DIY Sleeping Mat out of Rhubarb Stalks

For the benefit of DIYers everywhere–and you know who you are! (yeah, girlfriend!)–Justice Minotaur provides here instructions for making a sleeping mat out of rhubarb stalks.

First, in the late springtime, wait until the stalks are nice and long. This requires the patience of Job.

Second, using razor-sharp surgical shears heated to 500 degrees or hotter, remove as many stalks as are needed so that when they are laid one by the side of the next, it will provide a mat to fit the human or other creature who will be using the mat.

Third, prepare the stalks by removing the leaves and by explaining to the stalks their fate.

Fourth, line up the stalks next to one another and, using yarn or bailing wire or similar, fasten the stalks together using an under/over method, going longwise.

Fifth [step omitted after several DIYers following earlier version of instructions accidentally unlimbed themselves]

Sixth, since this mat will not provide much support to your back, cover the mat completely with a twin mattress.

Mat should last up to two weeks or until hunger sets in and the stalks are needed for cuisine.


Letter to Green Grocer

The Compound

June 26, 2017

Dear Mr. Vernix,

My mediocre scribe and I visited the produce section of your market, Vernix’s Grocery Enclosure, earlier this week. Your display of edible plant material, including fruits, seeds, tubers, leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and shoots, was truly remarkable, though it fell far short of being the “8th wonderment of the world,” as your published promotional material would have us believe. I noted how the artfully arranged, crisscrossing citadel of imperator carrots seemed to envy the even more Babel-like tower of red bell peppers next to it. “What the anvil? What the hammer?” I asked myself, marveling at the talents and audacity of he who had prepared this installation–a feast for the eyes but also quite practical in taking advantage of the display area. And most important, the wares were so colorful, so plump, so ripe, so moist, so crisp, so ready for consumption. As my scribe and I studied the layout and activities in this area for several hours, we noticed how every 10 minutes, as if the spinning of this giant forsaken orb depended on it, a mist began to blast forth, like the mist that rose up in Eden, the tiny drops wetting every square inch in the display area to keep the items fresh and succulent. And then in a few moments the mist shut off without the apparent agency of any man, and so cycling again and again every 10 minutes.

This state of affairs created a firm and reasonable expectation on my part that when I purchased your produce I was also obtaining a commitment and promise from the universe that this intermittent wetness would distill upon the produce wheresoever I might take it.

Imagine, therefore, my disappointment when, after I had been home with the vegetables for several hours, I did not one time see their skins magically bedewed. Your produce–that which is so precious to you and was once precious to me–is now all in a pile in my garden compost, on the fast track to achieve that atomized state that is the ultimate leveling out of all life forms.

For my misery I seek $100,000 in damages or naming rights to your new pinto.

Justice Korbin Minotaur

by hand of Eric of Cornwall

List of Names

List of “certain names,” as found on leaf of wrinkled foolscap paper in one of Justice Korbin Minotaur’s soiled robes, 3 Messidor 225:

certain names

J. Voorhees Prowler

Angus Benediction

Tenny’s Jim

Jose Cansecko

Terpander Anderterp III

Dainty Kennedy-Buckwasher

Kedger Fisher

Chlodoric the Parricide

Clark Clerk

Emmeline Puups

Helper Wilson

get tickets to Araby

Lesser-Known Sports Penalties

With the assistance of two shepherd-interns, Justice Korbin Minotaur is compiling a list of lesser-known sports penalties. He has commanded Mr. Cornwall to publish notes on the list (as it now stands) on this informal electronic newspaper.

Mixed Signaling. Swimming. Any swimmer who pretends to be drowning is guilty of mixed signaling. The penalized swimmer is not allowed to swing his or her arms around to “get loose” prior to his or her next race.

Rimrodding. Basketball. This penalty is assessed on the home team when, by use of official measuring devices, the referees find that the visiting team’s hoop is so small that the basketball cannot fit through it. The punishment is that all restrooms in the arena are bolted shut for the remainder of the evening.

Denuding. American football. Denuding occurs when defenders unintentionally strip an opposing player naked in an attempt to tackle him. The offending team is forced to try their next field goal from the parking lot of the nearest Renault dealership.

