The parasol is the umbrella's daughter
Saturday, June 18, 2016
The parasol is the umbrella’s daughter
The parasol is the umbrella’s daughter,
And associates with a fan
While her father abuts the tempest
And abridges the rain.
The former assists a siren
In her serene display;
But her father is borne and honored,
Black & White
Friday, June 17, 2016
Since I returned at the end of April from my trip to Buenos
Aires I went through a few commitments I could not avoid. One of them was an
appointment to have my enlarged prostate reamed (I like that word!). Then there
were family obligations like taking care of my Rosemary who has a very bad left
knee and dealing with my youngest daughter who is getting ready to move this
Saturday the 19th to the little home they purchased in Burnaby, BC. I purchased
a Canon Pro-1 printer and I am learning the ropes. It is a big change from my
now gone darkroom.
All the above have prevented me from writing more blogs
about my trip to Argentina and I have to confess that I had a very large hole
to fill since I did not write any while I was in Buenos Aires. Because of
that gap I decided to write a few filler blogs (many with racy photographs)
which were relatively easy to write. I am now ahead of myself but I could not
resist in writing one more. So here it is.
For most of my photographic career I have studied a situation
and then commited to doing it one way. The only variant might be to shoot the pictures in horizontal
and vertical modes. This I have always done as it is one of the prerequisites of
the magazine photographer to give the magazine art director photographs that
will fill pages without unnecessary cropping.
In only a few (very few) instances has an art director said
those terrible words after seeing pictures I have submitted for an assignment.
These are: “Alex, we are going to have to re-shoot this.”
Here is an example of a self-re-shoot. Salem was happy to
pose for me in my Mexican Puerto de Liverpool suit and smoke an H. Upmann
cigar. But I did not like the look of white underwear so I asked her to pose
again (on another day). Since I had to buy two cigars it was expensive.
The contacts to both sessions
Those Asparagaceae in Our Garden
Thursday, June 16, 2016
I always knew that one of my favourite plants and the one
that got me into gardening, the hosta, was related to the agave and the yucca
and this a plant related to tequila. But on a recent trip to VanDusen I noticed
before I entered a sample of plants to note. There was a hosta and it was
listed as being from the genus Asparagaceae. So I have investigated and MarieHarrison’s
little essay is just right. And with that as an excuse I can run
theses photographs of Salem with Hosta montana
Hosta an Asparagaceae? Are You Kidding?
by Marie Harrison (can2grow) January 7, 2014
Several shifts in taxonomy in recent years have sent
those of us who try to keep abreast with such changes into a tailspin. Some of
the most surprising changes have happened in the Asparagaceae family.
Changes were brought to my attention while writing outlines
for Symposia for National Garden Clubs. I had decided to teach the Asparagaceae
family to flower show judges. My research of Asparagaceae led to some
unexpected revelations. I learned that several genera were in this family other
than Asparagus; notably Agave, Chlorophytum, Cordyline, Dracaena, Hyacinthus,
Ophiopogon, Liriope, Sansevieria, Yucca, Hosta, and about 116 other species.
Hosta? Really? You’ve got to be kidding! How is it that
such seemingly diverse genera are in the same family? Formerly, Hosta was a
member of the Liliaceae (lily) family, and then it was assigned its own family,
the Hostaceae. Some taxonomists place Hosta in the Agavaceae family. My
How did this all evolve? Formerly, most taxonomic systems
were based on morphology, or the form and structure of a plant. Newer models
are molecularly based systems which more accurately reflect the phylogeny
(evolutionary descent) of a plant. None of the above assignments were wrong;
they were just different and based on the most accurate and reliable
information available at the time. Scientists have learned that Hosta and
Asparagus share a common ancestor.
