Friday, September 14, 2007


My topic for today is corn. Delicious with butter, pepper, and salt. Good on the cob or off the cob. Fine in fritters, pleasurable popped (except when the little corn skins seek their revenge by digging in between your teeth and burrowing, knifelike, into your gums). So, here are a few thoughts vaguely related to corn.

"Solving Home Problems" is one of my favorite features in my old Popular Mechanics. You know what? They never have a problem that I need to solve. Also, I can't understand the solutions--they always involve banjo picks, boilers, and measuring stuff in a competent fashion. I find myself nodding my head cluelessly, as if I were back in math class. Yet, the people in the illustrations always look kind of jolly and I like the use of color in the illustrations, like the smart touches of green shown above.

At any rate, please focus on Figure 4 above. It shows a "bouquet of slices cut from an ear of corn and impaled on wire stems. Corn husks are used to simulate the leaves," also corn niblets fill the base of the planter. Okay. You know what this means don't you? Blood. Blood spilled all over the kitchen and splashed upon the kitchen walls. Have you tried to cut a corn cob? It will not give up without a fight, and I will be the loser in that battle. I mean, this calls for thin little flowery slices of corn without mushing the corn. Impossible, I say! The whole operation is a bit violent, anyway. Is it really necessary to "impale" the bouquet of slices on wire stems? Even if I'm all brutal and I try to do that, do you know who gets impaled? Me. I get impaled. I say, "Don't try this at home." Onward to our next corn contemplation.
This is a squirrel feeder at my sister's house. Yes, there is a very long story behind this feeder. It is a story of dark mischief and mayhem, with squirrels feasting endlessly on buds on bushes, digging up bulbs for sport, vaulting into window boxes and burrowing, running around with small children in their mouths, and generally acting like a pack of vikings on weekend furlough. My sister, a peaceful vegetarian sort and dedicated gardener, took to muttering stuff under her breath about "Buying a gun from the back of some guy's truck and offing them all." This was quite uncharacteristic of her, but pretty funny to me--the crudgirl younger sister.

Instead, as you see, my sister went a different route. She bought a squirrel feeder and began to offer up corn sacrifices to the angry squirrel gods. The feeder is kind of fun. You screw ears of "feed corn" on (it comes in a large sack) and sit back and watch. This squirrel started by standing at the top of the thing and sloooowly swinging around so he was hanging upside down. It did not bother him. Nothing bothers squirrels. Did the wheel work? For a little while. Then, they started ripping the corn off the wheel and running away with it. I think they liked a spot of variety to go along with raiding the flowerbeds.
The last item in our gallery of corn is the book I am reading right now--a mystery by Ngaio Marsh. A central point in the plot is a really terrible opera called, "The Alien Corn." At one point, the man who wrote the opera overhears someone singing the first line, "Alooooone! Alooooone amidst the alien corrrrrrn!" and he suddenly realizes how awful it is and that he is trapped in conducting it even though it really sucks. It is a bad, bad moment for him. Anyway, two points remotely related to this book: 1) For far too long, I mispronounced this author's name. Horribly. I also mispronounced the name of the author's primary character. My sister corrected me. I think the only time I have helped adjust how my sister says a word was "impotent." She was pronouncing it impo'tant. Never mind how the matter came up. Or didn't come up. 2) On the backs of many of Ngaio Marsh's books, people are quoted as saying stuff like, "She's better than Christie!" and "Now, they should compare Christie to Marsh!" It's like some Christie/Marsh literary cage match. Probably embarrassing for both of them.

HAVE A LOVELY WEEKEND! Maybe have some corn, if you can get some good fresh from a farmstand? Just make sure it's not alien corn.