A Few Fun Photos

Here are three photos that I have been meaning to blog about for a little while.

A Single Plant Would Not Be Enough. We Need A Whole Trail.

It is pretty common in this country to walk around a vaguely wooded area and see a few signs identifying trees and other flora by their Latin names. It is less common to find a themed "walking tour" with these signs, but still not unheard-of. However, Mills College is home to the first Healing Plant Tour that I have encountered. I guess somebody figured Mills did not have enough loopy Bay Area credibility, so it was either this or replacing the mascot with an endangered species.

There are probably about a dozen or so ironies in this particular photo, but I will only point out a few.

  • Mills College is an institution of higher education, yet the identifying sign on its Healing Plant Tour uses incorrect grammar and is redundant to boot. "A California state law, that prohibits collecting the plant in the wild, now protects Toyon." Dump the commas, and delete "that" and the last three words. Then maybe we can talk.
  • Mills College is ostensibly an institution that celebrates womanhood and all that, to the point that its undergraduate students rioted in 1990 when the administration tried to take it co-ed. (The graduate program has admitted men since the 1930s.) (Also, I am using the Bay Area definition of "riot," which is to hold a sit-in.) The irony is that this sign celebrates the fact that toyon was once used by Native Americans to "suppress ... menses." Not all that empowering, IMHO. I wonder if there is a sign near a patch of hemlock bushes identifying it as an abortifacient?
  • The Healing Plant Tour was funded by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation. This, as any Orange County native knows, is the charitable arm of The Irvine Co., a rapacious land developer that never met an environmentally sensitive habitat that it would not raze in order to build several hundred cookie-cutter homes, the presence of toyon or other healing plants notwithstanding. Furthermore, my father worked for The Irvine Co. for thirteen years. In that light, while I suppose I could complain that the foundation is donating money for a stupid plant tour when it should be giving that money to students like me, in a sense, it has already given money to me, so I will let that point slide.
  • This sign is not very near the toyon bush. In fact, it is closer to several other species. This defeats the purpose of having a sign for identification.
Moving on.

Don't Steal My Correction Fluid, Bitch

I took this picture in the L.A. office of the union where I work about seven months ago. It shows a bottle of white-out that I found in the recently vacated office of a former co-worker. In case you can't really read it, that is a stickie note on the bottle that reads "COMM DEPT LOCAL 399." Local 399 was the name of the Southern California half of our union before a merger in 2005.

We've all seen staplers and tape dispensers floating around offices with somebody's name on them. These items seem to disappear a lot. In fact, at my last job, I used a stapler labeled "Carla" and a pair of scissors labeled "Joe F." for at least a year. But white-out? Who the hell is going to walk away with that? And furthermore, who cares? Nothing is more obnoxious than not having a stapler when you need one, but I can't imagine the Communications Department was using so much correction fluid that the bottle had to be labeled against theft. And before you suggest that they were snorting it, let me just say that if you are snorting white-out at the office, labeling the bottle so it does not get stolen is the least of your concerns.

But what's really at issue here is the fact that the company name is written on the label. That office was always Local 399's office; there were never any other occupants. I just had lunch at Google the other day, and I did not see any office supplies labeled "Google" to prevent About.com employees from accidentally walking away with them. "Oh, man, this paper clip box isn't mine. It's not even my employer's! How embarrassing for me. And my employer. If only they had labeled it."

Exhibit A In The Case Against Stock Photos

I found this picture while trolling stock-image site photos.com for a recent presentation in my thrilling class on Russian literary theory. My question is simple. What is this woman doing? Her shirt is open, her bra is exposed, she is sitting, she is looking up at a TV (presumably), and she has the remote in her hand. If that's how people watch TV, obviously I've been doing it all wrong.

One is reminded of the Expulsion scene from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I challenge anyone to look at this image and tell me there is a non-fellatio-related explanation for what our ancestors were doing about five seconds before someone tapped Eve on the shoulder and she turned around.

Who said museum art is boring?


Three Items Or Less

I always enjoy looking at what the people in line ahead of me at the supermarket are purchasing. This is particularly amusing in the express lane, because people who purchase fewer than ten items at a time are often buying strange combinations of things. Sometimes I imagine the guy buying charcoal briquettes, a can of corn, two boxes of Eggo waffles, and a copy of Redbook is about to host a very odd party.

Today at Safeway I purchased the following three items:

I encourage you to imagine my strange dinner.