Grazing the Net: SWAT the vegans, mate

You gotta love Australians. They never lamb alone. Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), the organization of livestock producers down under, thumbs their collective noses at any PC ideas. MLA launched a new ad ahead of Australia Day - January 26 - that mocks vegans and has some plant eaters foaming photosynthesis.

The ad, "Operation Boomerang," sends an elite SWAT team around the world to retrieve Aussies who are stranded abroad on their nation's holiday. The SWAT team breaks "into conference rooms and bars all over the world, saving their compatriots from room-temperature beers and pesky board meetings to celebrate back home.

"Come on, mate," one officer tells a man in Brooklyn. "In a few hours, you'll be eating lamb on the beach." The Brooklyn guy says, "But I'm a vegan now." The SWAT officer promptly torches the man's coffee table (which seems to hold a bowl of nondescript vegetables) on fire with a flame-thrower. G'day, mate!

Deep in water debt

Two feet of snow are expected in Northern California this week, good news for the drought-ravaged state.

Despite El NiƱo predictions, by the end of December the statewide snowpack was less than half of average. Since then, storms have brought the statewide total to 111% of average. In the northern Sierra it sits at 116% of average, but just 85% of the norm in the southern Sierra. California has also received drenching rains recently, which has led residents to ask, "How will we know when the drought is over?" The answer, unfortunately, is that a week of rain won't do it. "We are in a very deep hole," Mike Anderson, California's state climatologist said.

Golden Gate Weather Services says the 5-year precipitation average for Fresno is 57.5 inches, but the actual 5-year total is now just 32.2 inches. Los Angeles has a 5-year average of 74.6, with an actual of 35.6 to date, and San Francisco a 5-year average of 118.2, but the actual to date is only 72.3 inches. The true measure of where California stands in erasing the historic drought won't be known until April. They'll need 150% of normal snowpack to fill depleted reservoirs.

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