Archive for the ‘Language and animals’ Category

Golden Meanies

July 12, 2018

On Sandra Boynton‘s Facebook page yesterday:

Today is Pet Photo Day, so here is a recent snapshot of my semi-domesticated Golden Meanie, Fibonacci.

(#1)

Golden Meanie is a bit of complex language play, combining the mathematical term golden mean (aka golden ratio); a reference to the Blue Meanies of the animated film Yellow Submarine; and a reference to the amiable domestic dog breeds the golden retriever and the golden Labrador. Plus, the name of Boynton’s Golden Meanie, Fibonacci, is a reference to the Fibonacci sequence in mathematics, which is intimately related to the golden ratio.

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Annals of edibilia: Hissing Cockroach, Severed Genitals

July 3, 2018

(Warning: There will be simulacra of unpleasant creatures, sexual body parts, and excrement.)

Through Facebook friends, links to the work of Katherine Dey at Deviant Desserts (in Victor NY, near Rochester) — Facebook page here, website here — beginning with this remarkable creation, Dey’s Madagascar hissing cockroach:

(#1)

Not a creature, but food — though many people won’t touch it because of the way it looks.

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Swiss spin-off: herringbone tweed

June 29, 2018

The thing about spin-offs is that they can take you way far away from where you started. In this case, the start point is in my 6/19/18 posting “A Swiss thread”, about the Swiss silk thread company Zwicky and its ad posters over the years, including, in #5 there, Otto Bamberger’s famous herringbone tweed coat Plakat (‘poster’) for the Swiss men’s clothing company PKZ:


(#1) An artwork, not a photo

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Panic in Quercy Park

June 2, 2018

On the oak-leaved hydrangeas, Hydrangea quercifolia, which have burst into bloom all over my neighborhood: big shrubs with big oak-like leaves (the oaks providing the querc– in my title’s quercy) and creamy white flowers in big panicles (the panic of my title and of panic grass). With a note on H. quercifolia‘s close relative, H. paniculata. A digression on South American creatures irrelevantly named querque /’kerke/ in Spanish. Then, inevitably, on panicles and panic grasses (genus Panicum). Don’t panic.


(#1) H. quercifolia in a woodland setting

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It’s alive!

May 29, 2018

(Flânerie, strolling from one thing to another in Victor Frankenstein’s neighborhood — and, as it turns out, in mine too.)

At the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford, the exhibition “Betray the Secret: Humanity in the Age of “Frankenstein””, 4/4/18 – 8/5/18, which I viewed yesterday, as a Memorial Day treat. The image for the show:


(#1) Beth Van Hoesen, Stanford (Arnautoff Class),  1945 (graphite and ink on paper)

Just one part of a larger Frankenstein celebration at Stanford.  A mid-sized show, easily graspable within an hour or so — the Cantor is very good at this — and, thanks to its dependence on existing collections at Stanford, offering many works and artists you wouldn’t have predicted and might never have heard of (I’ll write about one of these artists below). In any case, thought-provoking, in line with the Cantor’s mission as a “teaching museum”.

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Chez Le Fourmilier

May 29, 2018

Yesterday’s Bizarro/Wayno collaboration:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

A strenuous exercise in cartoon understanding: you need to be familiar with a certain kind of (seafood) restaurant, and to recognize both anteaters and a children’s educational toy known as an ant farm. And then to understand that the cartoon embodies a metaphorical translation from a seafood restaurant world to an anteater world.

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The egg patrol: plastic to porcelain

May 20, 2018

It started on cable tv (in a commercial) and ended in England’s industrial Midlands (with birds — wrens and a finch — and a museum). All to cook eggs.

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Land of Encroachment: the lizards

May 7, 2018

From Emily Rizzo, in South Florida, on Facebook:

They may look like anoles but they are two feet long and moving north. Let’s hope bobcats like to eat them.

The bobcats and the alligators come with the territory, but there are plenty of introduced pests, both animal and vegetable.

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Polydactyly

April 25, 2018

My morning name a couple of days ago, but it came with a (mental) video that presented itself as offering ground-breaking insights into the structure of language but turned out to be a series of professional-grade photos of the feet (well, the right foot in each case) of former graduate students of mine. Not in any way erotic — I’m not especially given to podophilia — but, once I came to full consciousness and was no longer in the grip of my vivid dream, decidedly creepy.

One of the feet was that of a serious dancer; most were, oh let me say it anyway, pedestrian; but one was a sturdy male foot (belonging to a man I’ll refer to as PD) with extreme polydactyly: two perfect small toes between the big toe and the second toe, and one equally perfect small toe between each of the three remaining pairs. So ten toes in all, making a double-dactylic foot. (Cue: poetic meter.)

Apparently an extremely rare form of polydactyly (whether pedal or manual), not illustrated in anything I could find on the net.

(I don’t recall having seen PD’s feet, but I suspect that his toes are unremarkable)

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Pestilences in Pa. Dutch country

April 22, 2018

For Earth Day…

On 9/24/17 in “A sapsucking planthopper”, an account of the disgusting and destructive insect pest Lycorma deliculata, the spotted lanternfly, first recognized in Berks County PA (the Pa. Dutch land of my childhood). And now, in the 3/12/18 issue of The New Yorker, a horrifying, funny, deeply disgusting piece by Kathryn Schulz about Halyomorpha halys, the brown marmorated stink bug / stinkbug, the first specimens of which were collected in Allentown PA, also in Pa. Dutch country.

Fresh entries in the carnival of godawful insect pest invasions: among them, the Japanese beetle (Popilia japonica) onslaught of my childhood; the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) incursions here in California; and the RIFA, red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), pestilence in the south and southwest.

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