Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Read.Eat.Listen: Trophies & Icons

When I was in grade school, my class was shown a cautionary film about extinction (mind you this was Santa Cruz during the 70s). I don't remember much else about the movie other than a scene of mystified children walking through a dusty museum full of taxidermied bears and fox, snakes and raccoons. The children in this movie, set far into the future, didn't recognize the animals, which were known to me and the rest of my class. This really got me. How? Why? What? I liked the fact, growing up in a somewhat rural area, that I knew live animals and their environments to some degree, not just vestiges.  The movie did its job and laid another brick in the foundation of my appreciation of nature. Which is why the implications of the California drought, and then happening upon a seemingly randomly-placed wall full of trophy animals has gotten stuck in my craw of late.
Unbeknownst to me prior to last week, a roadside restaurant along Highway 5 houses a large collection of trophy animals including three polar bears (!), moose heads and pronghorn antelope. We'd stopped for some road food and whatever pie we could find. Upon procuring the latter (in a bit of foreshadowing, a slice of 'Fruits of the Forest' mixed berry pie), we stepped into the cafe/bar side of Granzella's and.. stopped in our tracks: covering the high-ceilinged walls were hundreds of deer, elk and moose heads plus stuffed pheasant, pin-tail ducks and other birds.
'What the.... " We shuddered. Most people in the restaurant weren't evening looking at the stuffed animals.  I flashed on the grade-school movie. I Googled Trophy Animals & the restaurant name to get up to speed. I couldn't really find much other than the collection belonged to the owner of the restaurant. But I did fidd some other, unsettling, information about the practice of trophy hunting from In Defense of Animals. 
Some tips from their site:
What you can do:
  • Contact IDA if you are interested in helping to end trophy hunting.
  • Before you vote for a legislative representative, find out if he/she is supportive of trophy hunting, canned hunts or even involved in the killing of “big game” or any exotic animals. If yes, do not vote for this person!
  • Before booking a safari in foreign countries, make sure the outfitting company does not endorse safari hunts and has no ties to any trophy hunting organization such as the Safari Club International and others.

Read: We came home from a gig Monday to the sad news of Pete Seeger's death and my wind down for the evening was reading his obit. Every songwriter, folk or otherwise, has felt the ripple of Seeger's influence. Reading the news reports and the many tributes, I was struck by what I knew but was once again wowed by: his resolute and fearless activism. What a model for us all.  Alec Wilkinson expanded on his New Yorker profile of Seeger to write The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger.
Eat: On our tour through the Northwest, I was on a quest for the best gluten free bread and found a good representative at Hideaway Bakery in Eugene (note they had a ton of non-GF bread too). Back at home, I've been scratching me head at my options, but have come across some good quick-bread recipes, including this dessert-like one for Date Bread w/Coffee and Ginger from Healthy & Seasonal Recipes. Yum.
Listen: Pete Seeger sings This Land is Your Land:

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