Cisco and Generac in Frisco

“I am somewhat exhausted; I wonder how a battery feels when it pours electricity into a non-conductor?”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure Of The Dying Detective

Sculpture by Mac Whitney, Cisco
Emergency Generator by Generac
Frisco, Texas

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Cicso, by Mac Whitney, Frisco, Texas

Cicso, by Mac Whitney, Frisco, Texas

“Invention is the most important product of man’s creative brain. The ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of human nature to human needs.”
― Nikola Tesla, My Inventions

Cisco, by Mac Whitney, Frisco, Texas

Cisco, by Mac Whitney, Frisco, Texas

“Is it a fact – or have I dreamt it – that, by means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time?”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

More Blooms

“The breath of wind that moved them was still chilly on this day in May; the flowers gently resisted, curling up with a kind of trembling grace and turning their pale stamens towards the ground. The sun shone through them, revealing a pattern of interlacing, delicate blue veins, visible through the opaque petals; this added something alive to the flower’s fragility, to it’s ethereal quality, something almost human ,in the way that human can mean frailty and endurance both at the same time. The wind could ruffle these ravishing creations but it couldn’t destroy them, or even crush them; they swayed there, dreamily; they seemed ready to fall but held fast to their slim strong branches-…”
― Irène Némirovsky

Dallas Blooms, Dallas Arboretum

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“The beauty of that June day was almost staggering. After the wet spring, everything that could turn green had outdone itself in greenness and everything that could even dream of blooming or blossoming was in bloom and blossom. The sunlight was a benediction. The breezes were so caressingly soft and intimate on the skin as to be embarrassing.”
― Dan Simmons, Drood

Still More Blooms

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Dallas Blooms, Dallas Arboretum

“A flower blossoms for its own joy.”
― Oscar Wilde

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“There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion-flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life, my fate.
The red rose cries, “She is near, she is near;”
And the white rose weeps, “She is late;”
The larkspur listens, “I hear, I hear;”
And the lily whispers, “I wait.”

She is coming, my own, my sweet;
Were it ever so airy a tread,
My heart would hear her and beat,
Were it earth in an earthy bed;
My dust would hear her and beat,
Had I lain for a century dead,
Would start and tremble under her feet,
And blossom in purple and red.”
― Alfred Tennyson

Blooms

“You’re frustrated because you keep waiting for the blooming of flowers of which you have yet to sow the seeds.”
― Steve Maraboli

Dallas Blooms, Dallas Arboretum

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It was odd walking around the Arboretum – I kept expecting to see the Chihuly Glass and it isn’t there any more. The gorgeous colors of Dallas Blooms made up for the absence of the sculptures.

My poor picture taking talents don’t do justice. Peggy does a better job than I do.

“I stopped in front of a florist’s window. Behind me, the screeching and throbbing boulevard vanished. Gone, too, were the voices of newspaper vendors selling their daily poisoned flowers. Facing me, behind the glass curtain, a fairyland. Shining, plump carnations, with the pink voluptuousness of women about to reach maturity, poised for the first step of a sprightly dance; shamelessly lascivious gladioli; virginal branches of white lilac; roses lost in pure meditation, undecided between the metaphysical white and the unreal yellow of a sky after the rain.”
― Emil Dorian, Quality of Witness: A Romanian Diary, 1937-1944

Digitalis

Dallas Blooms, Dallas Arboretum

The Foxglove now in crimson tresses rich
Depends, whose freckled bells to insect tribe
Afford a canopy of velvet bliss.

—-Wordsworth

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A chemical extract from foxglove, digitalis, is both a famous deadly poison and a precious remedy for heart disease. The difference, like everything else in life, is timing and dosage.

In digitalis the gap between poison and remedy is very, very small.

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How did it get its name?

According to the 19th-century book, English Botany, Or, Coloured Figures of British Plants:

Dr. Prior, whose authority is great in the origin of popular names, says “It seems probably that the name was in the first place, foxes’ glew, or music, in reference to the favourite instrument of an earlier time, a ring of bells hung on an arched support, the tintinnabulum”… we cannot quite agree with Dr. Prior for it seems quite probable that the shape of the flowers suggested the idea of a glove, and that associated with the name of the botanist Fuchs, who first gave it a botanical name, may have been easily corrupted into foxglove. It happens, moreover, the name foxglove is a very ancient one and exists in a list of plants as old as the time of Edward III. The “folks” of our ancestors were the fairies and nothing is more likely than that the pretty coloured bells of the plant would be designated “folksgloves,” afterwards, “foxglove.” In Wales it is declared to be a favourite lurking-place of the fairies, who are said to occasion a snapping sound when children, holding one end of the digitalis bell, suddenly strike the other on the hand to hear the clap of fairy thunder, with which the indignant fairy makes her escape from her injured retreat. In south of Scotland it is called “bloody fingers” more northward, “deadman’s bells” whilst in Wales it is known as “fairy-folks-fingers” or “lambs-tongue-leaves”

