I bought an assortment of zinnia varieties from our local garden store this year and put them in willy-nilly, so I would be surprised as they came up. Some of them are multi-flower, with smaller petals, and some of them are single-flower, with big and bold petals and colors. So far, I like the latter category better.
Archive for June 10th, 2012
I had my annual (well, occasional) physical last week, and saw the concerned face that our family doctor probably puts on whenever he talks to a guy in his mid-50s who has a desk job. There was talk about test results (normal, whoo-hoo!), aging-related diagnostic checks (an MRI to evaluate plaque build-up in blood vessels), and statistics that show that, for men, the late 50s are the danger zone for heart attacks, strokes, and other unwelcome forms of sudden death (yikes!).
Inevitably, the discussion turned to diet. Time to eat fewer juicy cheeseburgers and more dry, unadorned fish and chicken! Let’s try to choke down more leafy green vegetables, shall we? And watch out for those evil “empty calories,” too, while we’re at it!
Fortunately, the good doctor also recommended that I eat more fruit. No problem! I felt proud of myself when I drove to the neighborhood grocer and, following doctor’s orders, bought fresh raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and melons for some welcome, juice-dribbling-down-the-chin goodness.
With this group of fruit choices, timing and sequencing is crucial. You always start with the raspberries, before they get soft and soggy, when they still have the crisp snap as you bite into them and savor their tart flavor. Then you move to my favorite, strawberries, perform the necessary surgery on the stem remnants, cut them into sections, and gobble them down — in my case, typically on a bowl of Corn Flakes or Rice Chex. Next up is the blueberries, to pile heaping spoonfuls into your mouth and get that explosion of flavor as your teeth breach the skin of the fruit. And finally you reach the melon, after a few days of ripening, scoop out the seeds, and then enjoy the succulent spoonfuls of sweet melon flesh.
These are some of the best tastes of summer, which is the golden season for local Ohio fruit. If only every instruction from my doctor were so easy to follow!
The zinnias in the beds along our back patio have bloomed, and they are beautiful. It’s amazing what vivid colors Midwestern dirt, some Scotts Miracle-Gro potting soil, and judicious watering can produce.
Posted in Humor, Science, tagged Adelie Penguins, Biology, British Natural History Museum, Dr. George Murray Levick, Humor, Penguins, Science, Sex, Sexual Activities of Animals, South Pole on June 10, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
In 1910, on an ill-fated expedition to the South Pole, a British biologist observed the activities of adelie penguins. He was shocked by what he viewed as depraved acts by the penguins — so much so that he recorded his observations in Greek. His later paper on the topic was so disturbing to the pre-World War II sensibilities of the British scientific community that it was never published.
The paper has been discovered in the files of the British Natural History Museum and published in the journal Polar Record. The biologist, Dr. George Murray Levick, recorded incidents of sexual coercion, physical and sexual abuse of penguin chicks, non-procreative sex, and apparent homosexual liaisons among the penguins — but what he found most “depraved” was attempts by male penguins to mate with dead females. (According to modern biologists, the latter conduct is explained by the fact that female adelie penguins indicate their readiness for sex by assuming a certain position, and if a dead female’s body happens to assume that same position, the male penguins have a sexual reaction and just can’t help themselves.)
It’s hard to imagine that a biologist would be morally troubled by the conduct of birds or animals, but the extreme sexual inhibitions of Victorian and Edwardian England were pervasive. Anyone who has lived with dogs knows that you can’t assign human sensibilities to animals that think nothing of sniffing the rear ends of fellow pooches, eating rabbit droppings for a snack, or dry-humping a visitor’s leg. You would think that penguins would be given a special break in view of the fact that they live on barren rocks in frozen climates without much else to occupy their thoughts. After all, you can only do so much swimming or eat so many fish.