Category Archives: collections

3 fruit silhouettes

Here are 3 pictures of fruits I have taken over several years.
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Apples, from October, 2008. (In a Massachusetts apple orchard.)

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Oranges, from September, 2009. (In Sevilla, Spain.)

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Unknown type of berries¹, a few days ago. (In Massachusetts.)

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¹ I really wish I’d had recent access to a banana tree, since that would make a better set. The last time I saw one was probably in Brazil in 1991, and I didn’t get any photos. But I do like the berries.

3 fallen leaves

Here are 3 fallen leaves I’ve come across on outings in the last few weeks.

3 hydrants

Here are 3 hydrants I’ve come across in the past year.

chipped (PhotoHunt)

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This is part of set of china that was my great grandmother’s. For decades it was in the china cabinet at my grandmother’s house, but now is part of my own collection. I love the dark, bold pattern with its unusual color scheme of rust brown and black. And I love the quaintness of the egg cups, which seem like such relics of another era.

The odds and ends remaining of the set are in varying conditions. While most of the plates are whole, many of the teacups have cracks. One of the egg cups has a small chip, which prompted me to think of it for this week’s PhotoHunt theme, “chipped.”

For more “chipped” photos, pay a visit to tnchick.

a sopping Thursday

It’s raining here today. Lots of rain. It’s a good day to bring out some umbrellas, so I give you a ThThTh list of umbrella things.¹

a selection of umbrellas

  • The Sopping Thursday, by Edward Gorey. This is one of my all-time favorite Gorey books. John and I have been known to send each other messages that are quotations from the book:
  • I have lost my umbrella.
  • I do not find my umbrella
  • I have been poked in the eye with an umbrella
  • None of these umbrellas will do
  • And perhaps our favorite:

    The child has somehow got shut inside its umbrella

  • Mary Poppins: The famed fictional nanny of books, stage and screen uses her wind-propelled umbrella as a mode of transportation. (I think that’s how it works, at least. I confess that I haven’t read the books, and this horror trailer recut video is the most I’ve seen of the Disney movie.)
  • John Steed. A character from the 60s British spy show The Avengers. Carrying a finely crafted traditional British umbrella is one of his trademarks.
  • James Smith & Sons, Umbrellas Ltd.: An umbrella store in London, established in 1830. A place to go if you would like to buy a finely crafted traditional British umbrella .
  • The Correct Way to Kill: An episode of The Avengers. The plot involves a lot of umbrellas, as well as an umbrella store. Also spies with bad fake Russian accents. A favorite quote, which must be spoken with a bad Russian accent is:

    What would a chiropodist want with a case of umbrellas?

  • Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1964). A musical starring Catherine Deneuve, featuring an umbrella shop.
  • Chatri Chor/The Blue Umbrella (2005) An Indian movie based on the children’s book by Ruskin Bond. About a poor girl who gets an umbrella, which is then stolen by a shopkeeper.
  • Singin’ in the Rain (1952): The famous scene where Gene Kelly dances around in the rain with an umbrella (though generally not held over his head) singing “Singin’ in the Rain.”
  • Umbrella, a song by Innocence Mission (also the album title):

    You dance around with my umbrella.
    You dance around the obvious weaknesses.
    Around the room with my umbrella.
    You dance around the room with me.

  • let your smile be your umbrella: an expression meaning something like “let a good attitude keep your day from being totally crappy.” It’s probably good that the meaning is metaphorical, because let’s face it. A smile is pretty ineffectual at keeping you dry in the rain.
  • “Under the Umbrella of the United States”. This was a song that I remember singing in my Junior High chorus class as part of a series of jingoistic patriotic songs about America.²
  • umbrella superstitions: It is considered bad luck to open an umbrella indoors. Or give an umbrella as a gift. There are a few others, too.³
  • a Haitian riddle:

    Q: Three very large men are standing under a single little umbrella. But, not one of them gets wet. Why?⁴

  • little paper umbrellas: What can I say about them? They are little umbrellas. Made from brightly colored paper. Often used in tropical-esque cocktails. I really liked them when I was little.⁵

  • ———————-
    ¹ I’ve had this list in mind for a while, but I was saving it for a rainy day…

    ² The song was pretty awful, and I can’t find a record of it. Anyone else ever heard of it? (I fear it may have been written by the chorus teacher himself. And someday he may find my scathing review.)

    ³ My own superstition, if you want to call it that, is that carrying an umbrella with you will prevent the rain. At least, it rarely rains when I bring an umbrella, and I rarely have an umbrella with me when it does rain.

    ⁴ A: It’s not raining.

    ⁵ The umbrellas, that is. I didn’t so much get to try the cocktails…

    a butterfly collection

    A while back, I gave you a list of moths for a Themed Things Thursday list, and I said I’d get around to the other major set of lepidoptera shortly. So here is a collection of butterfly things, which I have carefully skewered with pins and lined up for your enjoyment.

