Rhubarb, Ontology and the Lash
Rhubarb crumble is a very popular dish enjoyed all over Cornwall and beyond, but we should consider ourselves very lucky that it is here at all. That's because, while the stalks of rhubarb are edible, the leaves are quite poisonous and dangerous to eat. Yes. They are. We clearly have some brave and nameless medieval pioneer in the world of puddings to thank for the modern rhubarb crumble. But does anyone care about this brave and nameless medieval pioneer? Do they suck... in all the ramifications? Well, just in case anyone couldn't give a cow for this stupid dozy medieval wotsit who's not even on the telly, allow me to recreate the magical event in history, through the magic of worms. Sorry, words.
'Good morning, Eric.'
'Good morning, Gudren'
'What's those funny looking plants out there?'
'Can I eat one'
'If you want. But John the Blacksmith ate one yesterday and he died.'
'Did he eat the red bit?'
'No, he ate the leaves'
'Then I'll eat the red bit.'
'If you want, but I reckon that you must have a big bit of your brain missing.'
'You know, you're right. I do.'
'Thought so. Well, eat the red bit if you want.'
'Yeah, I do. And if it tastes alright, and I don't die, then I'm going to get lots of the red bits, and put them in a pie.'
'That's nice. You'll take the leaves off though, won't you?'
'Of course. John the Blacksmith ate one of the leaves and he died. I'm just off to eat the red bit. Back in a moment... hopefully! heh heh...'
'Still here then?'
'Yep. I ate it, and I didn't die.'
'And how did it taste?'
'Like s***, to be honest'.
'Thought it might.'
'But I'm still going to put them in a pie. If I shove loads of sugar in there, then they won't taste like s***. Did you know there's a big bit of my brain missing?'
Speaking of big bits of the brain missing, you know that phrase, 'Which came first, the chicken or the egg?', well, that's a good question, isn't it? I mean, obviously, the immediate answer that springs to mind is 'Chickens, you idiot. They lay eggs. You and your stupid questions.... But aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.... says the brain, after a week or so, where did the chicken come from? Errr... and then it kind of goes... 'Chickens, no, eggs, no, chickens, no, eggs, no... well lets look at this logically. There was this egg, and it came from that chicken, which came from that egg, from the other chicken, the one before that one I just said, but that other chicken came from another egg over there, like in the past, which was
layed by another chicken, a different one from the first two, but that chicken came from another egg, so there was this other egg, see, the one before that chicken but then...'.
Now, obviously, you could go on like this for years. And some people do that and are very happy. They walk around smiling at everything and they are called 'Philosophers'. But, you see, they don't ask the really obvious question. Well, they didn't, until Immanuel Kant wrote his great magnum opus: 'Prolegomana to any Future Metaphysics.' In this book Kant wrote:
Look, this is a major ontological issue we're dealing with here. The fundamental question of how and why anything could come into existence. And what I want to know, dear reader, is what the f*** does that have to do with chickens? Do they, perhaps, know something we don't?'
It is in an endeavour to answer this last question that a group of Swedish scientists have set up the Human Chinome Project, which will eventually provide a map of the entire chicken brain for the benefit of all mankind. So far, the map is progressing well. We have this much:
'Nice chewy corn, that way. Scary farmer over there. Eggs just underneath here. And the secret of Ontology is'
Speaking of nice chewy corn, Dr Funderlik would like to announce that he has recently experienced a profound movement about his personage. In fact, at this moment, Dr Funderlik isn't at home in his point five acre Barcelona mansion/doss house, up in the turret, as normal, eating cheese sandwiches and typing away. Nope, Dr Funderlik is on the run from the Swedish authorities, Cliff Richard, and a small but persistent sheep. He has set up camp in his private villa/shed by the sea in Ireland. That's where he is now, enjoying tuna fish and mandolins.
He carefully prepared this grunt, wrapped it in tin foil, and sent it to the Post team in advance, so it would come out this week for your delectation. But he can't read it, 'cos he 'aint here. This means that whether there is a grunt next week is debatable, and if there is one the week after is dubious, and for the week after that. But the week after that, there definitely will be one.