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Apple tree sex

We watched a program about apples last night. And it was interesting. The British are whoop-de-gaga about apples. They eat billions of them every year, in hundreds of varieties.

So. If you eat a Granny Smith for lunch and then you plant the seeds, the resulting trees will bear apples that are not a Granny Smith. In fact, each pip will grow into a unique tree.

Why is this? For the same reason your second child is probably not a lot like your first and neither of them are exactly like you: apples are genetically complicated. They’re the most genetically complicated fruit of all. There’s a mommy tree and a daddy tree and they each contribute genes in near infinite combination. There are more than 7,000 recognized varieties of apple, which doesn’t count all the unrecognized apple varieties that sucked.

Now, I am a complete horticultural illiterate, so y’all probably knew this already, but I didn’t.

So every single Red Delicious or Pink Lady is grown from cuttings off one tree (or, you know, cuttings off of cuttings off of cuttings) grafted onto a different rootstock. Turns out, we figured out how to graft plants back in the days of the Pharaohs.

The program visited the old lady with the original Bramley in her back yard (Bramley is the most popular cooking apple in Britain). Upwards of two hundred years old and still going strong (the tree, not the lady). When she realized the tree was actually growing in the garden next door, she bought the house next door.

The original Granny Smith, by the way, was discovered by Mrs Smith of New South Wales growing at a garbage dump. Word.

And then there’s the dude who found the Next Big Apple growing on the shoulder of the interstate (well, the A4260. They don’t have interstates here). Somebody cruising down the highway eating an apple, tossed the core and — walla — honking great apple tree with especially nice fruit.

Britons: potty about apples.

December 20, 2012 — 11:37 pm
Comments: 36

Postcards from the Renaissance

Look, it’s me! Freerunning across the rooftops of Renaissance Florence!

Yup, I’m playing my way through the Assassin’s Creed series, now that the first few are older and cheaper. The first one was a little brain-hurty, offing all those Crusaders. But it was awesome to parkour my way through Jerusalem and Acre.

Also, I discovered if you grab a beggar woman by the front of the robe and give her a shove, she falls down and you get to see her underpants. As to why I might want to see a beggar woman’s underpants, this chick was the most irritating indigent ever. “But you don’t understand, sir, I haven’t any munnay!”

Wham! Underpants!

As a nodding aside to current events, of course violent games are dangerous for potentially murderous crazy people. And violent movies. And music. And the next-door neighbor’s barking dog. But particularly games. They’re like dress rehearsals for atrocity. But we don’t really want to live in a world where everyone’s entertainment is tailored for the one-in-a-hundred-million, undescended violent nutcase, do we?

No. We do not. Thank you.

Anyway, I’ve just started Assassin’s Creed II. Renaissance Italy. Leonardo da Vinci has repaired my spring-loaded assassination blade.

Say, who in the HECK thought it was a good idea to start a game with a realistic childbirth scene? I’m a woman of fifty-something, and that shit makes me cringe.

— 12:09 am
Comments: 26