Outboxing. Baseball. The penalty is assessed when, during his team’s turn at bat, a base-running coach leaves the marked area to purchase concessions. The offending coach must immediately don a sailor’s uniform.

Walden Ponding. Ice hockey. This occurs when a player watching the game from the bench becomes too philosophical. The player is punished by having to play the third period with an olive on each finger.

Proposal for a New Game: World Ball

Proposed rules for a new game called World Ball, by Justice Korbin Minotaur, January 17, 2003 (28 Nivose 211):

Sport Name: World Ball

Description: This sport is played on a circular grass field with a diameter of 512 yards. There are seven teams of eight competitors each. Movement on the field must be along north-south or east-west axis lines. A player seen to be moving diagonally will be penalized–forced to sit out of play for five minutes. The game is umpired by nine arbiters, together known as the Conference of the Nine. Their decisions must be unanimous. Besides conferring with the others to reach decisions, the head umpire communicates for and in behalf of the Conference with the competitors. The length of play is 130 minutes, with no interruptions or stoppages of any kind for any reason.

The object of the game is to amass the greatest quantity of earth in comparison to the other teams. Each team begins play in one of eight equal-sized sections of the field of play. Each team chooses a sector, with the order of choosing determined by the roll of a 20-sided die. Players spread from the original nucleus to “claim earth.” To claim earth, a team must surround a particular parcel of grass with wooden stakes (each team having its own color of stakes) driven into the soil at least six inches or deeper, with a distance between each stake of no greater than one-half yard. The stakes form a perimeter around the earth that is claimed. Players skilled in and charged with driving stakes to so claim earth are called stakemen. The winner of the game is the team that has the most square feet of earth staked out at the end of play, as measured by the Conference. To interfere with another team’s ability to claim earth, a team may send as many players forth as the team wishes with spades. These spademen attempt to dig up grass in the area where another team is attempting to claim earth. The surface area of any area where grass is dug up–where bare soil is exposed–is not counted in the team’s favor when square footage is reckoned at the end of play. A spademan may not dig up stakes–only grassy earth. A spademan may also dig up exposed soil as deep as he desires–perhaps for the purpose of creating a defensive pit.*

An interesting twist of the game is that players may physically interfere with other players’ attempts to claim earth or to spade earth. Instead of digging earth with the spade, for example, a player may tackle an opponent and pin him to the ground for the entire length of play. This does not decrease the amount of earth claimed, but interferes in the first instance with another team’s ability to claim earth. It is illegal to use spades, stakes, and mallets against another player, but otherwise play is very physical and unregulated, as in rugby.

An interesting element of this game is that all seven teams are competing against each other. The possible strategies for advancing and defending are nearly countless. A team may have eight stakemen, or eight spademen, or four of each, or two of one and six of the other, etc.

After play ends, the field cannot be used for several months until new sod is laid and begins to take root in the soil. Thus it is necessary to have a large number of fields in proximity to one another.

The spectators sit in a large circle outside the field of play. Most have binoculars.

Competitors dress pretty much like soccer players except they wear cleated boots and leather gloves.

*Amendment proposed by Ivanhoe Half-Abram: You could add a provision that the stakemen can not only uproot another team’s grass but can resod their own scorched earth.

14th-Century Novel Plot Summaries

By J. Korbin Minotaur*

I, J. Korbin Minotaur, have completed today my study of the novels of my forebear John of Greenmound (1318-1330), which were mailed to me seven weeks ago in an envelope marked with no return address. While some believe the European novel had its beginning with Don Quixote, Greenmound’s writings show this to be a bald lie. For the benefit of those beginning their own studies (other copies of these materials are presumably available at the library of every reputable university), I summarize the plots of these novels, to wit:

Dakota Brown-Rood is condemned to die for worshiping a hare. Will his wife, Jenny, finish making mudcakes in time to see his head fly?

Brian Garcia is torn between becoming a cooper or setting sail for New York City. What will he decide? In the end, it doesn’t matter, for dysentery has the last laugh.

How fast can a steam engine go? Jason of Freedomshire is determined to find out–but first, a trip to the blood-letter!

