If you can handle reading one more article about Cecil

I recommend Sean Parson’s “Cecil the Lion, White Supremacy, and Speciesism.” Parson is the Interim Editor of the Journal for Critical Animal Studies, and after reading this article, I’m excited to see the next issue of the journal!

I found his writing very thought-provoking, but I’m still figuring out what I agree with. Comment below and let me know what you think!

Parson’s thesis:

What I want to argue here is that white supremacy operates differently than does speciesm and as such we need to understand media coverage of the topics will be different. When we use a more critical perspective to look at this debate we realize that the media coverage of Cecil does not show Americans’ love for nonhumans but instead the coverage serves as a way to hide the systemic and structural violence committed to both people of color and nonhumans in our society. In addition, the debate over Cecil shows the dangerous potential for how animal rights can actually support white supremacy.

How white supremacy and speciesism are advanced by the differing media coverage:

Because race and speciesism operate differently the media coverage of the topics looks uneven but in reality they are serving a similar purpose…The anger around the murder of black men and women shows the violence of white supremacy, and is therefore silenced; the celebration of Cecil’s life hides the violence of speciesism, and is therefore yelled from every bullhorn the media has to use. In this way both function similarly in that they hide and avoid conversations around systemic violence.

How a non-human can be protected by the system of white supremacy:

But in some instances, such as with Cecil, a nonhuman can be given certain privileges and rights that make them “almost human” and at that moment the system of white supremacy is used to protect that nonhuman animal.

What to take away from this as activists:

The fact that Cecil gained aspects of white privilege highlights the complex relationship that exists between different systems of oppression. It also points to a dangerous pitfall for activists’ interested Animal liberation: work done to protect certain nonhumans can actually reinforce and support white supremacy. Working to stop the uneven violence of white supremacy must be seen as part of the larger movement to end the enslavement and exploitation of animals and this means not using the system of white supremacy as a short-term way of protecting nonhuman life.

Read This, Not That: News Fails and Successes on the California Drought

Read this:

1. Watch/read the Democracy Now interview with creators of Cowspiracy. This is the best overall analysis of the role animal ag plays in California’s water shortage.

On fracking:

Fracking gets a lot of attention because of water use. Fracking uses about 100 billion gallons of water every year in the U.S., which is a tremendous amount of water, but animal agriculture uses in excess of 34 trillion gallons. So it’s magnitudes greater. And then again the emissions that come from animal agriculture are about equal to natural gas and petroleum production. So it’s an issue that is vastly more destructive when it comes to water consumption, water pollution, and even emissions.

On almonds:

Ten percent of all water in California is used for almonds, which is a tremendous amount of water. But again, just alfalfa alone, a crop that is not consumed by human beings, that is fed for livestock, consumes 15 percent. California produces 82 percent of the world’s entire almonds. This is — again 10 percent of California’s water is feeding the 82 percent of the world’s almond demands. And the other important fact is that Americans aren’t consuming, and Californians in particular, aren’t consuming nine ounces of almonds per day, which is not the case for animal agriculture. Animal products we’re consuming nine ounces per person per day in the United States.

Lots and lots of statistics. I encourage you to check out the whole thing!

2. LA times has a great infographic showing the amount of water used to produce different foods.

AND, what’s even cooler, they have an interactive graphic where you can create a virtual plate and see how much your water footprint is!

3. A Mother Jones article from last year shows the amount of water that goes into producing different dairy products.

4. A Cowspiracy blog post from February highlights a New Republic article called Big Cattle, Big Gulp: Cowboys and cows are sucking the American West dry.

