Archive for September, 2009

Saturn LogoJust heard via the NY Times that Robert Penske has been unable to find a new supplier for Saturn, and therefore broke of negotiations with GM.

Translation?  The Saturn experiment, the attempt to do something ‘different’ with American automobiles, is probably over.  GM will not continue production after 2009, and the doors will shut on Saturn dealerships in short order.


Now I’m starting to hear mutterings that GM might have helped scuttle the deal over concerns that a revived Saturn brand would have been a threat.  Ya think?

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The semester has started, and I suspect some of my students are just ornery enough to award chili peppers where they are not meritted.  That’s okay.

Out in the garden, things are buzzing:spiderhawk-on-fleabane

This Scoliid wasp (I think Scolia dubia) was incredibly eager to get from blossom to blossom, crawling rather than flying, and getting its fuzzy self completely covered in pollen along the way.  It had no concern about my holding the branch of blossoms to get this picture. In fact, I have several shots of it, some show the russet and yellow markings on the abdomen better, but this has the whole wasp and some nice shadows.

Our next contestant is a bee:

Carpenterbee-agastacheNow, a quick look at the agastache blossom and you can see that bumbles like this lady are not the ‘intended’ pollinator.  Their tongues are long, but not that long. So in this case what we see is a sneaky side attack to get at the nectar pool at the base of the flower, rather than paying any attention to the “proper” approach, which requires a hawkmoth or hummingbird [which have been around, but not when my camera was close at hand.

Another bit of insect drama I didn’t capture was one of the brown mantids lunching on a small butterfly that had not been sufficiently wary when landing amid the marigolds.

Here, instead, is a butterfly I don’t know:MysteryButterfly

And finally, here’s a shot of the asters in the rain garden:  there’s one hot pink Alma Plotchke, an off-white Big Leaf Aster, some white fleabane in the foreground, and some purple mealy sage and red sage sparkling on the left.  If the orangey-yellow shows up further back, that’s the start of the marigolds near the star magnolia.


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In an email, explaining where to look in a set of online pictures:

I’m the one blowing up a dinosaur.


And what’s worse, there were several pictures of different people blowing up small inflatable dinosaurs.  [Fortunately, I’m only related to one of those people….]

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“As the bully veers off into the land of the tinfoil hat, let him keep going.”

DeanDad’s website

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Points-o-lightAh yes — it’s time for the “You’ll probably get a C” lecture for my undergraduates. This is the lecture in which I point out that everyone enters my class with a C because I can only assume they are average. Some people, over the course of the term, will demonstrate that they are below average, and a few will be above average. But it takes effort _beyond_ the ordinary expectations for the class to earn something above a C.

Wailing and gnashing of teeth often ensues, sometimes accompanied by the crunching of a snowflake heart. You may all be ‘special’ in your own way [and surely we are, given the latest research on the average # of mutations in human beings], but not all of you are special in the academic sense.ChamplainPath

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And it is behind the rt-hand bookcase in my office.  Three fluffy cats, all jostling to get a better angle to sniff the baseboard near this bookshelf, in response to some suspicious squeaking noises…..

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School has started, and some nights I come home….and I’ve run out of words.  I have to look across the couch at my equally bleary-eyed spouse and hope my expression conveys more than “Oh-My-God-The-Ragweed!” and “Maybe-we-should-collapse-now?”

Zyrtec, BID.  There is no other way through this time of year…

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