Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I love all kinds of music

Well, most kinds of music. There are some genres that I just don't get, but I'm willing to give a good listen to anything that captures my attention. I admire singer/songwriters who can craft a good song. I'm a sucker for a good lyric, melody, rhythm, a good hook. I wrote a post a couple weeks back about hearing a song as background on a TV show, or in a commercial, and doing a little research to find out what it was. That's one way I've been introduced to new music.

Another is Muzak at work. No, not elevator music. A variety of old and new songs that make me envy whoever it is that gets to decide what to put on there. I'll hear a song, make note of some of the lyrics, and when I get home I'll use a site like Lyrster to try to find out the title and artist. With a little work I've discovered artists like Republic Tiger, Alela Diane, The Thrills, and Jupiter One.

Another way I've discovered new music (at least new to me) is Lost & Found Radio. Driving across KS from a bike tour in CO a couple years ago I found a program playing lots of interesting music. Luke Crampton hosts the show and plays hidden gems from artists you've certainly heard of, and some you've probably not. It's music that Luke thinks should have been a bigger hit. I was a faithful Sunday morning listener until Cumulus Radio dropped the show. Now it's back on Live 365 with new shows each Sunday, and podcasts of old shows available anytime.

When I lost Lost & Found, I found another radio show which I enjoyed too. This one's called The Acoustic Storm, and it's just what it sounds like; acoustic versions of some great songs. I don't like all the songs, but the ones I do like, I really like hearing this way.

Lastly, when we were convinced to re-install very basic cable from the folks who supply our internet service because the price would be less than just internet????????, a bonus was the Music Choice channels. If I'm home alone I'll turn on the adult alternative channel, turn the volume down low while I read, and if something catches my attention, write down the name of the artist and song.

If you turn up your speakers you can hear some of the music I like in the box in the sidebar under Road Tunes. If there's something you like that you think I might like, let me know and I'll check it out.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Tomorrow, March 20, is the day to pledge to go vegan, even if it's just for one day. "Meatout" is a campaign of Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM).
There's lots of reasons people choose a vegan diet: health, the environment, and to lessen the suffering of so many animals in factory farms. Can you go without meat for one day? Take the pledge!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Here's a link to some of the items available to take the place of animal products in your favorite foods. I've tried several of them and they're pretty good. Vegan versions of taco filling, ground sausage, and meatballs are all quite good. I've used Ener-G egg replacer and earth balance spreads in baking. Daiya makes some good vegan cheese and Go Veggie parmesan style is great with pasta sauce. Tofutti makes great vegan versions of sour cream, cream cheese, and ice cream treats.
Some of these items I've found at Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Natural Grocers. But many of them are available in the health market sections of your favorite grocery stores. The Hy-Vee stores here in the middle of the country have a great selection. Take a baby step and try a substitute next time you're going to use an animal product. That's how every journey begins.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

more music

We had never watched the NBC series Parenthood. It was recommended as a good Netflix choice with 4 full seasons available. We came to really enjoy the story and care about the characters, but one of my favorite things about the show is the music. Whoever matches the song to the scene does a great job, with an eclectic mix of old and new, artists you've heard of, and some you surely have not.
One of the latter group is named Alexi Murdoch. He has had a couple of his songs featured, and the first time I heard him I was certain that there was a Nick Drake song I had missed. I love Nick Drake and took the name of this blog from one of his songs. After a little research, I found that Alexi Murdoch sounds a lot like Nick Drake, but is alive and well and still producing music.
I put a few of his songs on the top of my playlist here and hope you enjoy them. I followed those with a couple Nick Drake songs for comparison. I first learned about Nick Drake when they used his "Pink Moon" in a Volkswagen commercial. If you like him, there is a large catalog of his work from the early '70s. Check it out.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

got milk?

I do. But it's unsweetened vanilla soy milk. Sometimes almond milk. I never drank a lot of milk, but liked in on my morning cereal. These substitutes are fine. I prefer their taste to cow's milk, and don't miss it at all. I do miss cheese sometimes, but have found a few substitutes that are pretty good. (More on that and other substitutes later).

Sometimes people wonder why you would become a vegan, when a vegetarian doesn't eat meat either. For most vegans, the reasons they choose that path are clear. Health and environment may be motivating factors, and great ones at that. But, when you realize how factory farming has changed the way we treat animals, it's an easy choice to opt out of the system.

I was prepared to do some research and quote numbers, but I really just want to tell you in broad terms what I've learned about the dairy industry. It starts with cows being artificially inseminated as often as possible. They have to continue to have calves so they'll continue to produce milk. Their calves are taken from their mothers after a day or two. Imagine the stress that puts on mothers and calves. Females are resigned to the same "life" as their mothers, and males will probably get to spend the rest of their short lives unable to move in their veal crates.
The cows are given hormones to help produce more milk than is natural, milked daily, and spend much of the time indoors, on concrete. Many suffer from arthritis, mastitis, not to mention the emotional toll of this unnatural existence. After 4 or 5 years they are "spent" and can't produce like they could, and sold off for cheap beef.
Workers on factory farms, part of the system that treats cows as production machines, sometimes make the lives of the animals even more miserable. If you are not required to be concerned about the comfort, fear or suffering of those in your charge, it can lead to even more horrific cruelty if these "men" become frustrated at all. But, who gets frustrated at work, right?
Dairy consumption allows the suffering to continue so we can satisfy our palates. I choose to not be a part of it.

"The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather, 'Can they suffer?' - Jeremy Bentham