A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness

Ok, I realize this post has nothing to do with theme of my blog but I feel compelled to give a shout out to a great author (Deborah Harkness) and her fabulouoso books. 

Last October, 2011 I read A Discovery of Witches (ADOW). From the first page, I was hooked.  I devoured the book and was left wanting more; however, Book II: Shadow of Night wasn’t going to be realeased until July 2012. I pre-ordered the book via Amazon and I kid you not when I say I had my Outlook calendar marked, counting…down… the… days until the book was released. A week before the book was due to be released, I re-read ADOW and I have to say, I am so glad I did because there were things I had forgotten.  It didn’t come as any surprise to me that re-reading ADOW was just as enjoyable the 2nd time around, so that says something about the book. 

Currently, I am about 1/2 way through Shadow it is soooooooooooooooooo good!  It is so good, in fact, that I actually made it a point to slow down so as to not finish the book too quickly.   That being said, I have no idea as to when Book III will be released and as far as I can tell, it hasn’t even been written so Lord only knows how long I am going to have to wait.  😦   [sigh]

In closing, if you love history, especially European history, literature, vampires (not Twilight, more akin to Anne Rice), witches and daemons then The All Souls Trilogy is a must read!


Silent Spring – Rachel Carson

I live in Massachusetts, if you do too, then I’m sure you’ve heard the news stories about Malaria and the need for towns to “spray”.  The town I live in, has a “Mosquito Control Project” underway which will involve spraying.  I have to say, I object wholeheartedly to this idea.  I remember back in the 1960s when the towns sprayed DDT and consequently murdered all the birds, as well as other mammals, contaminated ponds, lakes —  essentially the water supply as well as exposed us (adults and children) to a highly toxic poison.

If you’re not familiar with what I am talking about then read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson and circle back.  What happened in the 1960s was, in a word: HORRIFYING! When will the master predator on this Planet we call Mother Earth learn? In case you haven’t noticed, the planet is in crisis and there is only one mammal to blame. Just sayin’…


My town posted the following information (below) about the pesticide being used. Quite frankly, I don’t care how non-toxic they claim this insecticide is, I DO NOT BELIEVE THEM!

 Sumithrin (ANVIL) Fact Sheet


  • What is sumithrin?
  • What are the symptoms of  exposure to sumithrin?
  • What are the long term effects  of sumithrin?
  • How does sumithrin affect  other species?
  • How long does sumithrin last  in the environment?
  • Sumithrin product labels

What Is Sumithrin?

Sumithrin is a type I pyrethroid  insecticide. Pyrethroids are synthetic versions of a natural  insecticide produced by chrysanthemum flowers.

Although pyrethroids are among the  least toxic insecticides, they are nerve poisons. They act upon  the sodium ion channels in nerve cell membranes.

The pesticide containing sumithrin  being used in NY City and its suburbs is called ANVIL (TM). It  is 10% sumithrin, 10% piperonyl butoxide and 80% inert  ingredients. Piperonyl butoxide makes the pesticide more  effective by preventing insects from detoxifying sumithrin.

Manufacturers are not required to  disclose the inert ingredients, although they may be toxic also.

What Are the Symptoms of Exposure  to Sumithrin?

Inhaling pyrethroid insecticides  can cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, runny or  stuffy nose, chest pain, or difficulty breathing.

Skin contact can cause a rash,  itching, or blisters.

Piperonyl butoxide can cause skin  and eye irritation. All the health effects of this chemical have  not been fully researched.

What Are the Long Term Effects of  Sumithrin?

Rats fed high doses (1,000  milligrams per kilogram of body weight or mg/kg) of pyrethrins  (natural versions of pyrethroids) showed liver damage. There is  also evidence that pyrethroids can harm the thyroid.

Pyrethroids, including sumithrin,  have been shown in the lab to disrupt the endocrine system by  mimicking the effects of the female sex hormone estrogen. In  men, endocrine disrupters can lower the sperm count, and in  women they can cause the growth of abnormal breast cells.

