Friday, May 11, 2012


This is a clip which features JOHN CLEESE, RINGO STARR & PETER SELLERS together in a scene. No idea where it's from* but it seemed immoral NOT to post it here. I mean ... YOW! Three strands of delight all in one frame!

So it inspired an instant bit of nonsense:

Peter Python met a Beatle
Going to the fair.
Said the Python to the Beatle
'Shall I meet you there?'

Quoth the Beatle to the Python
'Always, anywhere!'
So they danced and laugh'd and sang
Of candy floss and hair.


Monday, May 07, 2012


This is the winning entry in an essay competition that appeared in the NYTimes magazine, about the ethics of eating meat. It's quite enlightening to go to The Ethicist section in the magazine and read an overview of the contest entries, judging process etc. But this essay is written in what I consider an enviably balanced and reasonable tone.


I was interested to notice a point made by The Ethicist, Ariel Kaminer, in her essay introducing the results of the competition. She makes the point that meat-eating is connected to wealth and offers as proof that much more meat is consumed in wealthy nations. She adds, "In any case, a vast number of the world’s ethical vegetarians live in India." I think she's suggesting that since India is a poor country, it's not surprising that a majority of Indians are vegetarians.

But is it true that Indians are "ethical vegetarians"? I'm not so sure about that. The proportion of high- to low-caste Indians would definitely suggest otherwise -- i.e., since there are larger numbers of Indians of low caste and since strict vegetarianism is an upper-caste feature, it follows that a majority of Indians are meat-eaters. They may not actually get much meat because of the expense involved -- so they're vegetarian by default -- but they would eat meat if they got it. I have also read that manual laborers cannot actually "afford" to be vegetarian because hard physical labour requires a greater amount of protein than a pure vegetarian diet can deliver on a limited budget.

And again, I wouldn't say that even those Indians who are traditional vegetarians are "ethical" in their choice of food. They don't eat meat because they've been raised to consider it disgusting. Plus, eating meat can result in loss of caste purity and, by association, social status.

I certainly have friends who don't eat meat because they believe it's wrong to deprive a sentient being of life -- but the much vaster majority of the vegetarians I have known are merely following the dietary plan within which they've been raised, because being vegetarian is intrinsic to "who they are". Similarities can be found amongst those meat-eaters in the West who are horrified at the thought of eating dog- or whale-meat (and horse-meat amongst the non-French!) -- the distaste is real, but it's based on culture rather than ethics or cold logic.

Me? I would love, for ethical reasons, to be vegetarian. But I'm not. As it happens, I eat very little meat -- maybe half a dozen times in a month -- and I never crave it or miss it if I happen to be a guest in an entirely meatless household. But when it's offered to me, I enjoy it, try to be mindful of the Life Force as I eat it and do my best never to waste it.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Lighting the Strawberry

I'm calling this one STRAWBERRY OMIGOSH. The pictures tell the story: Strawberry -- Sambucca -- Whipped Cream -- Teaspoonful of flaming Sambucca -- Strawberry (very briefly) Alight.

Actually, the last photograph is out of sequence, because I wasn't able to get one with the flame going in the first time around -- so I took another one, after the first -- and forgot to top up the cream.

Also, what I really wanted was to see the fruit lit from WITHIN*. But for that I'd have to blow the candle off first. And perhaps rehearse all my movements. And maybe find a more appropriate receptacle for the strawberry -- an egg cup with orange duck feet doesn't quite suit the purpose, does it? Hmm. Also I've run out of the really giant strawberries so today's had to double up with another one underneath. Hmmm again. As for the milk jug I used for pouring the Sambucca and the Clunk-Supreme spoon? Meh.

So! Major failures in the elegance department!

But taste? Purrrrrr. 

*If anyone sends me a good clear picture showing a Lighted Strawberry, I'll be delighted to publish it here -- what I'd like is for the fruit to be lit from within and a BLUE FLAME delicately flickering above the cream.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

INTRODUCING: Strawberry Jubiglee

It's a simple story. Two days ago, I bought strawberries. They were the usual Goliath Berries that I have gradually grown used to. I got them home, washed them and, using the deadly cute STRAWBERRY HULLER (Pic 1) given to me last year by my sister Su, I cored out all the berries. The huller is not merely cute but extremely efficient, leaving behind an echoing canyon within each fruit (Pic 2). I did this dozens of times last year and thought nothing of it. For some reason, this year, I looked down into that interesting cavern (Pic 3) and thought: supposing I pour some honey in there? (Pic 4) And supposing I go the next step and top it up with whipped cream? (Pic 5) The result needs to be transferred to a fork (Pic 6) and ... eaten immediately (Pic Nil).

Further possibilities abound for fillings: 
1) Liqueur -- Amaretto? Cointreau? Sambucca? -- instead of honey
2) Chopped walnuts with vanilla cream (ooohh!)
3) Walnuts. Brandy. Flame. Yum.

[please note: the final strawberry, e.g., the one in Pic 6, is NOT the same as the one featured in the other pix. The item lurking in the background of that pic is an egg cup with two tiny orange feet. MANY strawberries were fatally wounded in the course of shooting this photomontage. None, however, was wasted]

Pic 2

Pic 3

Pic 4

Pic 5