Tag Archives: Jellyfish

Things I Learned in Portland…(04/24 to 04/27)

My sister and I visited our good friend in Portland. These are the fun facts that I learned on that trip.


While walking along the beach (after a mile and a quarter hike), my friend mentioned that when she was at the same beach the week before there were a lot of jellyfish washed ashore. Then my sister added that she recalled learning that sometimes after a full moon, the number of jellyfish increases. So I looked up why…

Some types of jellyfish have reproductive jelly gatherings 8 to 10 days after a full moon, thus there is an increase in the number of jellyfish found at that time.

As it turns out the full moon in April was on the 9th. (if you don’t believe me, look here) and my friend was at the beach exactly eight days later.


We visited Portland’s Rogue Brewery and sampled a flight of beers. I can’t recall all of the beers I tried, but I do know that this one was among them:

What is soba?

What is soba?

Morimoto Black Obi Soba – it was quite delicious but I was unaware of what soba was. Here is what soba is: a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour.

For fun I have also included the etymology for the word ‘buckwheat’

1548, from M.Du. boecweite “beech wheat” (cf. Dan. boghvede, Ger. Buchweizen), so called from resemblance between grains and seed of beech trees. Possibly a native formation on the same model as the Du. word.


I couldn’t walk by this particular port-a-potty without noticing its name, nor could I resist taking a picture:

I thought it was an odd name for such a device, until I learned, well, that it wasn’t.

A bucket that is used in place of a flush toilet in communities that lack a water-borne sewage system.

The honey bucket sits under a wooden frame affixed with a toilet seat lid. The honey bucket gets its name from the actual five–gallon buckets which were once used as containers for honey.


AKA Skunk Cabbage

AKA Skunk Cabbage

While driving to the coast, I noticed these yellow flowers from the highway. They added a nice splash of color amid the trees and swamps. While going on a walk with my sister, friend and her sister, I asked about the flowers. My friends sister said that they were called ‘skunkavich’ – interesting,  I thought.

Of course, the interesting thing turned out to be my hearing as the real name of the plant is SKUNK CABBAGE. The reason why becomes evident the closer you get to the plant. Let’s just say that they are prettier at a distance.

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58 across: Portuguese man-o-war (01/30)

Once again, I am working on a crossword and I get stuck. Except this time I know that I know the answer or knew it before, but I was blocked.

I tried to go to the next clue but I couldn’t do it. It was as though I couldn’t move on without looking up the clue which I will share with you now:

Portuguese man-of-war

The 9 letter answer: jellyfish

The interesting thing about that answer is that it is NOT a jellyfish, although it is often mistook for one.


Looks can be deceiving...

Here are some facts thanks to National Geographic:

Anyone unfamiliar with the biology of the venomous Portuguese man-of-war would likely mistake it for a jellyfish. Not only is it not a jellyfish, it’s not even an “it,” but a “they.” The Portuguese man-of-war is a siphonophore, an animal made up of a colony of organisms working together.

The man-of-war comprises four separate polyps. It gets its name from the uppermost polyp, a gas-filled bladder, or pneumatophore, which sits above the water and somewhat resembles an old warship at full sail. Man-of-wars are also known as bluebottles for the purple-blue color of their pneumatophores.

The tentacles are the man-of-war’s second organism. These long, thin tendrils can extend 165 feet (50 meters) in length below the surface, although 30 feet (10 meters) is more the average. They are covered in venom-filled nematocysts used to paralyze and kill fish and other small creatures. For humans, a man-of-war sting is excruciatingly painful, but rarely deadly. But beware—even dead man-of-wars washed up on shore can deliver a sting.

Muscles in the tentacles draw prey up to a polyp containing the gastrozooids or digestive organisms. A fourth polyp contains the reproductive organisms.

Man-of-wars are found, sometimes in groups of 1,000 or more, floating in warm waters throughout the world’s oceans. They have no independent means of propulsion and either drift on the currents or catch the wind with their pneumatophores. To avoid threats on the surface, they can deflate their air bags and briefly submerge.

Why does the fact that it’s not even an “it,” but a “they” still creep me out?

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