  • Humans drink about a gallon of water a day; cows, upwards of 23 gallons.
  • The alfalfa, hay, and pasturage raised to feed livestock in California account for approximately 1/2 of the water used in the state, with alfalfa representing the highest-acreage crop.
  • In parts of Montana, as much as 90 percent of irrigated land is operated solely for the production of livestock feed
  • 90 percent of Nevada’s cropland is dedicated to raising hay.
  • 1/2 of Idaho’s three million acres of irrigated farmland grows forage and feed exclusively for cattle; livestock production represents 60 percent of the state’s water use.
  • In Utah, cows are the top agricultural product, and three-fifths of the state’s cropland is planted with hay.
  • Alfalfa and hay production in the West requires more than ten timesthe water used by the region’s cities and industries combined, according to some estimates.
  • Producing one kilogram of animal protein requires about 100 timesmore water than producing one kilogram of grain protein.

5. Truth or Drought has a change.org petition to Save Our Water to include animal agriculture. Another great summary of facts, including the following:

Making a meal with lentils instead of beef can save a family of four the equivalent of 17 bathtubs full of water, per Oxfam International.

Skipping one single hamburger saves 660 gallons of water (LA Times). (Comparatively, the popular tip of shaving a minute off your shower saves about 2 gallons of water.) This means that 6 hamburgers equal an entire year of showers! 

Not that.

Skip the New York Times article that only gives glancing attention to agriculture, and no mention of animal agriculture specifically:

But even a significant drop in residential water use will not move the consumption needle nearly as much as even a small reduction by farmers. Of all the surface water consumed in the state, roughly 80 percent is earmarked for the agricultural sector.

“The big question is agriculture, and there are difficult trade-offs that need to be made,” said Katrina Jessoe, assistant professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Davis.

Let’s Meet March 26th For The Monkeys And The Beagles

Slide5

The Isthmus and the Wisconsin State Journal both just ran articles about testing on animals, and it’s clear that Wisconsin is ready for action.

Mark your calendars for March 26th, 7 – 8 pm at the Lakeview Library, 2845 N Sherman Ave, Madison, Wisconsin 53704. (We’ll send an e-alert out later today with other dates for the month.)

Here’s the plan:

7:00 – 7:30 Discuss Kalin actions, possible collaborations with other groups, sign up for continued action and fundraising teams

7:30 – 7:35 Quick meet and greet, snacks (?!!!)

7:35 – 8:00 Town hall meeting about Ridglan and the beagles. Ask any questions you want, propose any ideas you have.

If you missed the articles,

Noah Phillips’ Beagles bred at two Dane County facilities go to labs around the country

David Wahlberg’s Controversial UW Madison monkey study won’t remove newborns from mothers

RSVP to our facebook event, and contact alliance@allanimals.org if you need a ride or can give a ride.

See you there!

Animals in Entertainment Friday: Best and Worst Circus Elephant Links

All the links* about yesterday’s exciting news in one place! Including the ones that quote the Alliance! And ranked for how animal rights-friendly they are! h/t to Melissa Tedrowe of HSUS-WI who is a linkmaster EXTRAORDINAIRE

*okay, not really. But definitely some of them!

N.B.  All images are from the linked stories.

The Best of the Best

Category: The Best Video for Dane County Citizens to Watch

Winner 1:   Channel 3000: Elephants to Depart Greatest Show on Earth (video + text)

WKOW clip

Summary: Dane County citizens will get way pumped up about passing that legislation NOW. Also the only article to mention the ongoing investigation of this recent circus.

+ 1,000,000,000 for this

“Something like this shows that people are ready for this change right now. They are ready nationwide. They are definitely ready in somewhere it’s progressive and humane, like Dane County,” said Hannah West, executive director of Alliance for Animals.

and this

West said the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has an open investigation into the George Carden Circus that comes to Dane County.

The department began the investigation after the circus submitted an incorrect permit to DATC. According to the department, the permit did not account for one of the elephants used to perform and for forced elephant rides.

+1 for our blog being TV FAMOUS

VELENA YOU ARE KILLING IT! This is perfect! Follow Velena on facebook here.

Winner 2:       WKOW: UPDATE: Circus world aims to keep elephants in performances (video + text)

WKOW actually video

Summary: Ends the story by talking about the 2020 ban, which makes it another perfect local choice.

