Sunday, September 30, 2012

August Moon

August? Aren't we in September?

Yes, this photo of tonight's Miami moon is what is called the August Moon. Actually, I am one day late as this moon was full yesterday, and I should have talked about this then but I forgot about this event. Better late than never.

So, what is this business of calling a moon on the last day of September an August Moon? It is because if you use the lunar calendar, you are still in August, and this is the time of an important harvest festival called the Mid-Autumn festival. Also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival or Zhongqiu Festival, it is a popular lunar harvest festival celebrated by China and Vietnam. This annual rite can be traced back to more than 3,000 years ago and this festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar when the moon is full. This date occurs in late September or early October in the Gregorian calendar, close to the autumnal equinox.

This festival is accompanied by many traditional activities such as:

Eating mooncakes, traditionally consisting primarily of lotus bean paste - I like that!
Drinking tea - Definitely!
Matchmaking. In some parts of China, dances are held for young men and women to find partners. "One by one, young women are encouraged to throw their handkerchiefs to the crowd. The young man who catches and returns the handkerchief has a chance of romance." - I need this!
Carrying brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, floating sky lanterns - Been there! Done that!
Burning incense in reverence to deities including Chang'e, the Moon Goddess of Immortality who lives in the moon - Only if the incense has true lotus scent.
Fire Dragon Dances. Definitely! In case you do not know, my name Lân represents this dragon - It's me!

When I was a kid, I read the story of a rabbit up there living in the moon because there is a shape that, if you have better than average imagination, looks like a rabbit. Of course you see no such rabbit in my shot of today. I should have used my telescope! Rats!
Trung Thu

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chocolate Daisy

I ran into Daisy today. She instantly turned me into a reluctant philosopher! That is because Daisy, a beautiful elderly "chocolate Labrador retriever," seems to be at the sunset stage of her life. She is barely mobile, yet, she begs to join her owner to take daily walks with other younger dogs. Daisy is 13 year old. She is overweight and thus according to scientific research, she is prone to give up the ghost faster than if she is more svelte.

You see, life expectancy of dogs is 12.8 years.... Wait a minute, whenever I come across statistics, I tend to go off in a tangent because statisticians seem to know everything to the tenth decimal point... But I digress... let's get back to beautiful Daisy. With that in mind, you can easily understand that a dog's year is about 7 that of a human being. Daisy is 91 human year old! Labrador retrievers are expected to live 10 - 14 years, and indeed Daisy is stretching it.

Do you know that in general, smaller breed dogs live longer than larger ones; and heavier dogs die younger than dogs of the same breed but lighter?

So, if you want a new dog, pick one like Gizmo on the right because this bubbling cutie will outlive many larger and heavier dogs and she will keep you company late into your geriatric stage.

When it was time to say goodbye, Daisy lost tract of where she was and went off in the wrong direction... Just like me, forget where I was just a minute ago! How sad for me because in dog's year, I am but a toddler!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Le Grand Pisseur

I am sorry to resort to my rusty French to explain to you what you see in today's Miami photo. I call it "Le Grand Pisseur."

There is a very famous bronze statue named "Le Petit Pisseur" in Brussels. In reality, its real name is Manneken Pis (literally Little Man Pee in Marols, a Dutch dialect spoken in Brussels, also known in French as le Petit Julien.) Le Petit Pisseur is a famous Brussels landmark. It is a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin. It was designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder and put in place in 1618 or 1619. This little boy is adorable, holding his wee wee to pee, eyes closed and face happy as happy can be. There are many legends but my favorite one is that he peed to put out the fuse lit by the enemy troop that would have ignited the explosive to destroy his city. If someone does that to Miami, I would have my own little bronze statue here, probably in Coconut Grove. I can't leave this without telling you that Hergé, a world famous creator of child reporter Tintin, knew about this legend, and in one of his story, had his famous dog Milou put out a fuse of a kettle of dynamite in the same manner.

Well, what am I talking about? The city of Miami (Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and other cities as well) have continually added traffic circles to slow down traffic and to defeat speeding offenders. Ornamental flowers, hedges and small trees are used to decorate these circles. Water trucks like the one you see here goes around town to keep the plants in tip top shape. When "le grand pisseur" comes around to piss on the plants, we all have to yield right of way. To do this, "le grand pisseur" has its pants down and thank heaven, that unsightly view is blocked by the car in front of me. Otherwise, this photo would be unfavorable because of the indecent exposure taking place in broad day light!

