Saturday, March 3, 2018

Schlumbergera seedling no. 122

Another seedling with only one bloom all season, but I got multiple photos of it, at least.

122 isn't very interesting; I don't mind the white ones, but it's hard to get excited about them either. The only variation in color is in how much pink there is on the "tube," and I suspect that that is probably determined by temperature anyway. (There is occasionally some variability in flower shape, though at least some of that is environmental as well. Also sometimes determined by the angle at which I'm taking the photo.)

A special problem with 122A is that I already know what I'm going to name it, because I just like one of the names that much more than the others. I mean, we'll go ahead and look at the list of names, because it's something to talk about, but don't expect me to act like there's any suspense here.

The list: Coconut Shavings, Lyle Lovett, Myrtha, Tickly-Benders.

Coconut Shavings is, I think, pretty self-explanatory: the color and slight translucence of the petals is similar to that of coconut shavings.

(While I'm here, I feel like I should also note that despite the recent faddishness of coconut oil, it isn't especially "healthy." If you want saturated fat, eat butter. Food is not magic; nothing you eat will prevent your eventual mortality; coconut oil as a health food is a scam, and in 10 years the people currently telling you it's healthy will claim they always knew it was basically lard in a fibrous woody shell.1)

Lyle Lovett was previously considered for 112A Lavaball, 128A Sloths Arrive Late, and 290A Our Lady Of Assumption, and was respectively rejected because 1) the name works better for a white seedling, 2) it's probably a good idea not to name seedlings for living people if there's a chance they might turn out to be horrible, and 3) it was up against a name I preferred. Being up against a better name is why it's going to fail for a fourth time.

Myrtha was suggested last June by an anonymous commenter:
May i suggest Giselle or Myrtha for another white flower? These are both characters from the ballet giselle where spirits of rejected women (called wilis) curse any trespassing men to dance until they die (as you do in a ballet). Myrtha is the queen of the wilis and is stumped when giselle steps forward to protect a count from certain death.
I'll probably use the name eventually, but not for this one.

I'm going with Tickly-Benders, yet another term from the dialect dictionary. It describes thin ice (like on a pool or small lake) which is strong enough to hold a person without breaking, but thin enough that it bends under their weight, and also the act of walking on such ice. There are a number of variations on the term, including one I actually like better,2 but "tickly-benders" seems to be the most widely used. I'm charmed both by the term itself, and by the implication that this was a common enough recreational activity to warrant having a term for.

It doesn't hurt that the photos I have of the flower involve a lot of petals that are curved and bent in unusual ways, making it feel even more appropriate, though later blooms probably won't look the same. In any case, this one's going to be 122A Tickly-Benders.


1 Coconut water, on the other hand, may be fine; it sort of depends on what you'd be drinking otherwise. If you're replacing water with coconut water, you're not doing yourself any favors. If you're replacing soda with coconut water, good for you, that's a step in the right direction. Coconut water doesn't give you anything you're not already getting elsewhere, but it's not as sugary as juice or soda, so go for it, I guess.
Coconut water does not hydrate you any more / better / faster than regular water -- I'd even question whether "more / better / faster hydration" is a valid concept in the first place. (If your body needs water, maybe . . . give it water?)
Also coconut water is grotesquely overpriced for what it is. If you are overburdened with money and need to burn some of it to feel better about yourself or healthier or whatever, the donate button is in the sidebar, at the top of the post.
Unless you're reading this on a phone, in which case I have no idea where the donate button is.
2 ("Kittly-benders")

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Schlumbergera seedling no. 062 (again)

Yet again: one bloom, one photo.

Also: not entirely sure that this is a separate seedling from 062A Open World. It looks pretty different, but when I check all the photos I've gotten from pot 062, there are some flowers with colors intermediate between 062A and 062B. The one in this post is substantially different from the average bloom, but I don't know if it's actually a separate seedling. So whatever name I come up with here might have to be dropped and recycled at some point in the future.

It's really striking, at least, whether it's new and awesome or old and variable:

And the name finalists are: Charo, Pure Energy, Royal Grandma, Underestimated.

Charo has previously been considered for seedling 066B Sigrid the Haughty; that was totally the correct decision, since I think Sigrid the Haughty is my favorite name of all the seedlings ever.1 But it would make me sad if the world forgot about Charo, so I'd like to do my part to prevent that, sooner or later.

There's more to Pure Energy than it appears; it's one of the names intended to honor someone from my life. Previously considered for 011A Annie Lennox, and rejected because, based on image searches, it seems most people associate "pure energy" with blues and purples, plus Annie Lennox is just cool.2 But this is certainly a very energetic-looking flower, and the magenta may be as close as I'm going to get to purple. So maybe.

