary entry. 4) Visit Kylie’s blog and tell her that you want to ensure that Miss Snarky Pants’ muffin top lives to see another day! 5) Pat yourself on the back for being such a
Start baking those Recrimination Muffins, Kylie…
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The other night, a small, erm, blemish appeared on my chin. Miss Snarky Pants does not get (shiver) pimples, but sometimes she talks about herself in third person, which is equally creepy. Fortunately, all superhero bloggers have their gear – and so do I. Just as Wonder Woman used her golden lasso to extract the truth from the lying liars of the world, I have my tube of Lumene Deep-Cleansing Peat Mask to extract impurities from the bastard blemishes that dare mar my facial perfection.
For those of you who don’t live next to a bog somewhere in Ireland, peat is a basically decomposing vegetation that, when dry, can be burned as a fossil fuel. It’s also a natural preservative…if you’re a corpse. In fact, over sixty years ago, two Scandinavian men were harvesting peat near their home in Denmark and discovered a male cadaver, buried in the muck, that was so perfectly intact, the men initially believed that it was the body of someone who had recently been murdered. Scientists later determined that the Tolland Man, as the poor stiff was eventually named, was nearly two thousand years old. And damn, if he didn’t look good for his age.
The use of moor mud to beautify the skin has been well-documented over the centuries – by whom, I’ve no idea. This is a blog, people, not a Wikipedia entry. Legendary beauties like Cleopatra and…erm, I’m sure a lot of other reasonably attractive people have happily coated their cheeks with mire muck because of its mild antibiotic properties which help evict the free radicals that have staged a coup deep within in their pores. I’m not sure what free radicals are or who emancipated them, but I’m pretty certain that I don’t want them having an oozy, goozy shindig on my chin – particularly since they didn’t even bother to bring their hostess a bottle of wine. Who shows up to a pore party empty-handed?
So, naturally, I smear this mire mud all over my face because:
1) Tolland Man looks amazeballs – like he’s just taking a little nap after having spent the afternoon mudding with Honey Boo Boo and her kin folk. Since I’m losing weight, I can’t rely on fat molecules to continue to plump up my wrinkles – and I suspect swimming in formaldehyde could be dangerous;
2) I clearly don’t want to get laid for the next few hours (I’d have to don a bikini, hire a similarly-attired call girl, fill a child’s inflatable pool with gallons of bog poo, then wrestle said call girl in my pop-up swamp in order to merely distract Hubby from killing zombies on his PS3);
3) Lumene’s advertising claims that their peat mask contains aromatic rosemary that both opens the pores and provides “a refreshing fragrance.” Erm, if by refreshing fragrance you mean the putrid odor of rosemary rotting in The Bog of Eternal Stench, then, sure, I guess that’s the case. However, when you’re a blogger who spends most of her day in her pajamas and only bathes on the morning of her annual gynecological exam, you tend not to be bothered by a stench that would normally cause flocks of empty-bellied buzzards to nest on the roof of your home;
4) It seems like a girlie thing to do – and any act I can engage in that causes Hubby to remember that I am a female and not just some stanky person pattering around his apartment wearing sweatpants and gimongous concert t-shirts whilst concocting vegan-lite fare and tapping away at a keyboard is a good thing; and
5) Who doesn’t want to douse their face in something that’s more flammable than Richard Pryor? Those of you who got that joke, please slap two pair of Depends together so that I know you’re out there.
After applying my peat mask, I entered the bedroom to find Hubby tucked beneath the sheets with the remote control in hand, waiting for me to join him so that we could watch Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter on the telly. Reeking of marsh poo, I pulled back the quilt and hopped into bed.
As Hubby caught sight of my peat-caked skin, he snickered and asked, “Are you seriously going to watch a movie about Abe Lincoln while wearing black face?”
Oops. Erm. “Yes?”
Note: I did not get laid that night and I still have a fucking ZIT on my chin. However, the vultures have moved on to a spa down the street.
