Monday, May 07, 2007

grapefruits, heatwaves, and giant flying things

Call out the Department of Redundancy Department. I've got dictional bone to pick with the citrus-growing industry in the shape of a big, round, yellow ball. Yes, the grapefruit. I love 'em--i peel them and eat 'em like oranges, and i noticed this afternoon that their oil has light anesthetic properties. (i carelessly licked it off my hand and discovered that my tongue went numb shortly afterward. fun!) They're tangy and sweet and ever so tasty, yet they share their name...with grapes. In case nobody else noticed...grapes are a fruit too. Yes they grow on vines and have a soft peel and are often purple or green, but that doesn't make them gourds. And if you go to a vineyard you'll occasionally hear the distinction between "fruit-grapes" and "wine-grapes" (no profitable Napa vineyard grows Concords, for instance). So a grape is a grape, a fruit-grape is a grape, but a grape-fruit is a massive, yellow citrus that grows on trees in coastal areas.

I discovered, thanks to trusty old Wikipedia, that grapefruits got their name from the formation in which they grow--apparently some dolt thought they looked like big, yellow clusters of grapes. (later that day, the same explorer looked up and said "wow, those fruits are really orange. Aha!") Other societies call them Shaddocks or Shattucks, which, interestingly, is the name of the main drag in my town. It makes me quite smug to know that i've walked down Grapefruit street. Just like I've vacationed in a town named Blackcurrant (Cassis.) What's wrong with Shattuck? or Pamplemousse? (c'mon, pamplemousse is funny.) Or Yellow? I'd be fine with calling a grapefruit a Yellow. Actually, since grapefruits can come in pink, maybe lemons should get that name. In any case. I refuse to recognize "grapefruit" as a legitimate name for a plant.

I'm really fine with pineapples, in case you were wondering--they're a pine cone-shaped fruit, and humans have an ages-old tendency to refer to apples as though they're the original fruit and name other foods as they relate to them. Whether its pommes de terre, crabapples, road apples, or that insufferable adage about doctors, we just like to put things in terms of apples.


So it got up to 93°F (33°C) in the shop today, low humidity, with a light breeze. Compared to home it was a friggin blizzard but somehow California has made me into a complete wimp when it comes to temperature. I was complainin' and dreaming of a cold beer right along with my cold-climate co-workers.


I smacked this bug today--it looked like a flying daddy long-legs except it was red with a stinger. I didn't really get to examine it before it was skeeter purée but it looked vicious.


I don't approve of the CRV--the California Redemption Value deposit added on to cans and bottles. First off, if you actually do return the bottles and cans, you don't get the full value of your deposit back. They only accept recyclables by the pound, and then the returns are trifling. Second, its not like we're going to take them to the recycling center by ourselves--the city collects them for you to try and prevent huge back-ups over there, but they do not pay you back for the deposits you've made. I've been to the recycling center in this area and its ridiculous trying to get in, get weighed, drop off the materials, and get your money. Takes hours, the lines are atrocious, you get harassed by tramps, and the people who work there look so disgruntled you want to hug them. Why charge people extra for cans when you don't want them to try to redeem their deposit? that's less like a recycling incentive and more like...theft.
MEANWHILE, the city never even gets the chance to collect your recyclables in the first place to take them to the center--the junkies do it first, in the middle of the night, making as much noise as possible in the process. Basically, we're paying a fairly sizable chunk of change on every purchase in order to be disturbed at 4 am by clinking and shouting coming from our own curbs. How perfectly preposterous.


Ben said...

Pamplemousse is a damn sexy word. I expect I'm just another cold-climate sissy but 33C is way past my melting point. I just shut down like a troll and start dribbling.

colormecynical said...

you're too tall to rest your knuckles on the ground like that.

I spent this entire evening at the ER with Sheri, my flatmate, 'cos she poked her thumb real good on a rusty nail and needed a tetanus shot. We wound up waiting for 4 hours. it was interminable. She's okay.

Ben said...

It's encouraging to hear that sitting around waiting for hours in A&E isn't something that only happens in the UK