EVENT: Come celebrate the opening of Woof Worx in Los Angeles – March 12th, 6PM

February 28, 2009

imagePlease join us to celebrate the grand opening of “Woof Worx” (formerly Pets of Bel Air), the first Rescued Pets Store to open under Best Friends’ Puppy-Store-Free Campaign in Los Angeles. 

This is the culmination of our eight-month effort to stop Pets of Bel Air from selling puppy mill dogs, and to guide and support Woof Worx in the creation of a viable “Best Friends endorsed pet store” that will offer only animals from shelters and 501(c)(3) rescue organizations.

We are extremely proud of this store and invite you to support their efforts to lead the humane movement against puppy mills by joining Best Friend’s staff, volunteers, members, and Woof Worx owner, Jamie Katz, at 6PM on Thursday, March 12th for wine, cheese, and dessert.

…RSVP per the photo to the right –>

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On “Eating Bluefin Tuna” in Sushi Restaurants

February 25, 2009

image I was recently asked a thought provoking question:

“Does eating toro – fatty bluefin tuna – bother me, as it is soon to be extinct due to overfishing?”

NOT REALLY
Honestly, it doesn’t really bother me.  The reason is that the more I talk to people, the more I discover that there’s a lot of rhetoric to the whole Bluefin Tuna issue that most activists in the US don’t filter and instead just ‘take the word of someone else supposedly knowledgeable about the topic’ as gospel. 

Hopefully some of what’s below will help "ease your conscience" the next time you step into a sushi restaurant.

“IT’S ABOUT JAPAN, STUPID”
Did you know the US consumes less than 10% of the world’s catch of Bluefin Tuna?  And we’re not the #1 or even the #2 consumer  of bluefin tuna… Japan first, Europe second, and by now it’s possible that China and a few other countries are out-consuming the US. 

While we’re not really helping, we’re sure as heck not the problem.  A whopping 80% is consumed by Japan alone… and China is growing rapidly.  And to be clear, these folks are willing to pay top dollar for the best fish.   When it comes to bluefin tuna, the great USA always gets the leftovers and never gets the best Bluefin available from fisheries.  (http://news.bbc.co.uk/…)

Even with being second fiddle, it’s a little hard to argue with US customers & US restaurants about the scarcity of Bluefin Tuna when it’s so readily available in virtually every sushi restaurant & fish market in America.  "How can it be bad?  It’s not like it’s outlawed/forbidden to sell commercially like Chilean Sea Bass was at one time?"

NOT A PROTECTED FISH
One reason is because there simply aren’t legal restrictions on serving Bluefin Tuna in America.  And how can that be if Bluefin is "almost extinct"?  The fact is, the National Marine Fisheries Service hasn’t listed Bluefin tuna as being an "endangered species". (http://www.nmfs.noaa.g…)

Bluefin tuna as a whole is not "almost extinct" – this is as much a literary exaggeration as saying, "I’m closer to dying every day".  The American Bald Eagle at 452 birds I think everyone can concur was "almost extinct" as an "endangered species".  (Now at over 10,000 count it’s made a comeback with the help of the Endangered Species Protection Act – ESPA)  Meanwhile, Bluefin isn’t even a "species of concern" (tier 1), much less a "threatened" (tier 2) or "endangered" (tier 3)species according to the NMFS.

WHICH BLUEFIN TUNA ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
To add to the complexity of the issue, Bluefin comes in multiple varieties:  Atlantic, Southern, and Pacific.  Pacific, which is most commonly served, is in far greater abundance than Atlantic & Southern which are in fact truly scarce.  Overall, it’s certainly becoming more and more rare, but it’s also being farmed as we speak. (See http://www.europacific…/ for tuna farming equipment)   Consumption of Bluefin will eventually transition to farmed tuna exclusively instead of wild because frankly it’ll be the only thing that’s available. (And hopefully by then it’ll also be prohibited by the ESPA.)