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***Photo credits: Big Ass Zit: Acnetreatmentreport.com Tolland Man: Mesh5.com Mud Wrestling: Cineplex.com Buzzards: Uglyhedgehog.com Miss Snarky Pants in Black Face: Miss Snarky Pants
If being a vegan is akin to belonging to a particular religion, then I must be
Catholic-Lite Episcopalian. What? you say. Vegans are nothing like Episcopalians; they’re militant, strict, judgmental – and they’re anxious to convert carnivores. Rather, vegans are the epitome of dogmatic zealots, much like the speaking-in-tongues, snake-handling, Born Again, fire and brimstone Charismatics that pepper the deep hollers of Appalachia and star in the Super Congregations we see on Sunday morning television. And you, Miss Snarky Pants, are nothing like that.
And you would be right about one thing; I am nothing like that. Although I grew up neck deep in a Pentecostal Christian guilt so mucky I was sucked beneath its surface every time I so much as played a Hall & Oates album, I am no longer that person. To be clear, though I once believed that only the metaphorical blood and body of Jesus – aptly played during Holy Communion by Welch’s grape juice and a stale water cracker, respectively – could save my soul, deep down a part of me was always asking pesky questions:
But there’s, like, hundreds or thousands of religions. How do we know that we’re right? What if the Jews nailed it from the beginning – they’re awfully good with money and just look what they’ve accomplished in the film industry?
What kind of God would send innocent people to Hell just because they live in a third world country and have never heard of The Bible? Is it because they have rickets?
Why would God want elderly people living on Social Security to tithe 10% of their income when they can’t afford their diabetes medication? Is God punishing them for Supersizing one time too many?
Why does God only heal people who attend church on television? And why don’t they have diseases or injuries that we can see? You know, like leprosy or missing limbs?
Despite my early indoctrination into the Assemblies of God faith, I’ve never been much of a follower in other areas of my life. I mean, once you’ve committed yourself to serving an invisible, holey (pun most definitely intended) half-man half-diety, his oft angry dad with a penchant for dishing out natural disasters, and some sort of third-wheel ghostie, becoming a member of the drill team is a bit anticlimatic.
As it turns out, my prospects as a leader were nil. I didn’t like leaders; they were typically mean girls who were good at kickball and quick with insulting and alliterative nicknames for their victims. Though I’m sure I could have become skilled at the latter, my legs were created to bang into stationary furniture with sharp edges. Kicking a rolling ball in a particular direction was beyond my capabilities, prompting me to ask more of my pesky questions:
Why does God want me to be picked last for kickball every single day of my life? Why did He make me so smart that the other kids hate me for setting the bell curve? Why can’t I grow breasts? Does God hate me, too?
As I aged, my disinterest in either leading or following left me in a precarious social position. Though I was no longer unpopular, I refused to fully commit to any particular clique. One day I’d eat lunch with my Smiths and Psychedelic Furs-loving friends and the next, I’d hunker down with my buddies-of-color so that we could argue about which one of us was going to be Michael Jackson’s first ex-wife. Then there were my Journey-loving compatriots; I’ll spare you the painful images of these mullet-sporting, muscle shirt-wearing, air guitar-playing fans, all of whom wore gold eighth notes around their necks in honor of their leader, Steve Perry. Athletics were out of the question. I declined my invitation to join The National Honor Society. Drama only held my interest if I had a lead role which was, erm, never.
After law school, I experimented with multiple careers, but none – including legal practice – satisfied me in the way writing does, though all paid considerably more. I know…poor, little lawyer girl. I’d hate myself, too, but then, I’ve seen my law school debt – and you haven’t.
If I was a devotee of anything at all, it was cow teets. I loved dairy. Cheese was something that I could commit to – after all, it could be sweet, sour, stinky, melty, salty, chewy, stringy, sharp, mild, nutty and creamy. It was as diverse as my interests and never expected me to tithe. Until I was introduced to the chocolate martini in my mid-thirties, milk held the title as my favorite beverage. Sexy, huh? Nothing says “fuck me” like your date ordering a glass of moo juice with her filet mignon.
So when I suddenly decided to abandon the
greatest love of my entire life second greatest love of my entire life (because, of course, Hubby is the first) to join the Church of Vegan, I can assure you that more than a few of my friends and family members were perplexed. After all, these are people who had, over the years, become accustomed to asking me, “What is it you do, again?” Hell, if I couldn’t dedicate myself to one career path, why should they believe that I would deliberately eschew meat and all animal products for the rest of my life just because it’s supposed to be healthier? That never stopped me from mainlining vodka.
