Ouliposter-Badge-Blue-300x300 Conclude the project by writing a poem that incorporates words and lines from all of your past 29 poems.

Sounds simple enough, till you try to distill 29 days of Oulipo into a single piece. Well, it’s a draft, as always, and rather fun to revisit the various ideas and images that inspired me or drove me crazy over the past month. I will miss the back-and-forth dialogue with fellow Ouliposters, but I received my Oulipo Compendium yesterday in the mail, all the way from Gloucester in the UK, so I’m looking forward to more of this, without the newspaper constraint. Hope you’ve enjoyed the poems. For more patchworks, please visit the Oulipost blog here: http://www.foundpoetryreview.com/blog/oulipost-30-patchwork-quilt/



Winter, mid snowman. City parks bare, a soundscape of static and feedback.
This boggy tip of Newfoundland’s northern landscape, sullen winds hang…

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Chicken Nuggets, With a Side of Respiratory Distress

4p48v3jdykosdb7h9hcv_normalChicken Nuggets, With a Side of Respiratory Distress

At one poultry slaugterhouse, more than 40 perccent of workers have carpal tunnel. Then there’s those noxious chemical odors.

Sarayaku “Children of the Jaguar”

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From Here to China, People Are Still Eating Rare Animals—but Why?

From Here to China, People Are Still Eating Rare Animals—but Why?

Deeply entrenched cultural practices and the allure of the illicit keep threatened species on the menu.

A chef holds the head of an endangered bluefin tuna after cutting its meat at a sushi restaurant in Tokyo on Jan. 5, 2012. (Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)






April 29, 2014

To prepare one of the most notorious dishes in French cuisine, you start by locking a small, live songbird in a darkened box with a large amount of millet. Closed away from the light, the bird eats constantly, fattening its spindly body in a matter of days. After being gorged, the bird is drowned in a shot of Armagnac, plucked of its feathers, and roasted whole—guts and all. Served straight from the oven, diners eat the ortolan, a type of bunting, with a napkin tented over their head. Some say this odd tradition is designed to keep the fleeting aromas of the small birds, which are said to taste of foie gras and truffles, from escaping too quickly. Others say the cloth is to shield the diner’s greed (or shame, depending on who’s recounting the myth) from God as they crunch down on the endangered songbird.

Whether or not the napkin is a sufficient defense against the prying eyes of God is subject to debate. However, symbolically speaking, the ceremonial hood has helped hide the long-standing culinary tradition from France’s government. Ortolan are listed as a threatened species, per the European Union, and it has been illegal to hunt or sell the birds since 1987. But for decades there was such lax enforcement that the government had to announce it would actually start imposing the restrictions it in 2007.

“The small birds, which dine on berries through their brief lives, are cooked whole, with the head on, and without cleaning except for removing the feathers,” Craig Claiborne, the influential New York Times food critic, wrote about ortolan in 1975. “They are as fat as butter and an absolute joy to bite into because of the succulence of the flesh. Even the bones, except for the tiny leg bones, are chewed and swallowed. There is one bird to one bite.”

American gourmands like Claiborne have eaten their fair share of the songbird, but the man who is most strongly associated with dining on ortolan is François Mitterrand, the former French president. Just days before he died of prostate cancer in 1996, he gathered with friends for a famous last meal that featured the bird among other delicacies.

The transgression of Mitterrand’s last supper, where the dying former president consumed what’s romantically thought to be the soul of France, presents such a heady mix of seduction and compulsion that it has not only been recounted in a book but was depicted in a movie too. Those buntings he chewed through under the private cover of a white napkin, alone in his momentary pleasure so near to death, are surely the most famous specimens to have ever been eaten.

“And there’s a lot of contemplation that goes underneath that cloth napkin. It’s like sort of being in a confessional,” Michael Paterniti, who re-created Mitterrand’s last meal, including the illicit songbirds, for a 1998 Esquire story, told NPR in 2006. “You have to own up to your own mortality. And I think that’s what François Mitterrand was most attracted to, trying to achieve some immortal gesture, felt that this bird was the perfect ending of his life.”