+ 1,000,000,000 for this

“The way that these animals are trained is not by bribing them with peanuts or anything, the way that you train your dog, because they’re wild animals, they can’t be trained unless they’re made afraid of something, unless they’re harmed and they’re hurt,” says Hannah West, with Alliance for Animals and the Environment.

West tells 27 News she was amazed to see Ringling Bros. make the decision and she says it sends the right message that animal acts are not acceptable entertainment.

and this

West’s group helped push Dane County’s Board of Supervisors to keep elephants out of circus acts in the area. In 2012, the board banned elephant performances in county buildings. Zor Shrine Circus performs every year at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. The Shriners have a contract with the county through 2020 that allows the circus to keep the elephant act until then.

Shout out to ELF and Al Matano, though!

YAY JENNIFER! Thank you for choosing super great quotes and including the information about Elephant Free Dane County! Follow Jennifer on facebook here.

Category: Best Article to Balance Out These Other News Articles’ Falsehoods

Winner:       Great Lakes Echo: Circus elephant phase-out praised by regional animal rights groups (text)

Summary: Dallas Rising clarifies “retirement facility” and gives a shout out to the other wild animals in the circus; reinforces the Dallas shaped space in my heart.

+ 1,000,000,000 for Dallas Rising! Woohoo! Love her! She lays it DOWN about that “retirement facility”:

The repeated use of the word “retirement” describing the elephants’ lives post-circus is misleading, Rising said. “We tend to think of retirement as a vacation, that’s not the deal for these elephants.”

Rising said that during the elephants’ retirements on the 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation, scientists use the elephants for research purposes.

“While it’s good elephants won’t be travelling around with the circus, my concern is that Ringling will use this as an opportunity to spin what they’re doing to be kinder than it actually is,” said Rising.

According to the center’s website, researchers there perform “ground-breaking research in assisted reproduction in Asian elephants.”

Ringling Bros. plans to eventually open the Conservation Center to the public, according to Rising. “They’ll still be profiting off of the elephants.”

Rising called Ringling’s announcement “a limited victory.” “It’s a step in the right direction, and it’s great that all the years of education around the issue is starting to pay off.”

AND Dallas is the first one to mention the other animals (because she is perfect and amazing and everything):

“It’s frustrating that it’s just about the elephants,” said Rising. “Elephants have been the poster-children for animals in the circus – they’ve been an effective one, but other animals have been forgotten.”

Way to tell the truth, Amanda! And way to include the indomitable Dallas as well as the Alliance! Yeah! See Amanda’s other stories here.

Also Pretty Good

Category: Best National Coverage, Overall

Winner:       AP: Ringling Bros. to give up elephant acts in 3 years (text)

Summary: For local and mainstream, this is pretty great! Lots of animal rights sources, specifics on ordinances, and the only article to mention animal free circus alternatives.

+ 1 for specifics on local ordinances, PETA quote, Carol Bradley, mention of Blackfish (!), AND specifics on how Blackfish has affected SeaWorld (!!), local animal activist quote, mention of animal free circus alternative Cirque de Soleil, specifics on how human circus performers will be showcased, this phrasing (emphasis mine)

For now, animals remain part of this circus

AND for showing the true colors of Feld’s plan for the retirement center:

Kenneth Feld said initially the center will be open only to scientists and others studying the Asian elephant, but he “hopes it expands to something the public will be able to see.”

+0 for extended explanation of the HSUS lawsuit. Not sure whether it’s better or worse to include this information:

The initial lawsuit was filed by a former Ringling barn helper who accepted at least $190,000 from animal-rights groups. The judge called him “essentially a paid plaintiff” who lacked credibility and standing to sue, and rejected the abuse claims.

also, this juxtaposition (emphasis mine):

We’re not reacting to our critics; we’re creating the greatest resource for the preservation of the Asian elephant,” Kenneth Feld told The Associated Press as he broke the news that the last 13 performing elephants will retire by 2018, joining 29 other pachyderms at the company’s 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida.

