Friday, September 14, 2018

Anthurium no. 1352 "Queen Bee Luscious"

Queen Bee Luscious is unusually difficult to photograph, because her spathes have a very pronounced saddle shape to them.

Or at least usually they do: the first bloom looked more or less normal. Except for the missing spadix.

As mentioned in the post for 1323 Kayla Stratus, QBL also has a lot of thrips damage, which is really disappointing.

On the positive side, she's produced a lot of blooms under nonideal conditions, and I feel like if the thrips weren't involved and she could consistently remember to make a spadix, I'd think of the inflorescences as "pretty." (As it is, the thought is more potentially pretty.)

The foliage is surprisingly unblemished:

And there's a decent amount of it (at least, there was last November when the photo was taken):

Though the internodal distance is a bit of a problem, as it was with 'Joli,' the seed parent. So I'll keep her, but she could also be doing better.

QBL is one of the seedlings in line to be promoted to a 6-inch pot the next time I have room to do that: maybe she'll handle herself a bit better once that's happened.

Side note about the blog: I'm probably going to have to slow down or stop for a little while after this post, as life has become a bit unmanageable again. Everything is fine; I just can't keep up.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Schlumbergera seedling no. 377

337A is the other exciting new thing from the 2017-18 seedlings, along with 392A Subjunctive. It's similar to Subjunctive but not quite the same:

Basically the same coloration, but where Subjunctive is magenta, 377A is light pink. I personally like this one slightly better, on the grounds that I think the yellow and pink harmonize a little better with one another than the yellow and magenta, but obviously they're both nice. I shouldn't be trying to pick favorites.

Anyway. The name candidates this time are so weird that only one of them makes any kind of sense on the surface, and one of them doesn't even make sense after you find out where it came from. We have: 52-Hertz Whale, Butterchange My Stranger, Neatrup, and Nesh.

Two of those are from the dialect dictionary.

Neatrup is the spelling I like best out of the four given. The definition given by the book, with some formatting changes:
netop, neatrup, eat-up, meet-up, n. A friend. Cf. "Folk Ety."1

1829-30 Mass. netop = friend, crony. Indian wd. Dunglison Glossary.
1850 e.Mass meet-ups, pl.
1932 & before s.w.Conn. Danbury 'They are great eat-ups (or neatrups).' Said of 2 persons having a sudden violent affection for each other. Used in one family, esp. by a 93-year-old woman.
1934 netop. Algonquian wd. Used in salutation to an Indian by Amer. colonists. Web.

I mean, I don't know how strongly the seedling feels about me, but "violent affection" isn't far from how I feel about it. So it kind of works.

For what it's worth, I did poke around a little bit on-line to see if I could find out what the original Algonquian word was, but failed.

Nesh is a bit simpler:
nesh, adj. Dainty, fragile.
1826-1900 N.Y.C. Educated. A. P. Terhune in N. Am. Rev. May, 1931.
1934 Obs. exc. dial.
The flower itself is no more dainty or fragile than any of the others, but I'd argue that the coloration is a little more delicate than the loud, blaring oranges we usually get. So it kind of works.

Butterchange My Stranger is the one that's not going to make sense even after I explain it: it's a Markov chain result2 that I find appealing for reasons I don't entirely understand: I put the list of potential names I'd already come up with into this site, and Butterchange My Stranger was one of the options that got spit back out at me. I think the origin is from BUTTERCream Frosting + CHANGE MY STRide + the unintentional inclusion of Bible verses in the input data that included the word "stranger," presumably either Leviticus 19:333 or Zechariah 7:10.4, 5

I tried pretty hard to invent a way to make Butterchange My Stranger mean something, anything, but the best I could come up with was a very specific and weird situation in which two people, let's call them Alice and Bob, are in a diner, and two people neither of them know come in and order their food, which comes with pats of butter. Somehow in the course of talking, Alice and Bob wind up assigning each other strangers so they agree that one is Alice's stranger and one is Bob's stranger, and then Alice and Bob make a bet about who can replace their stranger's butter with margarine, or garlic butter, or some other butterlike substance which is not the original pat of butter. (I am coining the verb "to butterchange" here, meaning "to replace butter with some other butter.") So if you're Alice or Bob, you're thinking of your objective as being to now Butterchange My Stranger.


Which is at minimum very, very weird. But, I don't know, something about the sound of it -- specifically, I think, the rhyme between "change" and "strange" -- appeals to me. And it doesn't hurt that we've got kind of a buttery light yellow in the flower. So . . . *shrug* . . . let's throw it into the list of options and see how it does. Why not. Worst that could happen is I wind up with a nonsensical name that requires explanation, and it's not as if that's never happened before.

