Archive for the ‘Alice’ Category

O frabjous day of twenty-two-ness: batshit-bananas numerology, and baseball spring fever

February 22, 2010

“O, frabjous day! Calloo, callay!” (Carroll, Jabberwocky.)

Computer is fixed!, day off with the littl’un!, Spring Training has begun! and it’s my favorite day of the year — 2/22! Historically, this is my lucky day. I’ve always liked this date best out of the rest of the calendar. Twenty-two is my lucky number from very, very far back, followed closely by two itself (twenty-two trumps just-two because what’s better than one two? two twos. three twos, as in two-hundred-twenty-two, are okay but still inferior because they are three and not two in number. do not attempt to unravel this logic) and this was also the birthday of my first friend, Alex; feeding ducks with her by the little pond at Noble Library in San Jose is one of my first memories of laughing just from being happy. I wish it stopped there with the whyness of twenty-two-ness, but I get kind of …. into numbers.

See also: my lucky time (10:22 PM, or 22:22); the pages of Treasure Island and Wuthering Heights on which I hide money (222 and 22, respectively); the exact uniform number of Robinson Cano and less auspiciously Roger Clemens.


Julie Newmar: “Batterrrr uuup!”

Ask me someday about my theory that he is two people, one the familiar Texan do-gooder and all-around nice fellow Roger Clemens we came to love, and the other an evil, lying, cauldron of seething rage named Rogero Clemenzetti. A wicked and long-dormant personality who will stop at nothing to satisfy his creepy id-like aims, Clemenzetti emerged after a rat bit Clemens in an otherwise empty subway car between Long Island and New York, and he has never been successfully suppressed ever since — it is a very sad case of Jekyll-and-Hyde and I’m surprised no one else has caught it.


Picture from Star Trek Movie Night at the Giants’ AT&T park via Trek Movie.com, taken 4/27/09. I did not attend, as I was at the zoo with my kidlet for her 5th birthday — but we went to the movie later that week and we both cried at the beginning; we are diehard fans of Treks TOSand TNG (not so much the soapier others), but we looooved the reboot and did not find it sacrilegious at all (hot boys don’t hurt neither, and it’s about time we got some girl fan service up in this piece!).

In other thrilling baseball connections, 22 is half of the jersey number of Hank Aaron and Reggie Jackson (4’s and 44 are goodish numbers because of their relationship with 2, being both the square of it and divisible by it, but 8, despite being not just a multiple but its cube is not as good, I feel less comfortable around 8 because it’s just getting too far from 2); 20 (an also-very-very good number because 2 + 0 = 2) less than the number of one of the sport’s greatest heroes, Jackie Robinson (being 42 which is a super-very good number because of DA); and, best of all, it is 20 + 2, 20 being Jorge Posada’s jersey number, though he wore 22 for a few weeks in 1997, before the re-acquisition of Mike Stanley (meh), when Posada switched to 20 so Stanley could once more wear 22 (again, MEH).


Gwen Stefani: “Batterrrr uuup!”

As you can see, 22 is the best number there is, 20 and 2 being close seconds, and therefore 2/22 is the best day of the year. Period. Also: baseball.


Baseball players always have bubble butts. I do not know what repetitive motion it is they do that gives them woman hips, but they’ve all got ’em, except for lanky pitchers, who just have bad knees.

Sorry for the long and pointless diversion but if nothing else, I hope this has proven to you the depths of my numerical mania, and the next time I scoff at the zodiac, feel free to remind me that I have insanely detailed schools of superstition of my own and would do well not to throw stones.


via Michael Leget on the photobucket.

If you think all that was bad, you should talk to my husband, who is medicated for obsessive compulsive disorder, some time about the Importance of Doing Things By Three. He will make a believer of you or die trying. It’s a passion that probably frightened away other, wiser girls, but actually endeared him to me.

Souperbowl Sunday and shunning the frumious bandersnatch

February 7, 2010

Basking in the success and pre-indigestive warmth of the Chili Cook-off back in November, the friendohs unanimously agreed to have a Souperbowl Superbowl Sunday, wherein we would each bring signature soup dishes for everyone to try, smorgasboard style. Fast-forward to this weekend, and we’ve all been working on our recipes! I made my hearty roast red pepper and tomato soup with toasted bread crumbs, basil, oregano, carmelized pine nuts, cheddar cheese, and bacon on top. (My recipe is decidely not “heart”-healthy or low-carb.)


Stock footage. It just looks exactly like my soup. I’ll explain why I can’t upload a picture of my own in a moment.

