Archive for the ‘Categorization and Labeling’ Category

From the great Anatomic War

November 8, 2017

Q: Did they ever have anatomic war?
A: Have you never heard of the great Anatomic War and one of its signal encounters, the 1346 Battle of Extremities, in which the Phalanges, with their long bones, overwhelmed the armored Carpals and Metacarpals?

(#1) Phalanges shooting down the Carpal and Metacarpal forces

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In a bun, in a bun!

November 5, 2017

Today’s Bizarro:

(#1)

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbol in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there’s just one in this strip — see this Page.)

Hairstyles; baked goods, including buns, rolls, and loaves; buttocks; and of course Monty Python’s lupin(e) bandit Dennis Moore

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The X-Bulbs, plus Greek Sword

October 27, 2017

It started a while back with a pair of morning names: Ixia and Sparaxis. Two showy bulbs, united by the letter X. They led to (in alphabetical order) ChionodoxaCyanixia, Hesperoxiphon, Ixiolirion, Oxalis, Xenoscapa. And from Hesperoxiphon, through its sword-bearing component (Gk. xiphos ‘sword’), to Xiphion, which we know now in its Latin version Gladiolus.

Along the way, some reflections on categorization and labeling in the plant world.

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Rat and Pig in Santa Rosa

October 20, 2017

Yesterday’s Pearls Before Swine:

(#1) 10/19/17

My comment on Facebook: “A double doleful “Awww”. One for panel 3, one for panel 4.” Pig cries out for help in the third panel, Rat sympathetically stands with his friend in the fourth.

Then discussion took us to Lucy and Charlie Brown in Peanuts (and incidentally to Calvin and Hobbes in their eponymous strip), and so to Peanuts artist Charles Schulz, and so to Santa Rosa CA, where Schulz lived and worked from 1969 until his death in 2000, and so to the geographical and cultural regions of northern California (the North Coast / Redwood Empire, the Wine Country, and the North (San Francisco) Bay), in all of which Santa Rosa is by far the biggest town.

Santa Rosa is in the news because of the devastation there in the current spate of wildfires in northern California. The Charles Schulz Museum there was spared, but the family house (with all of its memorabilia) was completely incinerated. The cartoon in #1 is pretty clearly Pearls artist Stephan Pastis’s homage to Schulz in these terrible times.

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Mahonia, Berberis, Ilex

October 17, 2017

An adventure in plants, their appearance, and their taxonomic status.

It starts with a recent visit to the Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, where I encountered this pretty small shrub, in bloom, labeled Mahonia ‘Sweet Caress’ (photo from the net):

(#1)

At first glance, not at all like the mahonia shrub my father grew in our garden when I was a teenager: this plant has bamboo-like foliage, but the mahonia in our Wyomissing Hills PA garden had leaves that looked like holly leaves, and my dad referred to it as an Oregon grape holly: grape for the blue berries on the plant during the winter, holly for the prickly Ilex-like leaves, and Oregon for its origin in the shady forests of the Pacific Northwest.

Now it turns out that the holly-leaved mahonia of my youth and the bamboo-leaved mahonia in Gamble Garden are shade-loving evergreen plants with similar yellow flowers and blue berries, and are in fact both in the genus Mahonia, very closely related to barberries (in the genus Berberis). Both Mahonia and Berberis are in the barberry family (Berberidaceae) — with nothing much taxonomically to do with either hollies (in their own plant family, Aquifoliaceae) or bamboos (in the grass family, Poaceae).

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Dipspreads in the 60s

August 22, 2017

Food and its categories.

I’m slowly working my way through the books on food and coooking at my Staunton Court condo — off-loading tens of thousands of books is a long and difficult process, on-going for about a year and a half now — and today’s box of things to sort through contained the Gourmet magazine five-year indexes for 1961-1965 and 1966-1970. The magazines themselves went away years ago, so the indexes are no longer really useful, but they have some interesting features. Notably, they have entries for the food category DIP/SPREAD, which I invented the label dipspread for and Gourmet gets at under the coordinate header Dips and Spreads — conveying that not only are dips and spreads objectively similar, but that a great many foodstuffs can function as either one or the other.

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Reduced coordination, joke forms, and sociocultural categories

August 13, 2017

Two days ago, I set a competition for readers:

Compose a follow-up to the following lead-in to a joke:

Tom, Taylor, and Jonathan Swift walk into a bar…

Three matters, having to do with reduced coordination, joke forms, and sociocultural categories.

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trug

August 7, 2017

(Another adventure in categorization and labeling, this time of cultural artifacts.)

Thanks to S13 E3 “Dead Man’s Folly” of the tv show Agatha Christie’s Poirot, the word for the morning is trug (also known as trug basket and garden trug); in the show (set on a lush estate in Devon) one of the characters goes about gardening with a classic trug in hand:

(#1)

Myrtlewood trugs from Barber’s Baskets in Coos Bay OR

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No te vayas de Zamboanga

June 1, 2017

My morning name on Sunday was Zamboanga, which I immediately recognized as a placename, for a city on the island of Mindanao, the southernmost large island of the Philippines. And I immediately understand why it was in my memory: it’s from a song in the music book I had in the 3rd or 4th grade (I’m not sure which — look, this is all from almost 70 years ago), a compilation of folk songs for children. Which included a song about Zamboanga.

The original of the song was in Spanish — “No Te Vayas de Zamboanga” — or possibly in the Mindanao creole called Chavacano or Chabacano, but we sang it in English, probably in the widespread mistranslation “Do Not Go to (Far) Zamboanga”. (A more accurate translation is “Do Not Go from Zamboanga” or “Do Not Leave Zamboanga” — Zamboanga being both a place of great physical beauty and the home of the singer’s beloved.)

The mystery in all this is why this particular childhood memory surfaced on Sunday morning.

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Light, and sometimes mixed

May 25, 2017

It started with Chris Hansen posting this London bus ad on Facebook:

(#1)

On the bus:

IT’S SMOOTHIFIED.
WE’RE AMERICAN.
WE CAN MAKE UP WORDS.

NOW IN THE UK

So: about the morphology; about the advertising tactic; and about the beer.

Emily Rizzo then threw this into the mix:

(#2)

with chelada (a variant of michelada), a type of beer cocktail — that is, a mixed drink with beer as one of its ingredients.

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