Finally, the 52-Hertz Whale is a whale of unknown species that calls at the frequency of 52 hertz (52 cycles per second), a very low G-sharp or A-flat (Wikipedia says 52 Hz is just higher than the lowest note reachable by a tuba, if that gives you any idea of the note.). This is much higher in pitch than the calls of blue whales (10-39 Hz) or fin whales (20 Hz), and as far as anyone can tell, it is the only whale in the entire world which calls at this pitch. It was first recorded in 1989, in the Pacific, and its call has since deepened in pitch to 49 Hz, from G-sharp to G; researchers presume that this reflects the whale's growth.

The 52-Hertz whale moves at times, and for distances, suggesting that it may be a blue whale, though it doesn't seem to be moving as part of a group of blue whales; it might also be a blue/fin hybrid, a deaf blue whale, a group of whales, or the last survivor of some nearly-extinct whale species.

People have sort of latched on to the 52-Hertz whale's existence as a metaphor or whatever; there are a lot of articles out there referring to it as "the loneliest whale in the world,"6 and anthropomorphizing it, and . . . I mean, I get the appeal; surely most of us have felt at one time or another like we were not quite speaking the same language as everyone else. But we don't actually know that the 52-hertz whale is lonely: we're not even positive that it's singular. Maybe it's fine. One must imagine the 52-Hertz whale happy.

Anyway. 52-Hertz Whale could work as a name. It at least emphasizes the uniqueness of the color. There could be other seedlings that look like this down the road, but it's the only one we've seen in four years of doing this, so it's probably not a coloration we'll see a lot.

So. Where to even start. I guess I'll drop Nesh. It would work; I think the word and meaning even fit one another well.7 But whenever I imagine how I'd feel in the future, having chosen each of the four options, Nesh is somehow the most disappointing. And I like the meaning of Neatrup, but in that case I feel like the word and idea really don't match one another particularly well.

So we're left with Butterchange My Stranger or 52-Hertz Whale. 52-Hertz Whale has more of an explanation, is one syllable and ten characters shorter, is a bit more melancholy, and is probably less likely to age badly. (I worry that Butterchange My Stranger will appeal a lot less after the novelty has worn off.)

But I don't know. I'm feeling really drawn to Butterchange My Stranger. Maybe I will regret it later, maybe you'll all judge me, maybe six months from now competitive butterchanging of strangers will go viral and no one's butter will be safe anymore and it will be all my fault. Dumber things have happened, and I won't be able to say that I didn't see viral butterchanging coming. I suppose if I need to I can switch the name to 52-Hertz Whale. But at least for right now, this one's 377A Butterchange My Stranger; God have mercy on us all.


1 Meaning "folk etymology;" this is the process by which an unfamiliar or difficult word gets modified into something more familiar or easier to say, generally mangling the original word beyond recognition and sometimes resulting in a misunderstanding of what part of the original word is the base word and what part is a prefix or suffix. Sometimes it's a deliberate mispronunciation for humorous effect (in which case it's probably more proper to call it a pun), but the book gives the impression that it's normally the result of people hearing a new word, especially one from a foreign language, and then breaking it down into words they already know unintentionally, like when English borrowed cucaracha from Spanish and reformed it into two existing English words, cock (rooster) and roach (originally a kind of fish).
"Eggcorns" are not quite the same thing, though I admit to being a little fuzzy on the difference between eggcorns and folk etymologies.
A few examples given by the book: sankfield used in place of cinquefoil; summer-stop for thermostat; brown-kitties for bronchitis; sparrowgrass for asparagus.
My favorite historical example is probably centipede becoming sandy Pete.
2 Markov chaining is explained in the post for Anthurium seedling 0696 "Jessica Wild." Possibly not explained well, but I tried.
3 When a STRANGER sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. (English Standard Version)
4 ' . . . and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the STRANGER or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.' (New American Standard Bible)
5 (In some cases, I remind myself what the possible name refers to by putting something in parentheses with it; I neglected to strip out the parenthetical bits before plugging the name options into the Markov chaining program.)
6 Example 1, Example 2. Plus Wikipedia.
7 Not so much in "Don't touch that! It's nesh!" as in "Oh my god Becky you have to buy it, it's soooo nesh."

Monday, September 10, 2018

Schlumbergera seedlings 138 and 380

The Schlumbergeras in the house are already budding up in anticipation of the 2018-19 season; I still have way too many seedlings to show you before those posts can happen. Though the saving grace could be that most of the seedlings that can produce blooms already have: I haven't potted up any new seedlings or moved any seedlings from the basement to the plant room. So maybe I'll make up for the unusually large number of 2017-18 seedlings by having an unusually small number in 2018-19.

Anyway. Seedling 138A has a bit more pink in it than most of the white blooms do, but otherwise it's what you'd expect from the NOID white seed parent:

Name finalists: Blind Cave Fish, Foreshadowing, Jellybean Cake, Private Conversation.

I explained Jellybean Cake (sort of) the last time I considered using it for a seedling, for 044A Iktsuarpok.