I learned the ranks of plants by memorizing this
sentence: King David cried, “Oh, for goodness sake!” K is for kingdom, D for division,
C for class, O for order, G for genus, and S is for species. These ranks have
been significantly changed in the APG III system. Now the rankings are clade,
order, family, genus, and species. A clade is a taxonomic group comprising a
single common ancestor and all the descendants of that ancestor. Clades within
clades, or nested clades, are included. This arrangement helps to show the
origin of each species as part of a very large Tree of Life, starting with the
first single-celled organisms and including all life forms.
The Asparagaceae family belongs to the clade monocot and
the order Asparagales, which has only recently been recognized with the advent
of phylogenetics. Older classification systems placed many of the species now
within the order Asparagales into the lily family. The recently added
Asparagales order contains 14 families, including Amaryllidaceae, Asparagaceae,
Asteliaceae, Blandfordiaceae, Boryaceae, Doryanthaceae, Hypoxidaceae,
Iridaceae, Ixioliriaceae, Lanariaceae, Orchidaceae, Tecophilaeaceae,
Xanthorrhoeaceae, and Xeronemataceae. Within the 14 families are about 1,122
genera and 26,070 species. The Asparagaceae family contains about 126 genera,
including Hosta, Sansevieria, and many others.
El simulacro - Jorge Luís Borges
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
El cuento El simulacro de Jorge Luís Borges, uno
de los cuentos en mi copia de el hacedor es
un cuento gótico y fantástico. Es extraño a mis hojos. Los que aún son
militantes (y son muchos) en lo que refiere a todo lo que fue Perón y Evita consideran este
cuento una barrabasada. Para mí, más neutro en mis opiniones del peronismo es
un cuento formidable que me desquilibra. A continuación aquí está el cuento en
castellano y en inglés.
El simulacro, a story by Jorge Luís Borges is one of the
stories in my copy of his El hacedor. It is both Gothic and fantastic. The Gothic
part in my mind is unique in this story as I don’t think there may be any
others. Those who still see Perón and Evita’s regime favourably, and there are
many consider el simulacro to be ample proof that Borges deplored Perón and his
companion/wife. I am not all that sure but then while I lived the years of
Perón and Evita until just before his fall I look at it with some element of
neutrality. But every time I read this I feel uncomfortable and unsettled.
Below you will find the story in Spanish and in English.
– Jorge Luis Borges
uno de los días de julio de 1952, el enlutado apareció en aquel pueblito del
Chaco. Era alto, flaco, aindiado, con una cara inexpresiva de opa o de máscara;
la gente lo trataba con deferencia, no por él sino por el que representaba o ya
era. Eligió un rancho cerca del río; con la ayuda de unas vecinas, armó una
tabla sobre dos caballetes y encima una caja de cartón con una muñeca de pelo
rubio. Además, encendieron cuatro velas en candeleros altos y pusieron flores alrededor.
La gente no tardó en acudir. Viejas desesperadas, chicos atónitos, peones que
se quitaban con respeto el casco de corcho, desfilaban ante la caja y repetían:
Mi sentido pésame, General. Este, muy compungido, los recibía junto a la
cabecera, las manos cruzadas sobre el vientre, como mujer encinta. Alargaba la
derecha para estrechar la mano que le tendían y contestaba con entereza y
resignación: Era el destino. Se ha hecho todo lo humanamente posible. Una
alcancía de lata recibía la cuota de dos pesos y a muchos no les bastó venir
una sola vez.
¿Qué suerte de hombre (me pregunto) ideó y ejecutó esa fúnebre farsa?
¿Un fanático, un triste, un alucinado o un impostor y un cínico? ¿Creía ser
Perón al representar su doliente papel de viudo macabro? La historia es
increíble pero ocurrió y acaso no una vez sino muchas, con distintos actores y
con diferencias locales. En ella está la cifra perfecta de una época irreal y
es como el reflejo de un sueño o como aquel drama en el drama, que se ve en
Hamlet. El enlutado no era Perón y la muñeca rubia no era la mujer Eva Duarte,
pero tampoco Perón era Perón ni Eva era Eva sino desconocidos o anónimos (cuyo
nombre secreto y cuyo rostro verdadero ignoramos) que figuraron, para el
crédulo amor de los arrabales, una crasa mitología.
