Sunday, March 11, 2007

Almonds and Saffron

For the Ringing of the Bards Poetry Carnival . This is what comes of reading seed catalogs and old Italian cookbooks.

Bitter white nut in tight brown skin
Milk for Carnival's meatless days
Heart of peaches for linen hued thickening
Mixed with sugar confectioner's clay

Oh rarest of spices the crocus stigmata
When plucked from the pale blue field capture the sun
Red gold on the table or robe for renouncer
The light in the heart of the blossom is one.

From field to market to mortar and pestle
Bruised and battered, ground fine and torn
The essence released sleeps dead in the vessel
Wakened, refined then through fire reborn

Gold filament and tapered silver seed
Through fire and care their finer nature's freed.

Friday, March 09, 2007

I've been collecting odd implements of destruction for a while. One that you hear about but don't often see is the old sailor's weapon known as a slungshot or slung shot. It consists of a length of rope about as long as the user's forearm with a loop at one end and a monkey's fist knot at the other with a small lead cannonball inside the knot. Slungshots were never part of a ship's official armament. They were improvised for defense while ashore or made by criminals as "life preservers".

Since I was at the hardware store anyway I picked up a little of this and that and put one together this evening.

  1. 3/8" three strand Sisal rope
  2. Jute twine
  3. 16 oz. "cannonball" lead sinker
  4. Paraffin wax

  1. Made a three-strand eye splice in one end of the rope.
  2. Made a monkey fist knot at the other end.
  3. Before tightening up the monkey fist, put the lead ball inside.
  4. Tightened the monkey fist knot.
  5. Whipped the rope around the splice to protect splice and to hide messy job
  6. Continued whipping (West Country Whip) around the loop with waxed jute twine
  7. Gave the who thing another waxing.

Time elapsed for everything but the whipping: about ten minutes
Whipping: about twenty minutes.
Time to learn the knotwork: about fifteen minutes.

It's ugly, improvised and will bring the ones that don't usually come. Next time I'll use hemp rope and twine and add a couple extra loops in strategic places on the monkey's fist so the ball is completely concealed.

Note to self: It might be legal to carry this openly in Oregon. Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's a good idea. It will certainly make you fail the Police Attitude Test.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Old Age and Cussedness - I see Mushtaq's 70 and raise him 30

Just the other day the Traceless Warrior posted a news story about a septuagenarian tourist who killed an armed robber in Costa Rica and helped drive off his partners in crime.

Today's story comes from UK.

28 February 2007

A 100-YEAR-OLD man fought off three teenage muggers after being surrounded at a bus stop. Buster Martin, who still works five days a week as a car washer and mechanic, was followed by the gang when he left a pub.

He said: "They pushed me against a wall and tried to take my money from me.

"I went mad. I was lashing out on the floor and then I stood up and was kicking them all.

"I pushed one and kung-fu kicked the other one between the legs.

"They ran off scared after I did that and I still had all my money.

"They thought I was an easy target but they didn't realise what a fighter I can be."

After the attack in Camberwell, south London, Buster staggered into hospital for treatment for a bruised rib and a bump on his head.

But his boss at Pimlico Plumbers, Charlie Mullins, said Buster still turned up for work the next day.

A police spokesman said he had been interviewed and patrols in the area had been stepped up.