There you have it!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Caldo de cana

Garapa (var. Guarapa) or Caldo de cana is the Brazilian Portuguese term for the juice of raw sugar cane. Sugar cane juice is consumed as a beverage worldwide, and especially in regions where sugar cane is commercially grown such as Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Latin America.

Sugar cane juice is also known as "guarapo", "guarapo de caña", or "jugo de guarapo" in various dialects of Spanish, "ganne ka ras" or "roh" on the Indian subcontinent, "aseer asab" in Egypt, "air tebu" in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, and "nước mía" in Vietnam. The drink is obtained by crushing peeled sugar cane in a small hand- or electric mill. The freshly pressed juice is often served cold with other ingredients added, such as a squeeze of lemon or lime (in Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, India), pineapple (Brazil), passion fruit, ginger (India, Zanzibar) or ice. In India it can also be served with black salt or mint.

Due to its high sugar content, it is rich in calories. Garapa juice is the primary source of sugar cane derivatives such as raw sugar (obtained by evaporation and refining), cachaça or "caninha" and ethanol.

Sugar cane juice is especially popular among the Cuban expatriate community in Miami, where it is found in abundance at many locations in Little Havana. This mobile vendor is setting shop daily here on SW 71st Avenue just South of Bird Road, and it has more offerings than just sugar cane juice (guarapo.) That includes fruits, vegetable and coconut juice.

When prepared in rural areas, raw sugar cane juice can be a health risk to drinkers, mostly because of the unhygienic conditions under which it is prepared in these areas. Since it is very sugary, it is an ideal culture medium to all kinds of microorganisms, so it should not be stored outside a refrigerator. In fact, it is almost always consumed as a freshly prepared drink. If you decide to drink this juice, make sure you do not see flies flying around the pressing machinery because it's very likely that some flies may have been mixed together as protein addition you may not want to consume.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Curtain Calls

Every Wednesday, at 12:30PM, the Curtain Call Theatre Club of Miami Dade College (MDC) showcases a dress rehearsal of their various repertoires for students, faculties, employees and any other who are interested to follow their progresses. This club is formed by students of the Music, Theatre & Dance Department of MDC To provide an avenue for students interested in all aspects of theatre to develop and share their craft through small-scale performances on the Kendall Campus and in the local community.

You can see in their faces that these fresh, young and energetic students are ready to work hard to become one day the next sensation of the world of entertainment. From left to right, I can guess that the first character seems to be the Caterpillar (where's the hookah?) next to the infamous White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter. The last student looks just like Alice to me. She is in Wonderland here. Go for it!

Errata: I had second thoughts, and after closer inspection, the first character from the left is certainly NOT the caterpillar. She is the Queen of Heart. Click on the photo to see it in full size. Her lips are decorated with a red heart, a familiar way to depict this colorful character in the 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.
Curtain Calls

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vitex negundo

Instead of just telling you what it is that you see in my photo taken this morning... that may be so uninteresting, I chose to plagiarize a beautiful piece of research in botany from a Blog on Tamil Literature, authored by Karka Nirka. I hope this author would not mind terribly.

A story he/she (I can't tell from the name) told was about two lovers Thalaivan and Thalaivi of Tamil Nadu. Thalaivi sneaked out from her parents' surveillance many a nights to be with Thalaivan, until one night that they could not be together. A lament in form of a poem titled "Sleepless Night" was born and it goes like this:

Sleepless Night

The vast city had slept, we did not.
We heard the sound of colorful clusters of aged flowers
which look like sapphires,
decorated on the soft branches of
the nocchi tree, with leaves like peacock feet,
falling down on the Ezhil mountains closer to our house.

Sangam poem by Poet: Kollan Azhici
Translated by Palaniappan Vairam

Intrigued by a tree that has flowers like sapphires and leaves like peacock feet, the author learned of a three-leaved chaste tree and identified it being the nocchi tree as mentioned in the poem.

If you are of the curious type, like me, you can look up the information about a Vitex negundo tree. Many species are five-leaved and the three-leaved species is called kaatu nocchi in Tamil.

Now, from my rambling, it is quite clear that what you see in this photo is a set of foot prints left by a peafowl. The leaves of the kaatu nocchi look like that. Of course you can't tell if that was a peacock or peahen... Or can you?
Sleepless Night

Monday, September 24, 2012

Please Help

Here is another look at a dark side of cosmopolitan Miami, a homeless man. I think this man is haunting this area and I see him once in a while. Today I offered him two dollars. Some of my friends told me not to do that because "they just use the money on beer or drug." I don't think so! He carries a cardboard that says "Please Help." To me, that says it all.
Help Me!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Yummy Soup

Oy... Oy... Where are you going? Come back here!

