Archive for the ‘Names’ Category

perennial, evergreen, hardy

June 4, 2019

From an exchange on Facebook a few days ago, in which (at least) two of the participants use the term perennial to refer to plants that are green all year round, that don’t lose their leaves for a dormant season. The discussion was set off by DA (not knowing the privacy wishes of the participants, I refer to them by their initials), posting about a practice that puzzles him:

DA: I never understood why [people] bother to plant [fruit] trees that don’t bear fruit.

To which DS replied with a number of reasons for the practice, but along the way introducing perennial in the sense ‘green all year long’ (relevant materal boldfaced):

DS: They provide many other benefits, for birds, shade, soil augmentation … they hold together hills so they don’t wash away .. and much more. Besides, they can be lovely. As far as I know, there are no perennial fruit trees so they can’t be used for privacy.

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The dog of ivy

June 3, 2019

… stands guard in the San Fernando Valley, providing poodle thoughts for Zippy on his morning walk today:


(#1) Zipphorism: “Sometimes I feel like my thoughts are thinking me”

We are figments of our thoughts’ imagination; the topiary poodle tells us so.

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Follow-up: BOOIESUZYKQHHHH

June 2, 2019

From the annals of Cartoonland spelling bees, in my 5/31 posting “Ultimate spelling bee”, this Bob Eckstein cartoon:


(#1) The contestant offers BOOIESUZYKQHHHH as the spelling for the given pronunciation /búwisúzikyú/ (or something very close to that)

In creating this cartoon (hastily — if you’re doing a bunch of cartoons a day, you don’t have a lot of time for reflection), Eckstein pulled some pronounceable nonsense out of his head as the contest word. The result is an expression with recognizable parts, two of which, /súzi + kyú/ form a familiar name — Susie Q — while the other, /búwi/, might be heard as any of several names, but in Eckstein’s mind was just two nonsense syllables that bubbled up in the heat of the moment.

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Follow-up: magenta greens

June 1, 2019

Following up on my posting yesterday, “Flirting with magenta” (about three plants with magenta flowers), Randy McDonald has sent me a piece from the site Speed River Journal: An urban naturalist’s progress: “Magenta spreen, a worthy spring green” on 5/29/19 by Van Waffle — about the plant often known as tree spinach:


(#1) Close-up of Chenopodium giganteum leaves (from Wikipedia)

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Stravinsky’s 1970 Firebird and the Ghoulliard Quartet

May 20, 2019

Music, cartoons, and language play, plus Slavic folklore, Seiji Ozawa and his expressive hair, pony cars, symphony trumpeters, NPR, and Frankenstein’s monster. It starts with this wonderful cartoon by Jeffrey Curnow from the NPR site (hat tip to Virginia Transue):

(#1)

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Ostentatiously playful allusions

May 18, 2019

(OPAs, for short.) The contrast is to inconspicuously playful allusions, what I’ve called Easter egg quotations on this blog. With three OPAs from the 4/20/19 Economist, illustrating three levels of closeness between the content of the OPA and the topic of the article: no substantive relationship between the two (the Nock, Nock case), tangential relationship (the Sunset brouhaha case), and tight relationship (the defecate in the woods case).

The three cases also illustrate three degrees of paronomasia: the Nock, Nock case involves a (phonologically) perfect pun; the Sunset brouhaha case an imperfect pun; and the defecate in the woods case no pun at all, but whole-word substitutions.

I’ll start in the middle, with Sunset brouhaha. But first, some background. Which will incorporate flaming saganaki; be prepared.

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Parade of Fangs, Eye of the Pumpkin

May 12, 2019

I’ll get to the fangs and the pumpkin eventually, but first a taxonomic puzzle in botany and two botanical puzzles in (Mexican) Spanish, triggered by this Pinterest photo from a while back:


(#1) [as captioned by its (Mexican) poster] Lirio plantasonya

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The dragons of Homoland

May 11, 2019

The centerpiece:


(#1) “Rainbow Dragons” (for LGBT Pride 2018) by Ross Sanger, on Deviant Art (hat tip to Kim Darnell)

Two effects here. One, in popular culture, dragons are  tamed, almost to the point of cuteness; otherwise, they’re creatures of great power and potential danger (in Western traditions, active malevolence) — but here are cicurated (tamed, rendered mild or harmless), or even cutesified. And then, dragons have become loosely attached to gay culture; they’ve been homoized in some contexts — Homoland is, at the very least, congenial to dragons as symbols, perhaps as symbols of gay power, so that dragons and rainbows have come to have some affinity for one another, in draconical rainbows and arcipluvial dragons (like Sanger’s).

Especially in places where dragons bear some specific symbolic weight, gays and their rainbows are likely to follow: the red dragon of the Welsh flag; the logo of Dungeons and Dragons; and the dragon of Chnese astrology. But gay dragons, often in rainbow, might pop up anywhere (as in #1).

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The GRP of Montpelier VT

May 8, 2019

GRP is short for Government Relations Professional (an actual job title — GRPs have their own professional association, even). The title above is an echo of the title of my 4/9/19 posting “The serial entrepreneur of Victoria BC”, referring to Richard Zwicky, whose latest business venture was a cannabis product distribution company. Yes, a cannabis business-connected Zwicky — and today we get another, Dylan Zwicky, of Leonine Public Affairs in Montpelier VT (at the other side of the continent from Victoria BC), the new vice-president of Leonine’s Vermont Government Relations team with the account of the Vermont-based Trace (representing the hemp and cannabis industries).

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The white and the red

April 19, 2019

The (Christian) liturgical colors for the season: white for Easter Sunday, red for today, Good Friday, the day of crucifixion (and for some churches, red for all of Holy Week). White the color of purity and perfection, and so of Jesus as Christ. Red the color of blood and sacrifice, and so of the crucifixion.

As it happens, yesterday’s events included a visit to the Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, where I encountered two especially notable flowers, one white, one deep red. First, the flowers, not (at first) identified:


(#1) Blanchier


(#2) Rougier

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