"I've noticed that quite a lot of people who are prominent in the animal liberation movement are Jews. Maybe we are simply not prepared to see the powerful hurting the weak." --Peter Singer (Author, Animal Liberation)


Air Guitaring in Asheville

I just returned from Asheville, N.C., where I competed in the Southeast Regional Air Guitar Championship. I didn't win, but I did a far better job than in last year's New York regional. In the first round, the crowd and judges were really into my electrifying rendition of The Offspring's "Come Out and Play." But in the second round, I had to play Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze." It's an air guitar classic--even a Chabad rabbi has told me so--but as one judge put it, I'd be better off "sticking to Blink-182." Alas, my second-round scores were pretty low. At the end of the night, the two contestants tied for the lead had to simultaneously play the same song, Slayer's Holocaust-glorifying "Angel of Death," and Charlotte-based The God of Thunder defeated Asheville's own The Nature Boy for the right to compete for the national crown next month.

Part of my gimmick involved wearing a Santa costume and giving out presents ("Chew on This" DVDs) wrapped in Christmas paper. One woman in the audience told me that I had a "good soul" for giving out the pro-vegetarian DVDs that had "good information" on them. Another came up to me and asked if she could have one even though she's Jewish. My plan was not to tell people I'm Jewish while dressed up as St. Nick, but I had to give in just that one time! "It's all about the Torah!" she exclaimed, likely while inebriated.

Asheville is a happy hippy haven that was recently voted the most vegetarian-friendly city in the country. Highly recommended are the combo plate (including the grilled tempeh and the sloppy joes) at the Laughing Seed Café, the nice selection of vegan cookies at the West End Bakery, and the jerk tofu sandwich at Barley's Taproom. Eating on the road isn't that glorious, but I was rather pleased with the vegan options at Subway, Ruby Tuesday's, and other chain restaurants. I even found vegan haggis at the Scottish Tartans Museum in Franklin, N.C.! As I told the kilt-wearing store clerk, I guess it's just easy to be vegetarian everywhere you go these days.


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