Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton

Friday, November 14, 2008

Avocado Madness

I wonder what has happened to the Sacred Destination of the Day picture? I should check it out, but I've just had too much going on. I might have to drop it for a while if they are having problems.

Do avocados do strange things to my brain? I was peeling an avocado just now for a late night snack and remembered that sometimes in a moment of silliness I used to call them "Avogadros." Remember ol' Avogadro, the Italian who came up with a number to represent the number of atoms, molecules, etc., in a mole of something? That number, 6.02214179(30)×1023 (that should be 10 to the 23rd, but I fail to be able to get this thing to do superscripts at this time--well, it is 3:00 in the morning) was given the honorary name of Avogadro's number or Avogadro's constant. I don't think he was the first to actually come up with the number, but that's another tangent for another time. Anyway, I was thinking about calling avocados Avogadros and realized that I'd never had the urge to refer to Avogadro as "Avocado."

Another time I was up late eating avocados with my daughter and her friend and had another brain attack. At the time, we were watching a TV program about the demise of the dinosaurs. Of course, it got around to a discussion of the cataclysmic meteor impact in the Yucatan and spent a good bit of time talking about the Chicxulub crater. The girls thought "Chicxulub" was just about one of the most entertaining words they had ever heard. I told them about the Central American archaeological sites and their wonderful place names and we had a delightful time trying to pronounce them. Then we decided that we needed to give our cats these names as their formal names in addition to the regular everyday names by which they are known in our family. Naturally, this led to a recitation of T.S. Eliot's poem, "The Naming of Cats." We got very silly with our name choosing. We came up with some of the following:

Stormy: Quetzalcoatl (of course she's the feathered serpent because of her fluffy, feathered coat)

PetCat: Huitztilopoctli (Aztec tribal god), although we feel that Tlaxcalli (tortilla/maize pancake) is probably more suitable to his bulk

Pester: K'uk'ulcan (also the feathered serpent because of her tortie coat)

Pushkin: currently Tenochtitlan (Place of the Cactus Rock), but could get changed to TzinTzunTzan (Place of Hummingbirds because of the way she flits around)

We really wanted to call one of them Tz'ibilchaltun, but decided we might leave that for one of the rabbits (tuchtli) who are getting formal names as well. We christened the garage Tuchtlan (Place of Many Rabbits).

The following day, I emailed my friends and gave them the cats' new names. One asked what else we were ingesting in addition to the avocado. I promise, the only things we consumed were avocados, soft drinks, water, and crackers.

The Naming Of Cats

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey--
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter--
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover--
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

T.S. Eliot (from Famous Poets and

(all images are from Wikipedia)


  1. What a great post. I had never heard of Avogaramo (and I clearly have not learned how to spell his name). LOL, maybe I'll just call him avocado.
    Anyway, thanks for the info. I love learning new things.
    I also love reading poems. Thanks again.

  2. FYI, I loved this post so much I forwarded to my daughter and 'Stumbled' it.

  3. Lol! Thanks. I'm glad I can bring some enjoyment to a few folks. I've been really behind on posting and need to try to set aside a regular time a couple of times a week to keep things going.

    The next time you eat guacamole, remember Avocado's number.

  4. That is such a cute poem! Brain attacks can be quite informative. ;)

  5. Hey Melissa,
    Welcome back to blogland. Missed you.

  6. I laughed and laughed at this post. I love the names of your kitties - you have got a lot. I don't know how you manage to prounounce the Aztec ones though. Very tongue twisting. We have simple Jack and Tiggy but Jack gets called Bill Bayley or Jackster and Tiggy is Tiglet. Love that poem too.