How To Prepare Rabbit For Dinner

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You will need: a rabbit.

You will also need: carrots, Calvados, flour, celery, salt and pepper, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, tomato juice, and a very sharp knife.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Get a Good Specimen.

Like poultry, rabbits must be cooked fresh; if not, they are unwholesome. Older rabbits are best for soups and stews, younger ones are more suitable for roasting. The ideal rabbit for roasting is two years old, with soft, thin ears that are easy to tear and smooth, pointed claws. Be warned, though: paying too much attention to either area will arouse suspicion and make your specimen jumpy. Also, the pad under its paws should be well developed (it disappears with age). Having identified an attractive specimen, call him up and invite him over; not too late, though — rabbits are early risers.

2. On the Day.

Serve crudités. Carrots are a perfectly acceptable amuse-gueule, though younger rabbits will be keen to try local garden specialities. Broad-leaved garlic stalks are currently very popular, as is rocket salad. Rabbits, remember, are strictly vegan: no wings, no jerky, no cheese on the nachos.

2.1 Concerning Cocktails.

Yes, always good; most rabbits love a tipple at sunset. Be wary, however, of rabbits over-indulging in Pink Gin, for example. An inebriated rabbit is a giddy rabbit, and there’s a lot of cutting ahead, for which you will require a steady hand and as few complications as possible. But a single Bloody Mary, served with a celery stick, is perfect. Lots of cracked pepper, heavy on the Worcestershire, but for heaven’s sake, go easy with the Tabasco.

3. Conversation Don’ts.

Always address your specimen by his given name, and never as Doc or Bunny. Do not comment on overbites. And please, no jokes involving speech impediments. Do not commend your rabbit on his species’ propensity to breed; steer clear of sex, Playboy, and the Easter Bunny. Also, The Mad Hatter had tea with the March Hare. You bet there’s a difference. And while we’re on the subject, the old hare-in-the-soup joke? Please, refrain.

4. Conversation Dos.

You may be surprised how many rabbits have read Sartre — do comment on the futility of life and sigh. Apologize for not having made a bigger effort with the finger food, but like everything these days, what’s the point? I mean, we’re all going to die — yes, all of us — so really, what’s the point? This is an ideal moment to leave your rabbit for a moment of quiet contemplation, just long enough for you to change the music from Sounds of Valley Streams to Watership Down. Dim the lights, smoke a cigarette, check that the curtains are closed.

5. The Fine Points of Preparation.

Take a good sharp knife and make a slit from your rabbit’s collar to his scrotum. Having done so, remove his stomach and intestines. This is best done when rabbit least expects — maybe tell him you’re not so hungry after all and invite him for a game of billiards in the library, or perhaps offer to demonstrate some Greco-Roman wrestling moves. Expect a struggle, though nothing you shouldn’t be able to negotiate. He, your rabbit, may well accuse you of being a cad and a scoundrel and allude to false pretenses. Don’t let it deter you. Drop him from a height, because, unlike cats, rabbits rarely fall on their feet and broken backs are not uncommon. The perfect alibi, should the constabulary arrive at this moment. You can’t be too careful. Deep-freeze his liver for a rainy day, and wipe the innards well with a damp cloth. Remove tail close to body, limbs at first joint. Yes, young boys love them, but evidence is evidence; don’t be tempted to keep them. Loosen the skin and work toward the hind legs. It’s okay, he’s dead. Turn the hind legs inside out and pull off the skin. Retract skin towards the shoulders, skin fore legs as hind legs, decapitate. Voilá! Having laid aside the skin, extract the kidneys, break the diaphragm and discard his heart and lungs. You’re nearly there! Wash him down in tepid water and leave him to steep for an hour. Add a dash of Calvados as it settles the oxidants. And you know what? Have one yourself. You deserve it. You will need to clear the scene of prints and consider how best to dispose of remain-, I mean, leftovers. A good time to ponder this is definitely not while:

6. Cooking Your Rabbit.

Your rabbit is now ready for cooking. The slightly bluish tinge is perfectly normal and denotes freshness, not bruising. Toss the carcass in flour, then sear it in hot bacon fat before popping him in the oven (gas mark 6/220 degrees, 1.5 hour). Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with a freshly baked potato, snow peas and strong English mustard. A nice chilled Chardonnay will wash him down nicely. Now, wasn’t that worth it? Bon appetit!

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The Harder the Better

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I resolved that instead of making something easier, I would make something harder. — Soren Kierkegaard.

Tried putting on my pants two legs at a time, holding them by the waist and then jumping into them. Ruined three pairs and then gave up, fearing I would soon have nothing to wear to church except my Bermuda shorts.

