unnecessary products

pretty-love-ly  asked:

Isn't supporting bee keepers by buying honey kind of a good thing? Like its a double edged sword bc we shouldn't use animals as food and all but right now with the changing climate and GMO crops and colony collapse disorder it's killing off bees and we desperately need them, so isn't it a good thing that bee keepers are keeping bees alive?

Hi there pretty-love-ly!

We’ve been tricked into believing that honey is simply a byproduct of the essential pollination provided by farmed honeybees. Did you know though that the honeybee’s wild counterparts (such as bumblebees, carpenter and digger bees) are much better pollinators? They are also less likely than farmed honeybees to be affected by mites and Africanized bees. The issue is that these native bees can hibernate for up to 11 months out of the year and do not live in large colonies. Thus, they do not produce massive amounts of honey for a  $157 million dollar a year industry.

Honey and the Different Types of Bees

Honey bees: Honey bees make a large quantity of honey (possible due to the size of colonies – that is, many worker bees collecting nectar). Honey consists of nectar combined with a ‘bee enzyme’ that goes through a process of concentration in the honeycomb before it is capped by the bees.

Bumblebees: Bumblebees, in one sense, make a form of honey, which they collect in nectar pots to be eaten by the colony, including the newly hatched worker females. However, the process of concentrating, capping, and the making of honey combs does not happen in bumblebee colonies, nor is nectar stored over winter, since only the queen survives and hibernates, whilst the rest of the colony do not.

Solitary bees: Solitary bees do not make honeycombs. They construct egg cells which they provision with a ball of nectar and pollen that will be consumed by the new larvae.

Honey bees will pollinate many plant species that are not native to their natural habitat but are often inefficient pollinators of such plants.

The crops that can be only pollinated by honey bees are:

• Guar Bean
• Quince
• Lemon
• Lime
• Karite
• Tamarind

The crops that are pollinated by bees, in general, are:

• Apples
• Mangos
• Rambutan
• Kiwi Fruit
• Plums
• Peaches
• Nectarines
• Guava
• Rose Hips
• Pomegranites
• Pears
• Black and Red Currants
• Alfalfa
• Okra
• Strawberries
• Onions
• Cashews
• Cactus
• Prickly Pear
• Apricots
• Allspice
• Avocados
• Passion Fruit
• Lima Beans
• Kidney Beans
• Adzuki Beans
• Green Beans
• Orchid Plants
• Custard Apples
• Cherries
• Celery
• Coffee
• Walnut
• Cotton
• Lychee
• Flax
• Acerola – used in Vitamin C supplements
• Macadamia Nuts
• Sunflower Oil
• Goa beans
• Lemons
• Buckwheat
• Figs
• Fennel
• Limes
• Quince
• Carrots
• Persimmons
• Palm Oil
• Loquat
• Durian
• Cucumber
• Hazelnut
• Cantaloupe
• Tangelos
• Coriander
• Caraway
• Chestnut
• Watermelon
• Star Apples
• Coconut
• Tangerines
• Boysenberries
• Starfruit
• Brazil Nuts
• Beets
• Mustard Seed
• Rapeseed
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Cabbage
• Brussels Sprouts
• Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)
• Turnips
• Congo Beans
• Sword beans
• Chili peppers, red peppers, bell peppers, green peppers
• Papaya
• Safflower
• Sesame
• Eggplant
• Raspberries
• Elderberries
• Blackberries
• Clover
• Tamarind
• Cocoa
• Black Eyed Peas
• Vanilla
• Cranberries
• Tomatoes
• Grapes

Check this chart to see which type of bees can pollinate those crops.

While you may spread a heaping tablespoon of honey on your morning toast without thinking, creating each drop is no small feat. To make one pound of honey, a colony must visit over two million flowers, flying over 55,000 miles, at up to 15 miles per hour to do so. During a bee’s lifetime, she will only make approximately one teaspoon of honey, which is essential to the hive for times when nectar is scarce, such as during winter. At times, there may be an excess in the hive, but this amount is difficult to determine and large-scale beekeepers often remove all or most of it and replace it with a sugar or corn syrup substitute. Can you imagine someone removing all the fruit juice from your house and replacing it with fruit-flavored soda? It may still give you energy, but eventually, it will probably make you sick.

BEES DIE FOR YOUR HONEY

Another thing to think about while you sit by your beeswax candle and contemplate the lives of these little fellows is that bees must consume approximately eight pounds of honey to produce each pound of wax! And the more we take from them (bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis) the harder these creatures must work and the more bees are needed, which isn’t good news for a population that is dwindling.

When you see a jar of honey, you may think of the sweet cartoon hives depicted in childhood stories such as Winnie the Pooh. But most hives are now confined to large boxes (a completely foreign shape to bees) that are jostled and shipped around the country to pollinate crops and produce honey. This is stressful and confusing to the bees’ natural navigation systems. Along the way, bees are lost and killed, and may spread diseases from one infected hive to another. The practice of bee farming often limits the bees’ diet to monoculture crops, introduces large amounts of pesticides into their systems and causes the farmed bees to crowd out the native wild pollinators that may have been otherwise present. Beekeepers (even small-scale backyard beekeepers) will also kill the queens if they feel the hive is in danger of swarming (fleeing their file cabinet shaped homes) or drones* that they deem unnecessary to honey production. * The drones’ main function is to fertilize the queen when needed.

We have got to the point where we mass exploit honeybees as pollinators to fix a problem that should be fixed from the roots and not partially.

“At certain times of the year, three or four trucks carrying beehives rumble along Highway 20 every week. Their destination: California, where the bees are required for pollination services. During my time in California researching dairy farms, I learned about an extraordinary consequence of intensive farming taken to extremes: industrialized pollination - a business that is rapidly expanding as the natural bee population collapses. In certain parts of the world, as a result of industrial farming, there are no longer enough bees to pollinate the crops. Farmers are forced to hire or rent them in”
— Farmagedon. The True Cost of Cheap Meat

The Case of the Disappearing Bees

The question of what will happen if bees disappear may not be far from being answered. Over the past couple of years, stories about bees disappearing and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) have been popping up in the The New York Times, Star Tribune, Huffington Post, PBS, Discovery News and more. If nothing else wakes us up, perhaps the fact that the disappearance of bees has become front page news will. Scientists are rushing to discover what’s causing this problem before it’s too late and before we lose the important environmental link created by bees.

Thus far, there are three main theories/contributing factors:

  • Pesticides

Pennsylvania State University published a study in 2010 that found “unprecedented levels” of pesticides in honeybees and hives in the United States. (If it’s in the bees and hives, what do you think is in your honey?) Some of these chemicals are killing bees, and guess what? The EPA knows about it.

“The EPA identifies two specific neonicotinoids, imidacloprid and clothianidin, as highly toxic to bees. Both chemicals cause symptoms in bees such as memory loss, navigation disruption, paralysis, and death.