I know this photo may gross some (meaning many) of you out. Come on... it's dead already. This is a very large head (7.8 pounds!) of a now deceased grouper fish, a fish of any of a number of genera in the subfamily Epinephelinae of the family Serranidae, in the order Perciformes. Sea basses also belong to this family.

In Sicilian witchcraft it is customary to leave a fish head on the door step of one's enemy to ward off malicious intention. It is also performed by the eldest grandma when a mafia fishing family has been wronged by a business partner. In more substantial hostilities, one may see the appearance of a goat or horse head. That will definitely gross you out. And me too!

I admit I got this trophy home today, but not for any witchcraft activity or for any magic potion. Fish heads are great for soup. You add into your purified water (I am kidding, I just use tap water,) some magical veggies and herbs, a few slices of a sour star fruit and a handful of sour tamarinds and voila... the best soup money can buy. If a head of a Sicilian family would leave this kind of fish head on my door step, I would love it!
Big Head

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ducky Weather

This is what caught me by surprise today and reluctantly, I got a bit wet too! Without much warning, lots of water came down during this Miami rain storm. This motorcyclist was well prepared and it's a good thing he was wearing a flashy yellow rain gear. He wanted to be seen by all the crazed drivers around Miami. It was a short lasting rain storm and the sun came out as if nothing happened. I should have waited instead of braving the rain and got my socks all wet. This kind of weather is good for the ducks, I think.
Big Rain

Friday, September 21, 2012


Look, I am running out of nice things to say about Miami, so I snapped this photo, which is from a hospital in Miami... to tell you about what you may not know, that "they" sometimes give you a dose of this when you least expect it. What am I talking about? X Ray (or x-Ray)... the stuff that comes out of Superman's eyes when he looks at you:

X radiation (composed of X Rays) is a form of electromagnetic radiation. x-Rays have a wavelength in the range of 0.01 to 10 nanometers, corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz (3×10 raised to power 16th Hz to 3×10 raised to 19th power Hz) and energies in the range 100 eV to 100 keV. When they want to look inside you to see your internal structure, they zap you with somewhere between 10 to 120 keV. Ouch! I have no idea how they can decide how many keV to zap you with. If I were to be laying on that table, I would like to know... and I would wear some lead underwear too! Wonder if they'll let me do that!

This is a state of the art x-Ray unit for medical diagnostic service. It looks very expensive and yes, it's all digital now... No more messy films to deal with. No, it's not for me, thankfully!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Call The LockSmith

This poor, poor, poor student locked himself out of his car and who you gonna call? The locksmith, that's who. I do not know how much a service call like this costs, but if I were the locksmith, which I am not, I will do this for free. This locksmith is good. He got the car opened immediately after this shot. Bravo! Now you know how fast your car can be stolen in Miami... Gone in 60 seconds!
Locked Out

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lunch Break

High noon inside a local Publix supermarket in Miami looks something like this at the ready to eat food counter. The food here is excellent, well prepared, hot and delicious albeit a bit too much on the bad side for your health. Neighboring office people come here to buy food for their hot lunch. A typical lunch meal here would cost US $ 10 - 16. If you want to add a serving of soup from the canisters you can see on the left, it will cost you more.

Now let's see... if you are basically an unskilled worker earning Florida's minimum wage currently set at US $7.67 per hour, you would need to labor for 1.5 hour to pay for your daily lunch. At this rate, you need to work half a day just to feed yourself each day.

Extrapolate that simple example and it can be seen why a family needs two wage earners or a single parent family needs two jobs just to get by in this economy.
Lunch Break

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Girl Cycad

Many of us may not know that plants also have sex. Sorry, I meant gender: male and female. It's called dioecious, a term describing a plant that has only one reproductive organ, either a male flower or a female flower. This means that dioecious plants need a partner plant with the opposite gamete producing flower in order to bear fruit. Dioecious is derived from the Greek di, meaning twice; and oikos, meaning house. The term then literally means two houses, which means that these types of plants need two vessels (plants) of the opposite genders planted in close proximity to each other in order to ensure proper fertilization. The product of fertilization is a fruit which will bear the seed/s, which will in turn produce another plant given the right conditions.