Piperonyl butoxide has been  classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a possible  human carcinogen.

How Does Sumithrin Affect Other  Species?

Sumithrin is not very toxic to  mammals, but it is highly toxic to bees and fish.

How Long Does Sumithrin Last in  the Environment?

The half-life of sumithrin in soil  is one day to sixteen weeks, depending on the type of soil.

Sumithrin Product Labels

ANVIL is a brand name of the  sumithrin product. You can learn more about it from the manufacturer’s product label.

“Animal Rights is now the greatest Social Justice issue since the abolition of slavery.” – Philip Wollen

I am a vegan. Yeah, that’s right, VEGAN. I am also an animal rights activist.  Oh I can hear your comments and see your eyes rolling.  I know what you’re thinking — here we go again, another rebel, another radical, another troublemaker.  People who turn a blind eye and closed ears to animal rights assume those of us who protect and speak for the voiceless are nothing more than a pack of troublemakers.   

Think what you want.  Someone has to be the voice of animals. Someone has to fight against the brutality of slaughterhouses. Someone has to end the suffering of the innocent.  I am not interested in taking up space for the sake of taking up space because I feel I am superior to all other organisms on this planet. I am not going to sit idle, narcotize myself with fake “reality” TV, talk shit about people and spend my hard-earned money in retail stores so as to numb myself to the world. Nope, not me kid. I chose to view the world with a different lens.

I have known for a very long time that my purpose on this planet is to protect animals.  I suspect I inherited this trait from my father. He has tremendous compassion for animals that cannot be measured. He instilled this compassion in me.  Throughout the years, my father and I rarely saw eye-eye on anything, except for one: animal rights — this is our common ground.  This is one arena where we merge into one being, one point of view. Animal cruelty of any kind, including the egregious abuse taking place in factory farms and slaughter houses is wrong and must stop.  

People say they care about the planet and to prove it they “recycle”.  (Big deal!) They purchase million dollar houses in upper class neighborhoods so they can prove how accomplished they are. They call themselves wine connoisseurs (snobs really!) and my particular favorite: “foodies” (barf!).  They think because they buy “organic” “free-range” “grass-fed” they are immune to the injustices to animals.  Know this: “organic, free-range and grass-fed” mean nothing.  NOTHING! These are just words, nothing more.  These are labels the industry uses to fool the American public into thinking the animals they are eating, lived at country club farms until they were gently slaughtered. If you truly believe your eggs are free-range, then visit the factory farm and chickens that produced the eggs.  Check out the confined, stressful conditions they live in order to produce the eggs you want to eat.   Do me and all the animals who cannot speak a favor. OPEN YOUR EYES. Stop believing the labels.   If you don’t believe me, read this: http://freefromharm.org/food-and-culture/marketing-versus-reality-the-myth-of-the-organic-happy-cow/

“I am not giving up my steak, my bacon, my chicken or my milk, sorry. I don’t care how many animals are suffering.”  This is an example of the types of comments I receive when I speak about veganism and animals rights.  I think the phrase: “I don’t care.” sums it up.  Most people do not care. I have met people who say they would never ever eat a doughnut, and yet do not give a second thought as to how their eggs/chicken/pork/beef landed on their tables – the abused life the animal lived before it became food.  In my opinion, if you’re eating all the aforementioned animals with nary a care, then eat the fucking doughnut. What’s the difference? You clearly do not give a shit.  If you saw how most farm animals lived and died, you would be a vegan like me.   

Remember that outbreak of swine flu? Remember how farmers had to kill all of their pigs due to this disease? How exactly do you think they went about killing their livestock? Do you think veterinarians in white coats went around to all the farms, euthanizing each pig? Sadly,  NO! Do you want to know what really happened?  The farmers used a back-ho, dug huge/deep holes and bulldozed all the pigs (Alive!) into this hole and then buried them alive.  Nice, huh?  This reminds me of the Nazi death camps.