Both chemicals have been linked to dramatic honeybee deaths and subsequent suspensions of their use in France and Germany. Several European countries have already suspended them. Last year Slovenia and Italy also suspended their use for what they consider a significant risk to honeybee populations.”

– Mother Earth News

This is old news; this story came out in 2009. But has anything changed here? Not as far as I can tell.

  • Mites and Viruses

With weakened immune systems (stress, inferior food sources, pesticides etc.) bees have become more susceptible to viruses, fungal infections, and mites. Many of these invasive bugs are spread as hives are moved around the country or transferred from country to country.

While there are a number of treatments on the market for the mites, viruses, fungus and other pests that are attacking our colonies, none have solved the problem completely. These treatments can also introduce antibiotics, pesticides and other chemicals into the hives in an attempt to prevent or heal the infection. If these chemicals (often on strips) are not removed from the hive after they lose potency, they can, in fact, help the viruses or mites become resistant to treatment in the future.

  • Cell phones

This is one of the newest theories on CCD and may need further testing.

“According to a Swiss researcher who recently published a paper on the subject, the electromagnetic waves from mobile phones have a significant impact on the behavior of honeybees and could potentially be harming honeybees around the world.”

“To test the relationship between honeybees and buzzing cell phones, he placed phones inside bee hives and then monitored the bees’ reaction. He found that in the presence of actively communicating cellphones (those not in standby mode), bees produced the sounds known as “worker piping,” which tends to indicate disturbance in a bee colony.”

– ABC News

Cell phones, pesticides and viruses aside, commercial bee farming – whether organic (where bee deaths are fewer, but still occur) or conventional – does not provide bees with the opportunity to live out their normal life cycle. No matter how small the animal, farming is farming. Whether you choose to buy backyard honey or a large brand, eating honey and using other bee products encourages using bees for profit.

If you truly want to save bees as a whole and not only honey bees because is much more convenient.. then support bee sanctuaries, boycott the agribusiness and its use of chemicals everywhere. Here I leave some ideas and ways to help bees.

  • Sanctuaries
  1. Spikenard Farm  Honeybee Sanctuary | • Virginia, USA •
  2. New York Bee Sanctuary | • New York, USA •
  3. Native Bee Sanctuary | • Australia •
  4. Artemis Smiles - Honey Bee Sanctuary | • Hawaii, USA •
  5. Urban Evergreen Bee Sanctuary | • Washington, USA •
  6. The Honeybee Helpers | • North West, Ireland •
  7. Bee Sanctuary - The Bee School | • North Carolina, USA •
  8. Bellingen Bee Sanctuary | • Australia •
  9. Morgan Freeman Converted His 124 Acre Ranch Into A Bee Sanctuary To Help Save The Bees
  • Plant your garden with bee-friendly plants

In areas of the country where there are few agricultural crops, honeybees rely upon garden flowers to ensure they have a diverse diet and to provide nectar and pollen. Encourage honeybees to visit your garden by planting single flowering plants and vegetables. Go for all the allium family, all the mints, all beans except French beans and flowering herbs. Bees like daisy-shaped flowers - asters and sunflowers, also tall plants like hollyhocks, larkspur and foxgloves. Bees need a lot of pollen and trees are a good source of food. Willows and lime trees are exceptionally good.

  • Encourage local authorities to use bee-friendly plants in public spaces

Some of the country’s best gardens and open spaces are managed by local authorities. Recently these authorities have recognised the value of planning gardens, roundabouts and other areas with flowers that attract bees. Encourage your authority to improve the area you live in by adventurous planting schemes. These can often be maintained by local residents if the authority feels they do not have sufficient resources.

  • Weeds can be a good thing

Contrary to popular belief, a lawn full of clover and dandelions is not just a good thing—it’s a great thing! A haven for honeybees (and other native pollinators too). Don’t be so nervous about letting your lawn live a little. Wildflowers, many of which we might classify as weeds, are some of the most important food sources for native North American bees. If some of these are “weeds” you chose to get rid of (say you want to pull out that blackberry bush that’s taking over), let it bloom first for the bees and then before it goes to seed, pull it out or trim it back!

  • Don’t use chemicals or pesticides to treat your lawn or garden

Yes, they make your lawn look pristine and pretty, but they’re actually doing the opposite to the life in your biosphere. The chemicals and pest treatments you put on your lawn and garden can cause damage to the honeybees systems. These treatments are especially damaging if applied while the flowers are in bloom as they will get into the pollen and nectar and be taken back to the bee hive where they also get into the honey—which in turn means they can get into us. Pesticides, specifically neo-nicotinoid varieties have been one of the major culprits in Colony Collapse Disorder.

  • Bees are thirsty. Put a small basin of fresh water outside your home

You may not have known this one—but it’s easy and it’s true! If you have a lot of bees starting to come to your new garden of native plants, wildflowers, and flowering herbs, put a little water basin out (a bird bath with some stones in it for them to crawl on does a nice trick). They will appreciate it!

  • Let dandelions and clover grow in your yard.

Dandelions and clover are two of the bees’ favorite foods – they provide tons of nourishment and pollen for our pollinators to make honey and to feed their young (look at this bee frolicking in a dandelion below – like a pig in shit!) And these flowers could not be any easier to grow – all you have to do is not do anything.

I highly recommend also taking a look at this article too as honey is tested on animals, yes, as it says and the article explains honey is tested on dogs, cats, goats, rabbits, mice, rats…

As you can see, there is much more than saying “let’s help the bees by eating honey, vegans are dumb, they need to eat honey because what they eat relies on it”... We can save the bees without taking away the honey they produce, that’s a fact.

Honey is meant as a health food; a healthy food for bees. The more we interfere with their natural processes, both by relying on farmed bees as pollinators (rather than other native wild bees, insects or animals) and to feed our desires for “sweets,” the close we’re coming to agricultural disaster.

Sources

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Hey y'all, have any men's deoderant recommendations? No experience in it whatsoever and in need of help. Thanks

Ryn says:

A lot of my friends use Old Spice. There’s a bunch of different scents, but I know a few people who use the like “Wolfthorn” or “Bearglove” or stuff like that. Also general Old Spice. My brother just uses like a “Degree for Men” generic thing. I personally have this aversion to all things Axe because of middle school and the fact that the locker rooms never smelled like anything but Axe, but if you find a scent you like in that, it’s got a good reputation. There’s probably a few others there. It might be worth just wandering down the deodorant aisle at like a Target or a drugstore and just trying something for a little while. You can try stuff for like a month or so by getting like the travel versions of some of these- they’re like a third of the size. 

Followers? Any you particularly like? 