The political ironies of a Socialist president ending a life of eating with such a bourgeois meal—the menu also included oysters and foie gras—are somewhat glossed over by Mitterrand’s strong connection to the southwest of France, from whiche both he and many of these dishes originated. But a somewhat similar political ideology has helped push delicacies like shark-fin soup off of communist party banquet tables in China. Last December, Xinhua, the state news agency, announced that a ban on shark fins, bird’s nest, and other wild animal products at state dinners was intended “to regulate the use of public funding on receptions by local authorities to receive visiting Party or government officials.” Or, in other words, consuming these incredibly expensive delicacies was too capitalistic for the People’s Party to continue to endorse.

Now, under a new law that just paseed in China, 420 rare or endangered species, including pangolins and giant pandas, will be illegal to eat in China. Unlike France’s lazy bunting ban, offenses will be punishable by between three and 10 years behind bars. It used to be that it was illegal to take part in the trade of these animals, but diners were off the hook. Kill a Asian black bear, go to jail. Eat a red-braised bear paw that’s killed by someone else and cooked in the Hunan style of stewing meat beloved by none other than Chairman Mao, and you could go home satisfied and scot-free.

I wouldn’t wish time in a Chinese prison on anyone, even if they managed to get past the moral alarms that surely must blare when presented with a plate of panda bear, but it does seem that cutting off demand for these ecologically damaging foods is the only way to curb their appeal. In a recent Los Angeles Times review of the sushi bar Q, Jonathan Gold wrote about a series of courses that featured different cuts of bluefin tuna. While he describes the slices of maguro, chu-toro, and o-toro as “spectacular,” he regretted not stipulating that he didn’t want to eat the increasingly endangered fish.

“There is no excuse for a chef like Naruke to serve bluefin tuna, a species hurtling toward extinction,” he wrote, “and I am furious with myself for not sending it back.” Slipping a piece of sushi into your mouth, a single, simple bite, is far less involved than the ceremony of ortolan. But the point is that once the bird or the bluefin or the bear paw is in front of you, it’s often too late to say no.

Chinese cooking has long played outside the boundaries of chicken, beef, and pork, but the booming economy of recent years has increased the hunger for dinner menus that read like the Endangered Species Act. Rhino and elephant populations are continuing to drop because of the demand for horns and tusks; as many as 100 million sharks have been killed in a year for their fins; Asiatic black bears have been hunted to near extinction in South Korea and are threatened throughout their range; ortolan have the sad distinction of being one of the fastest-declining bird species in Europe.

And before you got othering those crazy Asians and gluttonous French, reprimanding their amoral appetite for threatened species, remember that America’s appetite for sushi has contributed to a 96 percent drop in Pacific bluefin tuna stocks. The Internet may not trade in cute videos of pelagic fish rummaging through dumpsters and eating garage freezers full of meatballs, but the demise of a menacing-looking fish is just as tragic as that of a cute, fuzzy bear or any other animal.

Gold may be furious with himself for eating those pieces of red, raw tuna. But despite having strong words about eating bluefin for years, it still seems that he can’t bring himself to simply say no—and he’s not alone. As someone who has guiltily eaten bluefin tuna on a handful of occasions—which is indeed delicious—saying no to the fish can seem like more trouble than it’s worth.

At a sushi bar like Q, it’s presented as a delicacy, as the apex of a cuisine and culture that, with centuries of tradition behind, is hard-pressed to grapple with the ecological realities of 2014. Skillfully carved into a slight slip, gone in just one bite, eating bluefin is an experience that’s beyond simple to disassociate with the global collapse of a species that can weigh in a at over 500 pounds. As long as it’s there, as long as it’s that simple to fulfill the desire to know what it tastes like, diners will continue to eat bluefin, to eat bear, to eat buntings.