However, as the weeks turned into months, it appeared that I had finally made a true commitment. I started cooking, posting photos of one vegan meal after another on Facebook
like those people who have absolutely nothing better to do with their time. Hubby and I joined a gym. I gave up hard liquor. I became the poster child for the kind of person who had embraced a plant-based diet; a kinder, gentler Miss Snarky Pants. Through the Internet, I met other local vegans and soon I was inundated with invitations to attend one non-carnivore event after another. Vegans adore newbies. And like Pentecostals, they love to recruit. Why else would they have some kind of vegan/animal rights festival every bloody weekend?
Being vegan made me feel accepted by a closely-knit group of people who looked at the world with the same pair of eyes. Despite the fact that Hubby and I had only moved to Tampa a few months before my big conversion, new friends were practically crawling out of the woodwork, ready to hang out just because I’d abandoned many of my beloved food choices. At restaurants, I no longer had to worry that the waiter would think I was cheap if I ordered a vegetarian entrée. Nope, all I had to do was explain, “I’m vegan” and every bit of judgment on the server’s face would vanish – only to be replaced with fear. At Whole Foods, it was as if I was wearing a flashing, neon sign around my neck. As the cashier rang up my items, she would invariably ask, “Are you vegan?” Before I could do more than nod, she’d burst out into a huge smile, then whisper loudly, “Me, too! Isn’t Daiya soy-free, vegan cheese the best?”
If by best, you mean barely edible and tastes nothing at all like cheese, then yes, it’s the best!
Gradually, I discovered that worshiping at the Church of Vegan was complicated. Initially, I thought I was giving up dairy, meat and eggs, but there’s a whole lot of small print in the Vegan Bible. Did you know that gelatin is made of horses’ hooves and other disgusting stuff? Adios, Jell-O. Sayonara, marshmallows. See ya later, candy corn and jelly beans. Don’t even think about taking that Nyquil Gel Cap. And what about animal bone char? It’s utilized to refine sugar and turn crude oil into petroleum jelly. Oh, and it’s also used in making many kinds of BEER. Did I type that loudly enough? BEER. At least six thousand newbie vegans just said, “What the fuck?”
However, as a non-beer drinker, my first what-the-fuck? moment occurred when I was informed that I could no longer eat honey. “Why?” I asked a vegan friend. “The bees are just doing their thing. Making honey is kinda like their job…and the last thing we need in this country is a higher unemployment rate.”
“The bees are enslaved,” she responded, without a hint of irony. “They’re exploited by humans.”
Suddenly, my brain was flooded with images of bees humming “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and picking cotton. I imagined them cringing in front of a white-hooded beekeeper, buzzing, “Don’t blow that smoke at me, Massa! I’ll eat mo’ nectar and vomit up mo’ honey!” It occurred to me that some vegans were more concerned about honey bees’ rights than they were about the rights of immigrant field workers – the people usually responsible for raising and harvesting the plant-based diet that sustains the vegan lifestyle.
Shortly after the bee incident, being vegan really hit me where it hurts the most: my liver. At a cooking party I was hosting, a guest advised me that the wine I was drinking may have been clarified with isinglass, a substance derived from fish bladders. Having given up the hard stuff, wine had become my slower, but still lovely, intoxicant. “You’ll want to go online and research the brands of wine that you enjoy. You might have to switch,” she suggested.
Seriously, God – you really hate me, right? You don’t just plant the “Become a Vegan” idea in my head, then casually – at a much later date – drop the wine bomb on me. Oh, and God, in case you’re wondering, I’m officially agnostic.
I realized that these people were serious. Veganism wasn’t a diet; it was an admirable commitment to living life in a way that doesn’t exploit animals in any manner whatsoever. Yet, as much as I respected my new friends for making this difficult, moral choice, I also recognized that I had to be true to myself…and my embossed leather Coach bags. If I didn’t opt for a more compassionate non-leather sofa, I’d soon be a hypocrite – not to mention, I’d spend every spare moment removing fur from
a friggin’ cat hair magnet a cruelty-free fabric recliner. It became clear that I was not an ethical vegan, as most of my friends called themselves. I was doing this for my health – and unless the occasional teaspoon of honey was going to give me cancer or cause Bob Barker’s head to explode, I wasn’t really worried about it. Where did that leave me? Was I an unethical vegan? And, more importantly, why was I letting the word vegan define who I was and what I ate? Vegans aren’t like virgins – you can be just a little bit vegan.