Royal Grandma is a slanted reference to a fish, Gramma loreto, known commonly as the "royal gramma." They're insanely pretty and appear to be good in salt-water aquaria.3 Royal grammas don't exactly match the colors of the flower, but that's okay, I figure, since Royal Grandma doesn't exactly match the name of the fish.

Underestimated is just a reference to the fact that I hadn't thought 062A Open World was that impressive -- it was fine, but nothing we haven't seen before -- and now 062B is really striking.

So okay. Drop Underestimated; it's not wrong, but it's abstract and boring. And the uncertainty about whether this is a separate seedling or not makes me want to hold off on Charo as well, on the grounds that Charo surely deserves a real, confirmed, distinct seedling of her own.

Which leaves Pure Energy and Royal Grandma, and Pure Energy has the same problem as Charo -- the person it refers to is a big deal, and deserves a distinct seedling. So this one will have to be 062B Royal Grandma, at least until I figure out whether or not it's separate from 062A Open World.


1 Though 056A Demons Begone, 106A Jaws Of Elmo, 127A Cooperating Banjos, 132A Pointy Space Princess, 244A That's My Purse, and 271A Not Here To Make Friends are all way up there on the list too.
2 Annie Lennox is, in fact, so cool that I have more than once caught myself thinking, oh, I should name a seedling for Annie Lennox -- after I already have.
3 I've never had a salt-water aquarium before, salt-water tanks being way more complicated and expensive than I've ever wanted to deal with (also, for obvious reasons, salt-water fish are not available in Iowa all that often, and when they are they're generally not in great health), but as a kid I was periodically obsessed with books about fish. There was one book about salt-water tropical fish that I checked out of the local library so often that it's entirely possible I was the only person who ever got to.
The royal gramma is one of the few species I still remember from the book, along with moorish idol (Zanclus cornutus), sergeant major (Abudefduf saxatilis), and powder blue tang (Acanthurus leucosternon). Plus of course clownfish (particularly Amphiprion ocellaris), who already have a seedling.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Schlumbergera seedling no. 250

I'm only just now noticing that most of the early-blooming seedlings from the 2017-18 season only produced one bloom. (I think 044A Iktsuarpok is the only exception so far?) I don't think previous years were like this, so it must mean something. Not necessarily something worth caring about, but something.

Anyway. So seedling 250A is another one of those: only one bloom. It's mostly interesting for its second-generation ancestry; it's another of the seedlings from 025A Clownfish.1

Name finalists: Apple Chankings, Glede, Maraschino, and Pat Benatar.

Apple Chankings is another term from the dialect dictionary I referred to in the post for 095A Pele's Lipstick. "Chankings" are the remains of a piece of fruit, like an apple, that are discarded and not eaten. The term seems to have been most widespread in northeastern New England. It's not really an appealing image for a flower, but I love that there's a term for this and that it sounds comical, so we'll at least consider it.

A Glede is a live (burning) coal, in the dialect of 1930s Pennsylvania. It's in modern dictionaries as a name for birds of prey generally, and the European kite (Milvus milvus) in particular. No idea if the two uses of the word are connected at all; the dialect book doesn't include any information about word origins.

Maraschino is in reference to the cherry, but it's sort of complicated: the original maraschino cherry was a sour cherry from the Marasca region in modern Croatia, and "maraschino" was the liqueur produced by distilling Marasca cherries, hence the name. Then somebody got the idea to preserve Marasca cherries by putting them in maraschino, and then people started cutting corners and preserving other varieties of cherries in maraschino liqueur, and eventually the term degenerated to the point where it was used for cherries preserved in pretty much anything, whether it contained alcohol or not.

Wikipedia says that in the U.S., maraschino cherries pretty much never involved cherries from Marasca in the first place (there only being just so many cherry trees in Marasca), and then when Prohibition began in 1920, cherries preserved in alcohol were no longer legal. So other processes for preserving cherries were developed, and then when Prohibition was lifted, for some reason the FDA redefined "maraschino cherry" to mean "cherries which have been dyed red, impregnated with sugar, and packed in a sugar syrup flavored with oil of bitter almonds or a similar flavor," possibly because that's what everybody had gotten used to during Prohibition.

So maraschino cherries aren't Maraschino cherries. Odds are you've never had actual Maraschino cherries.

And Pat Benatar is just kind of awesome, or at least was the last time I checked, last year, when I considered naming seedling 198A Prophecy Of Joy after her. Rejected the name then because I felt like she deserved a more impressive flower. Not sure that 250A is that much better, honestly, but let's see how it goes.

This one is actually tough, because I kind of like and dislike all the options about equally.

I feel like Pat Benatar wants a redder flower than this, and we have a few of those coming up (241A feels like it would be an especially good fit). Plus I'm always worried about living celebrities suddenly becoming horrible for no reason.2 So we'll postpone Pat Benatar for a while.

