Archive for the ‘Language and plants’ Category

Sad farewells

July 26, 2021

Brief report from my house on things falling apart, or Why I Hardly Post Anything of Substance These Days. New medical problems — no serious details now, but a symptom of one is enormous exhaustion, so sleeping 10 to 12 hours a day, so not getting much done; and my hands all painfully seized up with arthritis in a terrible flare-up. But yesterday I had some remission and could slowly say farewell to my succulent garden. And then, later, could take some time at the computer slowly clearing out a chunk of a giant iceberg of unanswered e-mail going back to 2009 — a Monument of Things Undone, things that will never be done.

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Annals of commercial naming: Bear Naked Granola

June 18, 2021

Brought to me by Facebook in recent days, advertisements for two playful trade names: one — for the Boy Smells company, offering scented candles, unisex fragrances, and (unscented) underwear, all for LGBT+-folk — covered in my 6/16 posting “Annals of commercial naming: Boy Smells”; and now, for the Bear Naked® Granola company. The two cases turn out to be very different.

Boy Smells belongs with a series of postings on this blog on dubious and unfortunate commercial names — some clearly unintentionally racy, some playfully suggestive, some openly, even brazenly, suggestive, given the nature of the establishments (Hooters). The Boy Smells company is almost painfully earnest about its LGBT+ mission, which makes its name — so evocative of teenage pong — especially unfortunate.

Bear Naked Granola, in contrast, is knee-deep in playfulness, starting with the pun on bare naked, so that on the one side, you get a reference to bears, with their fondness for nuts and fruits and honey (all relevant to granola); while on the other side, you get bare naked, suggesting purity and simplicity. And you also get the pop-culture view of bears, as cute and entertaining.

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News from the rose garden

May 12, 2021

Mail from the Park of Roses in Columbus OH a few days ago, to say that the variety in the rose bed dedicated in my man Jacques’s memory had recently been replaced by a new variety, with an interesting name:


(#1) Grandiflora rose ‘Cardinal Song’ (from the Dave’s Garden website)

It’s all about that shade of red: the color of the bird whose song provides the name for the flower. Both the bird and that shade of red get their name from the color of a cardinal’s robes in the Roman Catholic Church.

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A walk around the block

April 12, 2021

… on Saturday morning, slowly, using my walker, in my penguin mask and the company of Kim Darnell (who took some flower photos, to come below). My first such walk since February 2020, so it was a Very Big Thing.

Across the street and through the parking lot of the downtown library (much improved during my lockdown time by the replacement of some decayed fencing festooned with a collection of noxious weeds), to Bryant St., the next street east of Ramona (as we reckon directions locally); then south on Bryant to stop at 740, which has a fabulous garden right out on the street, for the pleasure of the community (picture time here); on to the corner of Homer Ave. (the corner condo planted with expanses of easy-care vegetation, including a big spread of light blue Ceanothus, California lilac); around the corner to go west on Homer Ave., passing two young Chinese elms that had been planted on the street since I last walked this route; across Ramona St., to stop at the condo at the northwest corner and admire its low-water plantings, all of which except one I had previously identified (another picture time here); and then back north on Ramona St. to home, at 722.

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White petals

April 4, 2021

After a very long time away, a visit yesterday (Totally Vaccinated Day + 1) to Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden, thanks to Kim Darnell (who also took the pictures). It was the Saturday of Easter weekend, so of course the place was as packed as it could be, given distancing (and masking) requirements. A very high percentage of the visitors were Chinese(-American), many in three-generation groups, almost all of them speaking a Chinese language. Much joy.

It was tulip time, with irises soon to follow. Already many different salvias in bloom (the garden has dozens). And lots of oriental poppies in bloom, dotted here and there throughout the beds, for color. And intriguing things, as always, in the regional gardens — Mediterranean, Australian, South African, Chilean. Two standouts with white petals: Chilean strawberry plants, a Yoshino cherry tree (the ‘Akebono’ cultivar in white).

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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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