Alcatraz (Común)

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but I never knew (nor even thought about) the meaning of Alcatraz, as in the name of the prison island in San Francisco Bay. There’s a new public exhibit (since summer began) right across the street where our 175th anniversary exhibit stood for five years. It’s all about pollution and the dangers of plastics to the environment. I’ve looked at the photos many times and have read some of the captions, but I finally noticed the caption under a photo of what I recognized as a northern gannet. An alcatraz! Oddly, the Federal Bureau of Prisons doesn’t see it that way. Here’s what they say on their website:

The name Alcatraz is derived from the Spanish “Alcatraces.” In 1775, the Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala was the first to sail into what is now known as San Francisco Bay - his expedition mapped the bay and named one of the three islands Alcatraces. Over time, the name was Anglicized to Alcatraz. While the exact meaning is still debated, Alcatraz is usually defined as meaning “pelican” or “strange bird.” 

They should look up alcatraz común, like I did.

Do you remember our beautiful double hibiscus (click here)? It was the only one to survive beyond bud stage on that plant, the most difficult of our five hibiscus. But look at the first photo below to see what it is readily able to produce (overnight). More systemic aphid juice and all the visible ones are dead. I may have won the battle but I’ll never win the war. Meanwhile, two other plants are offering at least a bit of color. Moose was a royal pain yesterday morning. For more than a half hour he meowed constantly, pausing for one second between each burst. He stopped twice for an extra few seconds. The first time was when San Geraldo called out “Musy, shut up!” The second was when I looked him right in the eye and said, “Stop being such an asshole.” A few seconds!

This morning, neither cat made a sound, but they didn’t let me out of their sight (look below). I don’t get it.


NUNCA SUPE (NI SIQUIERA PENSÉ en) el significado en inglés de la palabra Alcatraz, como en el nombre de la isla prisión en la bahía de San Francisco. Hay una nueva exhibición pública (desde que comenzó el verano) al otro lado de la calle donde estuvo la exhibición del 175 aniversario durante cinco años. Se trata de la contaminación y los peligros de los plásticos para el medio ambiente. He mirado las fotos muchas veces y he leído algunas de las leyendas, pero finalmente noté la leyenda debajo de una foto de lo que reconocí como un (en inglés) “northern gannet.” ¡Un alcatraz! Curiosamente, la Oficina Federal de Prisiones no lo ve de esa manera. Esto es lo que dicen en su sitio web (originalmente en inglés):

El nombre Alcatraz se deriva del español “Alcatraces.” En 1775, el explorador español Juan Manuel de Ayala fue el primero en navegar hacia lo que ahora se conoce como Bahía de San Francisco; su expedición trazó un mapa de la bahía y nombró una de las tres islas Alcatraces. Con el tiempo, el nombre pasó a ser Alcatraz. Si bien el significado exacto todavía se debate, Alcatraz generalmente se define como “pelícano” o “pájaro extraño.”

Ellos deberían buscar alcatraz común, como lo hice yo.

¿Recuerdas nuestro hermoso hibisco doble (haz clic aquí)? Fue el único que sobrevivió más allá de la etapa de brotación en esa planta, el más difícil de nuestros cinco hibiscos. Pero mire la primera foto a continuación para ver lo que puede producir fácilmente (durante la noche). Más jugo de pulgón sistémico y todos los visibles están muertos. Puede que haya ganado la batalla, pero nunca ganaré la guerra. Mientras tanto, otras dos plantas ofrecen al menos un poco de color.

Moose fue un dolor real ayer por la mañana. Durante más de media hora maulló constantemente, haciendo una pausa de un segundo entre cada ráfaga. Se detuvo dos veces durante unos segundos más. La primera vez fue cuando San Geraldo gritó “¡Musy, cállate!” El segundo fue cuando lo miré directamente a los ojos y le dije: “Deja de ser tan gillipollas.” ¡Unos pocos segundos!