Tomorrow, young Bailey Cruise will become queen. But she has been such a little brat, and now she realizes she will need the support of her friends at school in her new role.

The Duke’s Market is getting refrigeration! But when you haven’t had cold milk before, you might get a brain freeze!

A second-year law student tries to mail hot flapjacks to himself.

How many ways can you spell an easy word like computer? A lot, if you are one of those complete idiots who lived back before spellings were standardized.

Why was it called the Dark Ages? Hint–because most of it took place in Antarctic winter.

*This is a pseudonym for Justice Korbin Minotaur.

“Daily Patterns of Success”

A publisher in Dry Prong, Louisiana, USA, recently contacted Justice Minotaur to ask if he would like to contribute to an edited compilation. According to the publisher’s solicitation, the compilation, tentatively titled Mein Fuhrers, will include articles from “leaders in business, law, government, teaching, and animal husbandry, shedding much and arguably holy light on the reasons for the success of these titans.” It is not known if Minotaur was contacted because of his connections to law or to animal husbandry.

After personally inscribing his contribution on a tanned hide (likely that of camel), Minotaur had the composition transcribed and then locally edited. He has asked Mr. Cornwall to reproduce it here before submitting it to the publisher.

Daily Patterns of Success

by Justice Korbin Minotaur, Thane of Cawdor

As by definition it is in the morning when the day begins, so it is the patterns we follow in the morning (which in this paper we will consider as being anytime between about 4:32 antemeridian and noon-hour) that may lead us to the Canaan we seek. In hopes of assisting the youth in particular who may read this mixed-quality compilation, I set forth here, as the guts of my article, a typical morning itinerary for myself. It is not improbable this routine has nothing to do with my success, but I take pains to describe it here just in case.

5:00 antemeridian. Reveille. This is brought about either by extraordinary cramps in my bowels (see next entry for a possible reason) or by the incessant chirping of the artificial rooster often called an “alarm clock.”

5:00 to 5:04? antemeridian. In the toilet. This time can extend for as long as four hours, depending on whether I fall asleep in there and on how much meat I ate in the night.

5:05 to 6:05 antemeridian. An hour of Yoga. “Yoga” is a television drama produced out of North Dakota State University, USA. It depicts the (presumably) fictional tale of a Union horse who, after escaping from a Confederate prison camp during the American Civil War, makes his way to the Pacific coast and then clear to Mongolia, where he terrorizes the countryside.

6:06 to 7:20 antemeridian. Almost every day I make some effort to thwart bodily stench. One measure I sometimes take is to unclothe my body and rinse it in heated water expelled from a spigot situated in the wall at about the height of my head, all while standing in a cube that is enclosed to prevent the leaking forth of the water. The effort goes better if I use store-bought cleansers both on the hair of my head and the flesh that enshrouds my bones and organs. (Note: I had a grandfather who wore underpants at least part of the time while he was so rinsing, possibly to get hay out of them.)

7:20 to 7:45 antemeridian. “Enbalming.” After emerging from the wet chamber, I often rub a milky white balm into my flesh. The balm is expressed from a tube labeled “Gentleman’s Lotion,” which I keep in a drawer when not in use.

7:46 to 11:00 antemeridian. Cannot account for this time. Check to make sure that no one is tricking me by turning my clocks forward.

11:01 antemeridian. Send daily reminder (via “electronic mail” composed by Mr. Cornwall) to court paymaster that I want to be paid with actual money, not rolls of fabric.

***Ask Lady Cottonmouth to change to a muskier perfume. [Mr. Cornwall’s note: This appears to be a note to himself that Minotaur inscribed on the hide while composing his article.]

11:02 to 11:30 antemeridian. Chicken for breakfast. No, children, I am not talking about having these feathered creatures as guests at our table. I mean we are going to capture, kill, roast, and eat them, such that their meat essentially becomes our meat. Children, our fragile bodies cannot last without that thing which Father Adam named “food”! (Aside: When Adam first looked upon a chicken, did he in fact first name it “food”? Or was it only later he realized he wanted to eat it?)

11:30 antemeridian to noontide. Racing. This is usually about the time when I realize I was supposed to be at work three hours ago.