But Feld acknowledged that because so many cities and counties have passed “anti-circus” and “anti-elephant” ordinances, it’s difficult to organize tours of three traveling circuses to 115 cities each year. Fighting legislation in each jurisdiction is expensive, he said.

-1 for this phrase:

Animal rights groups took credit…but Ringling Bros.’ owners described it as the bittersweet result of years of internal family discussions.

Also, for a photo slideshow that doesn’t show any elephant training abuse.

Category: Best Mainstream Coverage With Opportunities for Public to Learn More About Elephant Treatment In Circus

Winner:     Washington Post: The long battle to remove elephants from the Ringling Bros. circus (AP video + original text)

AP video

Summary: Lots of links! Begins by telling the stories of individual elephants, and is the only article to trace back the history of the animal rights movement against circus elephants. I learned something!

AP video ratings as below.

+1 stories of individual elephants, mention of the Mother Jones article (SO GOOD READ IT NOW), A TON of links to PETA information about elephant training abuse, mention of Blackfish (!), AND specifics on how Blackfish has affected SeaWorld (!!), specifics on local ordinances, interview with Wayne Pacelle

– 1 for misconstruing the conservation center as a retirement facility for the elephants, not questioning the circus’ choice to continue with other wild animals still included (if the laws limit exotic animals, shouldn’t that affect their choices about tigers and camels, too?), this phrase

The tension between the two sides — groups that say the elephants are being badly mistreated and the famous circus company that insists its trainers have always treated the animals like their own children — will finally come to an end in 2018

because NOPE, we still got (veggie) beef with them.

 The Mediocre

Category: The “Yeah, it’s probably not a problem if you just interview the Felds and no one else” Award

Winner:    AP: Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts (video)

AP video

+1 for including a man of color as the Ringmaster! – 1 for using women as decoration.

Summary: All Felds, all the time.

+ 1 for some video and pictures of activists, for extended interview with Alana Feld talking about their difficulties in fighting legal battles (go activists!)

– 1 for only interviewing the Felds and no one else, for misconstruing the conservation center as a retirement facility for the elephants, not questioning the circus’ choice to continue with other wild animals still included (if the laws limit exotic animals, shouldn’t that affect their choices about tigers and camels, too?),

Category: Great Video, Not Great Text

Winner:    NBC: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Phasing Out Elephant Acts (video + text)

NBC video

Summary: The video has a lot of really great footage of elephant training abuses, an animated map with the ordinances, interview with Wayne Pacelle. The text has a lot of really crummy things, including a statement about the Felds “saving the Asian elephant.”

+ 1 for showing extended video of elephant training abuses, citing the reason as a growing number of local ordinances limiting what the circuses can do (go activists!) AND showing an animated map with the ordinances, interview with Wayne Pacelle referring to this as the “Berlin Wall moment, ” citing the recent $270,000 settlement.

– 1 for misconstruing the conservation center as a retirement facility for the elephants, not questioning the circus’ choice to continue with other wild animals still included (if the laws limit exotic animals, shouldn’t that affect their choices about tigers and camels, too?), text below the video including Feld’s bizarre statement about their focus on “saving the Asian elephant” without question.

The Worst, Worst, WORST

Category: Sponsored by Feld, Inc

Winner:     NPR: Ringling Bros. Says No More Circus Elephants By 2018 (video by Feld + text)

Summary: NPR, my liberal bastion, I expected more from you.

I guess the text was okay but

– 1,000,000,000 FOR THE INCLUDED VIDEO BEING PROPAGANDA BY FELD ABOUT THE ELEPHANT CONSERVATION CENTER INSTEAD OF, LIKE, JOURNALISM. That said, I did get to learn a lot about the elephant conservation center, and even in a propaganda video, there are some heartbreaking statements like “the elephants are so well trained that the scientists can come right up to them.” (Because you know how that training happens. I’m so sorry, my elephant friends.)

Category: What just happened?

Winner:        NPR: Animal-Rights Advocates Cheer End of Elephants in Circus (audio)

NPR clip

Summary: I just don’t even know.

