Tag Archive: literature

Who doesn’t want to hear Walken read Poe’s epic poem? Approx. 8 minutes.

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by artist Toby Cypress.


“Recovering the Mindset”

“Recovering the Mindset” intercuts the same scene from three different interpretations of Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon; Manhunter by Michael Mann, Red Dragon by Brett Ratner, and Hannibal by Bryan Fuller.

Says creator Matthew Morettini, “I’ve focused on the scene where FBI profiler Will Graham visits the cannibal psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter ostensibly to ask for advice on a serial murder case but really to “recover the mindset” of a killer so he can catch this new one. Most of the dialogue from the three adaptations come directly from the source novel so it was possible to seamlessly recreate the scene using the three productions. I think it is a very interesting way to compare and contrast the different methods used by the filmmakers. Also, other than filmed works of Shakespeare, I can’t think of another pop culture creation that has been interpreted so faithfully three separate times.”

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/137513763″>Recovering the Mindset</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/morettini”>Matthew Morettini</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Webcomic xkcd.com created this brilliant graphic of stories of the past and future. See the full-sized version here.


The Art of Bookbinding

“The Art of Making a Book” is a short video by Singapore-based photographer Willy Foo that details the sort of care that once went into the making of books, from the placement of metal letters on a printing press to the handmade decorations on the leather cover.

Vincent Price stars and narrates in this late-1970s adaptation.

All wrapped up like Vlad Dracul.

bat wrapped

Excerpt from “Mount Analouge: A Tale of Non-Euclidian and Symbolically Authentic Mountaineering Adventures” by Rene Daumal:

“Between the chalets of the Base and this place where we are, I was caught in a terrifying torment of wind and snow that lasted three days. The trail was cut in twenty places by avalanches. I had to bivouac two nights running without sufficient food and fuel. When the weather cleared, I was a hundred paces from here. I stopped, exhausted with hunger and fatigue. At this period, the livestock had not yet climbed as far as Pres-mouilles; I would have found nothing to eat there. Then, on the slope of fallen rocks in front of me, I saw an old rock rat come out of his hole. This animal is something like a cross between a field mouse and a marmot. He was coming to warm himself in the first rays of the sun. With a well-flung stone I hit his head, fetched him, cooked him on a fire of rhododendrons, and devoured the tough meat. With regained strength I slept an hour or two, then I hastened down to Port-des-Singes, where my wife, my son, and I celebrated our reunion after such a long absence. I could not, however, persuade them to come back up with me again that year.

“One month later, as I was about to take the mountain trail again, I was called before a tribunal of guides to answer for the murder of that old rat. How they had learned about the business I don’t know. The law is inflexible: I was forbidden access to the mountains above Pres-mouilles for three years. After these three years I could ask to leave again with the first caravan on the condition, however, that I repair the damage my act may have caused. It was a hard blow. I was forced to take up my life once more, temporarily, at Port-des-Singes. With my brother and my son I devoted myself to agriculture and animal husbandry in order to furnish provisions for the caravans. We also organised companies of porters whose services could be hired as far as the forbidden zone. Thus, while earning our living, we retained our connection with the mountain people. Soon, my brother, too, was eaten up with the desire to leave, with that need for the heights that gets into your blood like a poison. But he decided he would not leave without me and wanted to wait for my sentence to expire.

“At last the day came! I proudly carried with me in a cage a fat rock rat whom I’d easily captured and would free as I passed the place where I had killed the other one — since I had to ‘repair the damage.’ Alas, the extent of the damage was only about to be revealed. As we were leaving Pres-mouilles, at sunrise, a terrifying noise rang out. The entire slope of the mountain, which was not yet cut through by the great waterfall, crumbled, burst, exploded into an avalanche of stones and mud. A cataract of water carrying blocks of ice and rock fell from the tongue of the glacier that dominated this slope, and hollowed out huge gullies in the flank of the mountain. A good part of the trail, which at that time climbed from Pres-mouilles and crossed the slope much higher up, was destroyed. For several days, rock slides, gushes of water and mud, and earth slides kept coming, one after the other, and blocked our way. The caravan returned below, to Port-des-Singes, in order to equip itself for unforeseen dangers, then set out in search of a new trail towards the chalets of the Base along the other bank — a very long, risky, and difficult path on which several men perished. I was forbidden to leave until a commission of guides had determined the cause of the catastrophe. At the end of a week, I was called before this commission, which declared that I was responsible for the disaster, and that by virtue of the first judgement I would have to repair the damage.

