Thursday, February 23, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 192

Another seedling from the NOID magenta that looks like it could have been a 'Caribbean Dancer' x NOID peach cross. Not unpleasant at all, but also not new.


The name finalists are: Come At Me Bro, Deer Devil, Ecstatica, and Oney Judge.

Come At Me Bro doesn't really have any secondary meaning; the color on this seedling is just very intense and emphatic, and it seemed like a good name.

Deer Devil was previously considered for seedling 106A Jaws of Elmo, based on a photo gathered through TinEye. I noted back then that Deer Devil was sort of a problematic name because people get weird about mentioning the devil, and this is still true, but it feels like the name would suit the seedling, so I'm at least going to think about it.


I don't know where Ecstatica came from.

Oney Judge is a historical figure, a slave of George and Martha Washington (Judge was Martha's personal servant) who escaped to New Hampshire in 1796 and lived thereafter as a fugitive. The story is more interesting and complicated than that,1 and if you're at all interested you should read some of the links in that footnote, but if you're not then just know that Oney Judge was awesome and totally worthy of a seedling.


So okay. Ecstatica doesn't feel like a terrible choice, though there are a couple different ways to look at it and only one of them works. If you take it to mean that the flower looks like ecstasy2 would look, if ecstasy were converted to flower form, it's fine. On the other hand, if you read it as promising to induce ecstasy, well, that's harder to deliver. Also I think I was maybe influenced by the resemblance of the word to "Elastica." Dumb reasons to drop a name, but by the time I get the options narrowed down to four finalists that could all work, the reasons for rejecting a name are always kind of stupid.


The remaining three names make for a difficult choice. I mean, yes, Deer Devil is problematic because of religious sensibilities or whatever, but I still think it's a neat mental image. Left to my own devices for a while, I could probably even spin those two words into a full cervid theology. It's fun to think about. And while I'm not crazy about the brotasticness of Come At Me Bro, those are some very come-at-me-bro colors. It really fits, even if I suspect I'd get tired of it eventually.

In the end, though, it kinda has to be Oney Judge, not just because she's fun to learn about, but because she's a role model. And my goodness do I ever need role models these days.3, 4

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1 In particular, her motivation for leaving in the first place appears to have been only partly because she wanted to be free, and not especially because she disliked the Washingtons (though the Washingtons weren't angels here; there was a law in Pennsylvania that if someone who wasn't officially a resident of Pennsylvania brought slaves into the state, the slaves would automatically be freed after six months. There was a specific exemption for slaves of members of Congress, but not for slaves of the President. So, every six months, the Washingtons would go back to Mount Vernon for a few days, or to New Jersey for an overnight trips, bringing servants with them, and thereby managed to reset the clock. Pennsylvania specifically prohibited the practice of relocating slaves to prevent them from being freed, so the Washingtons were breaking the law by doing this; I don't know why they were able to get away with it for sure, though I imagine being the President helped. Being President makes it easy to get away with a lot of things. *sigh*).
The timing of Judge's escape was mostly determined, as I understand it, by Judge learning that Martha Washington planned to give her to her granddaughter (Elizabeth Custis) as a wedding present. And Custis was an asshole. So.
There's a lot of interesting background stuff about Oney Judge on line, at Wikipedia (and its associated Talk page), slacktivist (which is probably where I first heard of Judge), and todayifoundout.com, which has a pretty detailed but readable account of Judge's life.
2 (the subjective sensation, not the illegal drug)
3 Even in a 13-month period with an unusually prominent number of celebrity deaths, Mary Tyler Moore's death on 25 January hit me hard. For reasons that readers who have been around since 2011 will understand better than readers who haven't. And it's not like things were going great before MTM died.
4 Which is possibly the reason why, although I just rejected Dusty Springfield as a name, on the grounds that I've been naming things after people a lot, I don't feel bad about rejecting Dusty and choosing Oney. For all the great things about Dusty Springfield, I don't necessarily see her as someone to emulate.
I mean, she's not not a hero either, and if you do look up to Springfield then more power to you. I just don't connect with her in that way.
When I look at the name finalists I have lined up for future seedlings, there are a lot of specific famous people on that list. I've been trying to keep it to just one person per seedling, so as to avoid having to choose between awesome person #1 and equally awesome person #2, but I don't want every seedling for the rest of the season to be honoring a specific real-life person, and there are a lot of person-name nominees. (220A, 281A, 058C, 176A, 101A, 062A, 092B, 089B, 070A, 181A, 244A, 128A, 011A, and 042A. Plus fictional honorees for 096A, 193A, and 215A.)