+ 1 for learning more about elephants and how they play and communicate!, talking to an animal rights lawyer!, specifics of circus life for elephants, chalking it up to “successful public education” (go advocacy orgs!)

– 1,000,000,000 for this interchange:

SIEGEL: You’ve mentioned that a better outcome for these elephants than the Barnum & Bailey Center in Florida would be zoos. Do you accept that there are good zoos that – while that may not be the ideal life for an elephant – it’s a valid educational institution and a zoo can treat elephants well?

MEYER: Some zoos can do that. There are – it’s very – it’s all relative. There are some wonderful zoos. The Oakland Zoo does a wonderful job of taking care of its elephants and allowing them to engage in natural behaviors and doesn’t hit them, doesn’t chain them.

What.

Vegan New York

March 3, 2015

I spent the past weekend in New York eating incredible food. I mean, the vacation included other things, but all you really want to hear about is the restaurants, right?

A warning to your pocketbook: most of the meals listed below are not cheap. We split tabs with friends and family and we splurged. (The ethical issues with the financial inaccessibility of vegan restaurants is a conversation for another time.)

Thursday

Lunch: everything-from-the-fridge meal with a substantial portion of black lentils, quinoa, and zucchini that carried me through both plane flights.

Dinner: our first New York vegan restaurant – Angelica Kitchen!

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Special warm appetizer: The People’s Polenta Rounds of polenta studded with diced vegetable confetti baked with a parsley-almond pesto center; topped with chile de arbol – guajillo chili tofu cream, garnished with avocado and piquant marinated kale. (Description from the menu: http://angelicakitchen.com/menu/soups-starters-sides/)

DELICIOUS. But the reason we got it was because of this:

A portion of the proceeds from People’s Polenta goes to THE MUSEUM OF RECLAIMED URBAN SPACES (MORUS) to support their preservation of grassroots activist history and promotion of environmentally sound community-based urban ecologies. Visit http://www.morusnyc.org.

Polenta is not normally my favorite, but the combination of polenta, chili tofu cream, and avocado made this dish so homey and so creamy.

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One of their daily specials with apricot-cranberry tofu and a grain mix of teff, millet, and something else I can’t remember.

I only took pictures of mine, but Mark got the vegan reuben and Cynthia got another special that had some name like oregaNO cities. My tofu was just so subtly sweet and flavored and the grain combination set it off perfectly. The entire atmosphere of the restaurant was super comfortable, the tables were large and the lighting was gentle, the staff were great, and the rotating daily specials make it a great option for future visits.

Other stuff: plane flight(s);

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Neat La Guardia Airport billboard that was located in a corner of the lower floor that had basically no people

three hours of internet research planning our vegan eating excursions while the other members of our party were working (not pictured);

visit with the incredible conservation biologist and intersectional animal rights activist Cynthia Malone, and fascinating conversation about her research in Cameroon with local farmers and the tensions between economy and conservation.

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Two of my favorite vegans meet each other: my boyfriend, Mark, and the famous Cynthia!

Cynthia is also an expert on palm oil, and her equal compassion for the people and non-human animals affected by current business practices makes her the perfect teacher for this complicated issue. I always learn so much when I see her!

Friday

Brunch: okay, so we went to Rockin Raw because what even is Peruvian Creole raw food?, but it was closed until 4 pm. Then we walked the block to Sacred Chow, because WAFFLES, but they only serve their brunch menu on weekends. We had their lunch menu of tapas, but I missed the waffles.

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Mark’s menu of Indonesian Tempeh, Root Vegetable Latkes, and Thai Ginger BBQ Seitan.

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Some overlap in our choices…a special with artichokes on the right.

All I have to say about the above is that Madison Vegan restaurant Bandung has the superior tempeh, even without the sauce. Everybody else was happy with their meal, though, so I could just have been bitter about the lack of waffles.

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Mama’s Soy-Meatballs, Nama Gori Tofu, and a daily special of Corn Cakes.