A cow is a pig is a human. Soylent Green anyone?  

Still don’t care?  

Dairy anyone?  The next time you tuck into a glass of milk or yogurt, think about this.  When a Dairy cow gives birth, before she even has a chance to bond with her baby, it is taken away from her.  If the baby is female, her fate will be that of her mothers. If the baby is male, then G-d have mercy because one of two things will happen. He will either be killed, or locked in a crate so that in a few months, he can land on your dinner table as veal cutlet.  Mmmmmmmmmm. Not! Recently, I watched a video about egregious activity that was taking place on a dairy farm.  A dairy cow had just given birth (awe!). As she tried to reach down to sniff and nuzzle her newborn baby, an employee of the farm (a barbarian), grabbed the baby by its head, dragged it away from its mother and proceeded to smash its head with a sledgehammer, killing it (because it was a male). He killed the baby, right in front of mother cow with nary a care. The milk she produced for her now dead baby is the milk you are drinking and eating EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  Imagine giving birth to your baby, only to have some person come along and rip away from you and kill it right before your eyes. (Drink up everyone!) Hormone fed or not, all dairy cows are treated this way.   Still don’t care? Well know this: every time you tuck into a dairy product, dairy cows are giving birth, to baby after baby.  In order to keep a dairy cow producing milk, the cow must stay pregnant which means, after she gives birth, she will be hooked up to what is known it the industry as the “rape rack” where she will be impregnated so she can go through the whole process, again, and again, and again.  The average life span of a dairy cow is 3 years.  Do you want to know what happens to her after she is “spent”? Do you think she will be sent to some retirement community for dairy cows? Think again. She will be ground up into hamburger meat.  Oh hey, thanks for your 3 years of dairy producing service. How would you like to become a Bubba burger?   Pass the ketchup please…  


Still not convinced? Don’t care? Well if you are so heartless that none of this bothers you, then how about this. Watch the movie Earthlings and circle back with me.  If Earthlings doesn’t shake you to your core, perhaps a terrific speech from a great man will.  Below is a speech by a particularly awesome animal rights activist who I admire greatly.  His name is Philip Wollen. He is the former VP of Citibank and is an Australian philanthropist.  I extracted this speech from here: http://freefromharm.org/videos/educational-inspiring-talks/philip-wollen-australian-philanthropist-former-vp-of-citibank-makes-blazing-animal-rights-speech/

King Lear, late at night on the cliffs asks the blind Earl of Gloucester “How do you see the world?”

And the blind man Gloucester replies “I see it feelingly”.

Shouldn’t we all?

Animals must be off the menu because tonight they are screaming in terror in the slaughterhouse, in crates, and cages. Vile ignoble gulags of despair.
I heard the screams of my dying father as his body was ravaged by the cancer that killed him. And I realized I had heard these screams before.
In the slaughterhouse, eyes stabbed out and tendons slashed, on the cattle ships to the Middle East and the dying mother whale as a Japanese harpoon explodes in her brain as she calls out to her calf.
Their cries were the cries of my father.
I discovered when we suffer, we suffer as equals.
And in their capacity to suffer, a dog is a pig is a bear. . . . . . is a boy.
Meat is the new asbestos – more murderous than tobacco.

CO2, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide from the livestock industry are killing our oceans with acidic, hypoxic Dead Zones.
90% of small fish are ground into pellets to feed livestock.
Vegetarian cows are now the world’s largest ocean predator.
The oceans are dying in our time. By 2048 all our fisheries will be dead. The lungs and the arteries of the earth.

Billions of bouncy little chicks are ground up alive simply because they are male.
Only 100 billion people have ever lived. 7 billion alive today. And we torture and kill 2 billion animals every week.
10,000 entire species are wiped out every year because of the actions of one species.