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The Scottish doctor William Withering, while working as a physician in the 18th Century, had one of his patients come to him with a very bad heart condition and since Withering had no effective treatment for him, thought he was going to die. The patient went instead to a local gypsy, took a secret herbal remedy – and survived and improved. When the doctor found out he searched out the gypsy. The herbal remedy was made from a variety of things, but the active ingredient was the purple foxglove, digitalis purpurea.

Withering tried out various formulations of digitalis plant extracts on hundreds patients, and found that the dried, powdered leaf worked with amazing and successful results. He introduced its use officially in 1785.

Spider

“There are spiders living comfortably in my house while the wind howls outside. They aren’t bothering anybody. If I were a fly, I’d have second thoughts, but I’m not, so I don’t.”
― Richard Brautigan, The Tokyo-Montana Express

Louise Bourgeois, Spider

The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans Museum of Art

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(Click for full size version on Flickr)

“Spider venom comes in many forms. It can often take a long while to discover the full effects of the bite. Naturalists have pondered this for years: there are spiders whose bite can cause the place bitten to rot and to die, sometimes more than a year after it was bitten. As to why spiders do this, the answer is simple. It’s because spiders think this is funny, and they don’t want you ever to forget them.”
― Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

“There was less than I’d expected in the rainy-day fund that Mom had kept in the bottom of an underwear drawer in a panty hose egg labeled ‘DEAD SPIDERS.’ As if I hadn’t always known it was there. As if I wouldn’t want to look at dead spiders.”
― Adam Rex

Moss

The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans Museum of Art

Kenneth Snelson, Verlane Tower

George Segal, Three Figures and Four Benches

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When I was a kid, living in places like the Northeast or the Midwest I became fascinated by Spanish Moss. I don’t remember when I first heard about it…. These were the days long, long before the internet, of course, and even television was only in black and white and hard to see (only three channels anyway) so I would have had to have read about it in a book or maybe seen some in a film.

The thought of a thin, filmy plant growing in the air, hanging from trees, seemed so exotic to me, like it was an alien organism growing on our own earth. I did as much research as I could – which at the time consisted of looking up articles in the various encyclopedias in the school library – and thought about what the stuff looked like in real life.

We were going to move from Kansas to Panama and would be flying out of South Carolina. This would take a long drive, three days – with stops in Memphis and Atlanta. Thinking about the trip, I realized that there would be Spanish Moss along the way. As we moved farther south I eagerly stared out of the window. Somewhere out of Memphis, little bits of fuzz began to appear here and there until once we were close to Atlanta, it was all over the place.

That evening, I walked around our hotel looking at the Spanish Moss. It was everywhere and it was as amazing as I thought. I couldn’t believe that people actually lived in the midst of such wonder and didn’t give it a second thought. The next day, in Charleston, South Carolina, I found even more – it hung thick in the trees like a living cloud, an aerial wave of plant life. I still remember the feeling of seeing the stuff, feeling it in my fingers, looking at it up close.

There is an amazing quality to the curiosity of youth… a passionate sense of wonder.

Now I live in the South and see the stuff all the time…. But when I do I still feel the echoes of those days.

Napping in the Sculpture Garden

I usually take a two hour nap from one to four.
—-Yogi Berra

Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, outside of the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans

Taking a nap in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans

Taking a nap in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans

“I do not particularly like the word ‘work.’ Human beings are the only animals who have to work, and I think that is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Other animals make their livings by living, but people work like crazy, thinking that they have to in order to stay alive. The bigger the job, the greater the challenge, the more wonderful they think it is. It would be good to give up that way of thinking and live an easy, comfortable life with plenty of free time. I think that the way animals live in the tropics, stepping outside in the morning and evening to see if there is something to eat, and taking a long nap in the afternoon, must be a wonderful life. For human beings, a life of such simplicity would be possible if one worked to produce directly his daily necessities. In such a life, work is not work as people generally think of it, but simply doing what needs to be done.”
—- Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution