Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Glossina jujuformis

When you make Ogbono magic fly money soup, you must catch and kill by yourself an insect living in the neighborhood from where you want to draw the money. And this insect must be a Northern bagorie tsetse. Keep in mind that the Northern bagorie tsetse in its adult form never strays from a small area and that it is always biting human to take blood. From this you can be certain that a plump mature specimen (size of adult thumb) will contain the blood of many people that live near it. Of course this blood is in a very small amount, but that is your intent with Ogbono magic fly money soup: to extract small portions of money from a very large group of people, with the ideal hope that your spell is not even recognized.

To prepare: use the traditional ogbono soup recipe closest to you, preferably the one taught by your mother. But be careful to observe these elements:

• Use only goat meat, not beef.
• Cut the tomatoes in five pieces each but do not peel.
• Use leaves of green plants picked from the target area.
• Purify the cooking oil by means of the dance described on page 3.

Before cooking, you must determine who is the most beloved woman of your target area, and you must collect a good amount of her hair. Use this to bind the corpse of the tsetse fly, as though to prevent its legs from moving. Use only one fly per bowl, and eat at least three of these.

When you have finished, spend your nights perfectly still and on your back. Do not expect the rain of bills to arrive before the third night. Be thankful even of small amounts, and consider that you have derived succor through magic without killing anyone. Shedding of blood by your own hand is the road to Kirikiri.

From: Stella Onutosokwu, Three Bug Magic Spells. Pamphlet, retrieved from downtown Lagos, Summer 2008.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Fraxinus sutura

‘Loop-trees’ prompt vandalism alerts

A row of oddly-shaped ashes bordering a popular lookout point have led to several erroneous reports to police that the trees have been mutilated.

Authorities near Epping Forest, Essex received another rash of calls from ramblers concerned about the row of Maltese looping ashes on Sunday.

Planted less than two years ago, the trees belong to a fast-growing Mediterranean species unknown to the area before the recent development of a cultivar conducive to UK climate.

On attaining a height of roughly 30 metres, the trunk begins to bend back toward the ground, continuing until the tip reaches the soil and takes root near the original base, forming the namesake “loop.”

From some angles, a mature specimen may appear to the uninformed as though it is being forcibly bent, tied down, or that its top has been sheared.

“When the ash starts its bending, it’s a very rapid process,” explained Dunnelda Kennings-Highbeech, spokeswoman for the City of London Corporation. “This clearing is a picturesque vantage spot for looking out on the heath, and the sudden change was alarming to a number of return visitors. But the trees are in fact fine.”

Kennings-Highbeech hastened to assure any concerned parties that the Epping Forest Keepers administer only the most essential pruning practices and do not engage in lopping, topping or flush cutting of any kind.

From: BBC News (27 March 2009). Retrieved on 2009-3-28.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chlamydosaurus exultata

By consulting Mercurialis, Bayerus, Caricterius, Galen, Paraquozilli, and the less penetrable marginalia of Vesalius, I have determined that a melancholia such as yours arises from an excess flow of black blood in one your principal veins. (Snatches up an enormous syringe.) As you are bum-heavy, I estimate the vein in question to be accessible right there, between the cheeks — or in your case, between the hemrods. I shall now demonstrate the presence of angry dark humours by evacuating some in fluid form. (Pokes HARLEQUIN’S buttocks.) But you must keep still — keep still! (HARLEQUIN wriggles, deflecting the prop.) By Hippocrates, a hangman noosing an eel must have it easier! (HARLEQUIN somersaults away from the table.) Return at once or you’ll never be cured.

You’re attacking the wrong spot, for I promise you that dark substances pass out of there daily, without chirurgical aid. Ah! But there was something to your jabs. They ministered a fresh agony, very unlike my spleen. Therein lies the remedy. If only the pain were sharper, less medicinal, and delivered with more rage. Someone procure me a cutthroat! Where is that Brighella?

He’s off in the provinces, attending to wealthy suicides. They pay generously at the outset, and once the deed is finished, they never seem to complain that he takes away more than his fee. You can’t afford him, but I’ll ape him for nothing. (Swipes a knife from the DOCTOR’S table.) I’m no good at this, but that could make it hurt more. (Thrusts the knife at HARLEQUIN, who contorts wildly at each strike.)

Eheu! That won’t do in the slightest — Enough, enough! (Bats GIFILCCHIO about the head until he retreats.) I won’t put up with your feeble tickles. My carcass deserves a special outrage. (Muses.) A sailor told me that in far-away Coelobon live some rather puny dragons — monkey-sized things that can stand up like men. They spend all their days leaping skyward — not only to snap at the flies, but often for no reason at all, as though they hope the giant frills on their throats will catch the breeze like sails and keep them aloft. This never comes to pass, but after they die, the Orientals skin their heads to make kites — and those always fly without a hitch. It makes me wonder if a good peeling wouldn’t elevate my spirit.

Shall we make a kite from you, then? And if we do, what of the meat left over?

Now that’s a problem. If you bury it, then I’m as good as dead. An airborne fleece this gaudy might create a spectacle, but no one who sees my headstone would bother to pay me for the show. However, if it’s true that all of this melancholy resides not in my hide, but in the moist anatomist’s manikin that hides inside of it — why then, I say it’s best if, once I’m flayed, you just let that part of me be. Give it a stool to sit on and pour it a glass of vinegar now and then, and I reckon it will stay in a corner, sulking, and bother no one.

From: Rylanch Tealtherne, Esq. Harlequin Vexed (from the French Bergamask Burlesque known as Arlequin sans peau by M. Pierre-Baptiste de Meltouffle, derived from that Gentleman’s study of Italian buffoons, altered, alliterated and otherwise adapted for the English stage.) Quarto edition, London, 1673.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Vermihippus ferus

One of the very few species of limbless mammal, the
Pipesteed is an equine but not a true horse, although its native moniker — Kudasankutar, meaning “wild worm-stallion of the north” — emphasizes its very horse-like appearance. Some biologists trace it (with reservation) directly back to the Hipparion genus. Knowledge remains scant, as no Pipesteed has ever been captured live.

Its exclusive habitat is the impervious northern half of Sulepawak, where it twists between or through dense bushes and roots, forging paths when none are present and grazing on the fly. It apparently restricts its movements to aboveground, as its tough, leathery underside and robust frame (reaching 12 feet in length) seem optimized for negotiating rough surfaces and vegetation. Study of its skeleton reveals gaps between sections of grouped ribs (effectively a sequence of four ribcages), where oversized, hinge-like vertebrae allow it to assume the postures necessary for its style of serpentine locomotion (known as “the sinuous gait”).

Despite miniscule ears, a mere wisp of a mane and no distinct withers, the head of a Pipesteed is clear proof of its genus. The area from the forelock to the snout is best described as a common horse’s muzzle in caricature — stretched to one and a half times its original length and pinched somewhat at the end. Also reminiscent of its hoofed cousin is the Pipesteed’s ferocious whinny, which explains why kudasankutar is also the Coelobonese word for locomotive.

From: H. Viveam Constanelle, Known Wildlife of Sulepawak: A Field Guide, Mandaroeb & Sons, 1955: p. 212.