Thus, in the interest of not being a vegan fraud, a hypocrite, a sober person or just plain grumpy, I’ve decided to start my own church: The Church of Vegan-Lite. With all of the health benefits, but only half the guilt and no rosary, a Vegan-Litist, as I like to think of myself, is mostly vegan, but makes exceptions here and there. For example, though I will inform food servers that I’m a vegan, I am quick to reassure them that I’m not militant about it and won’t douse them with a bucket of red paint if they suggest the steak tartare special to Hubby. Likewise, I’ve chosen to integrate certain foods back into my diet, but those foods can’t be too decadent or I’ll be required to self-flagellate like an albino monk. Thus, I’ve reintroduced egg whites to our refrigerator; after all, they’re fucking egg whites. Is there a less-offensive and healthier non-vegan food out there? Doctors practically prescribe them. Dr. Carrie Rubin, back me up here, will ya?
I’ve also discovered that if I drink a sufficient amount of vino, I completely forget all about fish bladders and bone char. Problem solved.
The only remaining issue is my hesitancy to lead – or follow, for that matter – which is why the Church of Vegan-Lite currently has only one member. So if any of you vegans out there are just jonesin’ to spoon some honey into your mug of cruelty-free, organic green tea, go for it. I grant you permission to become the bishop of your own Vegan-Lite parish. Just promise me one thing: switch the Welch’s out for a nice cabernet sauvignon, would ya?
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If you’re an ethical vegan, please know that I respect your views (and the fact that you aren’t, apparently, tempted by cheese every moment of the day) even though I don’t necessarily agree with them fully. So don’t be a hater. I really do love you guys!
***Photo credits: Communion: therubicon.org Madonna: articles.dailynews.com Holy Trinity: catholicbible101.com Kickball: keanradio.com Cheese: igourmet.com Daiya Cheese: mfablog.org Slaves: bbc.co.uk Dog Hair: blog.sfgate.com Albino monk: aveleyman.com
Every once in awhile, Karma smiles down upon you and grants you the opportunity of a lifetime. In my case, her gift was two tickets for a taping of The Daily Show in Tampa, Florida during the Republican National Convention. Now, some of you may be snickering or rolling your eyes because
you’re complete and utter morons I think watching Jon Stewart doing his gig in person can only be surpassed by an event that involves me sipping Moët from the Holy Grail while David Sedaris reads aloud to me and Johnny Depp massages my feet. Sure, I realize his show shoots five days a week for most of the year up in Hell’s Kitchen, so you’re probably thinking that filming The Daily Show isn’t exactly rare like, say, a sober Amanda Bynes or a pale Donatella Versace.
But you would be wrong.
Shooting Comedy Central’s top–rated show in Tampa is extraordinarily unusual. And after Stewart and his team openly lambasted the city in which I reside with embarrassingly accurate observations about the heat and humidity (describing Tampa as the ideal environment for “a struggling strand of streptococcus”), the casual attire of the indigenous population (“the city where flip flops are considered evening wear”), and our fondness of clothing-optional gentlemen’s clubs (“Jon, I’m here in Tampa’s famous strip club district or as they call it here – Tampa.”), it’s unlikely that the program will ever be filmed in the Peninsula of Death again – unless a palmetto bug decides to run for President in 2016.
Perhaps the most prominent and organized group of protesters at Monday morning’s March on the RNC, which began just over a mile north of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, ground zero for this year’s convention, was the Cycling Zookeeper Regime. Dressed from neck to knees in khaki to honor their slain leader, Steve Irwin, a.k.a. The Crocodile Hunter, the members of the CZR (pronounced seize-her) were determined to thwart law enforcement’s plans to arrest them en masse after the organization threatened – in a YouTube video last week – to release Animals of Mass Destruction within the secure areas of the RNC’s Clean Zone. Though the March was attended by hundreds of protesters representing over a dozen causes, CZR members had clearly organized and orchestrated the entire event, as evidenced by their constant and silent presence on the sidelines. Even the most unruly protesters seemed to respect the CZR’s control, waiting patiently and holding their banners, while CZR members repositioned their bicycle-wielding bodies into a human chain along the March route that would prove so daunting to law enforcement, they refused to attempt to break it.