We are now facing the 6th mass extinction in cosmological history.
If any other organism did this a biologist would call it a virus.
It is a crime against humanity of unimaginable proportions.

The world has changed. 
10 years ago Twitter was a bird sound, www was a stuck keyboard, Cloud was in the sky, 4 g was a parking place, Google was a baby burp, Skype was a typo and Al Kider was my plumber.
Victor Hugo said “there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come”.

Animal Rights is now the greatest Social Justice issue since the abolition of slavery.
There are over 600 million vegetarians in the world. That is bigger than the US, England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, Australia combined! If we were one nation we would be bigger than the 27 countries in the European Union!!

Despite this massive footprint, we are still drowned out by the raucous huntin’, shootin’, killin’ cartels who believe that violence is the answer – when it shouldn’t even be a question.
Meat is a killing industry – animals, us and our economies.

Medicare has already bankrupted the US. They will need $8 trillion invested in Treasury bills just to pay the interest. It has precisely zero!!
They could shut every school, army, navy, air force, and Marines, the FBI and CIA – and they still won’t be able to pay for it.

Cornell and Harvard say’s that the optimum amount of meat for a healthy diet is precisely ZERO.

Water is the new oil. Nations will soon be going to war for it. Underground aquifers that took millions of years to fill are running dry. It takes 50,000 litres of water to produce one kilo of beef. 1 billion people today are hungry. 20 million people will die from malnutrition. Cutting meat by only 10% will feed 100 million people. Eliminating meat will end starvation forever.

If everyone ate a Western diet, we would need 2 Planet Earths to feed them. We only have one. And she is dying.

Greenhouse gas from livestock is 50% more than transport . . . . . planes, trains, trucks, cars, and ships.

Poor countries sell their grain to the West while their own children starve in their arms. And we feed it to livestock. So we can eat a steak? Am I the only one who sees this as a crime? Every morsel of meat we eat is slapping the tear-stained face of a starving child. When I look into her eyes, should I be silent?

The earth can produce enough for everyone’s need. But not enough for everyone’s greed.

We are facing the perfect storm.

If any nation had developed weapons that could wreak such havoc on the planet, we would launch a pre-emptive military strike and bomb it into the Bronze Age.
But it is not a rogue state. It is an industry. The good news is we don’t have to bomb it. We can just stop buying it. George Bush was wrong. The Axis of Evil doesn’t run through Iraq, or Iran or North Korea. It runs through our dining tables. Weapons of Mass Destruction are our knives and forks.

This is the Swiss Army Knife of the future – it solves our environmental, water, health problems and ends cruelty forever.

The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. This cruel industry will end because we run out of excuses.

Meat is like 1 and 2 cent coins. It costs more to make than it is worth.
And farmers are the ones with the most to gain. Farming won’t end. It would boom. Only the product line would change. Farmers would make so much money they wouldn’t even bother counting it. Governments will love us. New industries would emerge and flourish. Health insurance premiums would plummet. Hospital waiting lists would disappear. Hell “We’d be so healthy; we’d have to shoot someone just to start a cemetery!” So tonight I have 2 Challenges for the opposition:

1.)  Meat causes a wide range of cancers and heart disease. Will they name one disease caused by a vegetarian diet?

2.) I am funding the Earthlings trilogy. If the opposition is so sure of their ground, I challenge them to send the Earthlings DVD to all their colleagues and customers. Go on I DARE YOU.

Animals are not just other species. They are other nations. And we murder them at our peril.

The peace map is drawn on a menu. Peace is not just the absence of war. It is the presence of Justice. Justice must be blind to race, colour, religion or species. If she is not blind, she will be a weapon of terror. And there is unimaginable terror in those ghastly Guantanamos.

If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we wouldn’t need this debate.

I believe another world is possible.

On a quiet night, I can hear her breathing.

Let’s get the animals off the menu and out of these torture chambers.
Please vote tonight for those who have no voice.

Thank you.