A Prosatio Silban Amuse-Bouche: Utensils

“ALMOST AS MUCH THOUGHT AND effort goes into the choosing of eating implements as for the selection of food for which they are meant,” said Prosatio Silban, reaching for the sea salt container next to his fatberry-oil stove. “Silver, gold, copper, bamboo, wood, clay — the list is as long as your imagination is broad. Some are meant for soup, others enable the eating of different types of meat or vegetable; there are even specialized tools for extracting delectable flesh from mollusk or crustacean shells.

“But they all have one purpose: to convey food to the mouth without social disapproval. Lose sight of that refined principle, and you might as well eat with your hands.”

Who’s “Prosatio Silban,” you may ask? Here’s a partial answer: http://metaphorager.net/ep.

CLIMATE change warning.”

Of Heroes, Waterbeds, and After-Midnight Television

THERE IS A MOVIE THAT follows the struggles inherent in the so-called Hero’s Journey: a high-born child is raised in secret by commoners, and eventually groomed by a wise elder to overcome obstacles and fulfill his destiny by taking his rightful place among the knighted nobility. And that movie is called … The Black Shield of Falworth.

If TBSoF (1954) sounds a bit like Star Wars (or even Excalibur), that’s because it travels the same mythic highway. And if it feels like 1938’s The Adventures of Robin Hood, that’s because it too was based on a Howard Pyle book, Men of Iron.

Prosatio Silban and the Twice-Cooked Eggs

(Two-and-a-half printed pages. If you’re new to these tales, here are the preface and introduction.)

ONE OF THE NICER THINGS about traveling in a buopoth-drawn galleywagon down a smooth dirt road is the slow pleasure of the unfolding scenery.

Prosatio Silban, as was his wont on such journeys, took it all in with wide eyes and a wider heart. The gentle hills just west of epicurean Pormaris were thick with rosemary, juniper and other fragrant underbrush. Olive and bay trees spread their branches over ubiquitous fatberry bushes rich with maroon fruit, with here and there a tumbled limestone shrine or bluerock outcropping accenting the landscape like three-dimensional punctuation marks. Now and then he could spy a furtive voonith near the undulating horizon, and musical birds in profusion cast their nets of song over the steady thump-thump-thump of his quaint lumbering dray-beast’s footsteps.

Boulevard of Broken Animals

FIRST, THERE WAS THE ONE-legged California towhee.

She didn’t actually start out as one-legged. But when we first noticed her in the backyard, one of her legs was badly withered. It eventually dropped off. We named her “Tikvah” — Hebrew for “hope” — and loved her for some years from afar.

After she died came the one we called “Noisy Evans.” California towhees (Melozone crissalis) are known by their one-note “pipping” calls as well as a rapid cascade that conjures up images of an ice-crystal fountain.

Prosatio Silban and the Escorter of the Dead

(Two printed pages. If you’re new to these tales, here are the preface and introduction.)

FROM HIS GALLEYWAGON AT THE edge of epicurean Pormaris’ busy South Market, Prosatio Silban could see the dockside funeral pyres at their greedy task.

It wasn’t the best location, but the result of being last through the gate of the City of Gourmands that morning with all the good spots already taken. And it wasn’t so much the spectacle which bothered Prosatio Silban as the lack of custom; mourners were a notoriously unhungry lot. Here it was approaching dinner, and he had not sold so much as a bowl of beans. Such is life, he thought, opening the galleywagon door to a light salt breeze. Life’s only constancies are death and hunger, and like most extremes they make a poor mix.

Fandom as Cargo Cult

IF WE BUILD IT, THEY will come — again.

First, you need to know what a “cargo cultis: a folk religion among some groups of Melanesian Islanders who believed that they could attract cargo-carrying airplanes by engaging in sympathetic magic. They got this idea during World War II, when real airplanes (both Allied and Japanese) visited these islands and airdropped actual cargoes — food, weapons, clothing, medicine, and the like. After the war, the planes stopped coming. But the islanders, convinced that the proper conditions would bring more goods, built airstrips (in some cases, complete with landing lights) and otherwise mimicked certain behaviors they thought would achieve their goals. It’s a powerful communal buzz, and easy to get lost in.