Sunday, May 18, 2008

What did I eat?

We went to a very good Indian restaurant yesterday. I had king fish cooked in a banana leaf. It wasn't until the second or third mouthful that I realised I didn't know what king fish is. Unfortunately, neither does anyone else. It could be king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla);

one of the kingcroaker family (Menticirrhus americanus, Menticirrhus undulatus, Menticirrhus littoralis, or Menticirrhus saxatilis: the picture is of Menticirrhus saxatilis);

or else the narrow-barred Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson);

or the white croaker (Genyonemus lineatus: unlikely, as it only occurs in the Eastern Pacific);

or the perciform cobia (Rachycentron canadum);

the wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri);

the crevalle jack (caranx hippos);

the japanese meagre (Argyrosomus japonicus: I can only find this suitably inadequate photograph of it);

the yellowtail amberjack (seriola lalandi: this could be the California yellowtail (seriola lalandi dorsalis), the southern yellowtail (seriola lalandi lalandi) or the Asian yellowtail (seriola lalandi aureovitta));

the opah (lampris guttatus or lampris immaculatus: you may know this fish better as the Jerusalem haddock);

the silver gemfish (rexea solandri);

or the giant trevally (caranx ignobilis: pound for pound, one of the toughest fish to catch in the world, I'm told).

I'd say it was probably a scombrid, but apart from that can't go much further. Whatever it was, it was most tasty.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Philip Guston (1913-1980)

Drawing No. 19 (1954)

The Studio (1969)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


There were eleven ducklings around their duck this morning, but this photo is from a week or so ago, when there were fewer. In fact, I think that these particular ducklings were eaten by rats (or similar) the next day, and have since been replaced. It is difficult to tell ducklings apart.

It is equally difficult to tell cows apart, and with this photo's problems of scale it is impossible to tell that these are in fact calves. They might be huge, 33 times bigger than normal. Take my word for it, their backs come up to about the level of my breastbone. Come autumn, we will get a leaflet put through the door offering us what is billed as high-quality free-range beef, with photos of the cows in their natural habitat. You've seen the beasties, now eat the hamburger.

A little minor stalking

Natrix natrix

I decided not to spend too long in the library this Bank Holiday Monday, and instead went to the Botanic Gardens. There, for the first time in twenty-one years, I saw a grass snake. An omen of some sort, I suppose.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Méliès, that twister...

Or else, you can always have a look here. There are some videos here and here.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Nobel Prize 3: Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832-1910)

May Seventeenth (1883)

Wergeland's statue on May seventeenth
Saw the procession. And as its rear-guard,
Slow marching masses,
Strong men and women with flower-decked presence,
Come now the peasants, come now the peasants.

Österdal's forest's magnificent chieftain
Bore the old banner. Soon as we see it
Blood-red uplifted,
Greet it the thousands in thought of its story:
That is our glory, that is our glory!

Never that lion bore crown that was foreign,
Never that cloth was by Dannebrog cloven.
I saw the future,
When with that banner by Wergeland's column
Peasants stood solemn, peasants stood solemn.

Most of our loss in the times that have vanished,
Most of our victories, most of our longing,
Most that is vital:
Deeds of the past and the future's bold daring
Peasants are bearing, peasants are bearing.

Sorely they suffer for sins once committed,
But they arise now. Here at the Storting
Stalwart they prove it,
All, as they come from our land's every region,
Peasant Norwegian, peasants Norwegian.

Hold what they won, with a will to go farther;
Whole we must have independence and honor!
All of us know it:
Wergeland's summer bears soon its best flower,-
Power in peasants, peasants in power.

From Arthur Hubbell Palmer, Poems and Songs by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson: Translated from the Norwegian In the Original Meters (1915)

Next time: Frédéric Mistral and José Echegaray y Eizaguirre.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


This is cheery enough, featuring my doppelganger James Womack on rhythm guitar.