Monday, April 30, 2018

See, see, where Snark's blood streams in the firmament!

The uncooked flesh of the Snark was sufficient for our more distant ancestors but today’s gastronomes must have their Snark curried, tandoori grilled or even minced into kebabs — but never boiled à la anglaise (the hollowness vanishes leaving behind a residue redolent of a fleet of bathing machines saturated in warm, flat beer). In the spirit of nothing in particular, a recipe for cooking Snark follows, a recipe from Assam, the most Snark-ridden province of India. 

Please try it, you won’t be disappointed!

Assamese Snark Curry

Mix the following together:
• 1 kilo of Snark meat, cubed (if no Snark is to be had, use beef, goat or lamb, preferably with bones)
• 6 medium onions, minced
• small head of garlic, minced
• an inch of fresh ginger, grated
• tablespoon of turmeric
• one cinnamon stick
• one cup of oil
• tablespoon of salt
• a sufficient amount of genuinely hot green chilis, slit
• if you wish to "Indianize" this curry, also add a tablespoon of ground cumin, a tablespoon of ground coriander and a tablespoon of garam masala. This might be preferable for those who are accustomed to the somewhat ubiquitious flavors of Northern Indian cuisine and enjoy a certain familiarity in their curry. However, the authentic Assamese version has a delicious simplicity which is worth trying!

Mix and let sit overnight. Cook on low heat, with the lid on and stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Add one cup of water, bring to boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. The curry should finish up with a thick gravy, not at all runny. Cook for about 90 minutes or until meat is tender. Taste for salt, etc. The curry can be garnished with ghee and/or tamarind water. If beef, lamb or goat meat was used, serve with rice, vegetables and dahl.

However, if you used Snark, serve with greens, using forks and hope. Wash it all down with copious amounts of Golden Eagle beer and the stimulating gyrations of two dissipated nautch girls named Anna and Paisa. What ho, memsahibs!

NB. Special thanks to Farah for the genuine Assamese recipe and much, much more …

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Chariots of the Snark Gods

We have arrived now at the very omnium of Fit the Second, that critical portion of The Hunting of the Snark in which the author describes in detail the characteristics of the genus Snark. To explicate these crypto-stigmata, the Bellman has resorted to the very respectable Victorian expedient of the illustrated public lecture. His authoritarian nature naturally gravitates towards such methods of imparting knowledge to the working classes; he also favors the use of a magic lantern to illuminate the more difficult concepts of his lecture with the appropriate visual figures. These will become apparent in the following panels.

But we must turn now to a bit of textual analysis which will pique the interest of all Snarkologists. The Bellman’s preamble (which actually commenced in last week’s panel) mentions in passing three numbers. The numbers 7 and 5 appear on lines 54 and 58, which, in addition to his earlier mention of the number 4 on line 50 in the previous stanza, allows us (nay, compels us!) to perform the following simple Clochetic equation :


We now employ the number 42 (whose Snarkian significance needs no further explication to the Illuminati who frequent these parts):

140/42=3.333 …

As predicted by the
Clochetic Rule of Three, the entirety of the Bellman’s introductory remarks concerning the qualities of the Snark has also served as a cryptic verification of the truth value of 42 by multiplying that auspicious number precisely three times — in an infinite and irrational repetition, to boot! QED and bob’s your uncle.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Snarkness at Noon

There are those who might quibble and look askance at my rather ideologically vacant interpretation of this stanza. Yes, it is a trifle irrelevant … perhaps even mendacious to illustrate a purported lack of Snarks with a veritable snathe of Snarks. The concerned reader might well ask : by whose leave do you have artistic license to mangle the words of Lewis Carroll so? Have you no decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

The eminent Oxford don and man-about-town, Charles Dodgson, was probably the only person who could genuinely claim to be intimate with Lewis Carroll. Mr. Dodgson had this to say about the so-called sanctity of Carrollian texts, their meaning and interpretation:

... I maintain that any writer of a book is fully authorised in attaching any meaning he likes to any word or phrase he intends to use. If I find an author saying, at the beginning of his book, "Let it be understood that by the word black I shall always mean white, and that by the word white I shall always mean black," I meekly accept his ruling, however injudicious I may think it.*

Well, that’s pretty much QED, I should think. Simply substitute the word "illustrator" for "writer"; it’s a mere sneesh of semantic and orthographic difference and expressly allowed for by the above-mentioned axiom. In fact, upon further reflection, we can see that the vast bulk of modern art, philosophy, politics and commerce is based upon Dodgson’s diabolically simple postulate.

So stop fussing over these drawings and rest a spell under the ol' Boojum tree with me. Goshdarned wordpeople, always making trouble for poor picturefolk …


* Charles Dodgson, Symbolic Logic, Bartley, ed. Clarkson N. Potter (New York: 1977).

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Word for Snark is Boojum

The Shakespearean quotation will be familiar to all poetical and political earmongers. The Bellman has been depicted in the definitive Roman pose of imperial authority known as the adlocutio, which has been visually modified here to prove, amongst many other things, that everything old is new again.

Clothed in the rhetorical and semiotic crypto-imperial habiliments of Marxist-Leninism, the Bellman not only demands his auditors’ ears but even their arms so that he may throw them (their arms, not his audience) across the shoulders of the tottering capitalist-running-boojums and assist them into an early grave. This odd affinity (an unelective affinity?) towards Comrade Lenin is no accident, it allows us to make a second auricular reference to the rumored waxen ear which has replaced the genuine, damaged article on Lenin’s embalmed corpse.

The ear motif receives its third and final reiteration (thus fulfilling the Clochetic Rule of Three) in the somewhat maimed person of Vincent van Gogh, who stands behind Comrade Bellman (somewhat in the manner of the Laputian flappers) to encourage the enthusiasm of all concerned with his sinister aura … of menacing risibility.

Their audience, the proletarian hunters of the Snark, react to all this intellectual palaver as expected. Drinks all around and afterwards, dancing on the upper decks for the lower ranks! Huzzah for His Nibs the Bellman, huzzah for the Snark, huzzah for the revolution!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Socratic Snark

Jokes kept for a season of woe, an almost biblical undertaking on the part of the Bellman, whose storehouse of mirth has been sorely depleted by divers chasms and crags. But to this geologically disheartened hunter of the Snark, we say, in the finest demotic vulgate we can muster : lighten up, dude! Like, get a hobby!

Hmmm … how about music? Music is nice, musical tones are even nicer. How about the fiddle? It’s an instrument that’s still welcome at hoe-down and rave alike. And all the girls love musicians, especially those hirsute ones (musicians, not girls) who emote over their Boojums in smoky Parisian cabarets, the kind of place where Kiki de Montparnasse might toss her turban at sugar-dada Man Ray or Jean Ingres pops in to play some violon airs upon a g-string behind her naked bach.

But the Bellman knows it will never work out. From the vantage point of his solitary table in a dark corner, he sighs aloud and weeps a solitary English tear into his hemlock and branch water. 

He knows he’s the wisest man in the place, simply because he’s the only one aware of his own ignorance. That and the numbness creeping up his legs … and up his back …