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pretty picture: Epidendrum Hokulea

Another Epidendrum of the type I don't like. Though at least the ID is fairly solid this time, unlike the last one.



Epidendrum Hokulea = Epidendrum Joseph Lii x Epidendrum cinnabarinum (Ref.)


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 178

I think seedling 178 was the first seedling of the NOID magenta to bloom, though the second to get a blog post. Not that you could tell it's from the NOID magenta by looking at it: it looks like all the 'Caribbean Dancer' x NOID peach offspring that we're all pretty tired of by now. That said, it isn't bad, just treading some pretty well-trod ground. So let's just get to the naming.


The four candidates I cam up with this time were: Dusty Springfield, Lulu's Night Off, Saltwater Taffy, and What About The Love.

Dusty Springfield is, of course, the singer/producer. Her name was previously considered for seedlings 106A and 033A, but was rejected in favor of Jaws of Elmo and Clueless, respectively.1 Perhaps the third time will be the charm.

Lulu's Night Off is one of the suggestions I've taken from my big list of random word combinations.2 I don't know who Lulu is, I don't know where she works or what happened on her night off that would be worth commemorating in a seedling, but I sort of like it that way. Make up your own story of Lulu's night off and leave it in the comments.


I don't see much Saltwater Taffy around, though the Menards in Iowa City always seems to have some somewhere. I like it, and the colors often overlap Schlumbergera blooms, which are good enough reasons to consider it for a seedling name. I could see these colors showing up in orange or strawberry taffy.

And finally, What About The Love, after Amy Grant's song of the same name,3 which was one of the songs I linked to a while back, and which I like mostly as a reminder that, whatever it's become recently, it wasn't that long ago that Christianity was about things besides abortion, gays, confederate flags, and killing the infidels.4

Kind of a depressing reminder, granted, since it also reminds me that that's not really the public face of Christianity anymore. And even in the past, loving one's neighbors was sort of . . . unevenly applied, let's say. But what it was once, in small pockets, it could be again, more universally. In theory. It's enough to hang a hope on.


So. I guess What About The Love is a bit too depressing, in that context. Also it's the longest option of the four, which counts slightly against it. So I'll let it go. And although I like Dusty Springfield (more so now that I've just watched a video for "Son of a Preacher Man"), both times this season that I've included a real-life person in the name candidates, I've gone with the person.5 Nothing wrong with that, but it feels a little predictable, and I'm also leaning pretty hard toward people for some of the yet-to-be-decided seedling names. Maybe I'm overthinking this, but I don't want them all to be named after people. So I'm going to drop Dusty for a third time. Sorry, Dusty.

So we're left with Lulu's Night Off and Saltwater Taffy. Of the two, I think I like Lulu's Night Off better, specifically because it's both more specific (refers to one particular event) and more open-ended (free to imagine any particular event). Plus having a night off is generally seen as a good, happy thing. Therefore: 178A Lulu's Night Off.