Wrote through the night with a pen that has a split nib. Ink flowed everywhere, and I had to dip the pen in the well after each word. By morning I was a mass of blue stains and couldn’t read one word of my scribbling. It was great.

Meeting Martensen on the square, I fell in with him, walking backwards as he continued frontwards, so that we proceeded together while facing in opposite directions. My stepping thus appeared to disconcert Martensen, who, however, mentioned only that I was barefoot on the coldest day of the year. Did the icy flagstones not sting my feet? he wished to know. Did they ever! But I said nothing. When we finished our conversation, which concerned Hegel’s use of adverbs, I hopped home on one leg for the heck of it.

Shaved with my left hand this morning. What does the loss of a piece of one’s nose amount to, sub specie aeternitatis?

Forced myself to sing all the hymns at church today in falsetto. This proved painful to my throat, and caused many to fix on me an uncomprehending gaze. But it was more than worth it in soul points.

Read The Phenomenology in my study by propping up the opened book on the windowsill while I sat in a chair twenty feet away. Besides having to squint at the text for all I was worth, I had to cross the room every time I wanted to turn the page. After an hour, I increased the difficulty by placing the book upside down. Hallelujah!

Played two-handed gin with Bishop Mynster at his home this evening. After losing the first five games, the good Bishop took exception to my dealing the cards with my chin, saying it took too long and possibly was cheating. I explained that I did it only to develop my spirit, and he seemed satisfied, but he insisted anyway on looking down my collar for hidden cards. Praise the Lord, none were there tonight.

Paid a prostitute to spread the word that she had lain with me, though she had not. With luck, the story will make it into society, ruin my reputation, and turn my engagement into a long, dismal affair. Indeed, Regine may have to slap me in public to save her good name. Here’s hoping!

In a restaurant, I showed my waitress those items on the menu that I did not want, rather than those I did. She lost patience and left me, sending over a just-hired girl. In future I must remember to pain only myself, and not others. Still, I left no tip.

Took a good, strong laxative before heading out to the theater to see a comedy. Once there, I sat in several wrong seats before an usher finally escorted me to mine. I heard some gratifying tittering at my expense, no doubt about the “disoriented drunken party.” By the middle of the first act I sat folded over in cramp and broke a steady wind. If those around me put it down to merriment, so much the better.

Spent all day Saturday without once opening my eyes. What an unfamiliar place one’s own home becomes when one cannot see! Sustained quite a nasty cut inserting my hand into what I thought was my desk, but was instead my knife drawer. Then I went headlong against some stairs, thinking they should have descended when in fact they ascended. Most embarrassing of all, as I returned from a blind walk, I entered not my home but my neighbor’s, who raised a fuss when I interrupted her bath.

I resolved to raise all my own vegetables, hunt down my own meat, and manufacture my own wine. I decided on venison steak with boiled potatoes for supper, with a nice bottle of chardonnay. I then calculated that by the time I planted, harvested and cooked the potatoes, hunted, killed, cut, seasoned and fried the deer, raised, cultivated, and pressed my grapes, allowed them to ferment into wine, and then bottled the result, it would be six to eight weeks before I had dinner on the table, given luck on the hunt and a good growing season with plenty of sunshine and rain. By then I would most likely have a massive headache from not eating. I gave up in despair and told my manservant to bring me some of last night’s leg of lamb warmed up and a chilled bottle of 1847 Lafitte. Tomorrow I’ll try to forge myself some garden tools.

Swallowed my communion wafer whole without moistening it in my mouth first, then turned blue with choking. Hope you enjoyed it, God.

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Mickey Mouse Fights Bugs Bunny In Vegas, As Reported On By Norman Mailer

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The likelihood was that no city but Vegas could have contained a spiritual conflict of these dimensions.

Which was why your correspondent, let’s call him Mailer, was in Vegas. When Mailer took his seat, Bugs was already inhabiting the ring, shadowboxing, winning some cheers from the crowd. Vegas is Bunny territory, except of course that the Mob were for Mickey. But the existential money, hot diggity damn, was on Bugs.

Donald and Daffy, the trainers, were both ducks, which must have portended something, Mailer thought, in these apocalyptic times, but now Mickey was strutting into his corner and opening combat, with a psychological gambit. He blew a raspberry.

Bugs just smiled, like the outlaw he is. There is something mythical, even apocryphal about him.

While what spoke loudest about Mickey was his blackness. Mickey sold out to the corporate execs long ago, but here we enter the terrain of high contradictions, because Mickey still has enough fighting instinct that he would sooner succumb to a knockout blow than to a suburban plastic smear campaign, our more usual, deadening, American fate.

