Friday, March 31, 2017

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum Delightfully Wood

And the very last of the orchid show orchids, possibly ever,1 is Paphiopedilum Delightfully Wood, which is either a dramatic climax or an anticlimax, depending on your feelings about Paphiopedilums.

This particular one is another Lehua Orchids hybrid, though I can't prove that because the page is no longer there. I copied the text on the page, though, because I've been burned before by trusting commercial sites' pages to stay up, and this particular text raised so many questions.

The start of our oxymoron series (what can be delightful about Wood?). We were conned into naming 12 mottled leaf Paphs. Naming the last one we were drawing a blank on a name. One of its parent was Zellwood Station. What could be more natural than Wood Wonder (because you always have to wonder about Wood). Paphiopedilum Wood Wonder went viral. At the time it was, and probably still is, the only AQ awarded in Japan to a non-Japanese cross. Just classic great spots.

Like, I don't know what most of that means (What's an AQ hybrid? How does an orchid go viral?2 Why are the spots "great?" What would "crappy" spots look like? How does one get conned into naming paphs, how much does it pay, and how could I make that happen to me?3), and I'm a little irked by "what can be delightful about Wood?" part. What isn't delightful about wood?4

Anyway. Now that that's out of my system --

This seems like a nice enough flower, I guess. Lots of different colors in it, and the leaves are attractively speckled.

Paphiopedilum Delightfully Wood = Paphiopedilum Wood Wonder x Paphiopedilum Odette's Charm (Ref.)


1 (For the next year, at least: I didn't go to the show this year. Maybe starting in April 2018, if it turns out that I really, really miss the orchids.)
2 (I assume they mean viral in the social media sense. I know how orchids go viral in the biological infection sense.)
3 I mean, seriously, if you know of a job out there somewhere where a person just names plants all day, shoot me an application, because that sounds wonderful. I'm not fast, but I am thorough as a motherfucker. And enthusiastic, obviously.
4 No, seriously. It's strong, it's flexible, it removes carbon from the atmosphere, it's solar-powered, it's endlessly renewable, it's long-lasting (or at least can be), it comes in every color of the (brown) rainbow, it's biodegradable, it's (mostly) nontoxic, you can make paper, rayon, furniture, cellophane, vomit-absorption material, fuel, baskets, imitation vanilla extract, musical instruments, art, and cardboard out of it. Even rocks, though that's a slow process. Probably not very practical, while we have so many rocks just lying around all over the place.
It's worth having for the metaphors alone: wooden acting, morning wood, not out of the woods, two roads diverged in a wood, knock wood, coming out of the woodwork. The only things I can think of that aren't wonderful about wood are its susceptibility to termites and fire. So, seriously: how dare Lehua question the delightfulness of wood. If they hadn't already taken the page down, I would have to write them an angry e-mail.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 101

This one's going to be easy to name, I think. Why? Mostly because it's a weak list of finalists, and only one seems worth bothering with. But I'll go through the motions anyway. Here's the seedling in question:

Orange. Quelle surprise. Not a bad orange. But still. It's been, you know, done.

Name finalists: End Construction, Julius Erving, Kimchi, Sarcastic Response.

End Construction is both a complete imperative sentence and a common road sign. In the U.S., at least, this is virtually always an orange sign,1 so it's got color-appropriateness going for it, and if it's possible for someone to have a favorite road sign, it's probably my favorite road sign.

Julius Erving is, of course, the basketball player, though Erving isn't the actual honoree; this is another case of me naming a seedling after a significant person from my past. It's complicated. The hope in this case is that they wouldn't recognize themselves as the honoree if they saw it.2

Kimchi is, yet again, the fermented Korean vegetable dish, previously considered and rejected for 072A Chell (rejected because the flower wasn't red-orange enough) and 092A Sparky (rejected partly because the flower was too red-orange).

And Sarcastic Response. I'm not sure how Sarcastic Response got in here.

It happens that Julius Erving is just really well-timed -- I couldn't have planned it out this way if I'd tried, but I've been thinking about the person lately anyway, so there's not really any point to considering the other ones. (We all know Kimchi wasn't going to get it anyway.)

So Julius Erving it is. This will confuse people who actually know something about basketball, who will be expecting a red and white flower,3 but since the seedling name isn't really about him in the first place, I don't think I care. (If you're the sort of person who does care, then I'm sorry.)