HOW NOT TO ADVANCE A CAUSE LIKE BLUEFIN TUNA
Now, I’m not saying that these great fish shouldn’t be protected in some capacity – they absolutely should.  (For the record, I’m an active animal rights proponent and a card carrying member of the ASPCA)  But "refusing to eat food" that’s not recognized as a species of concern by the Federal government is as ineffective a protest as PETA’s flashy naked ‘go vegetarian’ practices.  It’s "negative upon negative" advertising for the cause that simply creates hostility, turns people against those with good intentions, & does no one any good.  I wish more activists understood this.

I believe the only way to wage a successful marketing campaign that goes against the desires/trend of the public is to wage a feel good/positive one that gives people alternatives that allow them to choose right from wrong.  Help put Bluefin on the endangered species list.  Eat farm raised tuna only at home from the market.  Write your congressman about funding ecologically friendly sea farming. 

MARKET DEMAND WILL SAVE BLUEFIN TUNA
Ultimately, however, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy because unlike the plight of the bald eagle, this is a commercial venture and in the case of bluefin tuna, demand will create supply.  Simply put, if there’s a demand for Bluefin, and the quantity available worldwide dips to the point of it being infeasible to catch wild, it’ll be farmed maniacally to fulfill market demand… just as abalone, atlantic lobsters, stone crabs, and any number of other seafoods that were once rare and hard to find were.  Farming Bluefin is being done today  in Japan and elsewhere… it’s just not completely necessary yet because Bluefin’s so readily available today… and very far from "almost extinct".  (http://www.nytimes.com…)

…so I’m open to other arguments of course but in conclusion I simply haven’t been convinced by what I’ve read or been told on the subject, that this is a matter for me to be so concerned about that I should feel guilty every time I swallow a soft delicious piece of "fatty bluefin tuna”.

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WARNING: Stay away from Cocoa Mulch fertilizer if you have pets!

February 10, 2009

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[Normally, I’m not a sucker for emails like this but this one scares tbe bejeezus out of me, knowing how much our dog Sheepa lovvvves the smell of chocolate and will eat the tiniest thing that smells like it.]

—————-

Please tell every dog or cat owner you know.
Even if you don’t have a pet, please pass this to those who do.

Over the weekend the doting owner of two young lab mixes purchased Cocoa Mulch from Target to use in their garden. They loved the way it smelled and it was advertised to keep cats away from their garden. Their dog Calypso decided that the mulch smelled good enough to eat and devoured a large helping. She vomited a few times which was typical when she eats something new but wasn’t acting lethargic in any way. The next day, Mom woke up and took Calypso out for her morning walk . Half way through the walk, she had a seizure and died instantly.
Although the mulch had NO warnings printed on the label, upon further investigation on the company’s website, this product is HIGHLY toxic to dogs and cats.

Cocoa Mulch
is manufactured by Hershey’s, and they claim that ‘It is true that studies have shown that 50% of the dogs that eat Cocoa Mulch can suffer physical harm to a variety of degrees (depending on each individual dog). However, 98% of all dogs won’t eat it.’

This Snopes site gives the following information:
http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/cocoamulch.asp 

image Cocoa Mulch, which is sold by Home Depot, Foreman’s Garden Supply and other Garden supply stores, contains a lethal ingredient called ‘ Theobromine’. It is lethal to dogs and cats. It smells like chocolate and it really attracts dogs. They will ingest this stuff and die. Several deaths already occurred in the last 2-3 weeks. Theobromine is in all chocolate, especially dark or baker’s chocolate which is toxic to dogs. Cocoa bean shells contain potentially toxic quantities of theobromine, a xanthine compound similar in effects to caffeine and theophylline. A dog that ingested a lethal quantity of garden mulch made from cacao bean shells developed severe convulsions and died 17 hours later. Analysis of the stomach contents and the ingested cacao bean shells revealed the presence of lethal amounts of theobromine

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And now for something completely different: Organic Tofu Spaghetti

February 10, 2009

Wait.  Give me a chance to explain before you click the back button.  My wife and I have made a discovery that may sound odd but stay with me and I think you might give this a try.

We’ve been eating “Organic Tofu Spaghetti” for the past couple years since we discovered it.  It went off the market for a little bit but much to our delight it’s back. 

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Tofu Spaghetti looks and for the most part tastes exactly like normal spaghetti.  It comes in straight dried sticks that you boil in water.  It is a yellowish color when dry and whitish when soft.  There’s a couple of differences however that are noteworthy:

  • FIRM
    Tofu Spaghetti has a firmness that’s really really nice.  It reminds me of the firmness of Japanese soba (buckwheat) noodles and makes spaghetti eating more “substantial” than softer noodles.
  • PROTEIN
    There’s 8g of protein in each serving.  After all – it’s tofu, right?
  • NO ‘EXPANSION’
    Have you ever eaten pasta or a bread and felt it “expand” in your stomach after your meal giving you acid indigestion or and upset stomach?  Not with tofu spaghetti.  This stuff doesn’t expand despite having elements of wheat in there.  (Semolina)

WHERE DOES ONE GET IT FROM?
Well, that’s a good question.  The problem is the only place we’ve seen it show up is through direct sales from the bakery to Japanese groceries in Southern California.  They don’t appear to sell through major Japanese distributors like JFC or MTC and they don’t have a web site making tracking down this stuff difficult.  We’ve seen it at Marukai in Torrance and at Nijiya in West Los Angeles.  (Only recently)

The manufacturer appears to be:

ACCEPT NO IMITATIONS!
imageI have to say this because I’ve eaten this other travesty that claims to be tofu spaghetti and instead it’s just YECCH.  There’s a Japanese company called House Foods which I actually really like and eat many of their products. 

They produce something called Tofu Shirataki and it’s just AWFUL.  It’s nothing like the Tofu Spaghetti mentioned above.  It’s made from Japanese Konnyaku and Yam.  Now personally I like Konnyaku in nishime while many don’t. 

The problem is that I don’t like it as a substitute for noodles.  These Tofu Shirataki noodles are slimy, they feel weird in your mouth particularly when you chew them, and they just don’t taste right – even with ragu sauce all over them.

I’m telling you now, and you’ll say I’m right if you try it anyway, don’t bother with this stuff.  I calls itself spaghetti noodles but it’s not.  It’s more like gelatinous strands of tasteless goo.

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LINKS: Some Interesting Blackjack Resources

February 10, 2009

No65I thought I’d post some interesting Blackjack resources that people may or may not know about.  Some of this is a little advanced, others not so much, but I consider them all very interesting in their own way.

Publications

Web sites

Legal Resources

  • Potter Law Offices
    1125 Shadow Lane
    Las Vegas, NV 89102
    Tel: 702-385-1954
    TollFree: 866-457-9257
    http://www.potterlawoffices.com/
  • Nersesian & Sankiewicz
    Bob Nersesian
    528 S. 8th Street
    Las Vegas NV 89101
    Tel: 702-385-5454
    Fax: 702-385-7667

Other Vegas Resources for when you’re not playing the tables:

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HUMOR: Make your own graphic signs with “Says-it.com”

February 9, 2009

I’m gonna waste your time here by telling you about a few of my favorite web sites for screwing around.  Why?  Because I can and this is my blog and I can write whatever I want.  Nyah.

SAYS IT (http://says-it.com/)

Say’s It is a site that produces authentic looking objects in American life and gives you the opportunity to mock up the words that are on said object.  For example, for those of you with Xbox 360’s, you’ll recognize this item:

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See what I mean?  You can create your own fake “signs”, “emblems”, or even physical objects, and they’ve even got a few that provide you with the opportunity to “write your own cartoon frame.  Here’s a favorite of mine.

imageimage

 

BIG HUGE LAB’S MOTIVATOR (http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/motivator.php)

If you’ve ever seen those motivational posters that they sell in the malls, you know that they really aren’t much other than a photo with some words in Times Roman on a black background.  Well, now you can create your own in 2 easy steps!

image motivator1640035

 

SOUTH PARK STUDIOS (http://www.sp-studio.de/)

Ever wonder what you’d look like if you were a South Park character?  Well now you an create your own!  Using the South Park Studios tool you can create a South Park character as easily as building Mr Potato.

For example:

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Historic photo op meets Mainstream TV advertising

February 9, 2009

I was looking at this rather historic photo and I couldn’t help but thinking:

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“More bars in more places. That’s AT&T.”

Damn those primetime TV commercials.

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