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January 16, 2009

What's in your Room 101?

The contents of my Room 101 could be summed up in three words: "live maggot cheese."


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Wonderful - fabulously gross. Check out the Wikipedia entry on the cheese skippers responsible for the Sardinian delicacy.

Some years ago I worked for the Washington State Dept. of Fisheries. In the fall, salmon run upstream to spawn and the agency needs to know how many fish are spawning in particular drainages in order to set future harvest quotas. This entails walking or boating up streams and counting the spawned-out, dead salmon lying around on banks and in shallows. As any particular stream will be surveyed more than once during a season, fish already counted must be marked. In streams with few fish one can tie a ribbon around the tail, but that's time consuming. If there are lots of fish, the fastest way to do it is to carry a gaff in one hand and a machete in the other – gaff the tail and slice it off with the machete. If a fish is fresh the tail comes right off in one swipe. (Even a fresh dead salmon spawner is not a pretty sight, as they shut down every physiological function not directly related to spawning prior to spawning, including their immune systems -they're going to die anyhow-, so they're pretty much covered with fungus.) A thoroughly rotten salmon held up by the tail with a gaff however is just a teardrop shaped bag of pinkish, maggot ridden goo. If your machete is not absolutely razor sharp you'll have to whack the bag several times in order to cut the tail off, splattering maggoty glarp all over, usually at least once in your face before lunch. Steady, face-rinsing rain was generally welcomed on stream survey days. Oddly enough, I loved the work.

Wow. Sounds like something Hannibal Lecter would serve to a disliked guest, just before he served the disliked guest.

I'm afraid my Room 101 would be prosaic. I'm arachnophobic. Strap me down in a room with this, and I'll betray just about anyone.

My Room 101: Bees. Brrr.

My Room 101 would somehow involve my lingering case of acrophobia. Of course, it would have to be one oddly configured Room 101, perhaps part of a multi-floor complex of torture and brainwashing. Being perched on a thin ledge, with certain body damage (or doom!) looming if you slip or lose your balance...I can't think of anything more terrifying or torturous.

My Room 101 would have an endless running loop of the TV show "Friends." Two episodes and I'm doing whatever is asked of me and then some.

As a vegetarian, live-maggot meat would certainly outrank live-maggot cheese. Really, though, I don't see any need for things to get that far. If me and my interrogator and I can just sit down, like two reasonable adults, and hash this thing out, I'm sure we'll be able to come to some sort of agreement.

If me and my interrogator and I can just sit down...

That would be pretty freaky too.

I'm always amazed at how often a food that was obviously first eaten in dire circumstances, like impending starvation, is later considered a "delicacy." Headcheese comes to mind. So do oysters, but I like them...

My Room 101 involves Dick Cheney and a leather bustier. That's all I'm going to say.

My Room 101 involves Dick Cheney and a leather bustier,

I sense an attraction-repulsion thing going on there. I've read that Nazi-porn is big in Israel. Is an analogous Bush/Cheney/GOP b/d - s/m fad developing in the U.S.?

I suppose that giving a fake answer in the hopes that the thinkpol will read my post and mistake it my real greatest fear is a hopeless proposition. I'm not quite sure. I think rapidly corossive substances, like strong acids and bases, might be a contender. Dying of thirst sounds pretty horrible too. I think somehow thirst/dehydration seems like a worse way to die than starvation or drowning/suffocation -- I'm not sure why.

I don't know what would be in my Room 101.

It would be pitch black as various things scampered across my feet, brushed up against me or slithered up my legs.

Yup, I'm still scared of the dark; stub my toes on the bedposts almost every night.

I have an identical twin brother. My Room 101 would consist of me watching him be horribly tortured...or killed.

Re: bug-infested cheese—ick! And it's hardly limited to Sardinia. In fact, maggoty cheese was a longstanding treat in England. On being served Stilton's local delicacy in 1772, Daniel Defoe observed “mites so thick around it that they bring a spoon for you to eat the mites with, as you do the cheese.”

I could be wrong, but I think the whole idea of pouring port on the cheese was to drown the mites. Are you squirming yet?

I've read that Nazi-porn is big in Israel.

It was for a while in 1960s, when the Holocaust was a lot more taboo than it is now, and when there was an immensely popular, and immensely inaccurate comic book series with a Nazi porn theme. It faded subsequently, and as far as I can tell no longer sells. I only heard of Israeli Nazi porn on American sex-themed blogs, never in Israel.

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