Archive for the ‘Language and plants’ Category

Notes of cade oil, spikenard, and labdanum

February 23, 2021

Among the scent notes in the “unisex perfume” A City on Fire — burnt match is another, but that doesn’t require looking things up — from the Imaginary Authors company, whose remarkable fragrances come with synopses of fictitious works of extravagant fiction and with striking graphic-designer labels on their bottles.

The perfumes aren’t cheap — $95 for a 50 ml bottle ($38 for a 14 ml Traveler size, $6 for a 2 ml Sample size) — but then we don’t know how many bottles get sold, and how much the perfumes are actually worn, as opposed to being treasured and displayed as art objects with an olfactory as well as visual and textual dimensions.

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Three remarkably named men’s fragrances

February 20, 2021

First, to announce a new Page on this blog listing my postings about men’s fragrance. Then, to continue some recent postings on notable names for men’s fragrances, a look at Fucking Fabulous and two nomenclatural celebrations of testosterone, Testosterone Original Fragrance Paris and Testostérone (from Zurich).

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True or false in Mushroomland

January 29, 2021

Yesterday on Gina Zwicky’s Twitter account (@GinaGoesOutside):


(#1) Gina Z: I thought this was a death cap and excitedly sent pictures to my friends. it is a false death cap. I have been juked by a mushroom and now I must go

Three things: Gina Z; true and false death caps; the informal, slangy verb juke‘deceive, outmaneuver’.

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Two reflections on rats

January 18, 2021

Reflection 1: fury at the roof rats that have taken up residence on my patio and are now devastating the plants there.

Reflection 2: a recent Economist story about Cambodian farmers trapping rats to sell for food in Vietnam.

(Some may see a possible thematic connection between the two reflections.)

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A riot of hibiscus

January 16, 2021

Extracted from my 1/15/21 posting “Flat on his back at the solstice”, this image:


(#1) A guy in Hawaiian mode, with beachcomber hat, lei, coconut drink, ukulele, and Hawaiian beach shorts

These Hawaiian beach shorts are only modestly floral. But ads go past me all the time for just gorgeous shirts, and bottoms as well — beach shorts, board shorts, and swim trunks — many in recognizably Hawaiian patterns (from traditional fabrics of several kinds), others of new, riotously colorful and often playful, design.

I started to assemble a collection of some of my favorite patterns, only to realize that they were all based on hibiscus flowers — some stylized, some more realistic. So this has become a hibiscus posting. (Information about the flowers in a while.)

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Patio report 10/25/20

October 26, 2020

Four photos (by Kim Darnell) from yesterday showing the current state of my patio, including a bird feeder pole system and its four stations for feeding birds of different sorts: two more hanging feeders (to add to the three feeders installed previously), a hummingbird feeder, and an open pan, a few feet off the ground, filled with seeds and nuts.

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cubeb

October 15, 2020

Today’s morning name, surely triggered in my mind by a line from the song “Ya Got Trouble” from the musical The Music Man (about kids in pool halls): “They’re … tryin’ out cubebs” (referring to cubeb cigarettes).

Brief background, from NOAD:

noun cubeb: [a] a tropical shrub of the pepper family, which bears pungent berries. Genus Piper, family Piperaceae: several species, including the Asian P. cubeba [b] the dried unripe berries of the cubeb, used medicinally and to flavor cigarettes. [also, not given by NOAD: [c] a cubeb cigarette] ORIGIN Middle English: from Old French cubebe, from Spanish Arabic kubēba, from Arabic kubāba.

Note: most uses of the noun cubeb are M[ass] nouns, but the use for ‘cubeb cigarette’ is C[count], and so pluralizable, as in the quote from The Music Man.

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Mushroom days

September 21, 2020

Some nice canned mushroom soup a couple of days ago [added 9/25: Amy’s Soups mushroom bisque with porcini] reminded me of Kennett Square PA, a pleasant little town in the land of mushroom growing that my family used to visit once or twice a year, to enjoy the extensive Longwood Gardens there and to have some mushroom dishes in the town (I always had brown mushroom soup, aromatic and tasty). Lovely memories.


(#1) In the Historic District of Kennett Square

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gone to seed

September 20, 2020

Today’s morning name, the PSP form of the English idiom go to seed, originally botanical, then metaphorically extended to use for people.

From NOAD:

go (or run) to seed: [a] (of a plant) cease flowering as the seeds develop. [b] [AZ: metaphorical extension of sense a] deteriorate in condition, strength, or efficiency: Mark knows he has allowed himself to go to seed.

Plus, a near-synonym, one sense (1d below) of one of the verbs bolt (the ‘rapid movement’ verb bolt). From NOAD:

verb bolt-2: 1 [a] [no object] (of a horse or other animal) run away suddenly out of control: the horses shied and bolted. [b] (of a person) move or run away suddenly: they bolted down the stairs. [c] [with object] (in hunting) cause (a rabbit or fox) to run out of its burrow or hole. [d] (of a plant) grow tall quickly and stop flowering as seeds develop: the lettuces have bolted. …

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Marrow among the courgettes

September 19, 2020

(This moves pretty quickly to men’s genitals, so it’s not appropriate for kids or the sexually modest.)

From the distinguished phonetician John Wells (in England — the England part is significant) on 9/18, this garden photo, with John’s caption:


(#1) Look carefully, and you’ll see a big marrow hiding underneath the courgette.

A FB reader (since I’m not sure about privacy protections, I won’t use their name) then wrote:

[A] Oh what a beauty

to which John replied

[B] …never seen one as big as that before!

taking us right into the world of sexual double entendres having to do with penis size. I admired the move (John and I are both openly gay, and that too is significant), and John delicately provided me with the source of the A – B sequence; it’s a famous quote from BBC comedy.

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