Daily Archives: September 6, 2008

Philadelphia and Baltimore Fight Over Edgar Allan Poe’s Body

Edgar Allan Poe in a daguerreotype taken in 1848, age 39, the year before he died under strange circumstances.

It’s almost like a scene from one of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories –Philadelphia is trying to claim Poe’s body from Baltimore.  Actually, I may have exaggerated.  It’s only one person,  but he makes a good case.  Edward Pettit, a Poe scholar in Philadelphia, argues that Poe wrote most of his best work in Philadelphia, which was a violent place in the mid-19th century when Poe lived there.  Pettit says the city’s sinister atmosphere inspired Poe’s work. This may not do much for Philadelphia’s public relations, however. 

Many cities could make a claim on Poe. He was born in Boston, lived in The Bronx in New York City and died in Baltimore. He even courted a woman in Providence, Rhode Island.  Poe described himself as a Virginian.  He spent much time in Richmond, including his early years, and always planned to return there.  Relatives wanted to bury him in Brooklyn.  

January 19, 2009 will mark the bicentennial of Poe’s birth. Pettit will debate an opponent from Baltimore on January 13 in the Philadelphia Free Library over where Poe’s remains should finally be at peace, if that’s possible. Here’s a link to a story about the “controversy” in the New York Times: Baltimore Has Poe; Philadelphia Wants Him

Edgar Allan Poe's grave in Baltimore, Maryland.

Edgar Allan Poe's grave in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Filed under Authors, Baltimore, Books, Entertainment, History, Humor, Life, Literature, Novels, Personal, Philadelphia, Random, Writing

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Blackswallowtail butterfly on bronze fennel.

A black swallowtail butterfly caterpillar chews on the bronze fennel in my garden.

I’ve been chasing butterflies with my camera — actually, there was just one black swallowtail butterfly.  I saw the first one of the season today, and it’s September 5.  What happened to the rest?  I’ve seen one monarch, a handful of yellows and possible even a zebra butterfly.  I spotted dozens more last year in the neighborhood by this time. 

Why does this matter?  Butterflies are among that essential group of animals called pollinators, necessary to transfer pollen to fertilize nearly 80 percent of our food crops.  Some, like bees, are disappearing at a rapid rate.  Without pollinators, there wouldn’t be much to eat.

I’ve planted enough flowers for a 24-course butterfly banquet. I’ve got butterfly bush, butterfly weed, stonecrop, coneflowers of all kinds, asters, zinnias, phlox…….yum, yum.  When I finally spotted a black swallowtail today, he or she flitted about the weed-whacked vegetation on the golf course — no nectar flowers there.  While just on my side of the fence, I had the Country Buffet awaiting….What’s the deal?

Black swallowtail butterfly.

This is the first black swallowtail butterfly I've seen this year. I couldn't get it to pose on a flower.

I did follow the progress of about two dozen black swallowtail caterpillars on my bronze fennel (a member of the parsley family) throughout the summer  — evidence that butterflies did flutter in and lay eggs, probably while I was sitting at my computer complaining online to fellow “butterfly nerd” friends that there weren’t any butterflies.

I’m heading soon to the Pollination Garden open house at the University of Kansas.  I’ll find out what’s going on with butterflies this year and let you know. To learn more, go to the links to Pollinator Partnership and Monarch Watch on my blogroll.

If you were a butterfly, could you pass this up? Delicious!

If you were a butterfly, could you pass this up these flowers? Delicious!


Filed under Biology, Environment, Gardening, Humor, Insects, Kansas, Life, Natural History, Nature, Personal, Photography, Random, Science, University of Kansas