Now meet girl Cycas micronesica, with child. You have seen her male counterpart before (responsible for a mysterious neurological disease that affected residents of Guam,) and that photo was taken at this same area where you can see this girl cycad surrounded by guy cycads all eager to participate. It is no wonder that she now bears these seeds.

This is a wonderful event and do you know why? Cycads are prehistoric plants that existed during the mesozoic era, which is about 250 to about 65 million years ago. It is often referred to as the Age of Reptiles because reptiles, namely dinosaurs, were the dominant terrestrial and marine vertebrates of the time. Cycads have survived that long and now they are facing extinction. These cycads are here to be given a chance for its species to be preserved.
Avoiding Extinction

Monday, September 17, 2012

Miami Metrorail

The Miami Metrorail, officially called Metrorail, is the heavy rail rapid transit system of Miami. It serves the Greater Miami area. Metrorail is operated by Miami-Dade Transit (MDT,) a departmental agency of Miami-Dade County. Opened in 1984, it is Florida's only rapid transit metro system, and it currently has two lines with 23 stations on 24.4 miles (39.3 km) of standard gauge track.

What is a "standard gauge track," you asked? Here is a close look from beneath one such track. It's all concrete and no wonder they call it the heavy rail system. Driving around in Miami, once in a while, like right this moment, I have to stop under this heavy standard gauge track. I always look up from under it and imagine what would happen to me (and less importantly, my car) if it were to decide to fall down. It won't be a pretty thing to see, don't you think?

This is just a stone throw from the North Dade station after I turn right. This photo is taken from SW 62nd Avenue and the rail here parallels US-1. I love to look at the vine hugging these concrete structures. It's called the Ficus pumila.
Creepy Vine

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Don't look at the pretty terrestrial orchid flowers lest you would miss seeing the object of this blog: the very hard to grow mangosteen tree that is the small tree to the right.

The purple mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), aka as mangosteen, is a tropical evergreen tree originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas of Indonesia. It also grows in tropical South American countries such as Colombia. The fruit of this tree is said to be one of the best fruits in the world. I don't know about that. I thought so before, but now I would question myself about such assertion. My taste must have changed! But it is moot because I know it's impossible to grow this tree here in Miami. I tried! But here it is growing very well in FTBG. As you can see, it's inside a climate controlled green house. It is 8 in the morning and it's wet here because the irrigation system is turned on to pamper all the rare and difficult to grow trees you can find here.

You can't easily see them, but the fruits are on this tree right now. Some are still green, but some are almost ripe as their rinds turn purple.

I am quite anxious to come up with a plan to somehow sample one or two of these mangosteens... Hhhmmm... Let's see... May be I can bribe someone?
Mang Cut

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Go Canes!

It's again American football season. I only go to see college games and today, my Alma mater the University of Miami Canes have plan to decimate its opponent, the Daytona Beach Wildcats. Every American football team has a head coach, and we have our head coach Al Golden. In the US, sports are big (gargantuan) business and each sport has its own quirks and the likes. Coaches of basket ball teams must wear US $ 3,000+ suits, expensive silk ties and dress to kill, groomed, hair just so and so and finger nails and toe nails manicured perfectly prior to games. Foot ball coaches? They look like sweating blue collar workers running up and down the sidelines yelling plays by secret incomprehensible signs, not unlike baseball. Not our coach Al. He wears a tie! Unheard of until his reign! So, naturally, it became a sensation.

Here is a positive proof of this rather new phenomenon taken at the game today. It is commonly reported that our beloved coach Al, unlike most younger football coaches, wears a poorly fitted dress shirt, slacks and a tie on the sidelines. It is also reported that he wears this tie because his Mom wants it just that way... and may be it's his lucky charm. In any way, this photo shows you one way fans dress up to go to the game to cheer the home team.

Fitted shirt... Yup! Orange tie... Yup! Slacks? Who needs them? By the way, we soundly beat the visiting team Bethune-Cookman (B-CU) of Florida's Daytona Beach 38 - 10. Go Canes!
Go Canes!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Main Highway

A beautiful afternoon in Coconut Grove... except that a tree trimming crew blocks half of the narrow 2 lane Main Highway, creating a 10 minute wait for cars on each side sharing the remaining one sided road. That is largely tolerable because driving here is so pleasurable, among the beautiful banyans and royal poincianas, some still with late scarlet flowers.
Traffic Jam in Grove

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cartagena Plaza

This is a view from the Cocoplum Circle, a traffic circle at the edge of the Coral Gables Waterway in the city of Coral Gables. Very few people, myself included until now, know that its name is Cartagena Plaza. It is commonly referred to as the Cocoplum Circle because it is directly connected to the entrance of the community of Cocoplum. This circle connects LeJeune Road, Sunset Drive, Old Culter Road, Cocoplum Road and Ingraham Highway. Cartagena Plaza is named for the city of Cartagena, Colombia, Coral Gables' first sister city. A city is a girl? Did you know that?