And as much as I love that there's a term for it, Apple Chankings is maybe not a concept I want to associate with any of the seedlings, so I'll drop that one too. Though if I need a name for a crappy red seedling someday, I suppose I've got something that might work.

Which leaves Glede and Maraschino. And although I'd rather have a Maraschino, because the word is more fun, I think, again, that it needs a redder flower than this. Glede works fine for anything in this general color neighborhood, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the connection to birds of prey; bird-related names pretty much always work for Schlumbergera. So, *shrug*, 250A Glede.


1 The other named ones were: 239A Plow The Seashore, 240A Schwa, and 244A That's My Purse. A few others will be receiving names later this year (237A, 241A, 248A, 252A).
2 Though that seems not to have happened to Benatar. Probably she's safe.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Schlumbergera seedling no. 044

This one's been around for quite a while, as you can tell from the low seedling number, and it's one of the seedlings from the NOID peach, which is still mildly unusual.1 It did manage to produce a fair number of blooms, once it got going, though I think I only got photos of the first one. The blooms are unusual in a couple ways: one, although most of the white-blooming seedlings produce some pink at the base of the petals (what I refer to as "the tube," though there's probably a more precise technical term for it), 044A had consistent, intense pink there. Two, the flowers were a bit smaller than average. At least two other seedlings this year produced unusually little blooms (248A and 272A); I'm unsure why.

Our name finalists: Iktsuarpok, Ice Castle, Jellybean Cake, White-Knuckle.

Iktsuarpok is an Inuit word that I found via one of those articles about words with no good English equivalents (specifically this one2). It's the feeling of anticipating someone's arrival to the point of checking and rechecking to see whether or not they've arrived yet.

Ice Castle is a name I've kind of liked for a while,3 that seems suitable for a white seedling.

Jellybean Cake is one of those names that I don't explain because they reference a particular person from my life.

White-Knuckle is the idiom, chosen mostly just because it includes "white," and the seedling is partly white.

First one to go will be White-Knuckle. It seems especially inappropriate for a seedling with this much pink in it, for one thing; for another, I just know it'll get this song stuck in my head all the time:4

and that would be intolerable.5

And then Ice Castle, too, seems better suited for a pure white flower.

So Iktsuarpok, or Jellybean Cake. Both suit the flower well -- I had been waiting a while to see a bloom from this seedling, and consequently had checked it several times in the past to see whether it was producing buds; the situation referenced in Jellybean Cake involved a jellybean which was either white or pink,6 so a flower that is both colors works either way.

Both are also slightly problematic: Iktsuarpok is awkward to pronounce and type; Jellybean Cake makes me think of a rectangular block of jellybeans mashed together, maybe with frosting on top, which is not what the name is supposed to evoke.7

I'm going to go with Iktsuarpok, because the situation it refers to (checking and rechecking to see whether a seedling has bloomed yet) is more specific and less common than having a bloom that is both white and pink (which has happened with most of the white-blooming seedlings to one degree or another). So: 044A Iksuarpok. I'm sure once I've practiced pronouncing it in my head enough times (ick-tsu-AR-pock? maybe?), it'll seem like a real word.


1 Although I'm fairly certain that the first 114 seedlings were all from a mutual cross of 'Caribbean Dancer' with the NOID peach, they've performed very differently, depending on which seed parent they had. The seedlings from 'Caribbean Dancer' have mostly been pretty robust and quick to bloom; the ones from the NOID peach have grown more slowly, took longer to produce blooms, and seem more prone to producing misshapen stems or flowers or both. This has been less of a problem with the second batch of seedlings from the NOID peach, but they're still often a little weird, as you'll see if and when we get to seedling 143A. I don't have any idea why this would be the case.
2 We may wind up seeing a second word from that list later this year; the Japanese "boketto" (staring vacantly into the distance, without thinking). I feel like English actually does have a concise term for this ("spacing out"), but maybe there are nuances. Who am I to argue with Mental Floss?
Boketto doesn't have any particular connection to the Schlumbergera seedlings, but we're still watching Dynasty, and Krystle Carrington, in particular, still does this a lot, so it's on my mind. And it's a pretty-sounding word.
3 (considered and rejected for seedlings 074B Crone Island, 119A There Would Be Peace, and 290A Our Lady Of Assumption)
4 I had a phase a while back where I was watching a lot of Ok Go videos; "White Knuckles" was easily the worst earworm.
5 Also I've been trying not to assign names that have the bloom color in them: White Knight, Orange Crush, Red Queen, etc. I may eventually have to break the rule, but I don't have to yet.
6 It was a long time ago, and I can't remember; if forced to guess, I'd guess white.
7 The mental process being that a "jellybean cake" is a cake made of compressed jellybeans, in the same way that a "fruitcake" is a cake made of compressed dried fruit. The actual moment being referenced involved a perfectly normal piece of sheet cake, with green frosting, which had a single jellybean on top.