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The death of Achilles

It's not so easy, being the archer's arrow. Life has sharpened me to perfection. Streamlined my form to balance out my odds at piercing another man or two from amongst the immense bovine foray. Pent-up momentum, built up afeared rage, releases the strung arrow. Emotions spent would now inflict the cruel pain upon a naivete's heart. The convergence, is truly a consummation ages in the making. Treachery of the gods- assurances of revelry.

Remains lie beneath the great golden gates of Troy, less worthy to look upon than a Hittite whore. Remains lie still, yes some are still alive. Ashen fatigued remains. Hollow shells. Death caused by vain pride.

Who to hold accountable? The frivolous lovers? The base conqueror? Or the men fighting for honour? A decade past the corpses have lined up. Truly, they would soon be tall enough to walk up on and enter the unenterable city.

But a decade ends in a heartbeat. Wisdom of men, not wisdom of the gods. Half-strung wisdom. The war does end. The lovers part, the conqueror returns home to awaiting death, men of honour all die.

And when that monstrous rage lets go of the string, I feel the most thrilling moment of my life, as I fling, through the air and men spring, out of the way as I sing, my battle song of wood piercing wind. Whizzing through the air, feeding on fear, and finally colliding, the beating pulse tearing. This was the consummation ages in the making. Treachery of the gods- promises of honour, fed on valour. The strength did kill, but still, piercing through Achilles' heels, I saw an honourable death. What was he fighting for? What was he dying for?

As he lay dying, I felt the greatness pulsating away from him. Men fought over his possessions. All men of great honour, fighting for honour. One won his prized armour. Another his sword.
He died quite naked.

By Ahsan Sajid

Why Chinese chefs are highly paid-
A list of disgusting meals

Warning: This is not for reader's who get disgusted easily.
Tired of eating the same old dish over and over again? Had enough of spicy chickens and boring old burgers? Well, here's where I jump into help. After scouring the globe in my journey to find the weirdest food from around the world, I have acquired quite an inventory. Upon reading further you will discover how disgusting people are and what you can eat to get rid of your boredom or how lucky you are because of the spicy chickens and boring old burgers!

Tasty Mammals
1) Monkey Brains Make Me Clever- A delicacy for Chinese people and for some other countries, the item however never developed a large following in a global scale. Whether the meal or the method the meal is eaten, is more disgusting, does indeed require some thought. It is claimed, that a monkey is placed beneath a special table with a hole in the middle. Now the top part of the monkey's head is removed by cutting it open and he is placed under the table, his top fitted in the hole so that his head acts as a bowl and then the Chinese people scoop out parts of the monkey's brain, which is flavored with chili and ginger. The disgusting thing is that the brain is eaten raw and during the process of chopping off the top part of the head and eating the brain, the monkey is still alive!

2) Dog Is A Man's Best Friend- Dog meat is consumed in China, Korea, Siberia, Northern Canada etc. It is not normally legal, but in China it is still eaten, especially by the affluent class. Dogs were also considered to be the tastiest, by the philosopher Mencius, among pigs and goats. Dogs are said to help regulate blood circulation. Chinese normally cook dogs by stewing them with thick gravy or roasting them or they dip the dog's carcass in hot boiling water, so that the skin can be pulled off in one tug.

3) Rat Snack- Its common knowledge that rats are eaten in India and most Southeast Asian countries. In some cases they are soaked in water for some days and then the water is also used as soup. Rats are boiled, roasted and even barbequed. Some say they taste like chicken and I for one will not go about proving that wrong.

Of Chickens, Ducks, Reptiles and Sheer Disgust
1) Bird's Nest Soup- These are nests that birds make using their spit. The whole nest is actually held together by the bird's spit. These are usually made by the cave swifts and the nests are harvested and eaten by, you guessed it, Chinese people. The nests are dissolved in water and one can see that they resemble jelly or gelatin. This is usually served as a tasty treat or a sweet treat. It is claimed that these nests can actually help a person gain perfect facial skin. The nests are harvested from top of cliffs which are dangerous to climb. It should be noted that these nests are one of the most expensive products consumed by humans.

2) Better Watch Your Back Chickens- Yes! As disgusting as it is, the chicken's backside (known in polite circles as chicken tail) is actually eaten by people in Philippines. This consumption is strange, perverted and sickening, all at the same time. People, who have munched on a chicken's booty, claim that it tastes like any other part of a chicken. Still people, have some decency and respect the dead chicken!

3) Tired of Thai Soup? Try Snake Soup A mouth-watering delight, the snake soup is an all exclusive Hong Kong affair. In most restaurants it is prepared using any 1 of 5 snakes, which includes the king cobra. Snake Soup is plain snake meat tossed in a watery broth. It reportedly tastes like eel, except it's more smooth and white and to me more disgusting.