My mom and I split the bottom two plates, and they were fine. The gluten free corn cakes had baked apple in them, which was unexpected and made them basically dessert. (not complaining.) The nama gori tofu had a squashy texture that didn’t appeal to me. The only thing I really got excited about was my dessert, which was an upside down cheesecake, also with baked apple.

The moral of the story is don’t listen to me describe food once I’ve just been deprived of waffles.

Dinner: BLOSSOM. Blossom is like a vegan monopoly in New York. They have four restaurants. I have visited three, and two of them were on this trip. This evening we went to the main Blossom restaurant on 9th. I recommend taking the virtual tour to really get a sense of the atmosphere because the restaurant is just beautiful.

I’m including pictures of the menu so you can experience for yourself the joy and anticipation we felt on entering the restaurant:

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Family friend’s appetizer: BABY BEET SALAD mâche & pea shoots, walnuts, cashew “ricotta”, spicy mustard vinaigrette (GF) (http://blossomnyc.com/chelsea/dinner-menu/)

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My meal: CHARMOULA TEMPEH KEBAB summer squash, bell peppers, tomatoes, North African “pesto” marinade, orange scented millet & mixed green salad (GF, NF) (http://blossomnyc.com/chelsea/dinner-menu/)

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My mother’s college roommate’s meal: RIGATONI IN PORCINI CREAM shallots, leeks, broccoli rabe, pistachio gremolata, truffle oil, caramelized fennel & onion jam crostini (SF) (http://blossomnyc.com/chelsea/dinner-menu/)

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Mom’s meal (which I promptly stole): SPAGHETTI SQUASH CAKE WITH WILD MUSHROOM RISOTTO sautéed spinach, saffron cream sauce, pine nut garnish (GF, SF) (http://blossomnyc.com/chelsea/dinner-menu/)

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Dad’s meal: Daily special, can’t remember exactly.

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Family friend’s meal: LASAGNA tapioca cheese, ground seitan & tofu marinara, roasted eggplant, sautéed broccolini (NF) (http://blossomnyc.com/chelsea/dinner-menu/)

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Mark’s meal: SALMON TOFU (NF,GF) trumpet mushrooms, leek-fennel compote, forbidden rice, sautéed broccolini, dill crème (http://blossomnyc.com/chelsea/dinner-menu/)

This was all amazing. Totally recommend all the above entrees. The desserts (below) got mixed reviews. Mark was obsessed with his tiramisu, the rest of us were lukewarm about our ice cream. The three scoops are a mix of homemade icecream: one scoop homemade apple cinnamon, one pistachio, and one pumpkin spice. The one scoop is vanilla.

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Other stuff: saw On the 20th Century with Kristen Chenoweth, who is a goddess.

Saturday

Brunch: Blossom on Columbus. We were looking for a lunch place near the cathedral we had just toured. The plan was originally to go to Seasoned Vegan, but our entire party wasn’t thrilled about that plan. So, we googled nearby restaurants, and Blossom saved the day once again!

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Mark’s meal: Seitan Scallopini (nf) pan-seared seitan cutlets, white wine, lemon, and caper sauce, truffle mashed potato, sautéed kale (http://blossomnyc.com/uws/lunch/)

Mark had been considering the dish last night, but I convinced him to try the salmon tofu because it sounded fascinating. Both ended up being excellent choices, but he was full of adulation for this particular dish.

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Mom’s meal: Vegetable Lasagna (gf, nf) layers of grilled eggplant, zucchini, sweet potato, red quinoa, and tofu ricotta, marinara sauce, soy mozzarella, rocket salad (http://blossomnyc.com/uws/lunch/)

I ate like half of this. It was really a convincing lasagna, texture wise, and the rocket salad added the perfect amount of green and another layer of flavors.

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My meal: Quinoa Pancakes (gf) whipped coconut mascarpone, maple syrup (http://blossomnyc.com/uws/brunch-menu/)

I will never NOT choose gluten free vegan pancakes when given the option. These were everything, and the coconut mascarpone was glorious.

