Let Us Give Thanks!

08/24/2016 § 5 Comments

2016_08_24 Casserole and veggies

OK, so everyone on this plate agrees.  The popularity of raw vegetables is a good thing.  Best way to beat the heat.

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I Thought the Eye Color Was GENETIC

08/22/2016 § 13 Comments

Black-eyed Susans

You have to ask why we’re hiding?  We’re Black-eyed Susans.  We’re tired of (1) black eyes and (2) bullies.

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Saturday Bonus Post–Letter #29: “Night Life”

08/20/2016 § 8 Comments

See links at bottom for the previous letters.

Dear E.,

Was last night ever different!

I’ve worked with Professor Clay Pottsbetter in the Botany Department on several correspondence courses over the years. When I talked to him on the phone last week, he invited me to see the new $1.5 million greenhouse. It was built solely to house the Fert L. and Flora R. Moss Carnivorous Plant Collection, affectionately known on campus as the “Killer Kingdom.” The Mosses left instructions that, if they should ever disappear, after one year the collection was to go to the university along with enough money to build a state-of-the-art greenhouse. No one has seen the Mosses for five years, although articles of their clothing were found in their greenhouse.

For some reason the professor wanted me to see the exhibit at night. We agreed on last night.

When I arrived after dark, the greenhouse was beautifully lit inside, with golden pools of light showcasing magnificent greenery. It was more like looking into an exclusive restaurant than into a plant collection, a most inviting scene. When I entered the outer doors the atmosphere changed, and I don’t mean the humidity. I was in a type of airlock with another set of double doors in front of me. A sign just to the right of the doors said:

1. NEVER leave both the inner and outer doors open at the same time.
2. CARRY small children at all times.
3. BE AWARE of your surroundings and watch for movement.
4. DO NOT FEED the plants.
5. DO NOT TALK to the plants.
6. ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE.

OK, so I made up that last one. It seemed to be the direction the list was going. I was amused that a greenhouse would post warnings more appropriate for a zoo. I went through the inner doors and began looking for Professor Pottsbetter. Soon I got glimpses of his arms and torso as he moved through some dense foliage. I could make out that he was carrying a large pot and that he was running.

I called his name. No response. I called his name louder. No response. I could hear him running, but could no longer tell where he was. From somewhere in the greenhouse I could hear what sounded like faint singing. I was beginning to wonder if the professor had invited me over just to play hide and seek.

When I rounded the first turn I saw a whole group of plants tearing at a raw sirloin steak like vultures. They looked up when I came into view, then went back to their feast, keeping a leafy eye on me, feigning disinterest. I decided to move on before the steak was gone. I kept getting glimpses of the professor’s arms holding a pot as he ran.

I turned another corner and saw an exhibit labeled “Vegetarian Carnivores—Plants That Eat Soy-Based Meat Substitutes.” I quickly saw that their diet did not mean they were gentle. They didn’t stop eating, but they seemed very interested in me. Well, not me exactly. They seemed to be eyeing my cotton clothing.

At last I ran into the professor. The plant he was carrying had a huge tulip-like bloom that had bent down to envelope his head! I suspected that a good plant had gone bad. I had to act fast! I could try to kill the plant, but it might be the only one of its kind in the world. I decided to insult it.

“Oh, that takes skill,” I said. “Chomp down on the professor’s head while he is carrying your pot. You couldn’t ambush him like any self-respecting carnivore. You have to wait until he’s tending you to get a head. You’re really a CARNIVAL!”

That was a bit too insulting. The plant released the professor’s head, assumed its full height, and then the bloom lunged at my head, with a degree of malice I have never before seen in a plant.

The professor acted quickly. He let go of the pot, and as it smashed against the pavement he grabbed the bloom by its stem and snapped it off. With its roots exposed and its bloom gone the plant lay dying. I asked the professor if he was all right, and he told me that I had found him just in the nick of time—that he was almost out of air. Then he explained what had happened.

“When the plant bloomed,” he said, “I realized that it was a carnivorous weed, an Attica Felonious. If it had gotten out of that pot it would have taken over the entire greenhouse. I was carrying it to the compost pile when it attacked.” I told him that I was glad he was all right (and that it was a good thing I wasn’t late). Then I asked him why he wanted me to come at night.

“Because I wanted you to see this,” he said, leading me down the rest of that row and around a corner. Beneath a sign saying, “Synchronized Eating,” a dozen small plants were eating from a silver tray containing bacon bits. It was lovely. Pastel blooms atop graceful stems were bending down to the tray and then straightening back up in an elaborately orchestrated sequence coordinated to the singing of nearby choir plants, the source of the singing I had heard earlier.

“They only eat at night,” the professor said. “Since it’s always after visiting hours, few people get to see this. I’m also glad you got to hear the accompaniment. The choir plants are insatiable gluttons and can’t sing while they’re eating.” He then showed me the rest of the collection. I thanked him and started to say goodbye.

Looking around warily, he said that if I didn’t mind he’d walk out with me. He added that they’re wonderful plants, but he’d never want to be in there when the greenhouse is low on food.

“Or at night during a power outage,” I added.

The professor shivered as we walked out into the warm night air. “I’m ordering back-up generators first thing in the morning,” he said.

More later,

– Lyle

Copyright © 2015 John Arthur Robinson
All rights reserved

[Excerpt from: More Later: Lyle’s Letters from the University, Red Axe Books, UK, 2015. The book contains 42 letters.]

Available at the Amazon site for your country or at Amazon U.S. for $6.99 here or at Amazon U.K. for £4.99 here. Makes a nice gift for any occasion or a perfect stocking stuffer.

Circular Reasoning

08/19/2016 § 11 Comments

2016_08_19 Flat Tire

The reason for my failure is simple.  I got tired.

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Uh, Looks Like HERS is TOO!

08/17/2016 § 9 Comments

escaping-plant
Two Plants with Radio

Since I escaped your clutches, Edna, my life is all sunshine and music.

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