The Brotherhood of Blood

SOMETHING ELSE THAT HASN’T SURVIVED into adulthood is the kid-concept of “blood brotherhood.”

It works like this: Two boys (did girls ever do this?) make an incision or a pinprick on their thumbs, then rub the wounds together. “Now we are blood brothers,” they will intone (if they intone anything at all, which they also may not). It’s an expression of intimate friendship; a ritual of bonding with what’s-today-called one’s BFF. And not to be entered into lightly.

I don’t know how old is this gesture is, or even if, in this hazardous fluids-aware world of ours, it is still practiced.

There is no such thing as ‘too much garlic.'”
— Your author, in a culinarily inspired moment

5 Thoughts: The Third Thing

1. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT frustrates me as a writer is my own self-limitation. Specifically, I am speaking of the notoriously difficult and bothersome Third Thing.

2. The Third Thing works like this. I will write a sentence that begins, say, with a simple thesis: “There are three things that Elmer worried about…” Two examples will occur to me right off the bat: “…death, taxes, and …” It’s what comes after the “and” that always gets me.

3. Now, you might say, “Who really needs three examples of something? Just write two and be done with it.” But my Muse won’t let me.

First Graf (well, page): Harold and the Purple Crayon

THE FIRST BOOK I EVER read from cover to cover was Crockett Johnson’s 1955 work, Harold and the Purple Crayon. If you’re not familiar with it, it goes like this: A small boy in one-piece pajamas draws with, well, purple crayon, on an endless expanse of whitespace. His drawings don’t exactly come to life, but they do become interactively real (to him, anyway). The drawings are accompanied by spare but informative narration, but the real story is amply told by the charming illustrations. In all, Reb Crockett wrote seven Harold adventures; they are aimed at young would-be readers, and sort of obviate the whole Dick and Jane thing so popular when I was a tyke.

A Prosatio Silban Amuse-Bouche: Balance

“WHEN IT COMES TO DINING, the quality of the food isn’t the only concern,” Prosatio Silban explained, sliding diced potato into an oil-slick skillet and spreading the cubed tuber evenly with a satisfying hiss. “I have cooked gourmet dinners for wealthy patrons whose pleasure derived more from novelty than savor, and prepared simple pots of rude porridge for poorer folk who savored and drew life from every tiny bite. What’s interesting is the customer’s approach – are they merely Eating, or are they Dining? Fortunes have been lost by those who didn’t know the difference. It’s an old, old game.”

Who’s “Prosatio Silban,” you may ask? Here’s a partial answer:

365 Names: “The Unseen Seer”

THE UNSEEN SEER Google this, and you’ll find a bunch of links describing a Dungeons & Dragons character class. But I recently saw this Name in an (unremembered, alas) online Torah publication, and I like it because of the image it provokes: a Presence invisible yet omniscient; an Observer which uses our eyes, but lives just outside our own perception; a Witness to all that transpires. Spooky-but-cool, isn’t it?

Words to Bring Back: “Pernicious”

– Definition: adj. Having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way.

– Used in a sentence: Pernicious “tweets” should not become a presidential* standard.

– Why: It’s enough out of current usage to possibly sound like a compliment. Imagine the look on their faces when they discover it isn’t.