Oatmeal Beauty Benefits

Oatmeal, rather than it only being used as a healthy breakfast, actually boasts beauty benefits. You can use oatmeal to help take care of acne, dry skin, irritation, dullness, and more. There are many ways that you can use oatmeal by itself, rather than going out to stores and spending money on products. I, myself, have a box of 100% Natural Whole Grain Quaker Oats. Here are some ways that you can use it.

  • Oatmeal Bath: Pour a cup of plain oatmeal (blended) into your tub as it fills up with warm water. The oatmeal will cleanse your skin, soften, and moisturize your skin, which help lock in moisture and protect skin from exterior irritants. 
  • Face Scrub: Oatmeal contains chemicals known as saponins, characterized by their cleansing properties. Simply grab a quarter sized amount of oatmeal and mix it with warm water in your hand. Once its soggy, squeeze out the oatmeal water onto your other hand and apply that to your face. It would be like a base before you actually start scrubbing the oatmeal onto your face, AND it makes your skin incredibly soft! Then you would scrub the oatmeal onto your face in gentle circular motions. Leave it for 2 minutes then wash off with warm water then cold. Then do your usual night time skincare routine.  

*Here’s a guide by Bubzbeautywww.youtube.com/watch?v=7e5_RVBwNjE

  • Exfoliator: Try blended oatmeal, coconut oil, brown sugar and warm water. You’ll get the same cleansing and buffering properties without all the unnecessary harshness from beauty products or over the counter items. Plus, the coconut oil will give your skin a healthy glow. 
  • Dry Shampoo: Just as oatmeal works at removing excess dirt from the body, it can also help to reduce the appearance of dirty hair. You can brush through a light dusting of finely ground oats throughout your strands to soak up excess oils. This will help relieve an itchy scalp. 

Health Tip: Oatmeal can help reduce cholesterol. 3 grams of soluble fiber from oatmeal daily in a diet, low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. 

anonymous asked:

your "super heterosexual" Sarah is heavily pregnant and you kept pushing this picture like crazy. It's all over the place and nobody (including your followers) fucking tags pregnancy even if it's not a secret that a few people (and number doesn't matter btw) are uncomfortable with the sight of huge pregnant bellies

Yeah. I’m pushing it like crazy because it’s my livelihood. It’s the cover of one of my books. I’m not going to stop posting it ‘everywhere’ because I enjoy paying my mortgage and eating food. 

I’m happy to tag things, but your entitled, nasty, profane request is wholly unnecessary and counter-productive. Perhaps you’d find people would be more accommodating if you asked them nicely? No one has ever asked me to tag pregnancy before, so I can’t possibly be expected to know it upsets people. You shouldn’t expect people automatically know this, and you should also imagine what it’s like to have someone come to your inbox and start ranting and swearing at you for not tagging something you didn’t even know upsets people? It’s not fair, and you’re not being very nice about it. 

reddit.com
Tips to Control Impulse Spending (especially if you grew up poor) • r/personalfinance
Someone over on LPT asked for tips on controlling impulse spending, since they grew up without money and now have a lot of it. I thought I'd...

Originally written because it feels like most advice pieces for people who impulse spend were written by people who’ve never felt those impulses and grew up pretty comfortably, to boot.

Someone over on LPT asked for tips on controlling impulse spending, since they grew up without money and now have a lot of it. I thought I’d compile and share my tips. If these or tips like these have been posted before (and I just missed it when I searched for them), please let me know, and I’ll delete this post.

(Disclaimer: This is not meant to be universal or all-encompassing, they’re just suggestions that people can try and see if it works for them. These were written with a disadvantaged background in mind, and are based off my own experiences.)

  • Firstly, as soon as you get paid, pay off your bills (and/or set aside money for bills), and then immediately move some money into a savings account where it is, at the very least, a little difficult to access. This already limits the amount of money you have sitting in your checking account or wherever that’s easily accessible to you, and also makes sure impulse spending doesn’t start to impede on your financial obligations and important expenditures. Think of it as preventative/preemptive damage control.
  • If you’re going shopping (i.e. grocery shopping) and keep wanting things you don’t need, put it in the cart and keep going. Otherwise, you’ll spend the rest of the trip in the store thinking about it and convincing yourself you want it/need it. But putting it into your cart and “planning on”/expecting to buy it means you’ll sort of stop thinking about it and can just keep going through your list. Just before you go up to the cashier, go through your cart. Most likely, you’ll already start to feel those shades of “buyer’s remorse”, or at least realize how stupid or unnecessary the product is (now that you’ve psychologically spent some time “away” from it), and you’ll put it back. This only works if it’s a lot easier for you to make yourself put things back than stop yourself from picking it up in the first place.
  • For return-able things, just go ahead and buy it, hold onto the receipt, and set an alarm for a day or two before the return period expires. If you haven’t used it by then, return it. (Again, by then you’ll probably already be feeling buyer’s remorse, anyway). Sometimes, it helps to wrap it in a bag and staple/tape that bag shut, and write that date on the bag. You’re a lot more likely to regret an impulse than to stop it in the first place - so work with that.
  • Get into the habit of making a list of what you need, and sticking to it…but if you find something you want, don’t tell yourself “no, I don’t need it” - just tell yourself, “I’ll come back and get it tomorrow”. Nine times out of ten, you won’t, but in that moment when you really want something, it’s easier to convince yourself to walk away when you “know” you’ll come back for it. But if you do come back, buy it, and hold onto the receipt. Either it turned you really did need it/wanted it (it happens!), or you can return it.
  • Intentionally give yourself some wiggle room to control it. i.e. “I can spend $10 on stupid shit I don’t need, but no more than that.” Allow yourself a few small impulse buys to stave off the bigger ones. Make this money easily accessible, i.e. cash in your pocket (as opposed to cards in your wallet). If you are going to impulse buy something, better a cheap candy bar than an expensive appliance.
  • Corollary: sometimes, set out to treat yourself. Growing up poor, you get used to holding onto or grabbing for everything, because there is just so little of it and you never knew when the next tiny windfall would come. You got used to denial, and now impulse buying is a sort of reaction to that. If you never treat yourself and continue to guilt yourself over the times you do, you’re basically just recreating that psychological environment of denial, and perpetuating the same cycle in a slightly different direction. Treat yourself every now and then to something stupid, in a way that’s built into your budget. i.e. I go buy myself a stupid, overly priced Fro-Yo whenever I get paid, or a Funko Pop, or a bag of candy, or a book. It took a while, but this eventually made me less hung up on my impulses in the first place, and in the long run reduced a lot of my impulse buying. I intentionally set out to buy something that would normally only be an impulse buy, so that over time, I’m less likely to feel impulses in the first place.
  • Finally, if you accidentally opened/used something once, waited too long, or are otherwise unable to return it, set it aside as a gift for someone (especially if it’s something you know you won’t use often or even ever again). And set it aside for someone specific. You’re less likely to use it if you already have a specific person who you know this item is now “for”, and some of the money you just “lost” on this stupid impulse buy, you can get back when you “save” money come birthday or holiday season and you already have a gift for this person (meaning you don’t have to go out and buy one). Even better, just gift-wrap it right away - you’re less likely to try and use it if you have to undo that work of wrapping it, and you’ll viscerally “feel” more like you’re taking away someone’s gift if you use that unnecessary item (so you’re less likely to try). Keep a roll of holiday-neutral giftwrap on hand just for impulse buys. (Disclaimer: only do this if it is actually nice enough to give as a gift.)
  • Bonus: counter-intuitive as it sounds, use a credit card to buy this shit, but again, set an alarm for the return date. If you don’t return it, go through the motions of transferring or paying off that purchase’s amount from your checking account to your credit card. You go through the process of paying, but you’re not getting the emotional pay-off of “getting” something new (since you already have that item). Do that enough times, and you may start to feel that impulse less in the first place, as you start to build up the association of dissatisfaction with impulse purchases.