It was Mailer’s theory that Americans no longer punched each other enough. He blamed the feminists.

Now the bell rang for the first round, and while Mickey charged into the center of the ring, Bugs slipped away to the other corner. Mickey followed him and, in the biggest surprise of the first round, smacked Bugs with a baseball bat.

Crazy. No-one expected this super-octane style of attack from Mickey, but then, Mickey can wear opponents out by the ease with which he reinvents himself. He’s been a write-in candidate in the last dozen Presidential elections, as have I. To the opponents he vanquishes, Mickey must resemble the Angel of Death, all whipcord and Teflon. Mickey can come close to awing you by his very virility, not to mention his beauty, a beauty that comes close to being a major political fact of our times.

Mickey understands power, and he has more rage in him than Bugs, but Bugs knows in his entrails things that Mickey may have forgotten, that the magical world intrudes on our reality when the stakes are high enough, that to win you must have angels on your side as well as devils. And as the first round ended, Mailer was granted this further nugget of insight, undeniably a subterranean one, that Mickey’s great fault is that he accepts technology.

If so, he was paying a price for it. For it was Bugs who now appeared in charge. The corporations keep recordings of Mickey’s past fights out of circulation, which could have been a problem for Bugs in training, except that Bugs has never relied on technology. Bugs will steal your style and make it your own. He’s a fakir messing with your psychic circuits. He’ll turn your moves inside out for you, and hand them back to you in the form of a revelation. Mailer would have developed this thought further, but the bell had rung for the second round.

Right off, Mickey got Bugs with a left jab, and for a moment Bugs was down. There is an art to watching Bugs fall down. He seems to pull the ground up to meet him. Pound Bugs into submission, and you can still feel him looking over your shoulder, saying, hey, I’m taking some punishment, aren’t I? On his feet again, Bugs pushed Mickey back into the corner, Mickey full of violence now, Bugs looking abstracted, a little grayer than usual. Mickey threw some hard punches but Bugs weaved out of his way, and counter-punched, and Mickey fell back into the ropes, disheartened.

Daffy and Donald were fighting now, and Bugs and Mickey sat down to watch them.

“There was confusion among the crowd.” — Las Vegas Sun

Yup, because what happened next would defy the descriptive power of any genius but myself. Bugs was graceful but Micky was an explosion. Every punch conveyed an epiphany. Bugs was an Indian magician, burning with schizophrenia, but Mickey was a Negro artist, athrob with jungle cat intuition and trailing glory. Circling, they were equal to two great lovers or double-agents making inroads into each other’s psyches. The fight began to remind Mailer of his third marriage.

After Bugs clapped Mickey on the head with a pair of cymbals, little vultures flew around his head. Then Mickey pulled a lever, and oh crap, an anvil almost landed on top of Bugs. It was a brilliant move, but Bugs dodged it and slugged Mickey so tenderly it was equal to a sermon dating from the moment of creation.

“Knockout!” — Las Vegas Sun

The crowd cried insanity. Who knew what, when the corporation lawyers were through with it all, would be the official result of this match? But for now everyone was cheering Bugs, bearing him aloft, and Mailer climbed into the ring and made a speech which went to the root of America. Mickey is America, but Bugs is what America should be, was the gist of Mailer’s speech. It was his way of saying that Mickey had class, but Bugs could hustle, that Mickey was Chuck Lindbergh, but Bugs was the Risen Christ.

You’ll never see Bugs do a double-take. It is no small part of his strength that there is no way to humiliate him. Not even when Donald turned out to be the referee, an arrangement Mailer considered a clear violation of the divine economy. But God has been on the defensive since the millennium turned, so it should have surprised nobody when Donald declared Mickey the prizewinner. That’s all folks.

Daffy was heard to utter the word “despicable.”

Mailer, heading for the bar to make more speeches, could detect the seed of an idea germinating, this idea being that it is the logic of pain that, by some telepathic communion, forces the direction of the Universe.

Eat or be eaten. It was getting colder, do not doubt it, and if it was a sign of Mailer’s deep cosmic pessimism that he let Daffy order him a Bourbon, it was a sign of his bravery that he put together the feat of drinking it.

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The Vulgar Boatman, or:
One Potato, Two Potato

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The following play marks the first appearance in English by the brilliant young dramatist Basil Dung. Mr. Dung is English, but by a court order (People of the United States vs. Dung) all of his works to date have been translated into ancient Egyptian to keep them out of the hands of children. Since the ban was lifted, Mr. Dung has graciously consented to translate his most famous play into English again. After seeing it, the editors are taking up a collection to have it translated back into ancient Egyptian, where they hope it will remain.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

ALFREDO The human gyroscope

TARTINI A man trapped in another man’s body

SACCO AND VANZETTI Two innocent bystanders

THE EMERSON QUARTET The Emerson Quartet

MAXWELL An usher

MICHAEL An archangel

WARING A blender

OTHELLO A bellhop

ACT ONE

The time is 8 p.m. on a murky stage in New York. Two starving actors are silhouetted in the moonlight streaming through an unrepaired roof. They are lying stage right, moaning and holding their stomachs. Every few minutes they stop to cut out pictures of food from a women’s magazine. As if by accident the first one speaks.