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1 Jaws of Elmo was definitely the right decision. I'm less confident about Clueless.
2 Which is where a lot of the names have been coming from this year, though it's not always obvious because it turns out that randomly throwing words together generates the sorts of things people already say and ideas people already have, a surprising amount of the time. Like 020A Feet Of Clay was a random-word idea, and I'm pretty sure 077B Bad Reputation was as well.
Sometimes the random word combinations generate appealingly strange mental images too, which I've been collecting in a separate list. Some of them:
Jabberwocky Musical (which has, of course, happened already) • Uterus Gun • Expanded Milk (presumably the opposite of condensed milk) • Kitten Chapel • Bottle-Blonde Baby (I bet it's happened) • Moondial (as compared to a sundial) • Clogged Bagpipes (bagpipes do get things in them from time to time, sometimes with fatal consequences, even) • Tiara Repairman • etc.
3 It was written by Janis "At Seventeen" Ian, not Amy Grant, but it was written specifically for Grant to perform, and Grant's version is the one I'm most familiar with, so.
4 Well. I suppose infidel-killing has been a running theme for quite a while. But the others are new.
And yes, one could certainly argue that that's not what it means even now, that it's still about feeding the hungry, sheltering the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, and visiting those in prison, that it's still something that you could call "good news" with a straight face.
Yessir, one could definitely argue that.
But I wouldn't.
5 (211A Bruce Lee and 203A Dolly Parton)


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pretty picture: Lycamerlycaste Jean Tolliday Kendolie

This looks a lot like the year's other Lycaste and Lycamerlycaste specimens. It's possible that I shouldn't have taken so many photos of them.


I mean, not that they're not nice and everything. There's just not a lot of variety.


This is the plant I described back in August as having "two flowers of almost exactly the same size, facing almost exactly the same direction," with the result looking "like I took a picture of one and then photoshopped it using the clone tool." Which is an exaggeration, but not by a hell of a lot:


I would also like to mention that the shape of the flowers in the above photo reminds me of acetylacetone,


a chemical I have strong, pleasant personal feelings about (because I am the sort of person who has feelings about specific chemicals sometimes1).

I should note that the plant was tagged as Lycaste at the show, but the International Orchid Registry has one of the parents as a Lycamerlycaste.2 And as goes the IOR, so goes my nation.

Lycamerlycaste Jean Tolliday Kendolie = Lycaste Shonan Harmony x Lycamerlycaste Geyser Gold (Ref.)

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1 Also in the "strong positive feelings" department: benzaldehyde, crown ethers, isopentyl acetate, eugenol, and, weirdly, thalidomide, which I like not for causing birth defects but because the shape of the molecule is strangely and inexplicably pleasing to me. So many molecules, especially pharmaceuticals, have their atoms arranged in an ugly way.
2 Lycamerlycaste is the nothogenus for crosses between Lycaste species and Sudamerlycaste species. The genus Sudamerlycaste was split off of Lycaste in 2002, says Wikipedia.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 119

Another white from the NOID white (previously: 283A Migaloo).


One thing I've enjoyed about the white seedlings is that there's a substantial set of new name possibilities for them. Three out of the four nominees this time wouldn't make sense for a non-white seedling. They are: I Made It All Up, Ice Castle, Magician's Dove, and There Would Be Peace.

I Made It All Up is a reference to the previously-linked piece from the Portal 2 soundtrack. To my mind, it sort of sounds like white Schlumbergera flowers look.

The white Schlumbergeras wind up looking semi-transparent against the black background sometimes. This particular seedling's pictures don't show that particularly well, but it's been a problem occasionally for some of the others. Hence Ice Castle, an elaborate white/transparent structure.


Magician's Dove should be more or less self-explanatory: Schlumbergera flowers usually look a little like birds, because of the way the petals are flung away from the stamens and pistil. And what's a really white bird? Exactly.

I'm not clear where There Would Be Peace came from exactly: possibly some association from white to doves to peace, and then backing off of a straightforward "peace" name because it seemed like tempting fate. And I have to say, I kind of like it because it's sort of an unfinished thought. It begs for an if, or but, or except for on the end.


So okay. Let's winnow.

It's a pretty strong group; I think I could be happy with any of these names. But I Made It All Up has the least direct connection to the appearance of the seedling -- in theory, anything could be named I Made It All Up -- and I have to drop something, so I'll let this one go.

And there's nothing wrong with Ice Castle at all, though when you look at search engine results, ice castles tend to photograph a little blue. Which the seedling is not. I mean, I'm never going to get a blue Schlumbergera, so I could overlook this, but I have to come up with reasons to throw some names out; this reason's as good as any.