The news of what happened last night has got me really shaken up, and I’m still trying to process it. this particular attack hits close to home – literally and figuratively. As some of you know, I do live in Las Vegas not even twenty minutes from Mandalay Bay. & obviously you are all aware that Ren is set in Las Vegas, and my muse for her is very somber, if there at all. Luckily me and my fiancee are safe, and so far I’m unaware of any of my friends being at the event. Still, what happened is horrific & my thoughts go out to those who are in attendance, & their families.

anonymous asked:

Don't you hate when food items have completely unnecessary animals products? Today, I found out that my vegetable broth has milk in it. Veggie broth. Milk.

Ugh yes! 😒🙄 when you go vegan is when you realize how everything has animal products, is like when people tell me that they just only eat cheese every now and then and no milk… but they consume a lot of products like these without notice it! 

2

 BRIAR SINCLAIR + NAME MEANINGS ! 

BRIAR english, a thorny patch.
ESMERALDA spanish, emerald. 
ROSE latin, flower / a rose.
SINCLAIR scottish, pure, renowned, illustrious.

anonymous asked:

I recently went to a local farm for educational purposes and I learned that unfertilized eggs are the equivalent of human menstrual cycles. This farm only sells unfertilized eggs. Being that they are animal waste that has potential, is this a form of unethical consumption? Some humans do decide to eat their own menstrual byproducts. What are your thoughts? Am I misinformed?

I’m afraid you’ve been a little bit misled. Eggs aren’t a waste product as far as the industry or chickens are concerned. Eggs are the reason these chickens are bred and kept, and producing eggs is hugely resource intensive for the chickens. It isn’t the case that farms just collect what the chickens won’t use, farms have been breeding chickens to produce more and more eggs for decades, and farms employ a wide range of devices to increase egg production even further. A human choosing to eat something they produce, for example those who choose to eat their placenta, is a very different thing than someone else breeding them, keeping them in captivity and then taking it from them without their consent.

The life of an egg-laying chicken normally lasts 12 to 18 months. During this time, in most commercial egg operations they will be kept in constant bright light to manipulate their natural cycles and keep them laying all year round. These facilities are often extremely cramped, so it is standard industry practice to sear or cut off portions of the beaks of laying hens to prevent them pecking or cannibalising each other due to stress and boredom. This prevents chickens from engaging in most of their natural behaviours, including foraging and grooming. 

The farms themselves are not the only issue either, those hens were very likely sourced from a vast hatchery, where male chicks are commonly ground up alive as they do not lay eggs and are not considered profitable for meat production. Once a hen’s egg production begins to slow, they are almost always sent to slaughter, usually in the exact same slaughterhouses as their factory farmed counterparts. 

There is just no way to acquire animal products without there being exploitation, and considering the fact that eggs are such an unnecessary product, there is really no reason for us to try to find justifications and loopholes. It’s a very easy thing for us to just not consume them, rather than supporting industries and individuals who make a profit from their exploitation and suffering. 

anonymous asked:

Naf, what are your favorite animes/mangas? Also, happy new year!! :)

Happy new year!! 

So I had an old list of my favorite anime/manga but it’s a bit outdated so I’m gonna make a new one. Yeah!

(this is a long as fuck post, apologies!)

Comics/Manga:

  • Otoyomegatari (eng: Bride’s Story): so I know this series is already pretty renowned but IT’S JUST SO GORGEOUS. The detail and research that goes into this series is so! frickin’! good!! The characters are subtle but full of personality, the humor is delivered in a very human way, the pacing is slow and gentle but full of interest, the story telling is refined. And the cultures are not demonized?? While there are “outsider” perspectives everyone works realistically within the confines of their societies and it’s really respectful. The age gap of the main couple (the groom is 12 and the bride is 20) has so much potential to be squicky but it’s healthy and not framed in any gross way. I love the way the series jumps to different areas and explores small arcs outside the main storyline, all staying within the theme of cultural marriages. Among these side stories, there is one with a majority dark-skinned cast, and the main characters are these carefree and fun-loving twin girls who are so much fun to read about! There’s also another story with a healthy polyamorous story that is, again, actually very accurate!! (Some people could argue it’s “platonic” but the way it’s executed really, really drips with romance lmao.) Highly suggest this series!!
  • Boku no Hero Academia (eng:My Hero Academy): I’ve completely fallen into the BnHA pit. I didn’t expect to like this series THIS MUCH but it is really, reeaaalllyyy damn good. I’ve never read a shounen series that had so much thought and good editing put into it. Like, it has incredible reread value! There’re a lot of small jokes (like single-panel but still very effective! jokes), unbelievable attention to detail, and it’s very obvious the characters were all worked out before the story was kicked off. The pacing is great, the momentum never feels sacrificed, yet there are still good chunks for breathing and emotional development. The characters are all very well-written even if they’re not “likeable,” you always have someone to root for, and the superpowers are refreshingly executed. The action is fucking FANTASTIC, and the story itself is intriguing with a lot of emotional impact without becoming hamfisted.
    There are still some issues with it, especially with the small amount of female characters and some unneeded romance undertones, but overall those criticisms do stay as “undertones” and probably weren’t done intentionally. A lot of the potential “fanservice scenes” are usually subverted in a hilarious way
  • Gakuen Babysitters (eng: School Babysitters): OOH BOY. This one’s a story about a high school with a daycare attached to it (mainly for the teachers’ kids). The main character is a high school student with a toddler-age younger brother, they’re new to this school and have to meet all the other kids… who are fucking adorable. All the toddlers at the daycare are really fleshed out, they all have set personalities and aren’t unrealistically angelic and some are bratty and most are CUTE AF, and they all have their moments to shine. Sometimes the characters border on caricatures or one-note jokes, but it works well for comedy and is generally kept fresh. There’re also some typical romance-y things but they’re totally glazed over in favor of the toddler-plots and YES A STORY WHERE KIDS AREN’T USED AS A PLOT DEVICE TO MAKE SOMEONE MORE ROMANTICALLY APPEALING AND seriously this series is SO CUTE you all should read it.
  • Bokura no Hentai (eng: Our Transformations): the “hentai” here is “transformations” not porn lmao. Anyway this series is about three kids who meet through an online “cross-dressing” community. The main character is actually a trans girl!! The other two mains are both cis, one gay one straight. The straight boy does say homo/transphobic things at the beginning but properly apologizes for his actions later. The series also deals with death in the family, mental illness and recovery, gender (obviously) as well as gender expectations and even addresses hypersexuality as a result of trauma. That being said, there is a heavy warning on this series for noncon situations and molestation. However it’s thankfully not treated in a romantic or rose-tinted way in the least. Some of the character growth is a little sudden (esp straight cis boy, I felt his turnaround was too fast and drastic) and some of the endgame couples (or implied couples) have some meh undertones, but overall a good story.
    The series is finished now and ended on a pretty good note, but the epilogue is incredibly sad. I suggest maybe not reading the very last chapter if you’re in a bad place mentally right now.
  • Kase-san: If you’re looking for feel-good wlw media, Kase-san is the shit. It’s sooo sugary and sweet, but still has good character growth and story development. It generally deals with real-world teenager stuff, but the couple is very healthy and progresses at a realistic but still romantic pace. Warnings for intense butterflies lmao this series is seriously so gentle and high-school romance-y in the best way. The biggest surprise is how the main girl grew on me so much? Like I have a huge pet peeve for cookie-cutter protagonists, but Yamada has so much personality and strengths! Even though the story is told from her perspective and generally follows her pining after the titular love interest, Kase, there are enough glimpses into Kase’s personality and motivations too (which helps to balance things out), and just Yamada herself is very vibrant and sweet! This series puts me in such a good mood
  • Tamen Di Gushi (eng: Their Story): Another good wlw series! I know this series is already pretty popular on Tumblr, but if anyone was still on the fence about it, I really think you should give it a shot. The romance is sweet and adorable but what really gets me is the HUMOR. The gags in this series are fucking out of this world, I can’t explain it well but the timing, expressions, and circumstances are SO FUNNY and the artist pulls it off so well!! I always look forward to the updates just because they’re so funny

