Re: "A Gift from the Desert"

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a kit for growing your own giant saguaro cactus

Is this a euphemism?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:16 PM
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1: It can be, if you like. But I do have (what I think are) actual cactus seeds. Maybe she's starting a secret grow operation, though. Good catch.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:18 PM
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You may need two. At night, when you close your eyes or look away, the saguaro go waltzing.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:24 PM
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Oh! And an item left off my list: okay to grow up for awhile in Virginia? This is not their climate, I gather.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:27 PM
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Fewer other saguaros to waltz with. The wrong music in the night air.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:29 PM
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Seriously, Stan?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:37 PM
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I see that you've checked Wikipedia, so you're aware that saguaros are huge. I wouldn't try growing one in a mug.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:39 PM
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6, 7: It came with a really little pot.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:40 PM
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Isn't it more about how long it takes them to get to that size? And many plants can be dwarfed. You could certainly start it out in a mug. Just be ware that eventually you might need, like, a hot tub full of dirt.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:40 PM
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Maybe it could be like a bonsai saguaro.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:41 PM
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I'd suggest using that pot, then. I wouldn't worry too much about the other stuff; cacti have evolved to survive in extremely harsh conditions. The main risk is probably over-watering.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:41 PM
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For tiny waltzing.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:42 PM
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My neighbor has a beautiful meyer lemon tree in her house in New England. I recently learned that she was given the tree as a tiny seedling 35 years ago by a college boyfriend, and that she has nurtured that plant year-in, year-out ever since.

The BF is otherwise long forgotten. The tree produces a nice crop of lemons every year, BTW.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:42 PM
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13: May the acidic taste of this fruit remind you of our time together.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:45 PM
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I honestly figured that it would grow slowly enough that it could live for a year or two in a mug with holes in the bottom. What's the problem, sanctofilo?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:45 PM
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But how do you put holes in the bottom of a ceramic mug? If I didn't like my drill, I'd try and report back.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:47 PM
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No problem; I just don't have a sense of how fast saguaros grow. All the ones I've seen have been like 20 feet tall. If the mug is about the size of the pot it came in it should be fine.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:47 PM
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I have a five foot tall ficus that I got as a six inch stick when I went to college. I'd love to have it for another few decades.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:48 PM
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I've seen various other types of cactus in little terracotta pots, which seem to do fine. I doubt drainage holes are even that necessary.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:49 PM
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16: A standing question.

17: Oh. Word. Wikipedia suggested 70-some years before they even sprout an arm. So I figured I got time.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:49 PM
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If there is an unglazed area on the bottom, you can use a masonry bit. If it's all glazed, I think you need a tile bit.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:49 PM
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I recently learned that she was given the tree as a tiny seedling 35 years ago by a college boyfriend, and that she has nurtured that plant year-in, year-out ever since.

"And if you think you're going to love me / For a long, long time / Plant an apple tree."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:49 PM
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I'm really not the best source for saguaro-related stuff. They don't grow in NM.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:51 PM
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23: Because NM is short of souvenir coffee mugs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:53 PM
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23: I can send you some seeds. There's a metric shit ton of 'em.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:54 PM
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How many saguaros are they expecting you to want to grow?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:57 PM
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26: I figured they thought at least one might grow. Maybe.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 6:58 PM
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I doubt drainage holes are even that necessary.

No no no. If the water can't drain, the roots will rot.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:00 PM
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How many cacti do you think it would take to keep the cats out of the unpaved portion of your basement? And do you have an unusually well-lit basement?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:00 PM
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29: HOLY CRAP.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:02 PM
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Well, yeah, that's what happens when you shit on a cactus.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:03 PM
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No no no. If the water can't drain, the roots will rot.

In water-related matters, you'd best listen to Megan.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:04 PM
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28: Cacti need very little water, though. What I'm thinking is that the small amount of water trickling down through the soil won't be enough to pool in the bottom of the mug even if there are no drain holes. I don't know if that's really the way it works, though. Stanley: what do the instructions say? Does the pot that came with the kit have drainage holes?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:04 PM
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I'm inclined to defer to Megan in water-related matters of course.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:05 PM
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Saguaros don't grow in California, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:05 PM
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29, 30: Don't fill your basement with gro-lites, Stanley. The helicopters will come.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:07 PM
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Listen to Megan. Cacti like drainage.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:07 PM
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Yes, but he'll inevitably overwater, which will start filling the mug. The poor thing only has a chance if there's good drainage.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:09 PM
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Point taken.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:10 PM
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Even just a little water will pool terribly in a GLAZED pot with no holes. Poor cactus. The kit comes with suitable soil, yes?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:11 PM
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You could break the mug and then Superglue it back together with a piece missing from the bottom.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:14 PM
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Tile bit, smaller than you think. Go slow!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:14 PM
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"Poor cactus"? He hasn't even planted the seeds yet. Let Stanley get started on something before you assume he's a failure.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:17 PM
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Almost as though 43 is new to the internet. Don't you dare get in the way of our dudgeon!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:19 PM
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Put some gravel in the bottom of the mug to create some air-space where water can pool if it needs to. Then put a layer of slightly smaller stones on top of that, and then put on your sand/dirt. Since its a cactus, and you won't be watering it much anyway, the lack of drain holes should not be a problem. I had a plant that lived for years under similar circumstances.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:22 PM
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42: Which two of these has TJ heard on a date?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:23 PM
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So many questions. The supplied pot is very small. It holds maybe two tablespoons of dirt (roughly, the supplied amount).