Foreshadowing is a glancing reference to the fact that although I had three white/white or white/pink blooms early in the season (044A Iktsuarpok, 122A Tickly-Benders, 136A Khutulun), the 21 new seedlings after Khutulun were red, orange, yellow, and magenta. 138A is the point at which the white ones started to come back. And then I couldn't shut them off.1 It maybe doesn't make sense as a name now, since I'm blogging about the seedlings in non-chronological order. Also there's something sort of perverse about assigning "shadow" to a white seedling, but I suppose that could be overlooked.

Blind Cave Fish are exactly what they sound like: fish, which live in caves, and are blind. This has happened several times, to different species of fish (e.g. the Mexican tetra, Astyanax mexicanus; Wikipedia has a whole article about cavefish, if you're interested). Given enough time, the species finding themselves in caves tend to lose their pigmentation and eyes, for the straightforward evolutionary reason that if nobody can see your pigments, mutations that wreck your ability to make pigments aren't a liability, and if there's no light to be seen, mutations that prevent normal construction of eyes don't make it any harder for you to eat and reproduce. Though Wikipedia suggests that some species do build eyes anyway, and then cover them with skin.2

Granted, actual cave fish are often not blindingly pure white as the flower, and what color there is tends to be more yellowish or purplish, but one can find pinkish cave fish, so I figure the name is still justified.

I don't remember why Private Conversation seemed appropriate for this seedling when I put it on the list. There's a Lyle Lovett song by that name, which is probably what I was thinking of, but that doesn't actually make it any more understandable.

So. Happy to drop Foreshadowing since it no longer makes sense in this context, and although I don't hate Private Conversation, if I don't see how it fits the seedling then I may as well drop it. Which leaves the happy, if sort of extreme, Jellybean Cake on one hand, and the slightly sad and grotesque Blind Cave Fish on the other. And I think I'm going to go with 138A Jellybean Cake. Not because it's happy, but because the flowers sometimes photograph really well, and the color is fairly strong: I feel like a Blind Cave Fish should be a bit duller and uglier.

So now we move on to 380A, which is sort of the opposite of 138A Jellybean Cake: magenta where 138A is white, white where 138A is pink. It was pretty nice the one time it bloomed,

and I'd be pretty pleased with it if not for the fact that the seed parent was the NOID yellow. It could have been so much more interesting. The overwhelming majority of the Schlumbergeras from this year bloomed in a different color than their seed parents. Out of the NOID peach's eight seedlings to bloom for the first time this year, only one ( Pluto) was remotely peach/white. The NOID magenta's seedlings produced fifteen new first blooms this year, none of which were magenta/white.

I mean, I understand that pollen makes a contribution. But you'd think the seed parents weren't even involved in the process, except for the NOID white and 025A Clownfish, whose seedlings usually look more or less like their seed parents.

So, our name candidates: It's A Funny Story, Jellybread, Lesley Gore, Magic Words.

It's A Funny Story is a reference to getting magenta from the NOID yellow; the NOID yellow's offspring have inspired a lot of comedy-related names this year.3

Jellybread was considered for 382A Permanganate and is explained there.

Lesley Gore sang the most famous version of "It's My Party" in 1963, which went to #1 on the pop charts; she also had a #2 hit with "You Don't Own Me," also in 1963. Gore was sixteen and seventeen, respectively, when the two songs were released. Wikipedia says that "It's My Party" even had a sequel ("Judy's Turn to Cry"); I include this because it strikes me as remarkable for songs to have sequels.4 This article at Curve includes some interesting details about Gore's personal life, focusing on her 32-year relationship with jewelry designer Lois Sasson.

Magic Words is one of the names intended to honor someone from my life.

So, first, I guess we can lose It's A Funny Story: it's longer than the other options, and maybe not that clever either. And although I like Jellybread, it's not grabbing me as much as the other two options.

I could probably be happy with either Lesley Gore or Magic Words, but I find myself leaning toward Magic Words for whatever reason. So Leslie Gore will have to come back for another seedling, and this one will be 380A Magic Words.

I didn't expect to wind up with two personal honorific names, but there you go. Another really good Schlumbergera coming up on the 12th.


1 White seedlings to follow: 125A [name TBD], 118A Milky Quartz, 142A Gimme A Second, 155A [name TBD], 137A [name TBD], 406A Flock Of Wolves, 130A [name TBD], 144A [name TBD], 402A [name TBD], 147A [name TBD].
2 Which is also allowed by evolution, of course; it's just a little wasteful. It would be better for the fish not to squander the time and resources making eyes if they're just going to cover them up with skin, but natural selection only requires a species to be good enough to survive and reproduce, not to be perfect. Apparently covering eyes up with skin is good enough, however ridiculous it seems.
3 e.g. 369A Punch Line, It Is To Laugh (considered and rejected for 382A Permanganate, presently under consideration now for 375A), Hi Hungry I'm Dad (coming up in 374A's future post), and Who's On First (being considered for 375A). There will probably be more by the time all the NOID yellow's seedlings are named.
4 Though maybe it shouldn't. I feel like if I tried, I could think of examples of songs that continue the story from an earlier song: maybe it's just that the idea of calling a song a "sequel" is strange to me.