Matt & Phil Letten, The Vegan Bros, co-authors of “VODKA IS VEGAN: A Manifesto for Better Living and Not Being An A**hole”

Matt & Phil Letten—siblings known as The Vegan Bros, and co-authors of “VODKA IS VEGAN: A Manifesto for Better Living and Not Being An Ahole”—recall their formative years, growing up “on the wrong side of the tracks” in Michigan, noting their family was far from vegan.  As one measure of this, Phil recalls the period during which, after going out to dinner—even at wonderful, interesting restaurants, even while on vacation in Puerto Rico, he insisted on eating afterwards at McDonald’s. Indeed, fast food constitutes something of a running theme in the Vegan Bros’ pre-vegan era: Matt recounts his freshman year of college, during which, he says, it was not uncommon to have three or four fast food meals in a given day, sometimes capped off by a “Slurpee from 7-11.”  Matt explains why he thinks he was inclined to eat that way back then, noting he grew up battling obesity, and how—deciding to make a change—asked an athlete friend for some guidance in the then-foreign territory of working out at a gym…overlapping his initial steps in embracing a vegan diet. Phil addresses his path from shy, socially awkward kid to college grad vegan who spent his days talking with people about factory farming and handing out leaflets  (initially, on the Warped Tour), while working for Vegan Outreach. Matt observes that in these earliest days, Phil was a sanctimonious, preachy vegan—exactly the sort of “Ahole” Matt found off-putting, and they both now caution against in their book. They summarize some of the incremental steps people might take toward veganism that are detailed in “VODKA IS VEGAN.” (http://veganbros.com)

ALSO: I spoke with Marilyn Weaver, executive director of the Florida chapter of the League of Humane Voters, about the effort afoot to persuade Florida’s Gov. Scott to re-assign the case of Dewey Brewton, the Ocala teacher who drowned two raccoons and an opossum, in front of a group of his students—to a different state attorney, since the initial state attorney refused to file charges against the teacher. Weaver explained the case, urging people to call Gov. Scott’s office—850-717-9337 or 850-488-7146—and politely ask him to re-assign the case. (http://lohv-fl.org)

COMEDY CORNER: Julio Torres’ “I Am Vegan” (http://spaceprincejulio.tumblr.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  We didn’t play Name That Animal Tune today.

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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