Wednesday, May 19, 2010

An explosive day

This morning I was worked on a manuscript in which the author was describing different categories of organ donor, including those who had sustained “explosive brain death,” defined as severe head trauma or a gunshot wound to the head. I found this use of the word rather disturbing. I couldn’t help but think of brain material exploding out of the skull. Gave me the creeps. Why not just call it “traumatic brain injury” and leave the more graphic terms to the novelist? 

Our boy was a first responder, volunteer fireman, and an EMT for a while, and he worked a few traffic accidents and suicide deaths that involved “explosive brain death.” It was disturbing to him as well.

And then later in the day Richard was cooking some Brussels sprouts in the microwave and one exploded. It blew up and scattered bits of green all over the inside.

Don’t like Brussels sprouts? This is an excellent recipe that we got from Gourmet Magazine:

Trim 10 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) of Brussels sprouts and quarter lengthwise. Cook sprouts in boiling water for 5 minutes, or until just tender, and drain in a colander.

In a pan, cook 1 small thinly sliced onion in 1 tbsp butter, stirring occasionally, until golden. Add the sprouts to the onions and cook and stir together for about 1 minute.

In a small bowl, stir together 2-1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard (preferably coarse grained) and 1 tsp of water. Stir into the sprouts with salt and pepper.

And finally, nature is exploding. The honeysuckle, multiflora rose, gooseberry bushes, and blackberry brambles have run amok in the area where we planted a small forest of dogwood trees some 5 years ago or so, next to the area where we planted grapes about 20 years ago. I have been out there in the cool of the early evening with clippers and lopping shears trying to make up for years of benign neglect. Let me tell you that gooseberry bushes have mean little thorns that are every bit as lethal as those on the multiflora rose and blackberry canes. The grapes, which we have totally ignored for years and years, decided they did not want to grow along the wires we so thoughtfully strung for them and instead lept into the trees that sprang up. Even if they produce grapes, and some grapes survive the birds eating them, we will be unable to reach them.

Other than that, all else is quiet on the western front. All that was lacking today was an explosion of dynamite at the quarry, which is a few miles away.

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