Straight From the Horse’s Mouth

Serving Ikea’s “reindeer” meatballs used to be part of Lunghu’s Christmas Eve family tradition.  But this past year, after the extended electricity outage that followed Hurricane Sandy, Lunghu’s stockpile of frozen meatballs was thawed, spoiled and inedible.  That particular family “tradition” was retired.  And just in time!  We’d often joked about the content of Ikea’s meatballs, because reindeer herds in Scandinavia probably aren’t large enough to support the booming Ikea market, but nobody wanted to think too deeply about the actual ingredients.

Ikea was caught flatfooted when it was dragged into Europe’s ongoing horsemeat scandal on Monday.
“It came as a surprise to us,” Ikea spokeswoman Anna Pilkrona-Godden said following reports that food inspectors had found traces of horsemeat in frozen meatballs destined for sale in an Ikea store in the Czech Republic. “”We acted quickly to stop meatball sales because we wanted to assuage any customer concerns.  We are treating the matter with the utmost seriousness.”



Treating matters with the utmost seriousness is a peculiarly Scandinavian trait that has been selected out of Lunghu’s genetic heritage by more dominant Hibernian chromosomes.  (But don’t despair: he’s still very fond of boats, blondes, gold, pillaging and bloody ax-work.)

So, what does one do after selling off all the marketable cuts of meat (see above) from last week’s broken-down racehorse? Take the remainder to Mali, of course!  Horsehair flywhisks are as popular (and necessary) as ever in Africa, and the people of Bamako have a special use for dried horseheads:

Some of Bamako’s market stands are neatly stacked with piles of dead animals guaranteed to change your life: parakeets to help you find a job, dog skulls to cure headaches, crocodile heads to make you better in bed.  [Traditional healer] Soumaila Kouyate says the most expensive item at his market stall — and the one most in demand at the moment — is a horse’s skull. What does it do?
“You write God’s name on a piece of paper and put it in the horse’s mouth,” he says.  “Then you dip it in water and you get a visa for America or Europe.”


Bamako_charm market

On A (Somewhat) Serious Note:

Last week Lunghu advised that China’s efforts to avoid Year of the Snake Da Sha in its South-Southeast might result in minefields near some of the islands it claims as sovereign territory.  As a (currently) peaceful nation, the PRC chose a nobler path  –but one that hints of other possibilities:

Japan asked China to explain the purpose of buoys which were placed just outside Japanese waters near uninhabited East China Sea islands called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China.  At a daily press briefing, [PRC] Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, “[To my knowledge], Chinese related departments’ deployment of buoys in the seas under Chinese administration are aimed at maritime meteorological observations.”

Apparently, no one in East Asia is quite ready to admit the importance of geomantic balance and harmony in the affairs of nations.



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