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  • Subject: Forbearance
  • From: gw1944@vermontel.net (Glen Williams)
  • Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 06:38:32 -0500 (EST)

Dear Fellow Gardeners:

   Watch out guys this is long. I didn't write it but I think that it is
hilarious and says a lot about human nature. Delete or read at will.

   Except for these few sentences I have sent this posting out once a year
for the past few years. I hope that it is time again and that I have not
worn out my welcome.I would have to admit in respect to hostas ( and
perhaps a lot of other things)  that I have been both  the somewhat addled
obsessive/ compulsive hosta grower/ buyer/ raiser, and the  neighbor on the
other side of the fence watching the activity with a kindly smile, as this
poor deranged soul  plays in the  dirt and mud with hostas. Out of
necessity I hope I have learned to have forbearance for both roles; the
electric shock therapy  and counseling were  getting to be a bit much, and
my meds were no longer covered by my insurance. There are always reasons
for tolerance, especially when  dealing with yourself.

   I'll save this posting for a slow day. It is not about hostas but it is
about the forbearance that many of our non-hosta friends have had to show
us. It is about obsession and the smile on the face of those who are not
infected. I received the posting a few months ago from a friend who teaches
at a university. I laughed off and on for days. As far as its veracity.....
I want to believe. I especially want to believe that there is a
Thurberesque dimension to our reality where we hosta obsessives  dotter
around sharing our insights, starting civil wars  about the number of
angels which can dance on the meristem, and try to pronounce 'sagae' under
our collective  breathes.  The following posting is as I  received it. I
would ask you to substitute " raising hostas", "looking for hosta sports",
and "registering hostas" in all of the appropriate places...those places
will be quite clear in a few sentences.

RE: Smithsonian science submission

Ok the story behind this...There's this nut ball who digs things up in his
back yard (insert planting hostas here...) and sends the stuff he finds to
the Smithsonian Institute, labeling them with with scientific names,
insisting that they are actual archeological finds. The really weird thing
about these letters is that the guy really exists and does this in his
spare time! Anyway... here's a letter from the Smithsonian Institute  from
the time he sent them a Barbie doll head.
Paleoanthropology Division
Smithsonian Institute
207 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, DC 20078

Dear Sir:
   Thank you for your latest submission to the institute, labeled "211-D,
layer seven, next to the clothesline post. Hominid skull." We have given
this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and  regret to inform you
that we disagree with your theory that it represents" conclusive proof of
the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago."
Rather , it appears that you have found the head of a Barbie doll, of the
variety one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be the
"Malibu Barbie".
  It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis
of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of us who are
familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to
contradiction with your findings. However, we do feel that there a number
of physical attributes of the specimen which might have tipped you off to
its modern origin:
 1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid  remains are typically
fossilized bone.
2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic
centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest  proto-hominids.
3. The dentition pattern evident on the "skull" is more consistent with the
common domesticated dog than it is with the "ravenous man-eating Pliocene
clams" you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time. This latter
finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses you have
submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence seems to
weigh rather heavily against it.Without going into too much detail, let us
say that:
A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has chewed on.
B. Clams don't have teeth.

It is feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request to
have the specimen carbon dated. This is partially due to the heavy load our
lab must bear in its normal operation, and partly due to carbon dating's
notorious inaccuracy in fossils of recent  geologic record. To the best of
our knowledge no Barbie dolls were made prior to 1956 AD, and carbon dating
is likely to produce wildly  inaccurate results. Sadly, we must also deny
your request that we approach the National Science Foundation's Phylogeny
Department with the concept of assigning your specimen the scientific name
" Australopithecus spiff-arino." Speaking personally . I. for one, fought
tenaciously for the acceptance of your taxonomy, but was ultimately voted
down because the species name you selected was hyphenated, and didn't
really sound like it might be Latin. However we gladly accept your generous
donation of this fascinating specimen to the museum. While it is
undoubtedly not a hominid fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting
example of the great body of work you seem to accumulate here so
effortlessly. You should know that our Director has reserved a special
shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens you have
previously submitted to the institution, and the entire staff speculates
daily on what you will happen on next in your digs at the site you have
discovered in your backyard.
  We eagerly anticipate your trip to the nation's capital that you proposed
in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the Director to pay for
it. We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories
surrounding the e "trans-positating fillifitation of ferrous ions in a
structural matrix" that makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex
femur you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty
9-mm Sear Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.

Yours in Science.
Harvey Rowe
Curator, Antiquities

From Vermont where the night sky is littered with stars making new
constellations which seem to resemble hosta species....or is it just me, or
possibly the wine?
Glen Williams
20 Dewey St.
Springfield , Vermont
Tel: 802-885-2839 

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