Pain in three dimensions

Cenchrus longispinus, one of my least favorite grasses, is abundant in lawns and along paths. All the spines on the nutlets are quite sharp, and they are covered with microscopic barbs. They readily catch on socks and penetrate skin and are painfully hard to remove. The photo above of the vicious little plant is a crossview stereo picture, with the right-eye image on the left and vice-versa. If you cross your eyes, you can see the menacing thing in three dimensions. It’s easier to do than to explain how; this is as good a guide as any.

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Red red red red red

One of the plants I ordered in the spring from Sunset Valley Orchids bloomed this week. It’s a very red “Mini-Catt,” i.e., a miniature Cattleya. The flower is two inches wide on a plant about seven inches tall. There’s no fragrance that I can detect, but with color like that I’m not going to complain. Click on the picture to see it with better color (WordPress makes colors duller when it reformats images); right-click and open the link in a new window to see it much larger than life size.

Exactly what the plant is, is complicated. It was listed as “SVO 9263 – Pot. NEW HYBRID (Slc. Virginia Dickey ‘ Diamond Orchids’ AM/AOS x Pot. Higher Multiplier ‘Diamond Orchids’ HCC/AOS).” “Pot.” is short for “Potinara,” a multigeneric hybrid involving Brassavola, Cattleya, Laelia and Sophronitis; “Slc.” is “Sophrolaeliocattleya,” with Sophronitis, Laelia and Cattleya. However, taxonomists are always up to mischief, abruptly moving species from one genus to another, lumping some genera together and splitting others into pieces. Sophronitis has recently been placed within the Cattleya genus, and the other genera have been tampered with as well. Calling my plant a Potinara is probably inaccurate now, but it’s convenient, and I don’t know what the proper name would be.

Summertime blues

I started some Linum perenne this spring. It’s a perennial, and I didn’t expect much from it this year. However, the seedlings grew strongly and have been blooming spasmodically all summer. The individual flowers are small, but during the main flush of bloom in early summer established plants are solid blue mounds. (I had a fine specimen years ago that in flower was a blue hemisphere with a radius of about fifteen inches. Then the family cat decided that it was a nice spot to nap.)

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Train time

Unlike California, Kansas is probably the flattest and least photogenic of the fifty states, and I live in probably the flattest and least photogenic city there. Instead of mountains and lakes, I have to make do with taking pictures of grain elevators and defunct train stations, such as this one. Like most panoramas, it’s best viewed in full-screen mode. If you find the interactive panorama too dull, right-click on it and view it as a “small planet.”1

Around town…

… this time with panoramas. These look best in full-page view. (If you can’t see the panorama, try a different browser. These work for me in Vivaldi but not in Brave.)

Right-click on the image to bring up a menu with different view options. The “little planet” view is pleasantly surrealistic.

Today’s quote

Lionel Shriver, via Amy Welborn:

… I was born in the wrong body. I am 5ft 2in. But inside? I feel tall. My soul is tall. I experience myself as 6ft 5in. And because a terrible mistake was made when I was born and ‘assigned’ as this short person, I’m going to force everyone to look me in the eyes by staring 15 inches over my head.

Pour a glass of fortified wine

Congratulations to an English major who long ago lost his gruntle1 on fourteen years of The Port Stands at Your Elbow. It’s one of my daily stops and always worth reading. Before he decanted the port, Robbo wrote at The LLama Butchers. Both the mu.nu and blogspot editions of the LLBs survive (though the pictures and comments are gone) and reward browsing. See, for instance, this touching account of a purple dinosaur’s realization of his true nature, or this subtle sociological analysis of a neglected aspect of Tolkien’s world.