Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

More French? Mais Oui!

I was having an idle moment this morning when a word popped into my head:  oubliette.  I couldn't think of what it meant, so I looked it up.  Now I can't think of how I came up with that word.  Are French words or phrases going to pop into my head every day this week?

Monday, September 25, 2017

I Don't Speak French, but I Do Kiss That Way

Our company subscribes to a website that posts construction jobs available in several states.  (We look for the ones with landscaping in our part of NM.)  I scroll through a lot of jobs out of our service area.  One I noticed today is in Thoreau, NM.  The locals pronounce it "tha-ROO", not "tha-ROE".  Don't ask me why; New Mexicans are weird like that.

That brought to mind the northern Georgia town not far from the Noog.  It's spelled Lafayette, like the Frenchman who helped the colonies in the American Revolution.  Most Americans (who haven't been trained in proper French) would pronounce it "la-fee-YET", but Georgians and Noogats say "luh-FAY-it".  Don't ask me why; Southerners are weird like that.

(I should give credit to the writer(s) of the movie Naked Gun 2-1/2 for putting those words into the mouth of Lt. Frank Drebin.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Only in Santa Fe

I heard this on the radio news this morning.  (I am not making this up.)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Beauty Is Only Bark Deep

My employer has been awarded the contract to install irrigation & landscaping outside a new business under construction, so I am reviewing our bid & the plan to make sure the project begins smoothly.

In the plan notes, the landscape architect specified, "Place plants upright and turned so that the most attractive side is viewed."  How exactly are we supposed to do that?  The plants can be driven around or walked around or even flown over (if you're a bird).  You can see them from all perspectives.  It's not like this is a Christmas tree set with it's least attractive side facing the wall.

The landscape architect also specified, "Shade trees shall be straight unless otherwise specified."  I never thought of plants like this before.  Can you have a gay tree?

Flowers can have both male (anther & filament) and female (stigma, style, and ovary) components.  These flowers are traditionally (though perhaps discriminatorily) called "perfect" flowers.  Alternatively, flowers can be male or female.  If male & female flowers are present on the same plant, the plant is referred to as monecious.  (This is commonly the case for cucumber or gourd plants, for example.)  If they're present on separate plants, the plants are called dioecious.

As far as I can tell, male flowers are equal-opportunity fertilizers, carelessly sharing their pollen as much as possible.  Pollination in plants most often occurs via insects or wind transporting the pollen from an anther to a stigma, either within the same flower or between different flowers.  (Wind-pollinated species such as Mulberry, Ash, Juniper, Oak, or Pecan are common problems for people who experience allergies.)

Sometimes, such as with many fruit species, a tree is not self-fertile; it requires a different tree (almost always of a different cultivar) to successfully produce fruit/seeds.  This means, for example, you'd have to plant a Bing Cherry and a Stella Cherry in order to get Bing fruit.  (Stella is self-fertile, as well as being a good pollinator.  Does that make her a hermaphrodite?)  Then you might have a problem because you don't have room for two trees, or maybe you just don't want that many cherries.  (Don't worry; the birds usually beat you to them, anyway.)  However, some clever horticulturist figured out thousands of years ago that he (and let's face it, it was probably a he because women were discriminated against more then than they are now) could graft part of one tree onto another, so two different varieties could grow on the same specimen (this must occur within a species), and one tree could successfully bear flowers & fruit from each cultivar.  Does this make the plant transgender?

One nursery we use offers a "six-way" Apple tree, with six cultivars grafted onto one plant.  Is that like a plant orgy?  Would watching bees pollinate the flowers be like watching porn?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Who Wants Wet Roses, Anyway?

It has been several hours since I posted earlier, so my Weather Wizardry had plenty of time to screw up some more.

My boss asked me to measure a load of rocks being delivered.  They were undersized, so I was going to phone him.  I entered the office & was told immediately that I need to send him a photo.  (He had called while I was outside.)  The office manager gave me a spare, company phone.  I took the photo outside, but the phone's screen went blank.  The office manager said, "Oh, it's probably a low battery."  She handed me a new, digital camera & said she thought the battery was fully charged.  It was, except all the on-screen directions were in Greek, and I couldn't figure out how to change the language to English.  She handed me the phone an employee forgot to take with her this morning.  I took the photo, and the phone told me it was full of pictures and out of memory.

The second phone did manage to store my photo, so I downloaded it to my computer and e-mailed it to my boss.  Then, I managed to change the camera language to English and set the date/time.  I couldn't figure out how to use it, though.  I even tried following the instruction manual!

Stick a fork in me; I'm done.

Sis Boom Bah!

Here are a couple of science/technology school mascots you're not likely to see.

The Fightin' Polymers

The Quarks

Can you think of some more?

Game for Anything

Wheel of Fortune started a new season last night.  Combine that with me reading Betty White's memoir Here We Go Again, in which she mentions an extraordinary number of appearances on TV game shows, and you might understand that I have game shows on the brain lately.

A lot of people know that there is a town in our state named for a game show:  Truth or Consequences, NM.  (It used to be called Hot Springs.)  Would you want to live in an unusually named town?  Come to think of it, NM also has Pie Town, so our citizens aren't afraid of odd city names.  However, would you really want to live in constant Jeopardy?  I don't know; some people might vote to change their town name if The Price Is Right.  Other citizens, though, might warn their fellow residents, "Don't Press Your Luck".

I Prefer Raindrops on Roses

Monsoon season is wrapping up.  We haven't had rain in the forecast for over a week.  That's why, on Saturday, when I hung my laundry out to dry, it rained.  I washed my car windows on Sunday.  No, it didn't rain on my way to work on Monday.  It waited until my drive home.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Peas and Quiet

A day at the office always starts out loud.  Dozens of employees clock in, mill around, and chat -- using their "outdoor" voices.  I'm a quiet person, so this drives me nuts.  In fact, the noise seems to stay in my head for a while after they leave.

The other day, I went to the holding area of our yard, where we keep plants until they're taken to job sites and planted  There's little traffic noise, since it's far from the road.  There are some trees nearby, so I can hear birds chirping.  The birds make it seem quieter, if that's possible.

Of course, if you're visiting the aviary at a zoo, it can be quite loud.  There's a higher population density of birds, and some aviaries are enclosed in buildings.  You're liable to hear parrots squawk or peacocks cry.  (Years ago, the Philadelphia Zoo had peacocks roaming the grounds.  I don't know if they still do.)

I started pondering peacocks.  I've eaten chicken and quail eggs.  I wonder if peacock eggs are edible.  Of course not!  Peacock eggs don't exist!  Peahen eggs, on the other hand...