Which leaves Magician's Dove or There Would Be Peace, and I'm going to go with the latter on the grounds that it feels more me. Which is to say, I could imagine any number of people tasked with naming a white Schlumbergera eventually landing on Magician's Dove, but it sure feels like I'm the only person who would come up with There Would Be Peace.

Perhaps I'm being delusional about my own specialness. Sometimes that happens. But in any case, it's the name I feel drawn to. So: 119A There Would Be Peace.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Pretty picture: Zygolum Louisendorf [grex]

For reasons I do not understand, but would like to understand, some sites include "grex" as part of the name of this plant, i.e., "Zygolum Louisendorf grex" instead of the more typical "Zygolum Louisendorf." I don't believe I've ever seen this before. So if you know why people are bothering to write an extra word that would normally be assumed anyway, please leave a comment, 'cause I'm curious.


I appreciate the oddness of the brown/purple color combination, but I don't particularly find it pleasant.1 It's kind of what the Zygo- hybrids do, though, see Zygoneria Adelaide Meadows, Zygopetalum (Kiwi Klassic x Mishima Goddess), Zygopetalum Art[h]ur2 Elle, and Zygopetalum Jumping Jack. (The resemblance to Artur Elle is particularly strong, which makes sense, since Artur Elle is the pollen parent.)


Zygolum Louisendorf = Zygosepalum labiosum x Zygopetalum Artur Elle (Ref.)

Zygosepalum labiosum has a very broad, white labellum (lip), and doesn't look much like Louisendorf at all. In case you were wondering.

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1 Most of the photos on-line show a much darker brown, sometimes verging on black. (e.g.) Which I kind of like better, I think, but it'd still be a stretch to say I liked it liked it.
2 Some sites have this as "Artur Elle," without the "h," though I included the "h" in the previous post because that was how it was tagged. I didn't feel like spending the time today trying to find out whether or not the "h" belongs there, but I'm guessing that the h-less version is correct, since it's what the International Orchid Registry has. So I'm going h-less for this post.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 182

Seedling 182 is an oddball; it's only bloomed twice so far, and the two flowers don't entirely make sense as the product of a single seedling. This is just sort of how the 2016-17 season has been, alas. Many of the seedlings this year have either been oddly inconsistent in bloom color, or they've been consistent, but diverged from previous years' blooms. 182's first bloom was a pretty typical red-orange / pink, except both colors were several shades lighter than any previous red-orange / pink,


and then the second bloom, three days later, was a much more common orange / light pink combo.


Probably the second bloom is the "real" color (with "real" here meaning "the color one would normally expect the flowers to be"), because that's less interesting than the other possible outcome, but until there's a tie-breaker I suppose we're free to imagine whatever we want, so let's go ahead and consider both possibilities.

Oh, it's also the first seedling from the NOID magenta to bloom. I'm a bit disappointed that this isn't more obvious from its appearance. (I've gotten flowers from ten of the NOID magenta seedlings, and only one looks it at all: the others were either white/white, or indistinguishable from some of the past 'Caribbean Dancer' seedlings. This is sort of abstractly interesting because it was unexpected, but obviously I'm disappointed.)

182A's blooms were also both a bit . . . I don't know how to describe it exactly. Frazzled-looking? "Ratty" would be overstating things, but it's somewhere in that neighborhood.

The name options this time around are mostly unfamiliar and goofy-sounding words: Kaylee (I said "mostly"), Divoon, Padparadscha, and Fazoozle. Kaylee is, of course, a reference to the character from Firefly:1 not only had I wanted to name a seedling for her anyway, but the first flower's colors were very close to the colors of the dress she wore in the episode "Shindig," though it's very difficult to get a screencap to prove that because the lighting in the relevant scenes tends to be tinted. The best image I could find, with a little modification:

Original image: cap-that.com. I cropped this one, and lightened it a little.

The flower again, for comparison. You see the similarity, right?

Anyway. Divoon is simultaneously a reference to Jayne Mansfield and to the Siouxie and the Banshees song "Kiss Them for Me," which is . . . about Jayne Mansfield. I guess Mansfield liked to use the word. Why this seedling specifically? Well, the "Kiss Them for Me" video has a lot of light pinks and orangey-pinks in it.

