Thursday, May 10, 2007

Of Chestnut Blossoms, Poplar Sex, and Stalin

On the way to Tein Li Chow saw several chestnut trees growing by the water treatment plant. You can tell chestnuts easily from a distance by their pyramidal blossoms. The chestnut blossom was the symbol of the city where I was born; chestnut trees lined the boulevards and streets, draping the city in their dark green leaves.

Poplar trees were also common. My dad told me that most of them were planted as part of Stalin's greening campaign before the War. As most things done by the communists, it was a complete disaster. You see, poplar trees come in the male and female variety. For whatever reason, perhaps not realizing this was the case, the communists planted too many females. The consequence of such poor planning is the release, every summer, of a cloud of unfertilized seeds into the air, floating on bits of cotton which cover the city with sticky fluff, to the dismay and annoyance of its inhabitants.

Reading Stalin's Folly right now. More on Stalin later...


Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

I miss gathering chestnuts so much... It's been years since I've seen a chestnut tree!

May 13, 2007 1:22 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

I realize that 'Tein Li Chow' is indeed how they spell it, but the 'ei' sound does not occur in any version of Chinese. A more linguistically responsible spelling would have been 'Tien Li Chow'.

In which the 'tien' probably represents heaven.

I do wish their website showed the characters - I can only guess at what the name means without the text.

May 14, 2007 1:53 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...


I think it is supposed to be a hebrew/english pun, "tein li" - I have, "chow" - food.

May 14, 2007 3:39 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Good one. I was considering 'chow' as a pun. But I never would've gotten the 'tein li'.

May 14, 2007 5:51 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

I must have had a brain fart - "tein li" means 'give me', 'yeish li' would mean 'I have'.

May 14, 2007 6:43 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

Tein Li Chow! Oh the random Chicago references that make one homesick...

May 31, 2007 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Tein Li Chow said...

You got the pun e-kvetcher. It means "give me chow."

Thanks for stopping by!

June 06, 2007 5:05 PM  

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