Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mumbai, After

After three days of carnage, the people of Mumbai are mourning the dead and caring for the injured.


A Rapid Action Force policeman stood guard Sunday,

Nov. 30, outside the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai where

scores of people died in a terrorist rampage. Citizens

of the city paid their respects with flowers outside.

Photo: Saurabh Das, for AP

Wednesday’s attack on innocent people across Mumbai drew the world’s despairing attention. At least 195 people have been killed, and some 300 injured by 10 militants. The murderers had arrived by boat, fanned out across the city to the train station, two hotels, a temple, even a hospital, then began their killing spree. Most of the dead are Indian nationals. Mumbai officials have reported that “about 30 foreigners were killed including nine Israelis, five Americans, two French, two Australians and two Canadians.” Nine of the assailants, all from Pakistan, were killed in a standoff with city police. One was apprehended and has been talking to authorities about the group’s deadly plan.


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Posted by Julie on 11/30 at 05:29 PM
PoliticsReligious RitualsSecular CustomsPermalink

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Horn of Plenty

The first cornucopia wasn’t a centerpiece or a harvest emblem—but a second-place lover’s trophy, filled with flowers.


Mega-cornicopia, the Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada

Photo: Images of Las Vegas

If you see a cornucopia this Thanksgiving, it’ll likely be a woven basket resting on its side and pretending to spill little pimply gourds and walnuts onto the table (or into the lobby of a casino). Nice, and as a centerpiece, it has the virtue of decorating horizontally, so you can also see the person sitting across from you at dinner.

The original cornu (horn) copia (plentiful), however, didn’t recline. It stood upright, more like a tuba, and contained flowers. With no disrespect to the orange and brown and yellow arrangements ornamenting the season, we’d like, in the spirit of plenty, to offer some variety.

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Posted by Julie on 11/27 at 07:49 PM
Secular CustomsPermalink

Sunday, November 23, 2008

When Cotton Was King

Can botany equal destiny? In the U.S., the fate of the Old South was bound up with one plant. The EarthScholars and a Memphis museum explain.


U.S. cotton field ready to harvest

Photo: Fahey Byrum III

By James H. Wandersee and Renee M. Clary

EarthScholars™ Research Group

The year was 1858. Cotton had surpassed tobacco as a cash crop in the Deep South after the introduction of the cotton gin. Southern plantations were producing 75% of the world’s cotton supply.

US cotton’s world supremacy led Senator James Henry Hammond of South Carolina to make a famous boast: “Cotton is king.” He was actually echoing the title of an influential pro-slavery book of the time written by David Christy in 1855. By 1860, cotton ruled the South. Cotton was unquestionably vital to the US economy, and it was a major US export to Europe.


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Posted by Julie on 11/23 at 09:44 PM
Culture & SocietyPoliticsScienceTravelPermalink

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Daisies Crop Up where Moviemakers Fear to Tread

The amazing Keith Howes brings us another phase of his research into the role of Asteraceae in filmmaking.


A shocking scene, from The Kiss (1896)

By Keith Howes

Cinema has dealt with the taboos from its earliest beginnings. The Kiss (1896) aroused all kinds of ire from moral watchdogs because its two (opposite sex, middle-aged, fully clothed) actors locked lips on screen for all the world to see. Since then, most subjects have been covered (and uncovered) in the movies, but some taboos simply refuse to go away.

I have undertaken a study of film history in relation to Asteraceae, the flower family that accounts for almost ten per cent of all angiosperms. (Now, there’s a word that was only given utterance - controversially- in Otto Preminger’s 1959 courtroom drama, Anatomy of a Murder. But let’s not go THERE. Yet.) I’ve found that most of the landmarks of filmmaking are attended by these flowers. My research into movies and daisies (beginning with the very first film ever made -1895) leads me to suspect that if their presence has any true significance it lies in two areas: Core (plot/character/morality/ethics/spirituality/sexuality) and Taboo (areas forbidden at the time a film was made or the time in which its story is set).

Here are some daisy-accompanied screen don’ts that were finally done in three films: one from 1968, very much a Broadway/Hollywood product, the other two relatively non-mainstream movies from 1971, one from the US, the other from the UK.


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Posted by Julie on 11/20 at 07:11 PM
Art & MediaCulture & SocietyPermalink
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