Fuchsia Dunlop, who has written extensively of China and Chinese food, has joked that she’s eaten “far too much meat from endangered species.” But despite any transgressions she’s committed at the dinner table, Dunlop has raised some interesting, difficult questions about the immediate condemnation that people respond with to reports of endangered animals being poached, trafficked and eaten. Writing about China’s hunger for bear paw in 2009, which she has never encountered in her travels, Dunlop says that she would turn it down, should it be presented to her—but it’s not quite as simple as saying now.

“And yet I can’t help wondering if eating such things, gross and unconscionable though it may be, is any worse than driving a car, travelling by plane, using consumer goods whose manufacture and disposal causes catastrophic pollution, or eating a lot of factory-farmed meat,” she continues. “It’s much easier to make a moral point by refusing bear’s paw (particularly if it’s not part of your own culture) than it is to address seriously the impact of our consumerist lifestyles on the planet and its biodiversity, isn’t it?”

Food has intersected with French presidential identity politics in the years since Mitterrand’s death, as is to be expected in a country where food and identity are so intertwined. Charles de Gaulle once famously quipped, “How can anyone govern a nation that has 246 different kinds of cheese?” There was Freedom Fries in the Chirac years, hot dogs and burgers with the Bush family in the Sarkozy years. But no mythic meals of ortolan.

Despite the now actively enforced law against capturing and selling the birds, the culinary promise of ortolan still persists, despite the now actively enforced law against capturing and selling the birds. Around 30,000 birds are trapped in southwest France every year—although some conservation groups say the number is closer to 100,000. In an AFP story from last year, Jean-Roland Barrère, president of the Landes Federation of Hunters, suggested his own plan for slowly limiting the hunt—just let the old men who take part in the tradition die off.

“That is, as the hunters pass on, the role of hunter disappears, and little by little the practice dies out,” he said. But will the appetite for the soul of France die out too?

This is the place where many wonderful animal-pictures coming from:

Our annual garage sale is happening May 31 – June 1 at the Cowichan Exhibition Grounds from 8:30 AM to 3PM. We are now accepting any quality used items until May 17th. All proceeds from this sale stay in the Cowichan Valley to help our homeless animals.
7550 Bell-McKinnon Road
Duncan, B.C.  V9L 6B1
Phone:  250-746-4646   Fax:  746-4633







Food stamp recipients should make healthy nutrition choices, Delaware lawmakers say

Food stamp recipients should make healthy nutrition choices, Delaware lawmakers say

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: food stamp recipients, healthy choices, DelawareApplesCoatedwithChemicals042514

Food stamp recipients should make healthy nutrition choices, Delaware lawmakers say
by J. D. Heyes

Some lawmakers in Delaware believe that residents who receive state and federal food assistance should be required to make healthier food choices, to provide a better return on the taxpayers’ investment.

One such lawmaker, Republican Tim Dukes of Laurel, is so convinced of it that he has recently sponsored new legislation requiring it.

“This problem, food stamps, SNAP is supplemental nutrition, and that’s what we’re focusing on. We want to see people purchasing nutritional food,” said Dukes.

Right now, there are few requirements for federal and state food stamp recipients to buy less of the most questionable foods, in terms of health: sugary or salty snacks, desert items, sugary soft drinks, energy drinks and high-calorie foods, all of which have been proven to lead to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and other costly health problems.

Dukes told local media that his bill does not in any way reduce the amount of benefits or the amount of food that can be purchased by the state’s “most vulnerable citizens.” However, he said, “I just believe it is ludicrous to have a government nutrition program that subsidizes poor nutritional habits.”

In addition, his legislation would direct the Delaware Health and Social Services Department to seek a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees federal food stamp and assistance programs, in order to be able to implement the revisions.



“Put down the chopsticks, and step away from the pangolin stew!”


