Archive for May 19th, 2008

May 19, 2008

The Salmon of Wisdom

Crested Oropendola nests, Maraval


In my studies of Celtic culture at U of T I was always fascinated by the whole concept of the salmon of knowledge or the bradán feasa ,if you prefer, which  forms part of the Fenian Cycle. Sure, the christian world had the forbidden fruit but it takes much more imagination to come up with a fish that bestows unlimited knowledge because it ate from the hazelnuts that fell into the Well of Wisdom. That sort of creativity doesn’t grow on trees ( though the hazelnuts did). Sure, there are those who might wonder why not forget the damned salmon and eat the nuts directly but that would be to miss the whole magic of the thing. I can tell you that if I could get my hands on such a marvelous creature I would have it braised in a bit of parsley and butter and in my mouth faster than the nuts could hit the well. Working in my field and even just living in general makes me wonder how we even manage given the bits of information thrown at us when we have no sense of how they all fit into the bigger picture.Of course, they may not fit at all but even knowing that would be helpful.


This weekend passed generally uneventfully. I had Peter and Naz over for dinner on Friday and despite feeling a bit unwell managed to rustle up Peter’s preferred main course of roasted Cornish game hen and pureed squash. I also managed to make some Vol-au-vents filled with cheese, mushrooms and chopped shrimp and even made a spinach salad with walnuts, blue cheese  and  mandarins. As usual dessert was beyond me so I just bought some cheesecake which was quite nice.  The weekend news was fairly easy as there were quite a lot of stories and no need to “creatively append “ to what stories we had. Sad that a 14 year old girl has now been kidnapped and , once again, I  find myself fearing for the safety of a stranger and imagining the trauma the family must be experiencing. The murders continue and we are now well over 180 for the year. There is no point commenting because the murder count, the dismal detection rate and the even poorer conviction rate are there for the authorities to see but, being idiots, they seem incapable of any action whatsoever. I had Professor Ramesh Deosaran on the programme again last week and he echoed a sentiment I have voiced here in this blog. When I asked him why, given this government’s obsession with achieving “developed country status” ( whatever the hell that means) we don’t seem to be emulating countries such as the UK, Canada or even Singapore in dealing with crime, he responded that people in those government’s have shame which we lack. It really comes down to simple things like shame and humility both of which are sadly lacking in this regime and, even more apparently, in the opposition.


At times like this the only recourse for me seems to be to grab my Collected Works of William Shakespeare and fall into the magic of his writing. At least I can take some comfort in knowing that while I spend far too much time railing against storms there is zero danger of all my progeny dropping dead as I don’t have any.