Esta mañana, ninguno de los gatos hizo ningún sonido, pero no me perdieron de vista (mira abajo). No lo entiendo.

Northern Gannet in a trash nest. ⁄ Alcatraz Común
• Near the port of Fuengirola, monument to the fisherman. “El Jabegote,” the man who works with the nets.
• Cerca del puerto de Fuengirola, monumento al pescador. El Jabegote.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

23 thoughts on “Alcatraz (Común)”

  1. Thriving colony of aphids! How discouraging that must be.
    Our dogs just went into a barking frenzy for no reason discernible to us mere humans. I think a sea turtle may have surfaced for air and they smelled turtle breath. They both still are facing the same direction, looking at a spot in the sea. Pets!

    1. Wilma:
      That hibiscus has been cut down to a stump and we’ll give it another try. I always bark at sea turtles.

  2. I think I did know that Alcatraz was bird related for some odd reason, but didn’t know quite which aquatic bird is was. Love the piercing eyes on this one. And the aphid. What a pain they are, pesty liitle things. They invaded my mother mini tea rose bushes, but luckily I spotted them and nipped it in the bud. The bushes have continued to flourish and grow like crazy.

    Your always being watched Mitchell…….

    1. Mistress Borghese:
      I hadn’t seen aphids on the hibiscus in ages, which gave me a false sense of security. It’s always something. I AM always being watched. Moose is here right now.

  3. Ugh. I feel for you on the aphids. We have a couple of plants like that too — ideal aphid nurseries! Interesting that alcatraces is said to mean “strange bird” — seems like that could apply to a lot of winged creatures!

    1. Steve:
      I find it odd that the Bureau of Prisons doesn’t know an alcatraz is a northern gannet. Do you suppose the gannet was given that Spanish name AFTER the island was named? (I don’t.) We switched to predominantly cacti and succulents because of the abundance of aphids and other buds on our leafy plants. The cacti get scale! (SG meticulously washes it off regularly.) I’d try plastic planst (no I wouldn’t) but they turn blue in the sun.

  4. Wasn’t Alcatraz originally called Bird Island in the 1800’s? I think it was mentioned in that old Burt Lancaster movie,”Bird Man of Alcatraz”…. or maybe that was just Hollywood bulls*it?

    Ladybugs LOVE to feast on aphids — is there any way you could release a couple hundred into your plant patio?

    Maybe Moose just wanted to make up for not paying attention to you the other day…LOL!

    1. Tundra Bunny:
      As far as I know, Alcatraz was never called Bird Island, although it could have casually refered to as that given how many birds flock there. I’ve considered ladybugs. Given that the terrace is glassed in and is essentially part of the apartment, we’d have a home filled with lady bugs. And the cats would go nuts. So, spray, systemics, and cutting the hibiscus back to their trunks! Some days, both cats are quiet and just stare at me. Other days, Moose yowls incessantly and Dudo runs in and out of the bedroom or office with a quick meow. No consistency. They like to keep us guessing.

  5. Kill all the bugs, I would send J over to do that, if travel were easy. The cats need you and worry about you, you are there treat source.

  6. I despise aphids. They remind me of lice (sorry!) and can devour a plant in no time flat. Find some noxious liquid and KILL THOSE MOTHERFUCKERS. Seriously. 🙂

    The red color of that hibiscus is just beautiful.

    1. Jennifer:
      I killed the aphids. AGAIN. They’re like zombies. The red hibiscus looks like velvet. And it’s not so hard to please.

    1. Robyn:
      The History Channel says Alcatraz Island means Pelican Island. I don’t know where they got that translation, since the only word I know for pelican is pelícano. Given it’s location, however, I’m sure there are pelicans… along with northern gannets.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      They’re still going strong, although you don’t see them dragging nets onshore anymore.

    1. Judy C:
      I’ve seen so many aphids in my life, they ALMOST don’t give me the creeps anymore. And, Moose may sometimes be an ashole but he and Dudo never give me the creeps.

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