Archive for Books

The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World

You know, I really should have thought ahead. Yeah, cool, decide to blog more often right before becoming a vegetable. I mean, the excitement in my life this last week has been going a day without narcotics and wearing a skirt. (Hey, you try something with a waist band after getting laparoscopic surgery. It’s far more exciting than it sounds.)

But I did finish my first book of the new year: The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan. As a teacher of Scientific Inquiry, Pollan’s books are almost a guilty pleasure for me, but they are a pleasure. It’s not really science, more a combination of memoir, natural history, and strange thinking. And a little science. I really like the strange thinking.

But ya know, I never really thought about why people can get high until I read this book. Really, what’s the biological benefit of intoxication? But Pollan makes some guesses.

And I always saw Johnny Appleseed as that simple elementary school hero, bringing an apple a day to the frontier for its health. Ain’t necessarily so. Seems that until Prohibition, the reason people grew apples was to make hard cider. The whole apple a day/eat apples for health was developed during prohibition to have something else to do with apples.

And I had no idea apples didn’t grow true…if you plant an apple seed, you’ll get a tree and it’ll have fruit, but they probably will be nothing like the apple you got the seed from. (Apparently citrus is even more strange…an orange seed may result in any sort of citrus fruit tree.)

So, that’s been the highlight of the last few days. I also was finally able to count to 8…when I came out of surgery a week ago, the nurse counted and told me there were 8 incisions. For the life of me, I’ve only seen 7 of them for the last week. This morning I noticed that what I had thought was one bandage was actually two, so I made it to 8. Just in time to have all the bandages removed Monday.

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