Monday, 16 May 2011

Squirtle used Storm of Links!

These are all the news articles that I found interesting, but not quite interesting enough to write a unique post about.

Krav Stuff

An article on FitSugar proposes Krav Maga as a workout class.  While the article does stress the self-defence elements, my instructors have been disappointed by women who treat Krav Maga as a boxercise class, and don't take the self-defence elements seriously.  That said, self-defence becoming more of an option for women is always a good thing, even if the thought of burning of three to four hundred calories per hour is at the forefront of your mind.

There's also a much longer, more thorough article on Krav Maga on the CourierPostOnline.  It contains a lot of good information about the defence system, and I intend to add the link to my 'Krav?' page.  For information on Krav Maga from a female perspective, check out Krav Lady's Blog, where she writes about the subject far more thoroughly than I do.

Animal Rights Stuff

There's an article here by Kevin Horrigan, discussing the proposal by the editors of the Journal of Animal Ethics, that we should rephrase how we discuss other species.  I don't entirely agree with their choices, but I feel that Horrigan's decision to make fun of the idea without actually considering it is disappointing.  To be honest, as I've said before, I find the entire concept that we can 'own' other animals, and that this is perfectly normal and right, very, very strange.  However, I don't think that simply refusing to refer to the 'owned' creatures as 'pets' is actually effective or sensible.  I think it's a complicated issue, and one that, perhaps, should not be much of a priority right now, as it distracts from other issues.

Speaking of words, I found a piece on discussing 'flexitarians', "vegetarians who sometimes eat meat".  I'm sorry, but no; that's an omnivore.  When discussing diet, it's important to use words accurately, to describe what you will or will not eat, otherwise everyone gets confused.  Sierra Shafer, the "flexitarian" mentioned in the article says "I’m more sensitive to the idea of eating flesh.  Whenever I do eat meat, I tend to have a moment of gratitude and connection."

I really disagree that this makes it okay.  I'm a vegan because I don't believe we have the right to enslave or kill other animals.  Only doing so occasionally and being 'grateful' for it doesn't make a huge difference, in my honest opinion.  And I've written here about the fallacy of sustainable meat - namely that it's only sustainable for small amounts.  Of course, Shafer clearly doesn't share this viewpoint, so, by her standards, it is not morally wrong for her to eat meat.  And, as other people in the article mention, if someone finds it difficult to go vegan or vegetarian, then being flexitarian or weekday vegetarian is another option, a way of cutting down meat intake in a way that's less scary.  It worked as a doorway for me, and I can see it working for other people.  I just don't understand people who set flexitarian as their goal, and don't want to go further, or don't understand why they would want to.  But I'm starting to sound evangelical, so I'll leave that one.  I will mentioned that Graham Hill, who originally introduced me to the idea that I could go vegan step by tiny step, has released a book on Weekday Vegetarianism.

KFC's DoubleDown (a 'sandwich' which consists of cheese, mayonnaise, and bacon, pressed between two slabs of chicken) has also drawn attention to the care of the chickens used.

Ugh, look at the grease.  Picture taken from the Daily Mail.  Incidentally, this is not the unhealthiest thing you can purchase from KFC.  Not kidding.

On the topic of animal rights, PETA has attempted to buy advertising space in schools.  The article focuses on one school who have refused the other, but also mentions that PETA has extended the offer to other schools in the country.   Now, if a school does not allow advertising at all, I have no problem with them refusing PETA's adverts.  If, however, they're allowing soft drink, fast food, and confectionery companies to advertise or sell their products within schools, then I'm mildly disgusted.  PETA don't have the best reputation, and, admittedly, their idea here, to teach the kids that they can learn other than by dissection is embarrassingly out-of-date, since I gather most schools offer an alternative now.  But, though their message about animal rights is less socially acceptable, it's certainly not as bad as encouraging school children to eat fast food and drink sugary sodas more than they already do.

Veg*n Stuff 

On a more cheerful note, vegetarian-only school, SOAR, in Denver, Colorado, is attempting to raise a nation of healthy eaters.  All school-provided meals are plant-based (a less controversial term than 'vegetarian'), with 80% of students choosing to take the school meal provided rather than bring their own.  Snacks are fruits and vegetables.  Go take a read, it's a really uplifting article.  Unfortunately, this article from British newspaper, the Daily Mail, states that Americans are buying more meat than ever.  

Speaking of food, an interesting new site has popped up; Vegan Black Metal Chef.  Reminds me of the Steve Hughes joke - "we're going to raise the devil, but first, nibbles" (funnier in context).  To be quite honest, he writes like a teenage boy who has just realised he is the only saviour of the world (that is, the way all nineteen-year-olds write; I'm sure I have some of that earnestness too, at twenty-two), but that's not a bad thing.  And I like that none of the vegans I know of are stereotypical hippies.

Earlier this week, I found a veg*n porn site.  I also read about a Sexiest Vegetarian Competition in Southern California.  To be honest, I have never been attracted to someone, or found them sexier, because of their diet, but, at least people are celebrating plant-based diets?  Huh.  Whatever works for you, I guess.  PETA has also blogged about the many vegetarian ladies on AskMen's Top 99 Most Desirable Women list.

To be quite honest, while veg*ns do tend to be healthier, in my experience, than omnivores, if I'm merely appreciating the aesthetics, as it were, then I'm not terribly concerned with how they got there.  It's more important if you're planning a relationship with someone, but it's obviously not a dealbreaker in my case.  And relationships are not, honestly, at the forefront of my mind when I am watching porn.

Glee Stuff

Finally, Glee's Dianna Agron (Quinn Fabray) and Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina Cohen-Chang) are vegetarian while Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) is vegan.  That may not be news, as such, but I didn't know it about the first two.

I'mma go ahead and hijack the end of this post for my thoughts on the Rachel-Quinn-Finn triangle.  There's nothing except Glee beyond this point, so feel free to skip it.  I should mention that I've seen every episode up to and including Born This Way (UK is on a two-week delay), so I'm going to mention things from those episodes.

Photo owned by GQ Magazine.

Firstly, I'm fondest of Rachel, so this post is going to be biased in her favour.  I want her to be happy.  Sorry, I'm not sorry.

Rachel is self-absorbed, and, yes, she is irritating, but she has a kind heart.  She's wildly ambitious - it's more important for her to be a star than to be liked - but she doesn't actively trample people in this ambition (much.  She did send Sunshine to a crackhouse, though).  I do believe that she'll achieve her dream of being a star in future; the actress herself is a Broadway star, so Rachel has the talent, and she certainly has the dedication.  She's also honest; when she tried to cheat on Finn with Puck, she told him right away.

Quinn, on the other hand, is mean.  She despises who she used to be (Lucy Caboosey), and is terrified of going back there.  This makes her cruel, especially when she feels threatened - ie, to Rachel, when she suspects that her prize, Finn, would rather have her, or to Lauren, when Lauren runs against her for Prom Queen.  Quinn is not afraid of lying to get what she wants; she lied to Finn about Puck for months.  She also insisted that Finn pay for the doctor's bills, all the while calling him stupid, and generally insulting him.

Quinn described her own future; she'll graduate, marry someone steady, and have a few more children.  I'm not sure of her judgement here; I can see Quinn attending college, coming to terms with her insecurity and becoming nicer, stepping out from under her parents thumb, and, generally, becoming an interesting adult.  She's described as being a straight A student, so she's not stupid.

Finn is a nice guy.  The general impression that I have of him is his being easy-going, and just going with things.  When I think about it, though, that's unfair.  He has his moments, of trying to lead the Glee club, and make things work (though he also has his moments of wimping out).  He stood up to Rachel when she asked him to quit the football team due to her insecurities.

Finn's on the mid spectrum of honesty; he was wary of cheating on Quinn with Rachel, but he had no problem with helping Quinn to cheat on Sam.

Quinn described his future, too.  He'll grow up, inherit Burt's store, get married, and, generally, be a Lima Loser.  If that's the case, he'll drag Rachel down.  I can see that happening, and that's what Quinn hopes for.  I can also see him pushing Rachel and supporting her dreams, or, perhaps, becoming a football player or a businessman.

Rachel loves Finn.  It's more debatable whether or not Quinn does.  She cheated on him once, with Puck, and then cheated on Sam with him.  Quinn needs a boyfriend on the football team to be her Prom King, although, that does beg the question, why trade Sam for Finn?  She and Finn both talked about fireworks when they kissed, but would she care so much about those if Finn wasn't the Quarterback?

Finn broke up with Rachel after she attempted to lose her virginity with Puck, after finding out that he lost his to Santana.  He was very unsupportive of her in that episode, pointing out that she seemed to be mostly upset about the fact that it was with Santana.  Well, of course she was, Santana is the one who calls Rachel 'munchkin', and makes fun of her constantly.  He told her he couldn't forgive her for the fact that it was Puck, that she knew that this would hurt him most after what Quinn did.  He then got back together with Quinn.

Perhaps he loves Rachel more, and that's why he couldn't forgive her.  Perhaps he loves Quinn more, and that's why he could forgive her.  Perhaps he's quite fond of both of them, attracted to both of them, and always prefers the one who isn't his girlfriend.

That said, when Finn was with Rachel he spent relatively little time with Quinn, compared to the time he spends with Rachel when he and Quinn are together.  He was also never tempted by Quinn when he and Rachel were together, while he nearly made out with Rachel the first time he and Quinn were together.

I could easily argue for both Finchel and F'Qinn here.  The one point I can't get over is the fact that he found 'fireworks' with Quinn, and none with Rachel.  Does that mean anything, in universe?  Does it imply a lack of spark in his and Rachel's relationship that would doom them long term?  Or was it just random teenage hormones that won't matter in the long run?  Was he lying to her?  I couldn't say.

If you go right back to the first season, Rachel fell for Finn when she heard him sing, during Don't Stop Believing.  Finn grew attracted to Rachel as he watched her perform - in Vitamin D, he mentions that she can really sing, and has a hot body.  From the future Quinn predicted though, with her as a real estate agent, and him inheriting Burt's store, as mentioned above, she wants a different part of him.  They're attracted to different strengths.  That said, Rachel is attracted to his security as well, and she becomes nervous when he shows his strength - ie, when she asks him to quit playing football.  Quinn, on the other hand, needs him to be a football player.  Rachel decides that she'll accept him as he is.  Quinn doesn't express an interest in him till he's back on the football team.

In short, I guess I'm in favour of Finchel as long as he makes her happy, and doesn't hold her back.  After all, the first thing she said to him on screen was "you better shape up".  To her heart, she must be true.  On the other hand, if he isn't right for her, Quinn can have him.

Of course, all this is a moot point.  The characters graduate soon; they'll be cast out into the world to make their own way.  They don't have to stay with who they loved at sixteen or seventeen.  Really, it's probably better if they don't.

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