Apr 28, 2010

Lavender not in our garden (2)

Remember lavandula spica, the bards lavender, the lavender not on Dirk's official lavender list? We were about to call Rubinio, the purveyor of wrong lavender's, while another email from Dirk arrives with a picture of the spica. The "spica" alarm was just false alarm, and we could have know, wiki-wise. "Lavendula spica" is just a different name for the angustofolia, which is also called "lavendula vera" (true lavender, if our Latin hasn't abandoned us).

lavandula vera
lavandula spica

lavandula angustifolia

What Dirk fails to answer, however, is the question which lavender species actually does inform the pope's sweet dreams. And this raises another timely question. What is the content of Benedictus's sweet dreams? What will suggestive lavender scents do to the sleeping, defenseless soul of the pontiff? You get the point? Dreaming of sins...is it actually a sin? And how about those sins, more specifically? Does the spica induce the same sins as the angustofolia? And how about the vera? Over to you, Dirk.

Stop, one more thing. You see this acclivous gaze again, the "scheinheilige Blick nach oben?" Over to you, Dirk.

Stop, one more thing. If I were still the pretty young boy, and Benedictus would dream of me, would this entitle me to financial compensation, perhaps even punitive damages? Over to you, Dirk.

Stop, one more thing. Do you see how awful his teeth are? Over to you, Dirk.

Stop, one more thing. Imagine, fellatio with those teeth. Over to you, Dirk.

Stop, one more thing. This brings to mind Colbert's remark on Comedy Central yesterday about Lloyd Blankfein, the Goldman Sachs CEO, who makes $ 5,000 per hour, and 6,000 when kissing is involved. Over to you, Dirk.

Stop, one more thing. What if the pope dreams of Lloyd Blankfein. Would this be a sin per se, or would it in minimis (Blankfein's words, yesterday, he speaks Latin, folks, that's why he makes so much money) involve something sinful? Over to you, Dirk.

Stop, one more thing. Imagine the two together. Over to you, Dirk.

Apr 26, 2010

Lavender not in our garden

Dirk informs us by email that our lavender picture represents the lavandula stoechas, which blossoms March - June. Sadly, he continues, it is often mistaken for the common lavender of the Mediterranean area, ie. the lavandula officinalis and the lavandula angustifolia, which blossom June - August.

lavandula stoechaslavandula officinalis
lavandula angustifoliaThe bard

While I am putting Dirk's helpful comments into this blogpost, Chang is looking over my shoulder. "you've got the wrong lavender," he says. "We could have had the official lavender. But we didn't. They f@#ed us again." (He means Rubinio, the local pépinieriste where we buy the wrong plants). "Ask our money back," he continues, "call them, they sold us frass." That's what he always says, but he has a point. The lavandula stoechas not only isthe wrong plant, it also sounds the wrong plant. Compare that with lavandula officinalis, which looks terrible, but surely enlivens the popal, I mean, papal gardens, and blossoms from June through August, while Benedictus naps in the sun and enjoys sweet lavender dreams. Didn't the bard already sing in his famous sonnets "Here's flowers for you: Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram." "Yes, he did," Chang intersperses, looking over my shoulder again, "but not in his sonnets, it's from A Winter's Tale."

I disagree, of course, so we have to google (in the past, you had marital disputes, but now you have googles; not you, not yet?...we provide marital google advice at competitive rates).

Google, Shakespeare, google, Shakespeare & lavender, google. And there it is. Chang is right. A Winter's Tale. But that's not all. The thing that jumps off the page is the lavendula spica. What is this? Shakespeare's lavender is not the angustifolia, not the officinalis, not the stoechas. Yet another lavender, the lavendula spica. What now?

Stay tuned.

Apr 21, 2010

The economist and the lightning rods

Mark Twain died (or was born) today, a thousand years ago (OK, yesterday). This is the home where he was born, with the fence that opens Tom Sawyer, and a lost tourist that resembles Chang. (In fact, Becky's place (Becky, Tom's love interest) is just opposite the street. Samuel Clemens had a crush on her)

Here's a condensation of Twain's short story Political Economy.

[The first person is writing:] Political Economy is the basis of all good government. The wisest men of all ages have brought to bear upon this subject the---

Here I was interrupted and informed that a stranger wished to see me down at the door. I went and confronted him, and asked to know his business, struggling all the time to keep a tight rein on my seething political-economy ideas [...] He said he was sorry to disrupt me, but as he was passing by he noticed that I needed some lightning-rods. I said, "Yes, yes---go on---what about it?" [...]I am new to housekeeping; have been used to hotels...[...]I try to appear (to strangers) to be an old housekeeper; consequently I said in an offhand way that I had been intending for some time to have six or eight lightning-rods put up, but---The stranger started, and looked inquiringly at me, but I was serene. [...]

Apr 12, 2010

History of the world, part I — the couch

When I was young we would spend the evenings at the central table of the living room and listen to the radio.

Then TV came. It arrived in Germany in 1956. We did not get one immediately, but were invited by richer friends to admire theirs. Joint TV watching became very popular, and very cosy, since everybody got a couch.

The couch appeared in the showrooms together with the TV. We went window-shopping a lot and always spent some time gawking at couches. My parents would teach me about good taste. Scandinavian style, that was good taste. We never really got a couch, just some sort of bench that could double as a bed. But the central table disappeared anyhow.

Apr 6, 2010

Clinton started the war in Iraq, didn't he?

This is the unedited version.

During the attack, a Reuters reporter was killed.The NYT writes:

"Reuters had tried for two and a half years through the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the Iraq video, to no avail. WikiLeaks, as always, refuses to say how it obtained the video, and credits only 'our courageous source.' 

Mr. Assange [the head of Wikileaks] said 'research institutions' offered to help decrypt the Army video, but he declined to detail how they went about it. After decrypting the attack video, WikiLeaks in concert with an Icelandic television channel sent two people to Baghdad last weekend to gather information about the killings, at a cost of $50,000, the site said..."
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