Anime:

  • Idolm@ster: ugh don’t even talk to me about this one it’s a total guilty pleasure but all the characters and even the sides are GREAT (I love the faceless president lmao). It’s a story about a start-up idol agency, and how all the adults are working to help each of the girls become famous. It was originally a video game (with some questionable content) but the anime is REALLY GOOD and very endearing and each of the girls has a moment to shine and grow. The songs are cute and the dances and performances are so rewarding to see esp after all the characters go through, and UGH It’s all so adorable, esp 2nd season. I love this show.
    [A NOTE: don’t watch the movie. Just don’t. It’s awful. Bad production value, unnecessary drama, A USELESS SIDEPLOT ABOUT A GIRL LOSING WEIGHT it’s awful don’t do it.]
  • Idolm@ster: Cinderella Girls: New cast of idols, new agency, very different pacing. The beginning 7 episodes are a little hard to get through, but after that first trudge, the quality skyrockets. I actually think there were some things I enjoyed more about CG than the original im@s– there’s a bigger focus on the actual work they do (like their idol theming), company politics, and a MUCH BETTER VILLAIN introduced in the second season. This series doesn’t focus as much on each individual character, but the ones that do get development really hit home strong.
  • Escaflowne: one of the first animes I ever watched when they were dubbing it in fox kids. I rewatched the subbed anime when I got older and I gotta say it’s really lasts the test of time. Aside from the geek factors (high fantasy!! tarot cards!! dragons! MAGIC MECHS!!) the story and characters are really great. The main character, Hitomi, is just such a strong baby who’s never outshined by the other characters. She goes through a lot and still is allowed to feel vulnerability, it never quite feels like she has to “prove” herself worthy of being a hero just “because she’s a girl” etc, she’s allowed to be strong and courageous while also weak and in need of help, very multi-layered! And that’s only the main girl HAHA don’t even get me started on the other characters.
    Some of the later story can be a little weird? There’s some weird real-world references and one of the characters has an interesting(?) gender issue. I don’t personally know how I feel about it but it’s worth having a mild precaution to anyone thinking of going into this series.

sylvestrium  asked:

youre a fucking idiot. beekeeping is what is keeping bees alive and the honey industry is what makes beekeeping happen. If people stopped eating honey bees would die out and so would all of your plant foods that require bees to pollinate them

Just before calling somebody else and idiot avoid repeating what everyone else is saying and do a bit of research. 

I started to make my own research after this ask went viral a couple of months ago. 

We’ve been tricked into believing that honey is simply a byproduct of the essential pollination provided by farmed honeybees. Did you know though that the honeybee’s wild counterparts (such as bumblebees, carpenter and digger bees) are much better pollinators? They are also less likely than farmed honeybees to be affected by mites and Africanized bees. The issue is that these native bees can hibernate for up to 11 months out of the year and do not live in large colonies. Thus, they do not produce massive amounts of honey for a  $157 million dollar a year industry.

Honey and the Different Types of Bees

Honey bees: Honey bees make a large quantity of honey (possible due to the size of colonies – that is, many worker bees collecting nectar). Honey consists of nectar combined with a ‘bee enzyme’ that goes through a process of concentration in the honeycomb before it is capped by the bees.

Bumblebees: Bumblebees, in one sense, make a form of honey, which they collect in nectar pots to be eaten by the colony, including the newly hatched worker females. However, the process of concentrating, capping, and the making of honey combs does not happen in bumblebee colonies, nor is nectar stored over winter, since only the queen survives and hibernates, whilst the rest of the colony do not.

Solitary bees: Solitary bees do not make honeycombs. They construct egg cells which they provision with a ball of nectar and pollen that will be consumed by the new larvae.

Honey bees will pollinate many plant species that are not native to their natural habitat but are often inefficient pollinators of such plants.