It is, based on looks, the standard orange ceramic clay pot.

The instructions indicate to place it in another, wider container with an inch of water in it. These are the only watering instructions.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:23 PM
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Also: can I cook an egg on it? I must know soon.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:25 PM
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What a terrible idea. First, cacti spoon, so they'll get stuck together. Second, you just need to get used to city driving and aggressively merge if you're stuck behind a cactus trying to turn left. NEXT QUESTION!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:27 PM
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I'm still wondering why Brock didn't just wash the egg thoroughly, pop it in his mouth, and chew. Calcium-fortified!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:27 PM
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49: I sense you're holding grudges.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:28 PM
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Many types of cactus have edible fruit. I don't know if the saguaro is one of them, but I believe cactus wrens do nest in them, so you can probably find some eggs.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:29 PM
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Someone once gave me a really great idea about just keeping track of who supports you or fails to support you in the comments.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:29 PM
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I support you, heebie!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:30 PM
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Many types of cactus have edible fruit.

Prickly pears!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:30 PM
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55 was my way of reciprocating.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:31 PM
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Thanks.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:31 PM
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53: That was my hobo consultant, who ripped off the idea from Megan. I blame hobos.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:31 PM
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You should call your next band the Hobo Consultants.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:34 PM
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You should call your next band the Hobo Consultants.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:34 PM
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But don't stutter when you do so.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:34 PM
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I too was going to suggest a bed of gravel in there somewhere, but I still think holes for the pot are a really good idea. I've always drowned my cacti, and I've tried really, really hard not to over-water them.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:36 PM
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62: Kind of like that big guy in "Of Mice and Men," except with plants instead of small mammals and women willing to marry somebody named "Curley".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:39 PM
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I overwatered the cactus of my teens, too. Poor thing. It held on from 1992 to 2000ish before I think it died of moving too often. It was so pretty, and budded several times in lovely ways.

Now I only have the bamboo Tonkelu sent me as a housewarming gift five years ago. It once was a tiny little twig, and now it is quite grand, despite oversunning, because all I have to do is make sure there's water in the damn bucket.

A guy I dated in college gave me a little azalea, and I cared for that well enough that it was a bit too big to fly home. I gave it to a boy I liked to take care of for me over the summer. He gave it to his grandmother. When we went to her house to retrieve it after the summer, she'd planted it and it was a mighty bush. Grandmas are so like that, you know? All capable and nurturing and shit. I said goodbye to it. It had chosen its new home.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:45 PM
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I think it died of moving too often

That's kind of a relief. I'd hate to think that plants with sharp needles could move easily.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:48 PM
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Forget about the mug pot and grow your cactus in one of these.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:51 PM
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We've got a not-a-cactus -- something African that looks like a cactus but is unrelated. When we got it, it was three little stick things, maybe an inch wide and six inches tall. Now it's over five feet tall, has branched out all over the place, and LOOMS. I'm afraid of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:54 PM
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I said goodbye to it. It had chosen its new home.

And then you rode the rails to Alaska in search of a paying job.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:55 PM
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I just saw that movie last week!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:56 PM
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My mental picture of LB's apartment just gets curiouser and curiouser.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:56 PM
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Of course, I also saw it when it was called The Journey of Natty Gann, which I watched pretty constantly as a child. Tomboys! Wolves! Stoic fathers! Swoon.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:58 PM
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It's pretty brilliant, how you start the movie all worried about the azalea, and about whether it's one of those manipulative Azalea Movies, but in the end, it's not at all like that, not at all.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:58 PM
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I said goodbye to it. It had chosen its new home.

Great sorrow and regret overcame them on their separation.
It was their desire; it was circumstances.
The need one had to grow its branches
made it go far away—New York or Canada.
Their love, of course, was not the love they'd started with;
the attraction holding them by slow degrees had waned,
the attraction had waned to a great degree.
But that they should separate, that wasn't their desire.
It was circumstances.—Or perhaps Fortune
came on the scene as an artist, separating them now,
before their feeling could vanish, before Time could change them;
the one will seem eternally what it was to the other—
a twenty-four year old; a young, a flourishing azalea.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 7:59 PM
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||

Damn. First school night of 2010 and I've already blown the "no tequila on a school night" rule.

|>


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:17 PM
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That's a good rule to run astray of.


Posted by: Mike d | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:22 PM
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Mike D!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:24 PM
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What can I say? I hear the word "tequila" and I come a-runnin'.

