This is a collection of thoughts from a poor, wayfaring stranger.
I live in the American West. The picture at the top of my page was taken about thirty miles from here. That may be about fifty clicks. The background image is, indeed, Penrose Tiling. I know three things for certain: Gravitation is locally indistinguishable from acceleration. All true knowledge comes from experiment. And there is no darkness so intense that it can extinguish a single candle. These statements define a locus in which I reside.
When I was young I read Clavell’s Shogun. I was quite taken with the pilot’s name- Blackthorne. I clearly remember wishing I had a cool name like that.
In western Europe one may define a Spectrum of Plums:
There is the wild plum called the Blackthorn. Prunus Spinosa. Spiny, bitter until the cyanide is broken down. Blackthorn is often used in walking sticks because that is about how long the spiny, hard branches get. Its fruit is called a sloe and is the flavoring in Sloe Gin. The distinctive oval shape is the origin for the phrase sloe-eyes.
There is Prunus Insititia which is larger, less thorny, stronger, and has a much larger ball-shaped fruit. It is, however, still bitter until cooked. Very popular in jams and sloe gin. The same spoilsports who have made wolves a subspecies of dog have in recent years made the Prunus Insititia a subspecies of the domesticated plum. So it is now often Prunus Domestica sp Insititia. This is actually appropriate as Prunus Insititia was the domesticated plum of the Roman Empire. It only grows where the Romans settled and has been allowed to go feral.
Sweeter plums have been bred since the Romans. The domesticated plum – Prunus Domestica – seems now to have been bred from the Feral Plum. It can be eaten raw. It is not an attractive nuisance for webworms as the Blackthorn is. And horsemen prefer the domesticated plum because the cyanide in Prunus Spinosa and Prunus Insititia is a hazard to horses.
For this reason the Feral Plum was not brought to North America. Or rather occasionally, whimsically, namelessly, and not as a crop. Its name is almost unknown in American English.
I share my name with the Feral Plum. I didn’t learn my name’s meaning until adulthood. Most of my family still don’t know what this odd name signifies.
So when I wished I had a cool name like Blackthorne in Shogun, it turns out that I DO. In fact I have a larger, stronger, better name than Anjin-san.
Any comments should be sent to DelphiMT at yahoo point com.