Archive for February, 2017

Plant packages

February 28, 2017

This morning, another visit (with Juan Gomez) to the cactus and succulent garden at Stanford, which has been made very happy by all the rain we’ve been getting (it’s been wreaking havoc all over northern California, but it’s made the cacti and succulents thrive). I’ll post separately about two plants that especially attracted our attention, but this posting is about some plants I came across while I was scouring the net to find the ones we saw.

The problem here is that there are no labels on anything in the garden, nor does there seem to be a website listing the plants there, so I was reduced to searching on descriptions (in my own words) of the plants we saw. This led me to an assortment of extraordinary plants that were nothing like the ones we saw. Including two phallic blossoms, each in consort with testicular structures: two plant packages from the British Arbtalk discussion forum site (for arborists), supplied by member bob in 2007, a man who seems to have an eye for these things. One is an evergreen, one a cactus.

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Edward Sorel

February 28, 2017

Another item from my blog backlog file, this time based on a hilarious book review in the NYT Book Review on 1/1/17, by Woody Allen — yes, that Woody Allen — of Mary Astor’s Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936 (from Liveright)  by Edward Sorel (who also supplied the illustrations):

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Astor and Kaufman, together again, but not in bed

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The little man with the laundry

February 28, 2017

Another item from my blog backlog file, this time a delightful (and informative and perceptive) piece in the Economist’s special year-end issue (of 12/24/16), “Mankind in miniature: A simple, oddly modern, oddly mystical machine”, illustrated here:

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A hand-carved little man

The piece (unsigned, as is standard in the Economist) begins:

The clothespeg [AmE clothespin] has an ancient look. The simplest sort, with rounded head and body carved from a single piece of wood, might have come from an Egyptian tomb or a Mesoamerican midden. Their shape is vaguely anthropomorphic, like a forked mandrake root (“dolly peg” is the name in commerce), suggesting an offering to the gods of fertility, or of nature. It would be no surprise to find one in an Iron Age settlement, still attached to an Iron Age loincloth.

Odd, then, that the first such peg is not recorded until the early 19th century.

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CK basks in Moonlight

February 27, 2017

For me, the main news from the Academy Awards last night was the triumph of the movie Moonlight, an innovative masterpiece that succeeded despite a tiny budget and a story situated amost entirely in a black world, with a central character who’s a (suppressed) gay man, and featuring a cast of mostly sympathetic, indeed moving, characters located in a rich socal context that is, however, unflinchingly shown as involving illegal drugs, jail time, and occasionally erupting frightening violence (along with friendship, affection, and a system of social support that operates in a subculture almost entirely out of sight of mainstream culture).

I should add that the nominees for the various awards included a large number of really excellent films: the best picture nominees had three fine powerfully black-themed movies (Moonlight, Fences, Hidden Figures), the language-themed movie Arrival, and the frothy, celebratory (but apparently rather conventional) musical La La Land.

I’ll say more about Moonlight (which I wrote an enthusiastic appreciation of here back on 11/24/16) at the Academy Awards in a moment, but as a lead-in to this morning’s Moonlight news, about a Calvin Klein photo shoot celebrating the company’s signing Moonlight stars Mahershala Ali and Trevante Rhodes as — whew! — underwear models. (By the way, both of these men give great interview.)

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Today’s morning name: Topher Grace

February 27, 2017

Who drags Ashton Kutcher along with him. Since I have my shallow moments, there will also be shirtless photos, of Grace, of young Kutcher, and of more recent Kutcher. But first, about the actors and the tv show that made them famous.

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Two Ztoons on language use

February 27, 2017

The Zippy and the Zits in my comics feed today:

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An ambiguity you might not have noticed

February 26, 2017

A poster for the latest Star Wars movie:

Is that the last Jedi warrior (sg) or the last Jedi warriors (pl)? You can’t tell for sure, since the noun noun Jedi ‘Jedi warrior’ is the same in sg and pl, as in these two examples from the Wikipedia page on them:

[pl] The Jedi … are the main protagonists in the Star Wars universe.

[sg] A Jedi’s ideology and strict way of life as a worthwhile challenge to live up to is a recurring theme in the Star Wars universe.

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Pretty in pink

February 26, 2017

Another little bulletin from my house: the third of the cymbidium orchids to bloom this season (they’re winter-blooming flowers):

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Seven years ago

February 26, 2017

Just a photo from the Facebook archives: in my living room in 2010:

Left to right: Jason Parker-Burlingham; a large fiberglass garden gnome in the form of Alexander Adams; Max Vasilatos; Kathryn Burlingham.

More piggery

February 26, 2017

Yesterday on nipples, a further adventure with the sexual snowclonelet X pig — in particular, nipple pig, nippig, titpig, referring to a man who is enthusiastically into papillary stimulation with other men, giving or getting. This has now led me to other, non-sexual, instances of the snowclonelet, as in these occurrences of the food-enthusiast (rather than sex-enthusiast) snowclonelet ice cream pig:

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