Human Flower Project
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Editor’s Note: Your average Josephine likes nothing more than soaking up the sensorium of a well-made garden. But real gardeners generally can’t stand such passivity. Allen Bush is the latter, and sent us a lyric on the theme. “This was just for fun,” writes Allen. “It started-out as an essay on why gardeners have a hard time sitting in their own gardens. It got pared down to this.”
I’m diggin’ you.
I dig you like an old soul record.
Just sit back. Relax. Listen to the 8-track.
The April garden is a cinch
You can’t go wrong
Red-hot August God help me
Imagine swarming mosquitoes
Sit back. Relax. Listen to the eight track.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
First, Hold onto What We’ve Got
The Commons—of Cambridge and elsewhere—have been fairgrounds, grazing lands, laundry. Whose claim is on them now? Thank you, John.
Stile on Coldham’s Common, Cambridge
Photo: John Levett
By John Levett
The idea of the Commons is fundamental to the history of the people of the British Isles.
The Commons recognizes a community’s responsibility for its own welfare. It also recognizes the inequitable distribution of that welfare: the fact that some have more of a society’s surplus than others.
The continuing existence of the Common land might seem an anachronism in current society. In the first instance, the availability of land within the city boundary which private interests haven’t yet acquired either by theft, bribe, encroachment or sale by cash-strapped local governments is to be celebrated. Again, the decline of the purposes to which the Commons were originally put would suggest that alternative uses would be widely welcomed, thus turning them inevitably into something more akin to a city park with the nudging intrusion of all the commercial concessions that go with urban open spaces.
Cambridge is blessed with large inner spaces. Many of them belong to the colleges, kept and trimmed for college purposes. Some, a few, are open fen descending from the time when Cambridge was a well-managed swamp. There are small recreation areas in all of the neighbourhoods, but the largest expanses are the Commons—Stourbridge, Midsummer, Coldham’s and Parker’s Piece.
Culture & Society • Gardening & Landscape • Politics • Secular Customs • Permalink
Monday, December 08, 2008
Plant Size and Longevity
Plant life-span is a function of size, a research finding that, the EarthScholars say, can help restore whole plant communities. Thank you, Jim and Renee!
Chinese character wan, meaning 10,000
By James H. Wandersee and Renee M. Clary
EarthScholars™ Research Group
In East Asia, the slogan “Ten thousand years!” occurs in multiple languages. It originated in ancient China as an expression used to wish a person long life. (Ten thousand is considered a special number— as it’s the biggest discrete counting unit in Chinese.)
In Poland, the song “Sto Lat!” is typically sung on someone’s birthday to wish them longevity.
A hundred years, a hundred years,
May he (she) live for us.
A hundred years, a hundred years,
May he live for us.
Once again, once again, may he live, live for us,
May he live for us!
While not so optimistic as the ancient Chinese, Dr. Aubrey de Grey, a controversial gerontologist at Cambridge University, thinks that “The first person to live to be 1,000 years old is certainly alive today…. Whether they realize it or not, barring accidents or suicide, most people now 40 years or younger can expect to live for centuries.”
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Flower Crime, Flower Enforcement
Flowers are anti-vigilante, which makes them good accomplices.
With wine and flowers, a scammer in Sydney gets caught on camera
Ornamental, yes. Accessories to crime – Flowers are that too.
Thieves too lead-footed for cat burgling and too broke for the full six-week session of crime camp have a special affinity for blooming things. We’ve run a couple of stories on this theme already. But over the past six months, there’ve been so many crime stories with floral perps we started to compile a whole rap sheet.
There was the guy in Maple Grove, Minnesota, who ordered flowers and a gift box sent to a local bank; he then phoned in, saying the box contained a bomb. The robber demanded that a garbage bag full of money be delivered to a limo waiting outside, met and tipped the limo driver several blocks away, and managed to get off – for awhile, anyway – with $30,000.
There was the bouquet an elderly woman spotted outside her apartment on New York’s Lower East Side. When she opened the door, two “deliverymen” stormed in, proceeded to tie her up and gag her, and ransacked her flat. They took off with $75,000.