Compendium Hermetica
And yet, it moves.



On Friday evening or Saturday afternoon, go shopping and ensure that you have the following in your pantry:

  • Corn on the cob - Silver Queen variety if available. Otherwise, sweet as season allows.

  • Limes - always handy to have. You'll need one or two per person to be served.

  • Cayenne Pepper

  • Parmesan Cheese - Grate about one half cup for this. More if you have guests.

  • Butter

  • Salt (table)

  • Coarse Salt

  • Tequila - a decent variety - but not necessary to have the 12 year-old stuff. Consider it briefly, and then pass it by for something on a lower shelf. Save the anejo for a different Saturday afternoon.

  • Triple Sec

  • Margarita Mix - a brand named "Freshies" is absolutely delightful. Not syrupy at all. If adventurous, make from scratch, but vastly increase you store of limes.

Once home, stow all of this away. Catch a movie. Go out with friends. If they're nice, you'll invite them over for lunch tomorrow afternoon. Call your mother. Read "The Enchanted Isles" by Herman Melville. Under its influence, consider the feasibility of expatriating to a boat under your own command. Regardless, pull closed the curtain until Sunday afternoon.

Now, as the hot afternoon sun pelts down past your kitchen window, bring a pot of water to a boil. While the water heats, shuck and scrub the corn. Arrange other ingredients on the table as relishes. The limes will have a dual use - in the drinks and in the entrée. Slice up some extra just to make the tap-water taste better.

Once the water gas boiled, add the corn to the water. Allow to boil for 10 to 15 minutes. In the meantime, take down the cocktail shaker. Fill with ice. Add tequila, triple sec, and lime mix as your preferences dictate. Shake until the outside of the metal shaker has a thin layer of rime frost, until your hands burn with the cold.

Then, cut the limes into eighths or quarters. Use a lime slice to wet the rim of the glasses. Salt as desired. Go ahead and fill the glasses with ice. Pour the mixed margaritas over the ice. Toast and?ahh, wait - the corn is just tender now. Perfect.

Remove the first steaming ears of corn. Once everyone is served, consider retiring to the patio, or the back yard, if available. Once seated again, begin to dress the corn. Just as you learned as a child, coat the ear in butter, spinning the ear while maneuvering the butter across its surface.. Next, take a lime wedge and squeeze the juice on to the ear. Rub the lime over the ear as if you were buttering the ear with citrus. If some pulp remains, so much the better.

Next the Cayenne. The heat averse should consider toughing this one out - the trip is worth it. Sprinkle cayenne to taste. You need not paint the ear red, but every bite should contain a good bit of the spice. Sprinkle the grated parmesan over the now red and pale white of the corn, covered with a sheen of butter and lime juice. Finally, salt as desired.

Now, eat with gusto. The uneasy truce of spice, sweetness, salt, and heat results in a pleasant, general burning sensation about the mouth. Running your tongue over your lip to catch bits of butter and tart lime has a cost in as much as opening your mouth is like pumping the bellows of a furnace. Your lips and tongue burn slightly, and they flare when the air hits them.

Follow a few bites with the margarita. Make sure that you have some of the salt on your tongue as you drink. The resultant mix of tastes - alcohol, salt, sour limes, and with cold creates a creaminess that surprises you. You may giggle with this flirtation with synesthesia. Continue enjoying the afternoon, until you have feasted sufficiently, and you have finished the tequila.

Now it is evening. Enjoy the cool air in the gloaming. If you have been very lucky, you have prepared this dish over a fire on a beach of white sand, or perhaps coated the corn with the mixture before grilling it in your back yard. Either way, you now watch the sun setting behind the cooling embers. They fend of the melancholy of Sunday night. You have not yet begun to think of Monday morning.

(Recipe provided by J. The discursive recipe format appears with some frequency and greater elan at Textism.)

posted by Brian | 4:53:00 PM link |



Some good news. I've long adored Moveable Type - so I can barely wait. Also, under best practices, comes a little flash application which allows you to create these maps that...well... best to let you discover for yourself.

posted by Brian | 9:41:00 PM link |

- a New Hope

Courtesy of Metafilter, a lengthy essay asserting that Iraq precipitated the war when it switched its reserve currencies from the dollar to the Euro. It looks at the conflation of oil economies and reserve currency markerts and their relationship to American hegemony.

Granted, Bush and company must be stopped. But I have imagined the American electorate doing the honors. But will we be able to handle the consequences if the means rest in the hands of others? (Via Metafilter)

posted by Brian | 9:36:00 PM link |

Consulting Metaphysician

If the internet has facilitated anything, it is the mania for self-diagnosis by check-box, in other words, the quiz. Once confined only to magazines (the venerable Cosmo for women and Stuff or Maxim, for 13 year-old boys), the internet has abetted the proliferation of the genre. You can now check your predisposition toward eating disorders, heart disease, gender purity, and just about any self-help topic you want. It moves closer toward our national destiny: to defy the uncertainty principle: we will know our velocity and our location simultaneously.

The most interesting of these that I've encountered, is the perfectly named Belief-o-Matic. This handy-dandy survey allows you to compare a cross section of feelings and beliefs against those of major religions. The result is essentially a list of religious affinities, i.e. major religions ranked by how closely your expressed beliefs match those of the groups listed. My own results were not surprising. Unitarian Universalist (100%) with Secular Humanist (99%) coming in a close second. Frightening truth:51% affinity with Scientology embeds it throroughly in the middle of the spectrum, with most forms of Islam surpassing Catholicism which placed last with a lowly 19%. Minutes of fun. Hours of debate.

posted by Brian | 9:16:00 PM link |


Collateral Damage

In the human toll that we have yet to even begin reckoning for the invasion of Iraq, we must include the loss of much of the little that we have left of more than 4,000 years of continuous civilization.

posted by Brian | 6:15:00 PM link |


Fan Letter

I like to believe in models for good behavior. I think of it as a hobby - not something you can do everyday, but a pleasure when you find the time. Most of the unmartyred saints that populate my own heroic pantheon are artists. Most critics alas, become the interpreters of the holy mysteries of others. A few succeed, however, in joining the marching-in.

Of late, one has leapt to the front of the parade. Bernard Knox, once known as a "premature anti-fascist," this classicst, translator, and critic brings an impressive array of learning and personal experiences to bear on the material that we ignore at our own peril. The result is scholarship and a warm and generous criticism. Here is a bibliography, for your perusal.

posted by Brian | 9:50:00 AM link |
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