1 I assume that other countries' signs are also standardized; I just assume that they don't slavishly follow U.S. color and icon usage.
2 I have my reasons.
3 Erving played for the Philadelphia 76ers for most of his professional career (1976-87), and most of the in-uniform photos of him I found show him in a red 76ers uniform. Those that don't mostly have him in either a white 76ers uniform or a white New York Nets uniform.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 176

Schlumbergera seedling 176 is really nice, but it's another case of one of the NOID magenta's seedlings not resembling the NOID magenta. Which is frustrating.1

Name options: Barbara Jordan, The Darb, The Quality Of Mercy, and Vain Hippie.

Barbara Jordan was the first African-American elected to the Texas Senate since Reconstruction (in 1966) and the first African-American woman ever in the Texas Senate. She was then elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972, becoming the first woman Representative from Texas. And in 1974, she made this speech, advocating impeachment of Richard M. Nixon:

(Transcript available here, though I recommend you watch at least a little of the video just to get a feel for the way she speaks, because the delivery is a big part of the effectiveness.)

The Darb is 1920s-era slang for something (or especially someone) very attractive, handsome, or otherwise excellent and praiseworthy. Though there have been seedlings with similar coloration,2 some of which are probably better than this seedling in some way, it's still really nice, and deserving of the name.

The Quality Of Mercy is a Shakespeare reference, taken from a speech Portia gives in The Merchant of Venice.3 Not quite sure how it wound up on the list, but I like the speech.

And then Vain Hippie is, I'm pretty sure, a random word combination that caught my fancy. I don't think hippies were any more vain than any other group of people -- I wasn't there; I wouldn't know, but the null hypothesis is right a lot more often than you'd think -- but there's something about all the colors and the way they shade into one another that brings tie-dye to mind. And the null hypothesis says that there had to have been some vain hippies, after all. It's not like I'm inventing the idea here.

So. As much as I like the idea of bringing back some hundred-year-old slang, I feel like The Darb is the most discardable of the finalists, so I'll drop it. Maybe there will be some even better and more amazing seedling down the line sometime, that is even more darby. And though Vain Hippie does seem oddly appropriate for this one, it's not a particularly serious idea, and it sort of feels like 176A wants a serious name, since it's seriously pretty.

And it doesn't get much more serious than Barbara Jordan and The Quality Of Mercy. So: justice? Or mercy? Both are important; both are always relevant; sometimes they're even the same thing. On the one hand,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.
and on the other,
Today I am an inquisitor. An hyperbole would not be fictional and would not overstate the solemnness that I feel right now. My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total. And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution.

In the end, on the grounds that it seems a lot easier and likely for me to bring Barbara Jordan around for a different seedling than it does for The Quality Of Mercy to show up again (since I don't even understand how it wound up on the list in the first place), I'm going to go with The Quality Of Mercy.

We'll see Barbara Jordan again, though.


1 In fact, so far, only one of the NOID magenta's seedlings, 181A [name TBD], resembles their mother at all. Mostly they look like one of the 'Caribbean Dancer' x NOID peach seedlings (e.g. 178A Lulu's Night Off, 180A Miss Emma, 182A Padparadscha, 192A Oney Judge), or they look like the NOID white (190A [name TBD], 193A [name TBD]). Presumably they look like their pollen parents, but I've been really surprised by how little having the NOID magenta involved seems to matter.
I've been trying for ages to find some reference source that would explain Schlumbergera pigment genetics, to make sense of this kind of thing, but so far all I've been able to do is find the class of pigments involved (the betalains). I can't tell if I just suck at internet searches or if science still hasn't figured out how it betalain production in Schlumbergera works. So far, though, I understand the broad outlines of Anthurium pigment genetics, but Schlumbergeras are a mystery.
2 (074A Vroom, 079A Yayoi Kusama, 082A Strawberry Madeleine, 106A Jaws of Elmo, 107A Nova Prospekt, 192A Oney Judge, 217A Blood Frenzy)
3 The play which gives English the figure of speech "with bated breath," since Tumblrized and Twitterpated into "with baited breath." (The original Anglo-French meaning of "abate" -- diminishing in intensity, amount, or power; ending -- persists in words like abatement and rebate, not that this is any consolation.)
And yes, I want to scream every time I encounter the "baited" version, but what're you gonna do, language marches on. Screaming at people feels good but doesn't accomplish anything.
Like masturbaiting.