The crops that can be only pollinated by honey bees are:

• Guar Bean
• Quince
• Lemon
• Lime
• Karite
• Tamarind

The crops that are pollinated by bees, in general, are:

• Apples
• Mangos
• Rambutan
• Kiwi Fruit
• Plums
• Peaches
• Nectarines
• Guava
• Rose Hips
• Pomegranites
• Pears
• Black and Red Currants
• Alfalfa
• Okra
• Strawberries
• Onions
• Cashews
• Cactus
• Prickly Pear
• Apricots
• Allspice
• Avocados
• Passion Fruit
• Lima Beans
• Kidney Beans
• Adzuki Beans
• Green Beans
• Orchid Plants
• Custard Apples
• Cherries
• Celery
• Coffee
• Walnut
• Cotton
• Lychee
• Flax
• Acerola – used in Vitamin C supplements
• Macadamia Nuts
• Sunflower Oil
• Goa beans
• Lemons
• Buckwheat
• Figs
• Fennel
• Limes
• Quince
• Carrots
• Persimmons
• Palm Oil
• Loquat
• Durian
• Cucumber
• Hazelnut
• Cantaloupe
• Tangelos
• Coriander
• Caraway
• Chestnut
• Watermelon
• Star Apples
• Coconut
• Tangerines
• Boysenberries
• Starfruit
• Brazil Nuts
• Beets
• Mustard Seed
• Rapeseed
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Cabbage
• Brussels Sprouts
• Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)
• Turnips
• Congo Beans
• Sword beans
• Chili peppers, red peppers, bell peppers, green peppers
• Papaya
• Safflower
• Sesame
• Eggplant
• Raspberries
• Elderberries
• Blackberries
• Clover
• Tamarind
• Cocoa
• Black Eyed Peas
• Vanilla
• Cranberries
• Tomatoes
• Grapes

Check this chart to see which type of bees can pollinate those crops.

While you may spread a heaping tablespoon of honey on your morning toast without thinking, creating each drop is no small feat. To make one pound of honey, a colony must visit over two million flowers, flying over 55,000 miles, at up to 15 miles per hour to do so. During a bee’s lifetime, she will only make approximately one teaspoon of honey, which is essential to the hive for times when nectar is scarce, such as during winter. At times, there may be an excess in the hive, but this amount is difficult to determine and large-scale beekeepers often remove all or most of it and replace it with a sugar or corn syrup substitute. Can you imagine someone removing all the fruit juice from your house and replacing it with fruit-flavored soda? It may still give you energy, but eventually it will probably make you sick.

Another thing to think about while you sit by your beeswax candle and contemplate the lives of these little fellows is that bees must consume approximately eight pounds of honey to produce each pound of wax! And the more we take from them (bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis) the harder these creatures must work and the more bees are needed, which isn’t good news for a population that is dwindling.

When you see a jar of honey, you may think of the sweet cartoon hives depicted in childhood stories such as Winnie the Pooh. But most hives are now confined to large boxes (a completely foreign shape to bees) that are jostled and shipped around the country to pollinate crops and produce honey. This is stressful and confusing to the bees’ natural navigation systems. Along the way, bees are lost and killed, and may spread diseases from one infected hive to another. The practice of bee farming often limits the bees’ diet to monoculture crops, introduces large amounts of pesticides into their systems and causes the farmed bees to crowd out the native wild pollinators that may have been otherwise present. Beekeepers (even small-scale backyard beekeepers) will also kill the queens if they feel the hive is in danger of swarming (fleeing their file cabinet shaped homes) or drones* that they deem unnecessary to honey production. * The drones’ main function is to fertilize the queen when needed.

We have got to the point where we mass exploit honeybees as pollinators to fix a problem that should be fixed from the roots and not partially.

“At certain times of the year, three or four trucks carrying beehives rumble along Highway 20 every week. Their destination: California, where the bees are required for pollination services. During my time in California researching dairy farms, I learned about an extraordinary consequence of intensive farming taken to extremes: industrialized pollination - a business that is rapidly expanding as the natural bee population collapses. In certain parts of the world, as a result of industrial farming, there are no longer enough bees to pollinate the crops. Farmers are forced to hire or rent them in”
— Farmagedon. The True Cost of Cheap Meat

The Case of the Disappearing Bees

The question of what will happen if bees disappear may not be far from being answered. Over the past couple of years, stories about bees disappearing and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) have been popping up in the The New York Times, Star Tribune, Huffington Post, PBS, Discovery News and more. If nothing else wakes us up, perhaps the fact that the disappearance of bees has become front page news will. Scientists are rushing to discover what’s causing this problem before it’s too late and before we lose the important environmental link created by bees.

Thus far, there are three main theories/contributing factors:

  • Pesticides

Pennsylvania State University published a study in 2010 that found “unprecedented levels” of pesticides in honeybees and hives in the United States. (If it’s in the bees and hives, what do you think is in your honey?) Some of these chemicals are killing bees, and guess what? The EPA knows about it.

“The EPA identifies two specific neonicotinoids, imidacloprid and clothianidin, as highly toxic to bees. Both chemicals cause symptoms in bees such as memory loss, navigation disruption, paralysis and death.

Both chemicals have been linked in dramatic honeybee deaths and subsequent suspensions of their use in France and Germany. Several European countries have already suspended them. Last year Slovenia and Italy also suspended their use for what they consider a significant risk to honeybee populations.”

– Mother Earth News

This is old news; this story came out in 2009. But has anything changed here? Not as far as I can tell.

  • Mites and Viruses

With weakened immune systems (stress, inferior food sources, pesticides etc.) bees have become more susceptible to viruses, fungal infections and mites. Many of these invasive bugs are spread as hives are moved around the country or transferred from country to country.

While there are a number of treatments on the market for the mites, viruses, funguses and other pests that are attacking our colonies, none have solved the problem completely. These treatments can also introduce antibiotics, pesticides and other chemicals into the hives in an attempt to prevent or heal infection. If these chemicals (often on strips) are not removed from the hive after they lose potency, they can in fact help the viruses or mites become resistant to treatment in the future.

  • Cell phones

This is one of the newest theories on CCD and may need further testing.

“According to a Swiss researcher who recently published a paper on the subject, the electromagnetic waves from mobile phones have a significant impact on the behavior of honeybees and could potentially be harming honeybees around the world.”

“To test the relationship between honeybees and buzzing cell phones, he placed phones inside bee hives and then monitored the bees’ reaction. He found that in the presence of actively communicating cellphones (those not in standby mode), bees produced the sounds known as “worker piping,” which tends to indicate disturbance in a bee colony.”

– ABC News

Cell phones, pesticides and viruses aside, commercial bee farming – whether organic (where bee deaths are fewer, but still occur) or conventional – does not provide bees with the opportunity to live out their normal life cycle. No matter how small the animal, farming is farming. Whether you choose to buy backyard honey or a large brand, eating honey and using other bee products encourages using bees for profit.

If you truly want to save bees as a whole and not only honey bees because is much more convenient.. then support bee sanctuaries, boycott the agribusiness and its use of chemicals everywhere. Here I leave some ideas and ways to help bees.