Borges, Jorge Luis. Collected Fictions. Translated by
Andrew Hurley. New York, New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1998. 301-302:
One day in July, 1952,
the man dressed in mourning weeds appeared in that little village on the Chaco
River. He was a tall, thin man with vaguely Indian features and the
inexpressive face of a half-wit or a mask. The townsfolk treated him with some
deference, not because of who he was but because of the personage he was
portraying or had by now become. He chose a house near the river; with the help
of some neighbor women he laid a board across two sawhorses, and on it he set a
pasteboard coffin with a blond-haired mannequin inside. In addition, they
lighted four candles in tall candleholders and put flowers all around. The
townsfolk soon began to gather. Old ladies bereft of hope, dumbstruck wide-eyed
boys, peons who respectfully took off their pith hats — they filed past the
coffin and said: My condolences, General. The man in mourning sat sorrowfully
at the head of the coffin, his hands crossed over his belly like a pregnant
woman. He would extend his right hand to shake the hand extended to him and
answer with courage and resignation: It was fate. Everything humanly possible
was done. A tin collection box received the two-peso price of admission, and
many could not content themselves with a single visit.
What kind of man, I
ask myself, thought up and then acted out that funereal farce — a fanatic? a
grief-stricken mourner? a madman? a cynical impostor? Did he, in acting out his
mournful role as the macabre widower, believe himself to be Perón? It is an
incredible story, but it actually happened — and perhaps not once but many
times, with different actors and local variants. In it, one can see the perfect
symbol of an unreal time, and it is like the reflection of a dream or like that
play within a play in Hamlet. The man in mourning was not Perón and the
blond-haired mannequin was not the woman Eva Duarte, but then Perón was not
Perón, either, nor was Eva, Eva — they were unknown or anonymous persons (whose
secret name and true face we shall never know) who acted out, for the credulous
love of the working class, a crass and ignoble mythology.
Rosemary, Kebek & Centaurea cyanus
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
|Centaurea cyanus - June 14 2016|
My wife Rosemary was born in a very small town,
New Dublin, Ontario that had two churches, one churchyard and not much else, but a nearby farm had horses. As
soon as she was able she left town with a scholarship for Queens and never
returned. We met in 1967 in Mexico City when she was 23. I was attracted to her
blonde hair and her beautiful and long legs. Little was I to know then that I
had married a snob.
It may have begun when she told me to pronounce Quebec as
Since 1967 I have realized that I married someone with extremely
good taste and that some might consider her to be uppity. That is not really
the case as she is fundamentally very shy.
She became a full blown snob when we moved to our large
corner garden house on Athlone Street in 1986. She joined the
finest garden clubs in town and developed a taste for botanical Latin (and
Greek). She has this special talent of being able to recognize a plant this
year that will be in high demand the next.
For many years she banished orange, yellow and red from
our garden. For any plant to be worthwhile it had to have blue or white
As soon as I showed interest in roses (she lost interest) and transferred her
loyalty to hardy geraniums, the ones with blue flowers.
Then one day we saw a rose at Janet Wood’s (former head
of the Vancouver Rose Society) called Rosa ‘Mrs Oakley Fisher’. It was not a
hybrid tea (Rosemary sees these as low brow roses, and so do I!). This single
(five petals) yellow rose was a Tea Rose therefore Kosher in our garden. So yellow entered our garden.
Then Brad Jalbert of Select Roses in Langley recommended
(after ranting and raving) Rosa ‘Westerland’. It is a modern shrub rose that is
orange and it has the scent (to my nose) of synthetic apricot jam. Orange
entered our garden as well as many deep red roses. But blue is paramount.
Today I noticed this intense blue bachelor’s button (Centaurea
cyanus). It is an annual. Perennials are okay with Rosemary and annuals are usually
not. But when they happen to have blue flowers…