We’ve eaten at a vegetarian restaurant here in Madison, Peacemeal, a few times in the last month or so. Normally, I don’t make it a point to eat as though I’m a practicing vegetarian. Sarah and I make vegetarian chili at home, and vegetarian burritos don’t sit so heavily in my stomach, but that’s about the extent of my active vegetarian leanings. But, in our search for another restaurant to enjoy, we decided to try Peacemeal. The food there, so far, has been very good. Their salsa is great. Their beer selection, while far from extensive, has a little bit of everything. The ingredients that are put into the main dishes are always fresh and tasty. The restaurant doesn’t cram huge servings down our throats like almost all other restaurants try to do these days. The service, while not always timely, is friendly. My only complaint is the high number of dishes on the menu that contain fake meat. I don’t necessarily have anything against fake meat (tofu, seitan, and the like), necessarily. However, if I’m going to eat a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich, I’m going to have it with real meat, and not fake meat. Why bother with fake meat when I can just eat real meat? I can understand why others choose not to eat meat, but that does not mean that I’m consigned to eating fake meat, as well. Rather than eating a meatloaf that doesn’t contain meat or a burger that isn’t made of cow, I’ll just eat meatloaf and cow burger and enjoy them. These foods did not need to be de-meated. Fake meat has always been something of a mystery to me. Why do vegetarians feel the need to take meat dishes, remove the meat, and then replace the meat with something that is like meat, but isn’t? Is this a secret yearning for the flavor or texture of meat? Why not start from scratch and try to create new and interesting dishes that don’t need fake meat and taste good? That’s why I don’t mind vegetarian burritos. The vegetarian burrito is unapologetically meat-less. No fake meat necessary. The same thing can be said for the items I order off the Peacemeal menu. I try to stick to selections that do not contain fake meat; selections that make no excuses for their lack of meat. Saturday I went into the bank and purchased $49.64 worth of golden dollars for the bargain price of fifty dollars. How did I end up with a sum in golden dollars smaller than the sum in paper money it took to purchase the coins? Simple answer: exchange rates. Snuggled into the rolls of golden dollars was a Canadian "loonie" dollar! Argh! It’s wonderful that I can now be ripped off when using larger denominations of coins. Shouldn’t it be illegal for US banks to pawn off their Canadian money on Americans? How on Earth am I going to get rid of this money? You can’t hand a golden dollar to someone without them taking a good hard look at it and remarking about it. Passing off a Canadian dime or nickel is often hard enough, but a loonie? Beyond that, the bank tried to give me a not insignificant number of Susan B. Anthony dollars, as well. The teller told me that there would be Susan B. Anthony dollars mixed in with my golden dollars. So, I tore open the rolls and made them swap out the SBA dollars for golden dollars. Too bad I didn’t notice the $%$#&%(^$% Canadian dollar when I pawed through the coins at the teller’s window. Apparently, when I said, "I want to purchase fifty golden dollars." the teller heard, " I want to purchase thirty-nine golden dollars, ten Susan B. Anthony dollars, and one Canadian loonie." That’s US Bank’s five-star service guarantee at work. In reality, handing out Canadian money is a real money maker for banks. Imagine if a US bank purchased one thousand loonies from a Canadian bank. It would cost the US Bank $640.00. The US bank would then turn around and pawn those Canadian dollars off on unsuspecting Americans purchasing coins in bulk from the US bank. If the US bank were able to successfully insert just one Canadian dollar into one thousand different coin transactions, the bank would net a tidy $360 profit. Now that doesn’t sound like much, but since most US banks conduct many more than one thousand coin transactions a day, that $360 would quickly add up. Heck, the US bank could even pay someone $20/hour to administer the whole program and still clear a tidy $200 profit every day by moving just one thousand loonies. This may sound far fetched, but when you look at the schemes that other businesses and business people have used to defraud the American public, I refuse to believe that such a scheme is outside the bounds of reality.