Near the Cocoplum entrance to Coral Gables' wealthiest residential areas where houses average US 3 cool million dollars is a large sculpture in the form of a shoe, based on the poem entitled “My Old Shoes” by Colombian-born Luis Carlos López. You can traverse this circle a thousand times and you will not see any shoe. I know, I never saw it! You will need to hover on a helicopter to see this famous replica offered to Coral Gables in the mid 1980's. The original sculpture of the shoe is in Cartagena, Colombia.
Where's The Shoe?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Half Staff

Old Glory is a common nickname for the flag of the United States, bestowed by William Driver, an early nineteenth century American sea captain. In case you do not know what the American flag looks like, here it is flying outside a post office in South Miami. Yesterday marked an important historical day of the US when there was a terrorist attack that destroyed the two World Trade Centers in New York. That was the infamous September 11th of the year 2001. Yesterday, on its anniversary, there was another deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed the US ambassador and other US Department of State personnel.

For such an important event, there was an usual Presidential proclamation issued to fly the United States flag at half staff honoring the victims of the attack in Benghazi. This is the Old Glory in the mourning half staff state. It will be in this position until sunset on September 16, 2012.
Old Glory

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Little Havana

The weather was fine almost all day today, then a big rainstorm came to make afternoon rush hour traffic interesting... but I know all the little streets in Miami so I can still navigate with some ease... that brought me to the heart of Miami's Little Havana. Here we are at the intersection of SW 76th Avenue and Eight street (Calle Ocho.) It's rainy, the streets are wet and people don't like it so you got to pay attention doubly because, trust me, drivers are bad here, and the rain always makes them more dangerous. At this little window, you can order some very sweet pastries and the famous café Cubano, originated in Cuba after espresso machines were first imported there from Italy, an espresso shot which is sweetened with demerara sugar as it is being brewed. Drinking café Cubano is the thing to do around here.
Wells Fargo

Monday, September 10, 2012

Nerves Of Steel

I was crazy! In a flash of insanity, I got all my nerves together and took this photo... and lived to tell about it! If caught, I think I may end up in the slammer right now. This is inside a BANK. OMG, this guy took a photo... call the cops...

The subject of interest to me really is that with this photo, I can say this is a great country. If you are disabled, you have the highest chance to be able to function at many places here that you may not if you were in another country. Citizens of another country on earth might say that is true for their country as well.... and I would like to know about it. Only in America!
Wells Fargo

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Life Is So Tough!

You want a long story, or a short story today? A long story? I would start by quoting Albert Camus about why it is that the only serious philosophical problem is suicide. That would lead to "the meaning of life" blah blah blah... The short story is better: I decided to get fish for dinner. This is the Publix super market. This young man is preparing a snapper for me to fry. I burned the fish because I do not know how to fry it properly. I will need to look up on Youtube the manner experts fry fish to obtain a golden, crunchy and oh so yummy fish in some kind of heavenly sauce. I'll get it right the next time.

Life is so darn complicated... and where are my things?
Fish Market

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Here is George. George works as a security guard at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. I wish I had his job. I'd love to be the gate keeper at this beautiful place.
My Pal

Friday, September 7, 2012

Wishing Grove

A while back, there was a wishing tree in Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG.) It has since been replaced by a Wishing Grove also by Yoko Ono. It is located on the north end of the vine pergola, and I think this is just a most beautiful place for you to come and utter your secret wish in isolation under the shading vines. I wish I had a secret wish today, but I do not, so you will not find my wish on any of the strings here.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Vine and Creeper

Vines grow very well in Miami, provided they are given adequate support, like a pergola seen here. In the foreground is a huge Rangoon creeper, which technically is a vine, but designated as a ligneous vine, which is a woody plant that uses wood as its structural tissue and it does not really need a pergola to grow well.