Gorgeous George and the Gentleman are hosting, along with relative newcomer and housemate the Great Dane. The LBC is doing chicken noodle, Geo called clam chowder, and Paolo and Miss D are thinking outside the box and bringing accompanying dishes rather than soup itself. I can only guess Jonohs is bringing cheesecake; I have not had the chance to talk to him between his phone being o.o.c. and my computer in the same state. That frumious bandersnatch about which I’ve been writing from time-to-time in my occasional efforts to remove it has stepped up its game:


Tenniel cut.

It is now a straight up jubjub bird, heading swiftly in to Jabberwock territory. Not cool! Especially as I’m in the thick of the Valentine Vixens and I’ve got all kinds of babymama non-drama news to share (nothing but roses on that front, thank God one area of my life is moving along successfully) and yucky love stuff to ruminate on, as it comes up on a full year since my husband and I separated. I’m swamped with ideas and the actual desire to write for once, and the computer is decidely not cooperating.


“Now, Professor, without knowing the exact problem, would you say it’s time to PANIC, cracking each other’s heads open and feasting upon the goo inside?” “Mmm, yes I would, Kent.”

I’ve been trying a number of methods for exorcism and I’m hoping at least one pans out, but will keep you posted. I’m writing this from a borrowed computer which I’m about to vacate, so if you don’t hear from me for awhile that is the trouble. Wish me luck. Until then: “Technical difficulties — Please stand by!”

Anticipation: Mad Tea Party edition

January 31, 2010


`Have you guessed the riddle yet?’ the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.

`No, I give it up,’ Alice replied:`what’s the answer?’

`I haven’t the slightest idea,’ said the Hatter.

`Nor I,’ said the March Hare.



Alice sighed wearily. `I think you might do something better with the time,’ she said, `than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.’

`If you knew Time as well as I do,’ said the Hatter, `you wouldn’t talk about wasting it. It’s him.’


“High Tea” by Sugarrock99 on the deviantart.

`I don’t know what you mean,’ said Alice.

`Of course you don’t!’ the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. `I dare say you never even spoke to Time!’

`Perhaps not,’ Alice cautiously replied: `but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.’

`Ah! that accounts for it,’ said the Hatter. `He won’t stand beating.’


“Tea Party” by Laurence Philomene on the flickr, also to be found as MY NAME IS LAURENCE on the tumblr.

`Take some more tea,’ the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.

`I’ve had nothing yet,’ Alice replied in an offended tone, `so I can’t take more.’

`You mean you can’t take less,’ said the Hatter: `it’s very easy to take more than nothing.’


The forthcoming incarnation. Click to see immensely large @ high-resolution.

`Nobody asked your opinion,’ said Alice.

`Who’s making personal remarks now?’ the Hatter asked triumphantly.

Alice did not quite know what to say to this: so she helped herself to some tea.


“We’re All Mad Here” by JessRabbit on the redbubble.

`Really, now you ask me,’ said Alice, very much confused, `I don’t think–‘

`Then you shouldn’t talk,’ said the Hatter.

This piece of rudeness was more than Alice could bear: she got up in great disgust, and walked off.



“Alice in Wonderland 10” by hooray on the deviantart.

Neither of the others took the least notice of her going, though she looked back once or twice, half hoping that they would call after her: the last time she saw them, they were trying to put the Dormouse into the teapot.

`At any rate I’ll never go there again!’ said Alice as she picked her way through the wood. `It’s the stupidest tea-party I ever was at in all my life!’


(Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, Chapter XII.)


“Mad Tea Party” by Gurololi on the deviantart.

“And you’ll die with the rose
still on your lips,
and in time the heart-shaped bone
that was your hips.

And the worms,
they will climb
the ragged ladder
of your spine,
We’re all mad here.” — Tom Waits, “We’re all Mad Here,” Alice (Anti Records, 2002).




Previous Alice anticipation posts can be found here.

Anticipation: White Queen edition

November 23, 2009


“I’m sure I’ll take you with pleasure!” the Queen said. “Two pence a week, and jam every other day.”
Alice couldn’t help laughing, as she said, “I don’t want you to hire ME – and I don’t care for jam.”
“It’s very good jam,” said the Queen.


“Well, I don’t want any TO-DAY, at any rate.”
“You couldn’t have it if you DID want it,” the Queen said. “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.”
“It MUST come sometimes to “jam to-day,” Alice objected.
“No, it can’t,” said the Queen. “It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.”
“I don’t understand you,” said Alice. “It’s dreadfully confusing!”


The White Queen: Can you do addition? What’s one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?
Alice: I don’t know. I lost count. (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass)

The following chunks of factoids on Alice, chess, and conspiracy theories all come courtesy of that there ol’ wiki: let it take you for a spin today!

Most main characters met in the story are represented by a chess piece, with Alice herself being a pawn. However, the moves described in the ‘chess problem’ cannot be carried out legally due to a move where white does not move out of check (a list of moves is included – note that a young child might make this error due to inexperience).


Although the chess problem is generally regarded as a nonsense composition because of the story’s ‘faulty link with chess’, the French researchers Christophe LeRoy and Sylvain Ravot have argued that it actually contains a ‘hidden code’ by Carroll to the reader.

The code is supposed to be related to Carroll’s relationship with Alice Liddell, and apparently contains several references to Carroll’s favorite number, 42.


The theory and its implications have been criticized for lack of solid evidence, misrepresenting historical facts about Carroll and Alice, and flirting with numerology and esotericism.

Oh, no, not esotericism. I simply cannot brook such a thing.



Previous Alice anticipation posts can be found here.

Anticipation: Red Queens edition

November 22, 2009

I meant to gather quotes from the Red Queen and the Queen of Hearts, but instead I ran across this intriguing wikipedia entry so I pasted that almost in its entirety instead. The entry describes the Red Queen Hypothesis and talks about evolution, sex, genetic arms races, and the “cost” of males.


I have lost the credit for this picture.

The Red Queen’s Hypothesis, or “Red Queen Effect” is an evolutionary hypothesis. The term is taken from the Red Queen’s race in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass.


Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen in the forthcoming Tim Burton movie

The Red Queen said, “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” The Red Queen Principle can be stated thus:

“For an evolutionary system, continuing development is needed just in order to maintain its fitness relative to the systems it is co-evolving with.”

The hypothesis is intended to explain two different phenomena: the advantage of sexual reproduction at the level of individuals, and the constant evolutionary arms race between competing species.


“The Queen of Hearts” by Simon Sherry on redbubble

Science writer Matt Ridley popularized the term “the red queen” in connection with sexual selection in his book The Red Queen. In the book, Ridley discussed the debate in theoretical biology over the adaptive benefit of sexual reproduction to those species in which it appears. The connection of the Red Queen to this debate arises from the fact that the traditionally accepted theory (Vicar of Bray) only showed adaptive benefit at the level of the species or group, not at the level of the gene (although, it must be added here that the protean ‘Vicar of Bray’ adaptation is very useful to some species that belong to the lower levels of the food chain).


“Future Queen of Hearts” by Micklyn on redbubble

By contrast, a Red-Queen-type theory that organisms are running cyclic arms races with their parasites can explain the utility of sexual reproduction at the level of the gene by positing that the role of sex is to preserve genes that are currently disadvantageous, but that will become advantageous against the background of a likely future population of parasites.


I don’t know where I got this

Sex is an evolutionary puzzle. In most sexual species, males make up half the population, yet they bear no offspring directly and generally contribute little to the survival of offspring. In fact, in some species, such as lions, males pose a positive threat to live young fathered by other males (although this could be viewed as a manifestation of Richard Dawkins’ so-called selfish gene, whose ‘goal’ is to reproduce itself, which may as a consequence suppress the reproduction of other genes). In addition, males and females must spend resources to attract and compete for mates. Sexual selection also can favor traits that reduce the fitness of an organism, such as brightly colored plumage in birds of paradise that increases the likelihood for an individual to be noticed by both predators and potential mates (see the handicap principle for more on this). Thus, sexual reproduction can be highly inefficient.


This came from an online auction; the crown sold 8-25-09. Not to me.

One possible explanation for the fact that nearly all vertebrates are sexual is that sex increases the rate at which adaptation can occur. This is for two reasons. Firstly, if an advantageous mutation occurs in an asexual line, it is impossible for that mutation to spread without wiping out all other lines, which may have different advantageous mutations of their own. Secondly, it mixes up alleles. Some instances of genetic variation might be advantageous only when paired with other mutations, and sex increases the likelihood that such pairings will occur.


“Princess of Hearts” by Basia McAuley on redbubble

For sex to be advantageous for these reasons requires constant selection for changing conditions. One factor that might cause this is the constant arms race between parasites and their hosts. Parasites generally evolve quickly, due to their short lifespans. As they evolve, they attack their hosts in a variety of ways. Two consecutive generations might be faced with very different selective pressures. If this change is rapid enough, it might explain the persistence of sex.


“Opposite attract” by Jenni Holmada on flickr

Interesting shit, am I right?

Anticipation: Alice moving under skies/ Never seen by waking eyes

November 19, 2009



A BOAT, beneath a sunny sky
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July —



Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear —



Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.



Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.



Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.



In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:



Ever drifting down the stream —
Lingering in the golden gleam —
Life, what is it but a dream? — Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, Chapter XII: “Which Dreamed It?”

The poem is an acrostic. Going down, the first letter of each line spells out “Alice Pleasance Liddell.”