Category Archives: In the name of…


Lately I’ve been plagued by a sort of guilt that is difficult to describe, particularly for someone who hasn’t written a word in several months…but I’ll do my best.

It’s just this:  Chris and I have made a lot of effort to be fully responsible for our lot in life.  Only on very few occasions have we made rash choices – some we’ve come to rue and others we’ve embraced whole-heartedly – opting primarily for a well-thought-out, rational and reasonable decision-making process.  One of those responsible decsisions has been not to have children.

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Explain, Explain, and Explain again: On “vegans” wearing leather

One of the things people probably find most annoying about vegetarians is how much we talk about being vegetarian.  I know I can’t speak for my fellow veggies about it, but for my part, this is unavoidable for a few important reasons, aside from the fact that I care a lot about animals and consequently want to share that love with the world.  These are as follows:

  • We eat.  And we often eat with others.  Whether they know us or not, and no matter for how long, the subject comes up.  Most often, not of our own volition.
  • Our friends and family often share our lifestyle with new friends in our presence as a conversation-starter.
  • We need animal-related information constantly.  So we read ingredients and we web-search animal-friendly brands, but we do have to ask once in a while:  Is this cooked in butter or olive oil?  Do you carry non-leather shoes?  etc.

That last thing – the bit about the leather shoes – that’s a touchy one.  I remember when I first became vegan, how scrutinized I always felt by people who were becoming newly aware of this part of me.

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An Open Letter to President Obama: What will you do?

Firstly, a disclaimer:  the following letter reflects some pretty strong opinions of the U.S. of A., and is likely to ruffle more than a few feathers.  I would (probably) never ask my readers not to comment, and I’m certainly not doing so now, but in this case I’ll only say that I’ll refrain from replying to any comments – I’ll have had my say in the words that follow.  And if you’re not in the mood for politics or…ahem…a good rant, may as well give this one a miss.  Thanks as always for reading me.

Source: Black Coughenour via Wikimedia Commons


Dear Mr. President,

It is now seven years since I left the United States of America with the express intention of passing the remainder of my life as the resident of Somewhere Else.  In the space of this letter, I will make two generalizations about my fellow U.S. American citizens, and the first is this:  we all have complicated relationships with our nation.  I am no different.  I do not hate the United States; on the contrary, I in fact love it so deeply, I could no longer go on living in it.


My existential disappointments in this life have been many.  Like more and more of us, I struggle to contend with my humanity in the face of human behavior.  I struggle to find a reasonable balance in the never-ending battle of human Good versus Evil, in which Good is too often suffocated by the unbearable weight of hatred, cruelty and greed.  The paradox of the United States is almost overwhelming in this respect.  It is at once the acme of the European lust for conquest – arguably among the purest examples of Evil the world has yet seen – and the promise for which every last sentient human being who wakes up in the morning does so:  Hope.

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A shout out to Senator Ted Lieu and Governor Jerry Brown

This week on elephant journal I’ve written about wrongs being righted…some geographically far away, but all near and dear to my heart.  At the center of all of it is Senate Bill 1172, which officially makes treating children to “cure” them of their homosexuality illegal in California, effective January 2013.

Have a read here, and let me know your thoughts!

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9 thoughts on homelessness

Last week it occurred to me that, although I’d spent the better part of a decade working with homeless people, and although I’m now endeavoring to rebuild my identity as a writer, I’ve never written about homelessness.  If there’s anything I might know a tiny bit of something about, it’s gotta be that, right?

Oh, but then the subject is tender, tricky, and tenuous.  How can one know, how can one properly understand this state of the most absolute poverty, that exists everywhere, that we all so complacently accept as normalcy (most often because we must!  Because what else can we do?).

At any rate, it was the subject of my last article at Elephant Journal – do have a gander if’n you fancy, and let me know what you think!

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More wise words from my favorite wise man*

“America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves…they mock themselves and glorify their betters…Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue…Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money.  They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves.  This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times.  Many novelties have come from America.  The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor.  They do not love one another because they do not love themselves.”

— Kurt Vonnegut

*Thanks to another wise man who brought this eloquent passage to my attention.

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