Thursday, August 16, 2018

And after thrice...

What comes after once, twice, thrice?  Nothing.  These three are the only words of their type and no further terms in the series have ever existed.

There are many researchers out there and the forum had a post on this, claiming there is a series from Wiktionary.  It turned out to be unverifiable.  However, the entertainment is excellent:

... Wiktionary's list of protologisms as terms coming after "once" for "one time", "twice" for "two times" and "thrice" for "three times". 

quarce: Four times 
quince: Five times 
sess: Six times 
sepce: Seven times 
okce: Eight times 
nince: Nine times 
dekce: Ten times 
elfce: Eleven times 
duss: Twelve times 
baikce: Thirteen times"

Thrice has fallen out of favour and common usage. Its usage has fallen steadily since 1810, so we can conclude it is no longer in common usage.  I found a reference to this in another response in an English language forum.  It claims that the last straw for the expression thrice occurred in It Happened on the Way to the Forum.  The blame is put Zero Mostel with his witty line "He raped Thrace thrice".

A comeback may be on the way:  when William and Kate had their third baby, William was buckling his new son's car seat into the car. He had a short interaction with the adoring media and crowd outside of the hospital, where he held up three fingers and joked, "Thrice the worry now!"

There are at least 2 thrice jokes:

Jarul goes to church and he decided to get baptized. The pastor dipped him thrice in the baptizimal pool and said, "You are baptized in the name of the father, and of the son and of the holy spirit. From now on you are no longer to be called Jarul but Joseph, and you should never drink beer again." Jarul went home and took a cold pint of beer, recalling what the pastor said he headed for the kitchen and dipped the pint of beer in a bowl of water thrice saying from now on you are nolonger to be called Budweiser but orange juice. 

And another:

Q. What happens when a lion roars thrice?
A. Tom & Jerry cartoon begins.

I drove to Acton yesterday to see Lost Horizons - a garden nursery with beautiful display gardens  It was definitely worth the drive to Acton.  

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Polish Pope and the N.Y. Ballerina

Ballerina rose has very small single blossoms in large sprays that are reminiscent of hydrangeas.  David Austin dates it to 1937, by Bentall.  It is a hybrid musk rose and considered wonderful in the garden border.  Our story on Saturday is that this rose got its name when a young women in the U.S. moved to New York in 1932 to become a ballerina.  She brought two of these rose plants with her. And what she did was take each tiny flower and freeze it in an ice cube.  Then she sold them to the New York bars for fancy drinks.  She made her fortune this way, and named the rose "Ballerina".

The documented hybridizing story is that the rose was  hybridized by Joseph Pemberton in London between 1912 and 1926. He hybridized 35 varieties and 20 are available in the nursery trade today.  Pemberton is well covered as a rosarian and nursery owner and when he died, he bequeathed the roses to their gardeners and that's how Jack and Ann Bentall became associated with the rose.  The famous rose Iceberg of 1958 was bred from one of Pemberton's.  Iceberg is one of the all-time popular white roses and still grown widely today.

So how is  the Polish Pope related to roses?  John Paul II has a beautiful white rose named for him.  It was hybridized at Jackson and Perkins, and Vatican representatives travelled to the hybridizing field before the Pope's death from Parkinson's.  A group of Cardinals picked out this exceptional pure white rose to be the commemorative rose after his death.

Jackson and Perkins went out of business, though the name is still used for the current selling. Our grower at Palantine has this rose in the field, and was contacted by the company that bought Jackson and Perkins, and threatened with a law suit over licensing.  What he knew though, was that the Vatican had paid outright for the rose - he said $150,000 - and owned it without any patent or licensing rights attached to it.  So he is able to continue to grow and sell this exceptional rose. Unless the Vatican decides otherwise.

We see the Ballerina rose in the field - you can see the tiny flowers in big hydrangea clusters.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

From Pencils on to pens

And so we look at pens today.  I thought the ballpoint pen was invented in the 1950's as we started to use them by 1960's in school.  What I remember is the Bic pen  - it was commercially successful by the 1960's.

I find out that the first patent for a ballpoint pen was issued in 1888.  It was later with the Biro brothers, in 1938, who filed a British patent, and then an Argentinian patent, after fleeing the Germans, that commercial models were made - by 1943.  

In terms of inventions, it is in our generation that the felt tip pen - the marker -  was invented and became a common tool.  It was developed by Yukio Horie, president of the Tokyo Stationery Company in the 1960s.  The company is now Pentel.

We know that the timeline of the pen starts with the Egyptian reed pen around 2000 BC.  Bamboo is a hollow, tubular plant that functioned well as a pen.