TARTINI: Anyone here have change for a twenty? Just asking, of course.

In the meantime, Alfredo has died and been given a full military funeral. The curtain falls on Tartini, killing him instantly. A voice announces that there will be refreshments served in the lobby, and then we hear a blood-curdling laugh. End of Act One.

ACT TWO

The same stage a few minutes later. Most of the audience has been poisoned, but not so you’d notice. A light spring rain wafts through the hole in the roof. As if through a cheesecloth, an old song-and-dance man barks these words:

OLD SONG-AND-DANCE MAN: Program! Get your red-hot program here! Can’t tell the action without a program!

No one answers. He exits stage left, a disillusioned and embittered man. Enter the Emerson Quartet, playing crab soccer and Haydn’s Opus Number Two in E Major. They are drunk. After falling into the orchestra pit, they lie down and go to sleep. Eventually, some attendants dump them into shopping carts and roll them backstage, where we hear a sudden burst of gunfire. All this time Sacco and Vanzetti have been in the second balcony stuffing detonator caps into potatoes. Sacco leans over to Vanzetti to whisper something in his ear and Vanzetti breaks out laughing. Then he whispers to Sacco and Sacco does the same. Apparently it is some private joke between the two of them.

ACT THREE

A flourish of trumpets. Enter two heralds.

FIRST HERALD: The King!

SECOND HERALD: (as if hit from behind with a pipe wrench) King? What King?!?

The curtain is lowered for several months while repairs are begun on the roof, but it is no use, the Revolution can never succeed now.

ACT FOUR

An usher named Maxwell limps onstage to announce that the play is about to begin, and suddenly there is a rush for the lobby. Time passes. The continents continue to drift. Soon the Christmas holidays are at hand. Maxwell crawls back onstage and says that curtain time will be any minute now. There is a note of urgency, perhaps even of warning, in his voice. Somehow we know he will not live to see Paris. The gods become angry. We hear the rumble of distant thunderclouds — or perhaps not so distant. Through the still-open hole in the roof, lightning suddenly strikes a man in the first row, but amazingly, his watch still works. From the wings, a clothing dummy delivers Hamlet’s soliloquy in pig Latin, while an aging custodian pushes a dry mop across the stage. There is not a dry eye left in the house.

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Disclaimer

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For external use only. Harmful or fatal if swallowed. Keep out of reach of children. Eye irritant. Contents under pressure. Do not expose this product to extreme temperatures. This product has not been evaluated by the FDA. Not to be used as a flotation device. For amusement purposes only. This product is not intended for the prevention of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

Do not insert in ear canal. Do not swaddle around nose and mouth; breathing may be obstructed. Do not grind into cornea. Not to be used as a substitute for food and/or water. This product is not designed to cure hepatitis, amoebic dysentery, or social ineptitude. Do not permanently store in throat, anus, urethra, or other body cavities. Not to be used in actual thoracic surgery. This product may cause irritation if stapled to genitals.

Do not submerge in water. Avoid prolonged exposure to acids, raw sewage, or nuclear waste. Do not attempt to repair this product while operating a forklift. Do not assemble while being pursued by a burly Mafia enforcer. This product is not intended for professional or amateur juggling. If you serve with Pinot Grigio, do not serve with fish. If you serve with fish, do not serve with Pinot Grigio. Avoid proximity to flamethrowers, welding torches, or active geothermal vents. This product may malfunction if subjected to repeated pounding with a hammer.

This product does not confer powers of flight, invisibility, telekinesis, or extrasensory perception. There is no evidence that this product will make your spouse wash the dishes. Not intended as a substitute for friendship. Use of product does not entitle user to cut in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Not to be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with rogue terrorist nation-states. Do not speak to this product unless it speaks to you.

Not intended for protection against fire, armor-piercing bullets, or collapsing buildings. This product has not been consecrated by the Pope. Do not quit your day job to spend more time with this product. Product may function sub-optimally in outer space. Not recommended for use in spelunking, asbestos removal, or the capture and taming of sharks. Do not store this product in a meat grinder, crematorium, or internal combustion engine. May cause injury or death if loaded into a pistol and fired into temple.

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