Human Flower Project
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Calla to Sunflower ~ Ruth Gordon
The actress who gave us Minnie Castavet and Maude was first typecast as the dumb beauty.
Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon in Harold and Maude (1971)
Ruth Gordon is 112 today, except she died in 1985, plenty ripe at 88 years old.
For those of us who hit movie-buffdom around 1970, she will always be remembered for two roles: as Minnie Castavet, the squalking neighbor in Rosemary’s Baby who chewed with her mouth open and passed around smelly amulets, and Maude in Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude (1971).
Among her many stolen scenes is a floral parable in Ashby’s fim. Maude, played by Gordon, is in her late 70s and befriends a wealthy, suicidal young man (They meet as onlookers at a funeral). Here they walk among flowers at a nursery:
MAUDE: They grow and bloom, and fade, and die, and some change into something else. Ah, life! I should like to change into a sunflower most of all. They are so tall and simple. And you, Harold, what flower would you like to be?
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Flowers Go Begging in Islamabad
Panic is bad for the flower business. Just ask the vendors in Pakistan’s capital.
A canary tests for methane fumes
Photo: via petcaretips.net
If a canary can sing in a coal mine, the air is safe for human lungs. And, we would argue, if flowers are for sale on the streets, a city is civil – is safe to dwell and travel in.
By this litmus test, Islamabad is rapidly deteriorating. Flower sales are declining across the Pakistani capital, down 3/4 for this time of year. Atif Khan, writing for the Daily Times, interviewed several street florists who all bemoan the current state of affairs.
Umar Ahmen, a flower seller at F-6market, told the Times, “Our business has been slashed by 75 percent as people, especially foreigners, have restricted themselves to their houses out of fear of terrorist attacks. Panic prevails here.”
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Walden Pond as Megaphone
Climate change isn’t only affecting the Amazon rainforest and polar ice cap; it’s changing Thoreau’s woods.
Students of biologist Richard Primack keep track of plants’ flowering times in Concord, Mass.
Photo: Boston University
Among flowers (and who knows how many other forms of life) flexibility may be the key to the survival.
A newly published study led by Boston University’s Richard Primack has been tracking the phenology of Plymouth, Cambridge, and Concord, Massachusetts, a region of the U.S. with a long (for this country) and distinguished paper trail. At Walden Pond in Concord, where literary naturalist Henry David Thoreau lived from 1845-1847, there’s been an unbroken record of bird migrations and plant colonies, invaluable for scientists who hope to chart species and climate change.
That’s just what Primack and his colleagues have been doing for the past four years. Trapping warblers, dating aster blooms, counting buttercups, they have been studying how the undeniable warming in the local climate is changing life here.
Culture & Society • Ecology • Gardening & Landscape • Science • Permalink
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Ganesh Grows in Queens
The Hindu deity, one man says, has appeared in his back yard, flowering from an amaranth plant.
Sam Lal, and others, see Lord Ganesh, the Remover of Obstacles, in this flower head
Photo: Mona Rivera
“I feel the presence of God,” Hansannie Singh, 41, of Queens. New York, told two reporters from the New York Daily News.
She was standing before an amaranth plant in effusive flower. It had volunteered in back of Sam Lal’s house, growing through a crack in cement. Lal, Singh, and now many others see the image of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed deity of Hinduism, in the amaranth bloom. Its purple flower stalk protrudes on each side, like ears, and flops over into a splendid “trunk.“
Lal, 60, an immigrant from Guyana, has suffered from chronic neck and back pain. He says that since the amaranth bloomed his ailment “has all but disappeared.”