Archive for the ‘Evolution’ Category

Pillowtalk

November 25, 2017

It starts with pillowcases and pillowslips, moves to pillow-beres or pillow-biers, and from there to pillow bears, and also pillow-biters — the scourge of Australia, a continent famously “swarming with raving shirt-lifters and pillow-biters”. And from there to gay pillowcases and throw pillows. And on to facial expressions during, ahem, receptive anal intercourse. Get into bed, and before you know it, you’re getting fucked, ecstatically. The scene evolves:

(#1) Gay Evolution Pillow Case (designed by Joe Monica) from Cafe Press: the evolution of mincing (color me purple, honey)

(There will be seriously racy pictures of mansex. But even without them, after the first part, this posting is not for kids or the sexually modest.)

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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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Ascending and parting

October 13, 2017

Two cartoons from the October 16th New Yorker: a Jason Adam Katzenstein riff on the Ascent of Man cartoon meme and an Emily Flake & Rob Kutner absurdist updating of Rick and Ilsa at the airport:

(#1) “I’m going to e-mail you this op-ed about how your generation is ruining everything.”

(#2) “If you don’t get on that plane…there’s also the 5:43, then the 9:27, but that’s got a layover in Atlanta, then…”

To understand these cartoons, you need a lot of background information, and you also need to recognize the scenes depicted in them: in #1, the Ascent of Man meme; in #2, a specific scene from the 1942 movie Casablanca. (If you don’t know Rick’s passionate speech to Ilsa in that film, #2 might only seem ditheringly silly.)

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Revisiting 1: Will McPhail

August 25, 2017

Cartoons by Will McPhail, last seen here in three cartoons on 4/15/17, in particular a wordless cartoon (in which God slam-dunks in an angel’s halo). Now from the August 28th New Yorker, this complex exercise in cartoon understanding, drawing on several pieces of very specific cultural knowledge:

(#1)

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Toxic moments

May 13, 2017

First, a story came by on NPR in which a tale of five dead hunters in Oregon played a central role, as did the terrible poison tetrodotoxin. And then an episode of the tv series Death in Paradise in which this poison plays a central role. Rough-skinned newts, pufferfish, and garter snakes all have parts to play in the story, as do arms races in evolution. And of course tetrodotoxin and the entertainments of Death in Paradise.

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A primate with a pipe

April 10, 2017

Yesterday’s Bizarro is yet another Ascent of Man evolution cartoon, but this time a guy intervenes at the ape stage to offer a stupid outfit to wear and a pipe to pretend to smoke:

(#1)

This is an allusion to the (venerable) meme of monkeys or apes (usually chimpanzees) dressed as people — akin to popular art showing dogs playing cards, or folk museums with stuffed frogs engaged in folksy activities. But with the extra kick that monkeys and apes are uncannily similar to people — in a very common view, especially similar to black Africans and those of black African descent in other parts of the world. The pipe isn’t a necessary component of the dressed-ip primate figure, but it’s a very common one.

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Toon animal time

October 30, 2016

Two cartoons in today’s feed, a Bizarro on the perennial meme of the Ascent of Man; and a One Big Happy on animal bilingualism and its advantages:

(#1)

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

(#2)

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Another take on evolution

September 11, 2016

A Mick Stevens cartoon in the latest (September 12th) New Yorker:

On the surface, just about evolution, but actually about any leaving, from any place or situation. Please don’t go; we can make things better here!

November 11th, 2014

August 25, 2016

… was a banner day for cartoons in the New Yorker. Waiting a few minutes to get called in for routine blood tests at the Palo Alo Medical Foundation this morning, I chanced upon this particular issue of the magazine and found five cartoons of interest for this blog (plus some others I enjoyed but had no special interest here); all five were from artists already familiar on this blog.

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The evolution of woman

May 29, 2016

Via Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, this Evolution of Woman cartoon from the Tainted Lips Tumblr account of a young woman named Tupa:

The drawing plays on the widespread use of flowers (as vaginal symbols) to represent women. Think Georgia O’Keeffe.