  • Sanctuaries
  1. Spikenard Farm  Honeybee Sanctuary | • Virginia, USA •
  2. New York Bee Sanctuary | • New York, USA •
  3. Native Bee Sanctuary | • Australia •
  4. Artemis Smiles - Honey Bee Sanctuary | • Hawaii, USA •
  5. Urban Evergreen Bee Sanctuary | • Washington, USA •
  6. The Honeybee Helpers | • North West, Ireland •
  7. Bee Sanctuary - The Bee School | • North Carolina, USA •
  8. Bellingen Bee Sanctuary | • Australia •
  9. Morgan Freeman Converted His 124 Acre Ranch Into A Bee Sanctuary To Help Save The Bees
  • Plant your garden with bee friendly plants

In areas of the country where there are few agricultural crops, honeybees rely upon garden flowers to ensure they have a diverse diet and to provide nectar and pollen. Encourage honeybees to visit your garden by planting single flowering plants and vegetables. Go for all the allium family, all the mints, all beans except French beans and flowering herbs. Bees like daisy-shaped flowers - asters and sunflowers, also tall plants like hollyhocks, larkspur and foxgloves. Bees need a lot of pollen and trees are a good source of food. Willows and lime trees are exceptionally good.

  • Encourage local authorities to use bee friendly plants in public spaces

Some of the country’s best gardens and open spaces are managed by local authorities. Recently these authorities have recognised the value of planning gardens, roundabouts and other areas with flowers that attract bees. Encourage your authority to improve the area you live in by adventurous planting schemes. These can often be maintained by local residents if the authority feels they do not have sufficient resources.

  • Weeds can be a good thing

Contrary to popular belief, a lawn full of clover and dandelions is not just a good thing—it’s a great thing! A haven for honeybees (and other native pollinators too). Don’t be so nervous about letting your lawn live a little. Wildflowers, many of which we might classify as weeds, are some of the most important food sources for native North American bees. If some of these are “weeds” you chose to get rid of (say you want to pull out that blackberry bush that’s taking over), let it bloom first for the bees and then before it goes to seed, pull it out or trim it back!

  • Don’t use chemicals or pesticides to treat your lawn or garden

Yes, they make your lawn look pristine and pretty, but they’re actually doing the opposite to the life in your biosphere. The chemicals and pest treatments you put on your lawn and garden can cause damange to the honeybees systems. These treatments are especially damaging if applied while the flowers are in bloom as they will get into the pollen and nectar and be taken back to the bee hive where they also get into the honey—which in turn means they can get into us. Pesticides, specifically neo-nicotinoid varieties have been one of the major culprits in Colony Collapse Disorder.

  • Bees are thirsty. Put a small basin of fresh water outside your home

You may not have known this one—but it’s easy and it’s true! If you have a lot of bees starting to come to your new garden of native plants, wildflowers and flowering herbs, put a little water basin out (a bird bath with some stones in it for them to crawl on does a nice trick). They will appreciate it!

  • Let dandelions and clover grow in your yard.

Dandelions and clover are two of the bees’ favorite foods – they provide tons of nourishment and pollen for our pollinators to make honey and to feed their young (look at this bee frolicking in a dandelion below – like a pig in shit!) And these flowers could not be any easier to grow – all you have to do is not do anything.


I highly recommend also taking a look at this article too as honey is tested on animals, yes, as it says and the article explains honey is tested on dogs, cats, goats, rabbits, mice, rats…

As you can see, there is much more than saying “let’s help the bees by eating honey, vegans are dumb, they need to eat honey because what they eat relies on it”... We can save the bees without taking away the honey they produce, that’s a fact.

Honey is meant as a health food; a healthy food for bees. The more we interfere with their natural processes, both by relying on farmed bees as pollinators (rather than other native wild bees, insects or animals) and to feed our desires for “sweets,” the close we’re coming to agricultural disaster. 

Sources

1. Danforth BN, Sipes S, Fang J, Brady SG (October 2006). “The history of early bee diversification based on five genes plus morphology”. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 103 (41): 15118–23.
2. Pollinators’ impact on crop production Research study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences of 25 October 2006.
3. Pollination and Bee Plants, Excerpted from Beekeeper’s Handbook, Sammataro/Avitabile ©1998.
4. Bryony, Bonning (11 November 2009). “Honey Bee Disease Overview” (PDF). Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 103: s2-s4. doi:10.1016/j.jip.2009.07.015. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
5. “Bumblebee Specialist Group: 2011 Update” (PDF). IUCN. Retrieved7 October 2012.
6. Yang, Sarah (25 October 2006). “Pollinators help one-third of world’s crop production, says new study”. UC Berkeley. Retrieved 29 June 2015.

anonymous asked:

Do you think vegans who wear faux leather add to the demand for real leather because non-vegans see them wearing that, & they might to buy something similar?

I think that if vegans had to avoid all products which look like animal products then we’d be left with very little to eat, wear or use. While some may mistake your faux leather for cow skin, everyone knows that faux leather exists, and if they speak to you to find out where you got your clothes you’ll be able to tell them. When they’re surprised it isn’t real, that’s an opportunity to show them just how unnecessary these products really are. People seeing the availability and quality of faux animal fabrics can only be a good thing, since we need to make veganism as cheap and accessible as possible to make it more likely that people will want to give it a try. 

it’s all well and good to point out that a lot of what people claim to fear about “communism” (referring to cold-war era Soviet bloc states mostly) are things that are presently true about capitalism, but I do think “you have to work in a factory” should not actually be part of whatever sort of society we’re trying to create???

not saying we won’t have to work and make stuff to meet our needs, but like, firstly, ‘a factory’ (entailing regimented, repetitive tasks, hierarchical monitoring, and in all societies both capitalist and socialist where factories have existed, wage labour) is a specific way of organising labour that doesn’t necessarily have to be how people do so in the future…

and secondly, forcing people to work by way of existential threat (“he who does not work, does not eat”) is one of those features of capitalism we’re trying to eliminate, surely?

our priorities should include eliminating unnecessary work and wasteful production of commodities nobody actually needs. people will be willing to do necessary work without the gun to their heads of starving if they don’t - or at least, I see leftists making that claim often enough.

this leads to the problem of whether ‘communism’ means ~Future Classless Stateless Society~ or like, the historical Marxist-Leninist socialist countries, but certainly under the former definition, nobody should be forced to work in a factory. people should be working considerably less than they do at the moment, the economy should not be organised to produce as many commodities as possible but to allow people time and security to do things which aren’t work.

i’m not going to try and get into the discussion of why that wasn’t the historical experience of the soviet bloc countries because I just don’t know enough, but are we at least on the same page as to what our objective is?

You Can Bring Me Back to Life

Summary: Dan, an unhappy columnist, and Phil, a struggling cartoonist, are strangers on the same flight when their plane is grounded indefinitely in New York City. While going through his luggage, Dan realizes that he lost a ring given to him by his grandmother and Phil offers to help find it.