Happy New Year, AWB. I'm laid up with a terrible cold, so I hope yours is off to a better start.


Posted by: Mike d | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:29 PM
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Mine is just fine. Cold threatening, just in time to visit dear old mom. Bave and I were discussing a thing with the whole gang when I get back, if you're interested.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:34 PM
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Of course. Enjoy (as best one can) your time with the fam.


Posted by: Mike d | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 9:46 PM
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We got a kit for growing a California Redwood, which, unlike a saguaro, we could plant in our backyard. Stanley, just in case you haven't been badgered enough about it, don't try to use the mug. It's too easy to drown a cactus, so why make it easier? Save the mug for coyote urine for the cat.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:31 PM
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I wish I did not have California redwoods in my back yard. They make it really hard to grow anything under them. I wouldn't introduce them if they weren't already there.

(Someday, when I have money, I plan to take them out and have them milled for the lumber for my two story deck. Fucking redwoods.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:37 PM
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I wouldn't introduce them if they weren't already there.

I'm inclined not to, but by the time they got big enough to be a problem, they wouldn't be my problem.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:43 PM
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That's what the person who planted six redwoods on five foot spacing in my backyard must have said. Fucker.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:44 PM
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Well, they'll be a deck one day, but for now they keep me from having more fruit trees.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:45 PM
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six redwoods on five foot spacing in my backyard

Okay, that's kind of hilarious. But vegetables and fruit trees are what we need, so redwoods are probably out unless we get some more land somewhere. Plus, a neighbor gave us a view of Mount St. Helens a few years back by taking out the Doug fir in his backyard, and I'd feel bad about obscuring the same for our neighbors to the south.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 10:53 PM
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I wandered through the saguaro fields just last week, attended a party at the largest redwood grove in Southern California just three years ago, and am family-friends with the actress who played Natty Gann. I own this thread, and I'm not giving you any of the answers.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:01 PM
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Moooom, k-sky's hogging all the answers!!!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-10 11:06 PM
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And the wives!!!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 5-10 12:28 AM
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I thought k-sky has never had more than one wife at a time. Is there really such a global shortage of wives that k-sky can be monogamous and yet still hog all the wives?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01- 5-10 12:31 AM
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Not to my knowledge, no.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 5-10 12:32 AM
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The first guy to ever get married -- that guy was hogging all the wives.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 5-10 12:36 AM
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Adam?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 5-10 12:39 AM
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But not all the ribs.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 5-10 12:44 AM
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I don't think he was really married. God certainly wasn't the officiant, and who else could have done it?

Were they together long enough for it to be common-law marriage?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 5-10 12:45 AM
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He lived to be 930, so yeah, probably long enough.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 5-10 12:55 AM
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Two hour school delay for flurries. I suppose I should check the weather in the morning, but I looked out the window and it did not even occur to me to check. So I'm "working" with a pre-schooler in the office.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 5-10 6:08 AM
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So I'm "working" with a pre-schooler in the office.

One child-entertainment idea proposed by a cow-orker the other day was to shred several sheets of paper three-quarters of the way down, such that the pages have dangly bits. Staple the partially shredded sheets together. Voila! It's a grass skirt!

Alternatively, let the kid answer the phone if it rings. What could go wrong?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 5-10 8:50 AM
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97: We have a cross-cut shredder, so the grass skirt is a no go. I pitched him M & Ms while looking at animals on Wikipedia.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 5-10 8:55 AM
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Stanley speaks to Stanley across the decades:

Alcorn, Stanley M. and Edwin B. Kurtz, Jr. _Some factors affecting the germination of seed of the saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea). Amer. Jour. Bot. 46(7): 526-529. 1959. --Germination of saguaro cactus seeds is stimulated by red light (approx. 6550 A) or daylight and far-red light (approx. 7350 A) counteracts this effect. About 0.1% germinate in continuous darkness. A single exposure to red light was most effective when the seeds were imbibed 24 hr., but maximum germination resulted from multiple exposures to red light during a 72-hr. imbibition period. The optimum temperature for germination was 25 ° C.; no germination occurred at 15 ° C and only slight germination at 35 ° C. Imbibition of light-treated seeds in 0.05 to 0.2% KNO3 increased germination. Germination of seeds in either light or dark was increased by imbibing the seeds in 500 to 1000 p.p.m. gibberellic acid.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01- 5-10 5:09 PM
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imbibing the seeds in 500 to 1000 p.p.m. gibberellic acid.

He should mix the seeds with acid and then drink them?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-10 6:27 AM
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MH: If you can spare the computer, I recommend YouTube. They have They Might Be Giants video podcasts, thanks to which my daughter now knows the difference between even and odd numbers.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 6-10 6:56 AM
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We've got tickets to see They Might Be Giants. I knew they'd done songs for children, but I was taken aback to see that they are touring that way also.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-10 7:00 AM
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100: well, there are seeds that only germinate after passing through a suitable digestive tract.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01- 6-10 11:45 AM
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