Remember Charles Dickens and the quill pen?  Quills were used as early as 600 AD, they continued for a long time. The fountain pen came in 1827, so Dickens would have switched over in his lifetime.

Many advancements occurred in the 19th and 20th century.  And of course, the typewriter is the tool that has competed most successfully for dominance. We remain with pens for our signatures, though, a defining part of our identity.

Here are some curiosities and interesting facts about pens:

95 percent of the time, when a person receives a new pen, the first thing they write is their own name.

The average Bic Cristal ballpoint can produce a line of around 2km. That means that one single pen could draw a line over four times longer than the height of the Empire State Building.

The world’s biggest ballpoint pen: 18 ft 0.53 in and weighing 82.08 lb 1.24 oz.
On average, a pen can write approximately 45,000 words.
The Aurora Diamante is the most expensive writing instrument till date. It retails at $1,470,600.  The pen contains over 30 carats of De Beerss diamonds on a solid platinum barrel.

In the late 1990s, NASA decided to design a pen to be used in space. They used millions of dollars and lots of time do design this pen but still couldn’t come up with a concept. However the Russians decided to take up a pencil instead. This saved millions of dollars and lots of time.

Former SIS officer Richard Tomlinson alleges that Pentel Rolling Writer rollerball pens were extensively used by agents to produce secret writing (invisible messages) while on missions. An agent would write the secret message on a piece of paper, then place a blank piece of paper over the message, pressing the two pages together for a moment. When they are separated, the second page looks completely blank but in fact, contains a latent (invisible) copy of the message. The agent then destroys the first piece of paper. Simply rubbing the blank-looking second piece of paper with an ink pen reveals the latent message.
Our pictures today show the random scratch lines to be found on metal followed by the pencil writing on the wall at Kingston Penitentiary.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


Graphite is what makes a pencil a pencil although it started as lead in Roman times.  Graphite being non-toxic, it became the 'lead' in the pencil.

The history of pencils at tells me that Graphite came into widespread use following the discovery of a large graphite deposit in Borrowdale, England in 1564.  Later, the graphite was inserted into hollowed-out wooden sticks and, thus, the wood-cased pencil was born.  Nuremberg, Germany was the birthplace of the first mass-produced pencils in 1662.

Pencils have been painted yellow since the 1890s for an interesting reason.
During the 1800s, the best graphite in the world came from China. American pencil makers wanted a special way to tell people that their pencils contained Chinese graphite.
In China, the color yellow is associated with royalty and respect. American pencil manufacturers began painting their pencils bright yellow to communicate this “regal” feeling and association with China.

How is the graphite put into the hollow wood? Two wooden halves were carved, a graphite stick inserted, and the halves then glued together. 

According to the Guardian in a recent article, children struggle to hold pencils due to too much tech.  An overuse of touchscreen phones and tablets is preventing children's finger muscles from developing sufficiently to enable them to hold a pencil correctly.  You an see the methods of holding a pencil in the article HERE.

Here's a contrast between two doorways - the first in Toronto and then Buffalo on the garden walk.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Atomic Day

Of those five interesting facts yesterday, one of them was that the U.S. was going to detonate an atomic bomb on the moon - just to prove it could.  I usually feel compelled to reference an article on stories like this as they are so bizarre that they seem to be fiction.  

Here is the Wikipedia entry on this:  Project A119, also known as A Study of Lunar Research Flights, was a top-secret plan developed in 1958 by the United States Air Force. The aim of the project was to detonate a nuclear bomb on the Moon which would help in answering some of the mysteries in planetary astronomy and astrogeology. If the explosive device detonated on the surface, not in a lunar crater, the flash of explosive light would have been faintly visible to people on earth with their naked eye, a show of force resulting in a possible boosting of domestic morale in the capabilities of the United States, a boost that was needed after the Soviet Union took an early lead in the Space Race and was also working on a similar project.

The project was revealed in 2000 by a former executive of NASA.  Carl Sagan was on the team responsible for predicting the effects of a nuclear explosion in vacuum and low gravity. The government has never officially recognized the project. 

And what day is today? The 73rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.  The after effects of the radiation continue: the list of those who died was updated since last year's anniversary.

Do you know that there were people in both atomic blasts?  It was thought that perhaps as many as 200 people from Hiroshima sought refuge in Nagasaki.  The Japanese government officially recognized Tsutomu Yamaguchi as a double "hibakusha". He was 3 km from ground zero in Hiroshima where he was badly burned, then arrived at his home city on August 8th, the day before the bombing.  He was at his place of work during the second bombing.  His remarkable story is HERE.  

There are two stories in our images today - the first a wonderful sidewalk into a Summer Street Buffalo Garden, and the second a solitary confinement cell at Kingston Penitentiary.