A/N: First and foremost, thank you so much to my amazing co-writer phansdick. It was an honor to work with/get to know you even more than I already did, and you’re not only extraordinarily talented but a fantastic writer as well. Thank you to constellationspng, you’ve been an amazing beta and it was an immense pleasure to work with you.I owe a massive thank you to bubblebuttbarakat for stepping in at the last minute and creating some of the best fan art I’ve ever seen. Thanks to you all this was the best first PBB I could’ve asked for.

Word Count: 16,046

Warnings: depression, cussing, mentions of minor character death

Song Creds: Dead Inside by Muse

Link to Art

LINK TO PART ONE

phansdick writes Dan’s POV

whalefairyfandom12 writes Phil’s POV


Part Two 

Dan wouldn’t admit it, but having Phil with him, trying to look for his ring with him, was actually extremely comforting. It made his anxiety go down slightly whenever Phil would say that everything was going to be okay.

He didn’t know what he would have done if he hadn’t had Phil here with him, in all honestly. He probably already would have been laying face flat on the ground whilst sobbing violently. So having someone there with him made him feel slightly better. Not to mention that Phil was the type of person that made him want to write stories about the colour of his eyes or the smoothness of his skin whenever they brushed hands.

He almost told Phil his thoughts, but stopped when he realized how embarrassing that would be.

So instead, he just settled with, “I suddenly got in the mood to write.”

He saw Phil glance over to him, a small smile on his face. They were currently browsing one of the small gift shops, trying to pass time while also asking around about a ring. No luck so far. “Well why don’t you then?”

Dan shrugged, pursing his lips as he picked up a candy bar with the name, ‘Whatchamacallit’. Beside it also sat a 'Thingamajig’. America is strange, Dan decides. “I left my laptop with information, remember?”

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and honestly

like

this is a totally separate rant because it’s late and i’m coming down with a slight cold so i’m extra pissed

but I hate smokers with a fucking passion. I mean, if you smoke and do it responsibly like use an ash tray or put out your cig and dispose of it properly or even LISTEN TO THOSE WHO DON’T LIKE BEING AROUND SMOKE then that’s fine I guess but you can still eat shit for contributing to an extremely toxic and unnecessary product that does nothing but pollute and kill

but ANYWAYS, most smokers i’ve known growing up (mostly old friends) always flicked their shit out car windows or into wherever they wanted (most of the time grass or a body of water) and it irked me to no end but back then I couldn’t bring myself to say anything because more than half the time the friends I wanted to go off on were my source of transportation wherever we went

Anytime I saw any of them lighting one up I wanted to punch that cigarette down their throat. Most of the time it was because of me straight up telling them “yo don’t do that shit in front of me, I got asthma” and I got replies like “stop worrying it’s not even bad” or something along those lines

I’ve literally had somebody ignore me telling them this info and light one up anyways only for me to splash whatever I was drinking right into their face. That was a fun time.

Honestly though it’s because of my dad that my lungs have been fucked. My younger brother has it a lot worse than I do. 2nd hand smoking ruined some parts of my life tbh.

But yeah fuck cigarettes/cigars/or any form of tobacco

Flight of the Eagles (RusAme)

A MOST HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY TO @raindrops-on-summerday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m sorry this is late!!! I had one idea but ended up scrapping it because I wanted it to be historical in honor of the insightful and valuable and fascinating historical content you promote through your artwork and blog posts. I hope you had a fantastic day and enjoy this humble gift.

Flight of the Eagles

The distilled glow of the television washed over Russia’s hunched form from across the room as he worked at his desk. The near-continuous tapping of his fingers on the keys clashed with the inane sounds of whatever commercial was playing. It was for background noise, really, something to fight off the pressing silence that would otherwise smother him. His shoulders rose as he yawned widely, driven to drowsiness by the sheer mundane nature of the work he was facing. The promise of finding something more enjoyable as soon as he was done hung over Russia’s head as persuasion to be done with it all quickly. But these bureaucratic forms didn’t inspire rapidity. What was more, the white noise of the television had become invasive, a constant buzzing.

Sighing, Russia turned his back on the computer monitor, reaching for the remote.

He paused.

Oh. It made sense now.

In spite of his earlier boredom, Russia smiled wryly. The commercial advertisement playing was promoting some unnecessary product, but it was not that which caught Russia’s attention. Rather, it was the music they were using. Perhaps it was a consequence of his restlessness and unwillingness to continue his work- regardless, Russia immediately let the memories flood through him, carrying him back over a century ago.

0o0o0

The world of the 1860’s was vastly different in some respects to what existed today…and in some ways, almost identical. But one thing that held a certain unparalleled reverence was the pageantry; the sheer scale and appreciation to detail was on a level of its own. It was something Russia could appreciate, especially after being aboard a ship throughout the whole journey to New York. Several ships of the Imperial Russian naval fleet had been sent to San Francisco and New York- and their presence was met with unprecedented celebration. Though he was there because of his status as the embodiment of the country, Russia had also made it his own personal goal to help America enjoy the festivities as well.

The elite of his land enjoyed a good party- St. Petersburg was incurably cosmopolitan, and that fondness for elaborate celebrations had always been strong with Russia. That day in early November had been a breathtaking sight indeed. Long, full skirts swished in time with the graceful movements of the dancers. The polished buttons and cufflinks and chains glinted on the wrists, chests, and throats of the chattering gentlemen. And all the while, he and his officers were welcomed like celebrities.

“God, it feels surreal to be seeing something like this now,” America admitted from his place beside Russia, watching their people mingle. Normally one to draw attention to himself without even trying, even today America seemed drained, withdrawn, even a bit grey- as if all the vibrancy had been bled from him. The shadows under his eyes were not fully hidden by the frames of his glasses; they were, however, at odds with the genuine- albeit tired- smile he wore. “Such a nightmare for so long…not even fully done yet. It feels weird to do things that are…enjoyable.”

“If you do not, you are not really living,” Russia assured him sagely. “But,” he added fairly. “If whatever life presents you leaves no room for levity, you keep pushing through- to get one step closer back to days like this.”

“I like days like this,” America muttered, his words only for his companion. They watched and listened together. The Academy of Music was a kaleidoscope of color, and abuzz with all manner of sounds- singing, laughter, simpering, the tuning of instruments, the tapping of feet.

Russia turned his attention from the partygoers to America’s pallid form. To others this might have been sensory overload, but Russia hoped America might enjoy these festivities for what they were. Proof of life moving on.

Apparently sensing Russia’s gaze on him, America glanced over, eyebrows raised. “Yes?” he asked, still as forward as ever. He looked expectant, one hand raised, palm up. Russia stared at it.

America laughed.

It was a nice sound.

“You know, usually if someone wants to dance, they ask. You can ask, you know- verbally, using your words.” Now Russia could see America’s straight white teeth as his smile grew, and perhaps that was true happiness causing his eyes to shimmer.

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