Okay, maybe it's a little more purple than orange. But there's overlap. (Screencaps from the "Kiss Them for Me" video on YouTube.)

Padparadscha is to orangey-pink as ruby is to deep red, more or less.2 There doesn't seem to be a very precise definition of padparadscha; judging by the image search results I got from DuckDuckGo (most of which images appear to have come from the Natural Sapphire Company), it covers natural sapphires which are lavender, pinkish-purple, pink, pinkish-orange, light orange, orange, or reddish-orange. Which means it'd work as a name for pretty much any non-red Schlumbergera seedling I want, ever, but maybe this seedling in particular, since it is apparently capable of producing a range of colors.

First page of DuckDuckGo image search results for padparadscha. Cropped, resized, and rearranged (with considerable effort!) by mr_subjunctive.

And finally, Fazoozle, which I first encountered at MetaFilter, as an onomatopoeia for the sound an inflated but not tied-off balloon makes when it is released and goes flying around the room. Searching the net finds it also as the title of a short story,3 a username on a number of forums (which may or may not all belong to the same person), and a website that I didn't investigate because it seemed a little sketchy. Not sure what this means. From the balloon-related meaning, I thought it might be appropriate for a flower that was slightly disheveled.


So okay. I think I can drop Fazoozle; I liked it when I thought it was just the sound, but finding out about the other uses has kind of scared me off. And Divoon might be better suited to a pink or lavender-pink seedling.

Which leaves Kaylee or Padparadscha.

[ponders]


And that decision comes down to a question of what I think the "real" color of the blooms is likely to be, after all. If the first, lighter bloom is typical, then I want it to be Kaylee, otherwise Padparadscha. Historically, seedlings with really pale blooms seem to either stay the same, get darker, or flop back and forth between the two, and it seems like the lighter the first bloom, the more likely they are to get darker (e.g. 061A Leather Fairy) or alternate (e.g. 099A Dessert Room). So my guess is that 182A is going to wind up being a boring orange/pink in the long run, and therefore should probably be 182A Padparadscha even if I would otherwise prefer Kaylee.

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1 (Played by Jewel Staite)
2 The mineral corundum (aluminum oxide) is colorless when pure, but natural corundum often contains impurities which impart a color. Chromium yields pink to red shades (rubies), vanadium turns them purple (purple sapphire), iron turns them light yellow or green, and iron with titanium yields blue (sapphire). I couldn't find any definitive statements about which elements are responsible for padparadscha, though I'd guess some combination of chromium (pink) and iron (yellow)?
3 In the collection Elza of Prague, by Mel Klein, which if I'm reading the synopses correctly the gist is that a man decides (threatens?) to name a child "Fazoozle" in order to spite an overbearing mother-in-law. Not sure if this makes it more suitable, or less suitable, as a seedling name.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum Imperial Jade 'Timberlane'

Yellow-brown is, as noted in a previous post, an allowed color for jade, so I suppose technically I have to be okay with a yellow-brown flower named "Imperial Jade."


But secretly, deep down, I am not okay with it.1


I'm pretty sure the spotting at the top of this flower is mechanical damage. I have in my notes from last year that I'm pretty sure it's not mechanical damage, but, you know, we were all a lot dumber and more naive back then.

Imperial Jade is a primary hybrid (hybrid of two species, as opposed to a hybrid of a species and a hybrid, or a hybrid and a hybrid):

Paphiopedilum Imperial Jade = Paphiopedilum stonei x Paphiopedilum primulinum (Ref.)

I haven't seen Imperial Jade before, but I've seen some of its relatives. Related on the Paph. stonei side is Paph. Lady Isabel (from the 2013 show), which is also a primary hybrid. On the Paph. primulinum side of the family, we've seen Paph. primulinum itself (2016), Paph. Pinocchio (2013), and Paph. Prim-N-Proper (2012). I don't feel like Imperial Jade particularly resembles any of its relatives, but I suppose you can decide about that for yourself.

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1 (I realize I have no room to point fingers about color accuracy in plant names, considering how some of the Schlumbergeras have behaved.)