Dinner: Franchia, also known as “that one vegan restaurant that’s kind of in midtown so it’s the only place we reliably go.” That said, though, I LOVE Franchia. It introduced me to bibimbap, and for that, I shall be eternally grateful.

The lighting was too low to get any pictures, but we had bibimbaps almost around thetable and they were delicious.

Other stuff: 

The Xu Bing exhibit at the Cathedral of St John the Divine. Gorgeous phoenixes made out of building detritus. A powerful message in a celestial space.

Honeymoon in Vegas, which was fun if you could ignore the incredibly talented Brynn O’Malley being forced into a 2-dimensional love interest kind of role. The music was great, because Jason Robert Brown is always amazing. The story was bizarre. We also saw On The Town. I’m including the highlight below. I liked Alysha Umphress a lot better onstage than I did in this clip. Still not the strongest scatter, but she and Johnson had great chemistry. Now that you’ve seen this, you can get on with your life. (Or you can see the powerhouse Lea Delaria version and then get on with your life.) On the Town was long and had a lot of dancing and a mediocre story. I wasn’t thrilled. I did fall deeply in love with the rich bass voice of Phillip Boykin, which was showcased much better here than in Porgy and Bess. As a side note, all the shows had at least two people of color in the chorus, which was exciting!

Sunday

Brunch: ORGANIC GRILL. YOU MUST GO HERE. RIGHT NOW. We went before the 11:30 rush and got a chance to chat with the waitress, who was super nice and gave us all sorts of suggestions for our next food adventures.

IMPORTANT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Organic Grill is open at 10. They say they open at noon on their site, but that is a lie. We were looking for early vegan brunch and we could not find it anywhere, seriously, so if you are looking for the same thing, go to Organic Grill!

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The sign says: Congrats! You made it out of bed! Now come and enjoy an organic, healthy, warm brunch!

Organic Grill, you understand me.

Guess what I got?…

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SLAMCAKES

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No, really, that’s what they’re called. Gluten free and vegan slamcakes, made with fruit of your choice. I chose raspberries. Could have used some coconut marscapone, but then, what couldn’t benefit from some coconut marscapone?

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There’s Mark enjoying his Bulletproof Coffee, which had hemp seeds and coconut oil.

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Mark got Tofu Rancheros.

And while he ate his real meal, I ordered my real meal:

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Peanut Butter Pie.

Oh, it is so beautiful. I can just taste it now. I should have ordered eight more of them. An entire pie. Two entire pies!

Okay, I’m getting carried away. The reason I didn’t get more than one piece is because we were going to the museum afterwards and couldn’t bring anything along.

By the way, the decor was super fun. Observe:

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BRILLIANT space saving technique. I am in awe.

Other stuff: Museum of Natural History FOR FREE (we know famous people called Cynthia Malone) while it was super snowy and gorgeous.

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And then cancelled plane flight home and impromptu hotel stay while it was super snowy and gorgeous. We did also have delivery Indian food, but it wasn’t anything fancy.

Awesome Mystery Animal of the Week: “Beelzebub’s pup”

Awesome Mystery Animal Facts:

1. This little guy stores fat in his tail, and the sign of a healthy one is a big tail.

I don’t think you’re ready to bump this jelly

2. Jaws can open wide enough to create enough force to bite through thick metal wire (or bone and skin, in natural environments)

I’m just imagining the Kids in the Hall skit with the guy who crushes heads: “I crush you!”

3. Eat 15% of their body weight in a day, but can eat up to 40% in 30 minutes

Man, all this eating is making me sleepy.

4. Originally believed to be a kind of opossum, but the closest phylogenetic relation is to this guy:

5. Linus Torvalds temporarily replaced “Tux,” the typical mascot (pictured below), with a form of this animal, in support of a campaign to save their species.

Pengwing! For some reason, the only image I could link to was Italian Tux! But you get the idea.

There are your clues! Who is the mystery animal of the week? Post your answer in the comments below!