Rangoon creepers (Quisqualis indica,) also known as the Chinese honeysuckle, can be used to treat diarrhea. It's always fascinating to know that seemingly every plant known to the human species can be used to cure some ailments. It's only necessary to know enough to avoid those that are toxic that can kill you.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sorry, it's "caffè"

I had a light breakfast here at the Liberty Caffé which is part of the country club of the city of Coral Gables. They say it has the appeal of an European-style café, thus its strange way of spelling the word coffee. OK.. so I said to myself "What's going on here? What's in this name: caffé? It's supposed to be European, but it's not French, which then it should be "café," nor is it Italian where it should have been "caffè."

A quick look into the etymology of this world famous brew from the coffee bean taught me that:

The English words coffee and café both descend from the continental European translingual word root /kafe/, which appears in many European languages with various naturalized spellings, including Italian (caffè); Portuguese, Spanish, and French (café); German (Kaffee); Polish (kawa); Ukrainian (кава, 'kava') and many others. I couldn't find a country that says "Caffé." Only in the City Beautiful here!

Well, it has an eatable croissan'Wich, a bit on the dry side, but definitely eatable. Please do not ask me to look into the strange way that a French croissant somehow turned into a sandwich! That happened in 1983.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Coral Gables

I rarely come to this side of Coral Gables, but here is a view from the Sears department store's parking looking West to the heart of Coral Gables, in the direction of the famed Miracle Mile. Miracle Mile is the premier "downtown" street of Coral Gables, the City Beautiful, where merchants for several generations operate small but upscale shops of all sorts. Sears is an old institutional department store and it has always been here at the corner of Coral Way (aka Miracle Mile and SW 24th Street) and SW 37th Avenue.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Kitsune No Yomeiri

Today is a holiday in the US: Labor Day is what it is called. Surprisingly, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG) is quite deserted. I guess people like to go shopping better. But I was lucky to be in here and experienced a lovely meteorological phenomenon: a sunshower in which rain falls while the sun is shining. No, the dark clouds in the North to Northwest direction were not part of this. The sporadic light rains came from the right of this photo while the sun shined through them. They are called sunshowers. To avoid getting wet, I just sat on a bench under a Chinese palm tree to enjoy the breeze.

Although used in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Britain, the term "sunshower" is rarely found in dictionaries. This phenomenon has a wide range of similar folkloric names in cultures around the world. A common theme is that different forest animals, or the devil, are getting married. How romantic!

In South African English, a sunshower is referred to as a "monkey’s wedding." In Afrikaans, it is referred to as jakkalstrou: Jakkals trou met wolf se vrou as dit reën en die son skyn flou, meaning: "Jackal is marrying Wolf's wife when it rains and the sun shines faintly." If I were an Afrikaan male wolf, I would hate that! In Bengali, it is called "a devil's wedding." Many other animals are invoked in different countries: tigers, leopards, hyenas, bears, rats, crows... But my real favorite is the fox's wedding: "kitsune no yomeiri", or "the kitsune's wedding." I am sure you can tell that's in Japan.

There is a very colorful scene of this "kitsune no yomeiri" in the movie Dreams by Akira Kurosawa. This is an ideal place for foxes to get married. Foxy Ladies will easily qualify!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Outsource This!

I know, I have talked too many times about the jack fruits. This is the last such boring talks for this year, I promise. I do this to dispel some myths about this fruit, and at the same time, to give you a new myth of my own. I got a fourth jack fruit a few days ago, and was patiently waiting to cut it open myself. That was a bad idea, to try to do that! I was quite assured it is ripe. Not so! Myth #1: Jack fruits are ripe when the stem turns brown. This one's stem was brown. Myth #2: Jack fruits are ripe when they start smelling. This one did... quite strongly, I must add. But it is not quite ripe yet. This composite photo shows what I spent about 3 hours today, going through 4 pairs of rubber gloves with a sharp knife that is now dull and sticky. The 30 lbs compound fruit was cut into 8 pieces and the individual fruits were painstakingly yanked out of their sticky full of sap protective pouches. The half photo on the right shows you the aftermath of that protracted battle. Now my back, my hands and my butt all hurt!

At the end of the day, I am the proud keeper of two large bowls of jack fruits that are not ready for consumption! But I know better! My new jack fruit myth: Just leave the unripe fruits alone a few days and they will ripen just fine.

I should have outsourced this job!
Manual Labor

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Cephalopod mollusc

Would you eat this creature? It has two eyes and four pairs of arms! Eeewwww!
Sushi Maki