I listen to hear the voice of a Governor, Commander-in-Chief of the forces of Massachusetts. I hear only the creaking of crickets and the hum of insects which now fill the summer air. (Slavery in Massachusetts, 1854)
Here’s a rollover before-and-after photo of one of my favourite fungi, Clathrus ruber, called ornate stinkhorn or whiffle-ball stinkhorn in English, gita de bruixa (“witch’s vomit”) in Catalan, and encountered on this walk and, I believe, also endemic in California:
Although Clathrus ruber is merely extraordinarily repulsive rather than poisonous, one should always take mycologists seriously, given the weaponry at their disposal. John Cage seems to have been a very fine one. The University of California at Santa Cruz conceals the Cage (John) Mycology Collection, there’s an interview with Steve Sweeney-Turner here in which Cage explains the relationship between mushroom hunting and his brand of Thoreauvian individualism, and, finally, there’s a lovely recording of him getting up to some mushroom business here.
- Google, Nazi wives & thallophytes
Thanks to the DG for news that the post about John Cage has bumped the Columbia Encyclopaedia off the no 1 spot for the word “thallophytes.” Now it’s time to work on our ranking for “Nazi wives” (post re a bizarre episode in Hispano-German relations), for which we’re currently in 10th place.
- Remote excess
Whatever’s happening in Najaf today, it’s never going to be half as frightening as South Africa. IOL tells of a newsreader trying to interview an on-the-spot reporter while, unbeknown to her, the latter is being robbed by a gunman:As Katopodis crossed live to Thaw at the first take, his cellphone stayed on – with inaudible
- French lessons: Grannie on her bike rides across the pool
Boby Lapointe, an obsessive, deranged comic genius who seems to have drunk himself to death aged 50, points to one of the delicious traps lying in wait for elephants who proceed beyond their French-English phrasebooks – the fact that of the supposed infinity of possible sentences in natural language, most are nonsense:
- Talking arse
Curiously, Joan Amades noted that Catalan parents used to terrify their children out of going to lonely spots on windy days by telling them that the breeze carried in it a ferocious and sequestracious demon called Cul Pelat, Cul Pelé in French, for which the only reasonable English equivalent I can imagine is Shaven Arse. This …