Gilt

photo of an oak apple gall with a poem about El Dorado

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

15 Comments


  1. Love the shifting font size. Great blend of means and message. And I love “how he shifted into the sun-struck glare of baser metals!”

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  2. I love the poem but I’m afraid I’m being dense about the picture. All I can think of is a gigantic cedar berry, and although I can imagine relations to El Dorado, I think that’s just because I can imagine relations between any two things if I think hard enough :-)

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  3. Well, here’s my opportunity to prove I’m not merely an uncritical vacuumer of your work… the picture doesn’t work for me. I love the way the lines follow the contour of the leaf, and the words themselves, but what’s that thing in the middle of the image? some kind of quince? a fool’s pear? I fear you have to make allowances for the botanically challenged among your audience. Assuming it’s a form of plant of course. Which it may not be.

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  4. Happy New Year, Dave – enjoying this series and wishing you delight in the coming year.

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  5. Hi everybody. Happy New Year! Let’s make this into a contest: Name the Strange Roundish Object in the Digital Postcard. Points will be awarded for creativity, not necessarily for correctness. I mean, i know what I took a picture of, but what the picture actually contains — and how it relates (or not) to the middling text to its right — is and should remain open to conjecture. Conject away!

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  6. From the value the text associates with it, I assumed it was the pitam of an etrog, removed only after its use last Sukkot. (The brown leaf cinches your intended connection with that fall feast.) Am I wrong? Because I’m prepared to take back that “Great blend of means and message” remark I made.

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  7. Ponce de Leon introduced oranges in Florida. The word orange may have derived from “or,” the French for gold. Moving west, there is an Eldorado, Oklahoma, a state in which conquistadors and Osage Indians overlapped. So the resultant base metal equivalent:

    The osage orange
    a compound drupe
    chartreuse and bumpy
    the dysfunctional fruit

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  8. Or perhaps the type of gourd used for medicine rituals by Zuni ancestors in New Mexico, when the “black conquistador” searched there for El Dorado.

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  9. Now you’re talking! You must’ve read my poem. (Funny, you don’t seem like a masochist.)

    Peter, I think you’re off by an an order of magnitude there. But I sure enjoyed reading about the pitam.

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  10. Absolutely no masochism (tango or foxtrot) required for Cibola, but certainly an uninterrupted block of time and attention. I need to print (and therefore really read), once plumber determines whether leaking frig about to drop through floor into basement. And what gremlin alters circuit breaker cheat-sheet when my back turned?

    2009 already mocks me.

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  11. First a “black conquistador” mention, then a Tom Lehrer allusion – signs of advanced autodidacticism, I’ll wager. But do look after that fridge. It sounds both dangerous and inconvenient.

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  12. Hahahahahahahahaha.

    But surely it must be a goldenrod gall!

    (I’m sad you’ve removed this from the series… did it deserve demotion?)

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  13. Rebecca – :)

    Lady P – In point of fact, it’s an oak apple gall. You probably don’t have that exact species of wasp over there.

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  14. I was going to guess oak gall, but the foliage in the background confused me. Aat least now I know what a pitam of an etrog is.

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