      A Butterfly Collection

    1. butterfly collecting: a hobby that involves collecting specimens of butterflies, and typically pinning them to a board and displaying them under glass in rows. It was a particularly popular hobby during Victorian and Edwardian times.
    2. The Collector (1965) A movie about a butterfly collector who kidnaps a woman to add to his collection of creatures.
    3. butterfly net: a type of handheld net used for catching butterflies (often for a collection). The image of using oversized butterfly nets to catch people is sometimes used in cartoons (or the imagery is evoked in humor writing). Particularly when depicting the “men in white coats” in pursuit of an escapee from a mental institution. (cf: this, this, or this cartoon.)
    4. “The Butterfly”, a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. A tale of a butterfly seeking a flower to be his bride. Unsuccessfully. In the end, he gets caught by people and pinned down, a state he likens to marriage.
    5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. A picture book about a caterpillar who is hungry and eats a lot before becoming “a beautiful butterfly.” (Sorry, did I give away the ending?)
    6. Heimlich : a caterpillar (who is generally very hungry) from Pixar’s animated feature, A Bug’s Life. At the end of the movie, he emerges from his cocoon as a butterfly with wings disproportionatley small for his body, saying: “Finally, I’m a beautiful butterfly”?) (You can watch the scene on YouTube.)
    7. butterfly kiss: a nickname for the act of brushing one’s eyelashes against another person’s skin as an act of affection.
    8. In the Time of the Butterflies. A novel by Julia Alvarez about 4 sisters who participated in a resistance against a brutal dictator in the Dominican Republic. Their codename was “las Mariposas,” or “the Butterflies.” Also a 2001 TV movie based on the novel.
    9. butterflies in the stomach: an expression referring to temporary minor gastrointestinal distress triggered by stress, such as that due to an anticipated meeting or public performance. (Doesn’t that sound poetic?)
    10. The Monarch. A bumbling arch-villain from “The Venture Bros.”, a cartoon shown on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Wears a butterfly costume, as do his henchman.
    11. Madame Butterfly: an opera written by Giacomo Puccini about a Geisha in Nagasaki called “Butterfly.”
    12. “Butterfly”, a song by Weezer about catching a butterfly in a mason jar. It also makes reference to the opera Madame Butterfly, and is on the album Pinkerton, which is the name of the male protagonist from the opera.
    13. the butterfly effect:
      An idea from Chaos theory whereby minor events can trigger a chain reaction of other events, which can sometimes lead to big events. Such as the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings leading to a tornado changing its path. (Also a 2004 movie.)
    14. butterfly ballot: a voting ballot notorious from the 2000 US presidential election, as its confusing layout may have led some would-be Gore voters in Florida to mistakenly vote for Pat Buchanan.
    15. The Sinister Butterfly: “Nefariously fluttering from leaf to leaf.” John’s blog. Which he doesn’t update very often these days. But he has posted some great photos there before, as well as some other stuff that’s worth reading.

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    Butterfly collection image source: Worcester City Museums, UK. The Monarch image was found herehttp://cakerockstheparty.wordpress.com/2007/09/24/ncaa-heisman-trophy-avatars/.

    having my cake

    I got to have me some cake this week.¹ I ate it, too. And this cake-having inspired me to think about cake. So I’ll be serving up a list of cake-oriented things for this week’s ThThTh.

    Bon appétit!

    A Cake List

    1. Cakes are used for lots of holidays and celebratory events in many cultures. Some examples include birthday cakes, going away cakes at office parties, French bûches de Noël or German stollen at Christmas. Also…
    2. Wedding cakes. Usually elaborately decorated multi-tiered cakes meant to serve all the guests at a wedding. They can be quite tall, and easily knocked over or smashed for comedic effect in movies or sitcoms.
    3. stripper in a cake. A tradition (if it really happens outside of TV and movies) of having an exotic dancer jump out of a large cake-shaped container. (You can make your own, if you like.) (I toyed with making a list of movies/shows where you see a stripper cake, but could only remember “Under Siege,” where the stripper fell asleep in the cake. Anyone have any others?)
    4. sexy cakes. A sketch on Saturday Night Live with Patrick Stewart as a baker of cakes decorated with erotic images. That is, erotic if you have similar ideas to the baker as to what’s “sexy”. (The video seems not to be up on the SNL website, but you can read the transcript. Come on, go read it. It’s funny. Especially if you imagine Patrick Stewart’s dignified stentorian voice for the baker’s lines.)
    5. “Let them eat cake!” A phrase attributed to Marie-Antoinette, reflecting her insensitivity to the hungry masses who could not afford to buy bread. It was likely not really said by her. (And certainly not in English.) Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote of someone using a similar phrase under similar circumstances in 1767, several years before Marie-Antoinette even arrived in Versailles.
    6. the icing on the cake. An expression meaning an additional bonus, benefit, or other desirable thing. As in something good on top of something else that’s good.
    7. cupcake. A small individual serving-sized cake. Also an endearment.
    8. babycakes. Another, even cutesier, endearment. (Want to see something creepy? Check out this YouTube video of someone making a realistic sculpted baby cake. Perhaps not as deeply unsettling as bread made to look like dismembered body parts, but creepy nonentheless.)
    9. Pat-a-cake. (or Patty-cake). An English nursery rhyme. Also used for a clapping game.

      Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man.
      Bake me a cake as fast as you can.
      Pat it and roll it and mark it with “B”
      And put it in the oven for Baby and me.

    10. a piece of cake. An idiomatic expression meaning “easy.” As in “eating up all that chocolate was a piece of cake.”
    11. have your cake and eat it, too. An expression describing a desire to have things 2 different ways that are not compatible. More along the lines of “save your cake and eat it too.”
    12. takes the cake. An expression meaning “the most extreme example,” such as the winner of a contest or other comparison. As in “I thought Martin was a geek, but his brother Andy really takes the cake.”
    13. Cakewalk. A game, set to music, where the winner gets win a cake. I hadn’t realized it had origins as an actual dance:

      Cakewalk is a traditional African American form of music and dance which originated among slaves in the Southern United States. The form was originally known as the chalk line walk; it takes its name from competitions slaveholders sometimes held, in which they offered slices of hoecake as prizes for the best dancers.[1] It has since evolved from a parody of ballroom dancing to a “fun fair” like dance where participants dance in a circle in the hopes of winning a free cake.

    14. Cake. A band. My favorite song of theirs is probably their cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive.”

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    ¹ Actually, what I technically had was a celebratory fresh fruit tart, with a preamble of a couple of donuts holding some candles. But these were symbolically cake: