Thursday, May 17, 2012

Adventure #8: Seed Bombing the Hood

(Above: Roof garden by Alive Structures)

I live in a beautiful neighborhood that's sprinkled with countless little patches of ugliness. There are tiny sidewalk "gardens" that have been allowed to go to seed--and a few vacant lots filled with weeds and trash.

I've been waiting for the right weather to set out on Adventure #8. The next few days look pretty ideal. Saturday and Sunday will be sunny and warm. The following Monday's gonna be nice and rainy. So at some point this weekend, I'm going to seed bomb my neighborhood.

Not familiar with seed bombs? They're jawbreaker-size balls of mud and clay with wildflower seeds mixed in. You toss them wherever you'd like to plant a little bit of beauty. A touch of rain and a few sunny days, and Brooklyn's going to be lovelier than ever.

Want to join me? (In spirit, of course.) You can find instructions for making seed bombs here and here!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Cannibal Cure

You gotta love Where else can you find a scholarly article entitled, "The Gruesome History of Eating Corpses as Medicine?"

Actually, it's a review of my new favorite book (which I've yet to read), Medicinal Cannibalism in Early Modern English Literature and Culture, by my new best friend Louise Noble. (Give me a ring, Louise! You and I have sooo much to talk about. Over dinner, of course.)

The premise of Ms. Noble's book? Many Europeans (particularly the rich) practiced a form of cannibalism well into modern times. They didn't eat human flesh because they savored the taste. That would have been absolutely barbaric. No, they consumed human blood, fat, and body parts because they wanted to feel good.

Mummies were stolen from Egyptian tombs, pulverized and used to treat internal bleeding. For centuries, powdered skull was a common cure for headaches. And drinking fresh blood (especially that of a young man) was thought to restore vitality. In Germanic countries, executioners would lop off a head--and then sell small cups of warm blood to the poor.

Not disgusting enough for you? There's more here.