4) Teek Teeki Delite In Spain, Ocellated lizards were once a hot item. They are slimy, wrinkled and are usually green in color. They were once caught in large numbers and were eaten in one of two methods. They were either roasted or were cooked in tomato with a hint of parsley and garlic. That could've started a new Lays flavor.

5) Czernina, New Age Vampire's Treat- This is a polish treat consisting of clear poultry broth and duck's blood. That's right, duck blood! It tastes sweet and sour, due to the presence of sugar and vinegar. It is also at times flavored with other ingredients including cherries, plum and honey. It is served with noodles, macaroni or boiled potatoes. It is considered to be hearty and satisfying. I consider it disgusting.

Deep Sea Delights and Interestingly Tasty Insects-
1) Bug Paste- This is served as a dipping made by crushed giant water bug(used mainly for its smell), shrimp paste, garlic, salt, Thai chili powder and sugar. It is hot and you can eat fried crickets or tortilla chips using it.

2) Roasted Termite and Ant Eggs The former being used as a spicy seasoning which is also considered and the latter can be used to flavor and make salads more tasty. You can even spread the eggs on a toast and enjoy a delicious spread.

3) Sannakji (Octopus' Good) - This is a South Korean dish where a small live octopus is cut into small pieces and served immediately (sometimes served whole). It is seasoned lightly by sesame and sesame oil. The portions of the octopus still squirm while they are being devoured. Since the suction cups on the octopuses' arms are still active, they can stick to the consumer's mouth or throat and thus presents a choking hazard. It's better to choke on fish bones according to me.

4) Ikizukuri, meaning prepared alive- This is a Japanese treat, where a consumer selects its dish from a fish tank. The chef then takes out the consumer's choice, guts and filets it and then serves it to the customer with the animal's heart still beating. Fishes are usually prepared in thin slices whereas squids and octopuses are wrapped in a chopstick and devoured, while they are sqirming of course. Imagine that!

5) A Tarantula? Yummy! - In Cambodia a tarantula is considered to be a tasty meal by some people. The best way to enjoy it, is to fry it so that its venom is destroyed and then you can eat it with garlic and salt. In some parts the tarantulas are smacked unconscious with the human palm, the legs are then taken off and the tarantula is eaten while it is unconscious. On a healthier note, the tarantula's fangs are used to clean the eater's teeth. Good dental hygiene is a must.

Thus I conclude this journey into the stomachs of people with strange tastes. What one man considers disgusting another might consider tantalizing. To justify the preceding statement, let me ask, how many Chinese people would savor the smell of our own dried (rotten) shutki? In fact, many of us would turn away from the sight and smell of this local delicacy. Thus I have effectively proven the statement and in the process I have also effectively ruined my appetite forever.

Sources- wikipedia, weirdmeat.com
By Osama Rahman

Book Review

The Falls

There's a phrase I came across in a Terry Pratchett book that describes something confusing as 'a puzzle wrapped in an enigma, shrouded in mystery'. At the time, I'd thought it pretty hyperbolic, but while reading The Falls, I couldn't think of a more appropriate depiction of the twelfth novel in Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus series.

The story opens with a disappearance of a college student by the name of Philippa Balfour, "Flip" to her friends. A police inspection is underway, and even as it slowly proceeds, Rankin pans out to take into view the office politics percolating behind the scenes at Lothian and Borders CID. There's Rebus himself, hot on the trail of a serial killer who left behind miniature coffins near where he murdered his victims; one such coffin having been found near Flip's home. There's DC Siobhan Clarke, trying to track down an RPG moderator named Quizmaster, who may or may not have been linked with Flip's disappearance. There's the new Chief Super Gill Templar, who replaces Rebus' cranky old boss "Farmer" Watson, and has something to prove; an over-eager DC Ellen Wylie who has a few grudges against her colleague, Grant Hood, who has a crush on Siobhan. Add to the mix a crooked journalist named Steve Holly, and you have a story you can't stop reading till you reach the finish.

The plot branches out to alternate between Rebus' investigation and Siobhan's one. The character development is fascinating; the delicate network of relationships slowly coming into focus. Rebus is always an entertaining figure, with his rebellious streak, his solitary nature and his grim introspection. Siobhan also grows more and more like him throughout the novel, with more than one of her colleagues commenting how she was becoming 'Rebus' apprentice'.

Rankin refers to some actual cases, such as that of Burke and Hare, the famous serial killers who supplied anatomists with fresh bodies for dissection, and this makes for some really interesting reading. Similarly, the puzzles set by the Quizmaster add a very Dan Brown feel to the chase. However, the investigation itself falls flat sometimes, especially towards the end. However, it is interesting how Rankin uses his signature red herrings to retain the suspense and the adrenaline without opting for the cliche of the twist.

For a mystery that gives your synapses a workout, The Falls is definitely worth a read.

By Sabrina F Ahmad




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