October 23rd, 2011


Planet Word, by Stephen Fry - Tourette's

We're a bit behind with Stephen Fry's brilliant series about language, and just watched the third episode this evening (while some of you will have been watching the fifth and final one as it went out on BBC Two). Lots of fun intellectual stuff, but I was bowled over by the courage and humour of Jessica Thom, who has Tourette's syndrome and explained her situation as follows (here, from 1:57):
Lots of people misunderstand Tourette's, and they say, "I wish I had Tourette's, cos it would mean I could get away with swearing, and it means I could say whatever I - BISCUIT! BISCUIT! - I could say whatever I wanted to." - BISCUIT! - The whole point is, I can't say whatever I wanted to, lots of what I say I don't want to say, I just [bangs chest] HAH! it's just there, I just - FUCK! - and it's - BISCUIT! BISCUIT! BISCUIT! HAPPY CHRISTMAS! - but, you know, that doesn't mean that I haven't, I can't articulate my thoughts and make myself understood. FUCK! BISCUIT!

I think one has to be creative about it to be able to, sort of, to have a decent quality of life and not let the tics impact on me, especially socially, and part of the, part of the im, part of - BISCUIT! - one of the big elements of Tourette's is the social FUCK impact that it has. And by then engaging with people, and engaging with it creatively, and FUCK celebrating the humour and saying, look [bangs chest] HAH! it's not OK to laugh because I have Tourette's, but it's all right to laugh - FUCK! - I'm saying, laugh at - FFF! - the funny things that - FUCK! - I say as tics that are the result of Tourettes's - BISCUIT! - because they're often - FUCK! BISCUIT! - very visual. HAH!
She dresses up as a superhero with Tourette's to educate children about the condition. More power to her.

Recipe: Red cabbage and figs

I invented this in a moment of inspiration this evening, and family reviews were good. The quantities are necessarily approximate.


Enough red cabbage
A little butter (probably a non-dairy fat or oil could be used; trick is not to let it get too hot)
One cardamom pod per person
Half a dried fig per person (round fractions up)

1) Melt the butter / heat the oil.
2) Add the chopped red cabbage, stir around to ensure it's all covered.
3) Add the crushed cardamoms and sliced figs. And also a couple of pinches of salt.
4) Cover and cook on low heat, stirring every ten minutes, until the cabbage is soft. (Should take 30-45 mins.)

It worked for us, anyway. I am aware that you can also use apple and/or raspberry with cabbage, but figs do give an extra granularity of texture and depth of flavour. And cardamoms go well with all brassicas.