In China, Eat a Rare Animal—Go to Jail

Legislators in the world’s most populous nation have taken endangered species off the menu.

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(Photo: Getty Images)

April 26, 2014 By Salvatore Cardoni

“Put down the chopsticks, and step away from the pangolin stew!”

Chinese diners of rare animals will soon be hearing such commands from police officers after the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislative body, reinterpreted an existing law Thursday, making it illegal to knowingly eat endangered species. Offenders could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

In China, it is already illegal to catch, kill, or trade in rare animals, but the ramifications for eating them were murky until now.

“Eating rare wild animals is not only bad social conduct but also a main reason why illegal hunting has not been stopped despite repeated crackdowns,” said Lang Sheng, deputy head of parliament’s Legislative Affairs Commission.

The Chinese government classifies 420 species of indigenous wild animals as rare or endangered, including tigers, giant pandas, pangolins, and Asian black bears.

Rare animals have long been a staple of traditional Chinese cuisine and medicine.

The Race to Save the Pangolin, the Most Trafficked Animal on Earth

Though there is no scientific basis for such claims, the roasted scales of a pangolin, for example, are believed to detoxify the body and treat asthma and cancer. The meat of the scaled mammal is considered a delicacy by China’s emerging middle class. According to one estimate, poachers have killed up to 182,000 pangolins since 2011.

Pressured by both international and in-state animal activists, Chinese officials finally appear to be recognizing their citizens’ role in the poaching epidemic. Two dozen people were arrested in January for trafficking animal parts across nine Chinese provinces. And in a public display intended to discourage smuggling and reduce demand, authorities crushed six tons of elephant ivory in March.

This week’s amended law only emboldens activists. “This is very, very encouraging,” said Grace Gabriel, Asia regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. “Adding consumption to the criminal law can play a very important part in curtailing and…stigmatizing” dining on rare animals, she said.


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  1. www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn55YYCMABA


    Por favor no insulten a la Patria, que somos argentinos los que luchamos, Firmen la petición y difundan el video Gracias http://www.change.org/petitions/ec-eu…
    En la Argentina cada año unos 200.000 caballos se mandan al matadero para exportar su carne, fundamentalmente hacia Europa. Existen sólo cuatro frigoríficos habilitados. Uno en Entre Ríos, con 18% de la faena. Otro en Río Cuarto, Córdoba, con el 26%. Y los dos restantes en territorio bonaerense. El primero en Trenque Lauquen maneja el 21% de la torta, y el segundo y más activo de todos está en Mercedes, con el 35%.

    Pese a que la carne nacional cotiza más barata, el negocio marcha. El año pasado, la Secretaría de
    Agricultura registró que cada tonelada de carne de caballo se vendió a un promedio de 1.384 dólares. Son cerca de 4 pesos por kilo. Ese precio no quedó muy lejos del de la carne vacuna, que se exportó a un precio promedio de 1.512 dólares.

    Una situación que hace más lucrativo el negocio es que en el país no se faenan caballos criados especialmente para ese fin, como los robustos animales de la raza Percherón, que en Europa se utilizan con un “doble propósito”, para tiro y para carne. Aquí el negocio es de rezagos. Los intermediarios van por los campos recolectando caballos que han cumplido su vida útil o que fueron robados, obteniendolos a muy bajo precio

    A nivel local las cosas son distintas. Durante mucho tiempo, la faena de caballos para consumo doméstico directamente estuvo prohibida, por las consideraciones especiales de los argentinos para con dicho animal, un noble compañero para los hombres de campo. En 1998, cuando Carlos Menem habilitó por decreto también el mercado interno, la Asociación para la Defensa de los Derechos del Animal (ADDA) le pidió que diera marcha atrás. Hoy seguimos padeciendo ese Decreto, ya que fomenta el robo de equinos.
    Ver http://gloria-adopciones.blogspot.com…