The Mission Statement

the Exploded View believes the world is a pretty interesting place, and worth a closer look. Content will be refined in the coming weeks to focus more on Travel and Photography, with some unavoidable tangential rambling.

Please pardon our dust.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Exploded View v. the Allosaurus; the Favorite English Sentence; Flash Fiction; Jícama

ATTN: Scientific Community - your textbooks have it all wrong.

New reader, I suggest you open your printed encyclopedia to the entry describing the fearsome family Allosauridae - second cousin to the Tyrannosaur; predator during the late Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods - and locate the word “extinct.” Now, draw your trusty wide nib Sharpie from its low-slung holster and strike it out wherever it appears. Don’t be coy. You’re performing a much-needed public service.

Archaeologists may be shocked to learn that at least one specimen of deadly Allosaurus still lives, stalking the sweetly dreaming citizens of North Hollywood. Beware. This Exploded View correspondent was menaced and would certainly have been thoroughly chewed before waking were it not for the heroic appearance of Baxter the Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, and the sudden and opportune arrival of a larger and more satisfying meal - an escaped albino circus pony.

On our Scale of Peculiarity, a dream of this caliber ranks medium-high, just above "Joss Whedon invited me to visit his home, which was a Barnes & Noble," but well below the Dali-Installation-esque "Urinating Into a Toilet Bowl Full of Fire Ants." An attempt to assign meaning to any dream above a medium-low rating is likely to cause grievous mental injury, and would be ill-advised. We at the View are satisfied for the time being that sometimes an Allosaurus is just an Allosaurus, but will be avoiding all contact with largish reptiles until further notice, as a precautionary measure.


For the dreamer of the Exceptionally Abnormal still looking for insight into their own queer mental processes, I recommend an altogether different activity.


Consider: what is your favorite sentence in the English language? Don't panic if you don't have one prepared. In fact, it serves the exercise better if you don't.

The question was introduced to writers at the View yesterday afternoon, and swallowed the bulk of the evening's productivity in its impressive gravity. By what criteria should the sentence be judged? How will you weight raw craftsmanship? Utility? Aesthetics? Will you make a selection from a favorite book? A poem? Something well-known, or written by yourself? Will your sentence be long or short? Does length really matter? If you think so, what does that say about you as a person? Will taking these things into account affect the validity of your final choice? And how long before you exhaust yourself with these and other seemingly important questions?

In the end, we came down on the side of the pleasantly bizarre. A photo caption from a story run on the BBC News website in August 2007 about a Double Nosed Andean Tiger Hound discovered in Bolivia reads:

Its hinted-at subject is bewitching. It contains a number of agreeable sounds and a no-nonsense rhythm. And at the end of the day, it's all about a dog with two noses.

Running a close second is Ernest Hemingway's famous single sentence Flash Fiction...

... which is simple and brilliant.


And on the international culinary side of simple and brilliant, we have...

Jícama! [hee-kah-muh]

The Mexican turnip. The Chinese potato. The Yam Bean.

Low calorie, low sodium, and near-as zero fat. It's available all year, and in most well-stocked groceries and health-food stores (peak season is roughly November through May). Like tofu, jícama assumes the flavors of the foods you cook it with, so it works well in soups and stir fries. It also makes a healthy snack on its own, and tastes a little like a marriage between a fairly bland apple and a water chestnut. Look for dry, heavy tubers that are firm to the touch and light on the skin blemishes.
  • Remove the root and peel away the tough, brown skin, then slice thin as you would an apple.
  • Lay slices out on your serving dish however you like and squeeze out a quarter wedge of lemon or lime over the top.
  • Add salt or fresh pepper to taste, and chili powder or pico de gallo if you like that sort of thing.
They're ugly as sin, but relatively inexpensive at 1 and change per pound and will keep for up to a month when stored in a cool, dry place. For an entertaining bonus when serving snackable jícama for company, show your guests the raw tuber beforehand, and jubilantly exclaim that you will be making them eat it. Laugh maniacally.


Juliana said...

Actually, it was Borders. Geez.

Great first entry! And thanks for the linky link.

Angela said... join...blogspot.....

But really, you guys have way more interesting (or less scary) brains then I do.

Miss ya Steves

Tracy said...

That Xingu thing has to be the best sentence I've ever read. Bewitching indeed.

Jicama is a great potato substitute, from what I've read (haven't tried it), as is kohlrabi - you can even grate them up and fry them, a la hash browns. Mmmm.


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