The Thanksgiving Turkey Murder

Claudia is leaving Malawi in four days. Me just a few weeks later. We decided that Thanksgiving was not a priority - perhaps last night's leftover chimichalupawangas would do the trick.

So it was Thanksgiving. I was working. I had meetings. I was handing over. I decided to head home for lunch, because Claudia and I had precious few days left together in Malawi. On the way home I saw two guys walking along the side of the road. They had turkeys. I thought - cool - nice to see some turkeys on Thanksgiving. Then it hit me. How many Thanksgivings in my life will I have the opportunity to impulse buy my very own live turkey. So I hit the brakes, turned around and beckoned the turkey dudes over.

Could I really just buy a gigantic turkey and put it in my car? Would it crap all over the back seat? Fly at my head while I am driving? Looking at the turkeys splayed before me, and I considered slaughtering a baby turkey - it was smaller, but I realized the fallacy of this approach and negotiated my way to a full on gigantic turkey.

[caption id="attachment_229" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Turkey market"]Turkey market[/caption]

Its legs were tied and my turkey trader laid him across the floor in the back seat, and the turkey seemed pretty happy. So I headed home. Arriving home I yelled to Claudia to hold the dog - she had no clue why. I approached grinning holding my turkey. Claudia was not pleased. She wanted nothing to do with killing an animal and eating it. As for me, I just couldn't help grinning - I had a real live turkey!

[caption id="attachment_230" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Me and my turkey"]Me and my turkey[/caption]

I was going to ask George, our gardener to kill it, and then have Alice our housekeeper de-feather it and prepare it for cooking. But then I realized, that was not the real experience. It was time for me to face up to life as a carnivore and kill an animal with my bare hands.

George showed me how to put one foot on its legs, the other on its wings and then grasp its neck with my left hand. I stared down the turkey for a long time. I tried to consider all of the chickens I have eaten, the hamburgers I was raised on, and to realize that my sustenance has come at the price of many, many lives. The turkey didn't seem to care too much. It was calm in my grip. Didn't it sense that I was about to end its entire consciousness permanently? I guess hundreds (thousands, millions?) of years of breeding had broken the turkeys resistance to its place in the foodchain. I picked up sharpened garden clippers that George assured me were the right tool for the job. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do it. But I wanted to do it well - I didn't want to make the turkey suffer - it should be fast. With my resolve set I went for it - and planned to cut the neck in a few strokes. But it wasn't easy. My strokes weren't cutting the red loose neck skin. I had to push harder, and grip the neck tighter. Then I pierced the skin, the blood splurted and I pushed with all my might until the neck snapped and I was left with the turkeys face free from its body, opening and closing its mouth in my hand, while its dismembered body quivered and tried to get up and run. George held the body down - it took what seemed like forever - probably 3 minutes or so - for it to calm itself.

I put the face down on the palm fronds that George had arranged as the place of slaughter, and we plunged the turkey body into hot water. We then plucked the feathers easily, and I tried to memorize all of the steps George did next. We pierced the fatty tail, removed the stomach, pulled out the entrails, the gall bladder (George emphasized the importance of the gall bladder) - the heart, etc etc. It started to look like pretty much any other supermarket turkey.

With the man's work done, George passed it to Alice our housekeeper who cleaned it a bit. I rubbed it down with spices and put into the oven.

Less than 3 hours after I had taken the turkey's life, Claudia and I were eating it.

(More photos here)

The craze and the menace of skateboards

Better Friedman and Slashdot rss feeds

My wife has been insisting that I read Thomas Friendman every week. So I added the RSS feed only to find that it just gives me the first paragraph. L4m3rz!! Clearly there must be a way around this. His column is fully available, but the RSS feed is crippled so that I will have to click on the headline and visit the NYTimes site and be subjected to their ads (which are blocked for me anyways, because I use AdBlock Plus on Firefox (why waste my precious African bandwidth downloading ads for stuff I can't buy anyways?)).
A bit of googling led me to a very useful find: This tool basically fixes RSS feeds by getting the content that you want. I pasted in the RSS feed for Thomas Friendman which I then sent to google reader, my RSS reader, and voila - now I get the full text of Friedman's articles without having to shake, roll over or go into my crate first.
I then thought I might as well see if this same trick could fix another of my longest standing RSS feed annoyances: slashdot. Slashdot was my first RSS feed but the clever hackers at Slashdot have purposefully removed the inline links in their text - so if you want to actually click on any of the stories you have to first go to Slashdot and load up the entire page full of script kiddie rants just to find the original story source. But the echoditto script did the trick here as well. Same slashdot stories now with links!
If you want to save the effort of finding the RSS URLs and just want to add the new and improved versions, click below:
Full text Thomas Friedman RSS Feed
Slashdot RSS Feed with links