cluster of grapes

The Viva Vine: vol #5, no #3: November / December 1996

G . R . A . P . E . V . I . N . E


The VivaVine welcomes your letters. 
Send them to our post office box address . . .or:

Murder king below

I am located over a Burger King and next door to a McDonald's on the busiest pedestrian streets of San Francisco and California. Seven million people per year go by my door, really! This is somewhat unique, I believe. Imagine the smell, imagine the choice of poisons the consumer can make, and imagine the trash on my door and the type of people who are attracted to these businesses (gangs, etc.). Imagine what they have done to this block. ... (i.e. ruined it.)

I have an art gallery/photography studio over the top of the BK with a huge picture window, fifty feet wide. I also have a long term lease. Imagine the possibilities: Mad cow cutouts flying around stuck to the outside of the building, sick looking cuts of beef on poignant signs: "You are what you eat" in 3 foot letters. The possibilities are endless. I hate BK and McD's passionately, and I am very motivated. We have extensive graphic design and photography capabilities, as well as media contacts. These two business side by side make a perfect target and could easily be leafletted significantly.

Bennett Hall

"Moooo! Help!"

A couple of Halloweens ago, a pal and I dressed up as Ronald McD and a cow--I was the cow.

Ronald McD and poor cow victimVolunteering at local Halloween hay rides we'd change into our "real" costumes and do our shtick. When the hay ride came by, I'd run out alongside yelling "Moooo! Help!" Then, while attention was directed at me, "Ronald" would run around the front of the tractor/wagon, bearing down on me with a butcher's cleaver, spattering red paint. "Ronald" would then "cut me down" and "butcher me" in front of the riders. I'd try to make gruesome noises.

Pat Fish
Utica, NY

(Ill)health connection

In a letter to the editor published in The New York Times, Eleanor Ferrar of New York wrote:

"A Sept 5 news article says fewer than 25 percent of Americans eat a healthy diet. We have raised a generation (or two) of obese, at-risk adults.

"You also report that McDonald's spends $800 million a year on advertising. Doesn't anyone see the connection? Perhaps President Clinton and his advisers should be attacking junk food instead of cigarettes. Only part of the population smokes, but everyone eats."

One open-minded
NYC Congressman

Editor's comment: Some VivaVine readers may recall that The VivaVegie Society sent 101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian to every member of the US Senate and House of Representatives in November of 1994. Of the some 15 or so responses, not one (!) of the elected officials used the word "vegetarian" in their letter--why is that? Anyway, that has now all changed, since VivaVine copy editor Charles Patterson took the initiative to send his Congressman Jerrold Nadler a copy of "the mighty convincer."

Nadler's response:

Thank you for sending me a copy of "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian".

I appreciate your thoughtfulness, and look forward to reading the article.

Thank you again.
Sincerely, Jerrold Nadler
Member of Congress
11 Beach Street, Suite 910
New York, NY 10013

VivaVegie comment: VivaVegie members may want to write to Congressman Nadler to quiz him to see if he actually read "the 101." And if so, what his thoughts are now...

Sausage=floor scraps

Hi Pam: When I was about 12 years old I had a part time job after school delivering orders for the kosher butcher in my neighborhood. One of my duties was to deliver our scraps to the salami factory. The scraps were the trimmings, waste and fat that were cut off the meat before it was sold. This would fall on the floor and get mixed in with the saw dust (who said meat has no fiber) and walked on all day.

At the end of the day I would sweep it up and put it in a large bag and bring it to the salami factory. The salami factory was a dirty building under the El on Jerome Ave. The walls were lined with Fly paper and there were so many flies on the paper that it was almost completely covered. The building had such a horrible odor that I used to get sick from it. I could not stand it after few seconds. I used to gag.

Anyway, the scraps were ground into a liquid and pumped into what looked like a giant condom, and that was salami! I never ate salami after that. That was over 40 years ago. I don't know if they're still doing the same thing but I suspect that they are.

Lenny Morgenstern
Bronx, NY

One sandwich board, coming up!

I have talked to my friend and she will be please to help me in my endeavor to have a "sandwich board" made for my own self-styled "veg-evangelism," --a la VivaVegie.

I'll keep you posted. I'll definitely send some pictures.

Beulah Trist
Monterey, CA

Zippo for Onions

Regarding your story: "What You're Not Going to Find Out ..." (VivaVine, Sept./Oct., 1996), I am an onion farmer in Orange County, New York. We are facing our most devastating year, weather wise, in over 50 years.

Almost my entire crop was wiped out and 1/3 of our valley is total garbage with the rest being severely affected. Yet we are getting ZERO, ZIPPO help from the Federal government. Ours has not been declared a disaster county and Federal crop insurance, which is designed to pay out, is giving NOTHING. We get no tax breaks or subsidies.

What sort of farmers get the breaks and help described in your article? What do they grow and where? Our valley has never received the types of breaks you described. It makes me a little mad, to be honest.

Sincerely, Chris Pawelski

VivaVegie response: It is amazing how the Federal government coddles the livestock industry. It neurotically worries about prices in the market for cattle, afraid to do anything that could adversely affect cattle prices. It showers grain farmers with subsidies to keep cattlemen's costs down. Onions? Kinda lacks that cowboy mystique I guess. It's a meat thing.

The Chosen Society

Dear Pamela:

Here is my check for an annual membership fee in the Chosen Society.By the way, I already distributed almost all my copies of "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian," so the number of the chosen people may go up! I made sure to give it only to the people who are sincerely concerned and interested, so no "101" ends up in the garbage.

Alex Matskevich
Brooklyn, NY

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