“I was flabbergasted. But they explained to me how things had transpired, according to the commission’s findings. Here is what was explained to me — impartially, objectively, and today I would even say kindly, but in a categorical fashion. The old rat I had killed fed chiefly on a species of wasp found abundantly in this place. But, especially at his age, a rock rat is not agile enough to catch wasps in flight; so he usually ate only the sick and the weak who dragged themselves on the ground and could barely fly. In this way he destroyed the wasps that carried defects or germs that, through heredity or contagion, would have spread dangerous illnesses in the colonies of the insects without his unconscious intervention. Once the rat was dead, these illnesses spread quickly, and by the following spring there were hardly any wasps left in the region. These wasps, gathering nectar from the flowers, ensured their pollination. Without them, a great many plants that played an important role in stabilizing the shifting earth, —“

Rene Daumal died before finishing Mount Analogue, in fact, this is the end of the book. He did, however, leave working notes and outlines for the rest of the book, which are reproduced at the end. The reader has to draw his own conclusions from these outlines. The rest of the head porter’s story is hinted at though:







ice pocket

?cards? (perhaps like a house of cards?)

Pic of the Day – 12/15/13

Ah, I so miss Christopher Hitchens.


The Hemingway Burger

I found this wonderful post about Hemingway’s detailed written instructions to his household staff at Finca Vigia, his residence on Cuba. It included a complete recipe for how he liked his hamburgers prepared. They include capers and garlic and something called India relish and all sorts of exotic spices. Described as “delicious: each bit of it oozed a complex and textured umami, earthy and deep. I had never experienced such a combination of flavors in a burger before…”

I had to try it.

Now, some backstory. I am not a big meat-eater. I went vegetarian (ovo-lacto, meaning I still ate eggs and dairy) mostly for health reasons when I was 17. I found that I needed and craved fish once in a while, and eventually transitioned into including fish (ovo-lacto-pesco) but no other meat. When I got married 10 years ago, I wanted to cook for my meat-eating husband, and I wasn’t interested in making two separate meals, so I became okay with pork. I won’t touch hamburger, but will happily tuck into a good grass-fed free-range steak. And I still won’t touch chicken. So there you have it. Go figure. But I can honestly say I’ve not wanted a hamburger for at least 29 years.

Until I saw this recipe.

I bookmarked it and forgot about it. But before I did that, I must have shared it on my Facebook. Some weeks later, my very good friend Tim came to San Diego for a visit. He lives in San Francisco, and has access to all sorts of amazing Asian markets. He brought me a tub of Mei Yen powder, which is hard to find. It took me a few minutes to remember what recipe this spice was connected to. Once I realized what I had in my hands, I had to revisit the recipe and see what else I needed to make it. The other two spices were easy: rubbed sage, and Spice Islands still makes Beau Monde seasoning, which is basically onion/celery salt.

If you can’t find Mei Yen powder, here’s how to make a substitute:

9 parts salt

9 parts sugar

2 parts MSG

For 1 teaspoon Mei Yen powder, mix 2/3 teaspoon of dry mixture with 1/8 teaspoon soy sauce.

Finding the India relish turned out to be the most difficult part. India relish is different from plain pickle relish because in addition to cucumbers, it also has onions, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, and Indian spices. I found plenty of recipes for it, but I wanted to avoid making a whole complicated recipe for a condiment I only needed a teaspoon of for another recipe. Heinz makes (or made) a version of it, but no stores carry it. Found the Heinz version on Amazon, but it wasn’t available. So I got another brand’s (B&G) version from Amazon (had to get a 3-pack, no less). Turns out it’s just pickle relish with some curry. Lesson learned. Maybe I’ll make the real thing some other time.


1 lb. ground lean beef (I used 80/20 ratio)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 little green onions, finely chopped

1 heaping tsp. India relish

2 TBSP capers (I coarsely chopped them)

1 heaping tsp. Spice Islands sage

1/2 tsp. Spice Islands Beau Monde Seasoning

1/2 tsp. Spice Islands Mei Yen Powder

1 egg, beaten in a cup with a fork

About 1/3 cup dry red or white wine

1 TBSP cooking oil


“Break up the meat with a fork and scatter the garlic, onion and dry seasonings over it, then mix them into the meat with a fork or your fingers. Let the bowl of meat sit out of the icebox for ten or fifteen minutes while you set the table and make the salad.”


First rest

Kept to the simplest condiments - ketchup, mustard, onion, & tomato

Kept to the simplest condiments – ketchup, mustard, onion, & tomato

“Add the relish, capers, everything else including wine and let the meat sit, quietly marinating, for another ten minutes if possible.”


Second rest

“Now make four fat, juicy patties with your hands. The patties should be an inch thick, and soft in texture but not runny.”

I had 1-1/4 pounds of meat, so I made 5 patties.

I had 1-1/4 pounds of meat, so I made 5 patties.

“Have the oil in your frying-pan hot but not smoking when you drop in the patties and then turn the heat down and fry the burgers about four minutes.”

As it happens, I have a four-minute timer.

As it happens, I have a four-minute timer.

Toast the buns.

Toast the buns.

“Take the pan off the burner and turn the heat high again. Flip the burgers over, put the pan back on the hot fire, then after one minute, turn the heat down again and cook another three minutes. Both sides of the burgers should be crispy brown and the middle pink and juicy.”


As advertised, they were AMAZING.

Put down that camera and eat me!

Put down that camera and eat me!

I had three patties left over for later. They froze nicely in the “icebox.”


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