Mistaken Identity

Movie poster for the 1959 suspense film North by Northwest. From Wikipedia. Non-free use rationale: It is low resolution and not replaceable with an uncopyrighted or freely copyrighted image

  • A movie
  • A dinosaur
  • A car crash survivor
  • A lovestruck student
  • A gunshot wound to the head
  • A joke and
  • My agave

I guess the title is self-explanatory.

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In Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 movie, North by Northwest, an advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by foreign spies and is chased while he struggles to survive.  As a Hitchcock fan, it is one of my favorite movies.  The scene shot on Mount Rushmore is one of the most exciting I have ever watched.  


Adam Yates (a.k.a. The Dracovenator) led me to the story about the Aachenosaurus multidens (ahk-en-oh-SAW-rus) or "Lizard of Aachen".  It was found and so named by scientist Gerard Smets because the fossils were found in the Aechenian deposits of Moresnet between Germany and Belgium.  Believing the fossil pieces to be part of a dinosaur jaw, Smets presented his new hadrosaur (duck-billed dinosaur) to the Belgian Society of Geology, only to be told by Paleontology expert Louis Dollo, that his fossils were merely petrified wood.

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I discovered the Agave plant shown below on one of numerous visits to neighboring nurseries.  This was not ID'ed by species and I assumed that it was Agave tequilana or the agave azul, famous because it is the base ingredient of tequila.

The plant has spiky, fleshy leaves with a blue coloration, thus its name.

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Some cases of mistaken identity can be tragic.  Take the 2006 case of students Whitney Cerak and Laura Van Ryn.  Both women were involved in a car crash.  The coroner identified one of the bodies as Whitney.  The other woman was badly injured and in a coma.  She was identified as Laura.  The Van Ryn family cared for her but noticed some differences.  It took five weeks before it was confirmed that the identities were switched.

Some cases of mistaken identity can also be amusing.  Benjamin Barton, filed a case against his city council for fining him about throwing a cigarette butt down a drain.  This made the news and when he checked his name on Google, his was the top story.  (You can read more about him by clicking on this link.)  He then proceeded to tell all family and friends to type his name into Google News and read all about him.  Their reactions were not as expected, least of all the reaction suggesting he seek professional help.  It turns out that within 24 hours, another Benjamin Barton made the news as the heartbroken Southampton student who broke into a morgue with an axe.

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While preparing for the post on the Agave tequilana, I noticed some inconsistencies in the description.  The A. tequilana has spines or sharp edges.  A second look at my plant shows no such thing.  Not a single tooth.

A closer look below, again, no spines along the leaves edges.  Further research showed that the A. tequilana is closest is appearance to A. angustifolia and that the A. angustifolia also has teeth.

My Agave bible is the book by Mary and Gary Irish.  It was in the book that they mentioned that A. tequilana and A. angustifolia have a similar toothless species.  The Agave Sisalana.

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Did you hear about the man from Colorado who told police that a bird was harassing his cats?  How did the police get involved?  Well, when he saw a red bird on a hilltop about 90 feet away, he shot at it with his rifle.  Then he heard moaning and upon inspection found a red-Mohawked woman with a head wound.  The woman survived but the shooter was put on 5 years probation.  I kid you not.

WARNING:  For Adults Only.  From the now ye're talkin' boards.  Joe and John were identical twins. Joe owned an old dilapidated boat and kept pretty much to himself. One day he rented out his boat to a group of out-of-staters who sank it. Joe spent all day trying to salvage as much stuff as he could and was out of touch all that day and most of the evening. Unknown to him, his brother John's wife died suddenly. When he got back on shore he went into town to pick up a few things at the grocery. A kind old woman there mistook him for John and said: "I'm so sorry for your loss. You must feel terrible." Joe, thinking she was talking about his boat said: “Hell no! Fact is I'm sort of glad to be rid of her. She was a rotten old thing from the beginning. Her bottom was all shriveled up and she smelled like old dead fish. She was always holding water. She had a bad crack in the back and a pretty big hole in the front too. Every time I used her, her hole got bigger and she leaked like crazy. I guess what finally finished her off was when I rented her to those four guys looking for a good time. I warned them that she wasn't very good and smelled bad. But they wanted her anyway. The damn fools tried to get in her all at one time and she split right up the middle......." The old woman fainted.

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So there we have it.  My Agave sisalana.

It is distinguishable fromt he A. tequilana because it is virtually toothless.  It is also very much larger in maturity than most forms of A. angustifolia.

The plant is from the area near the city of Sisal in the Yucatan.  The plant is grown for more practical reasons, specifically, fiber.  Its fibers are strong and very fine.  I would rather keep the whole plant (and its bulbils(?), shown below) because it makes a beautiful ornamental.



If you're interested in some of the books/movies featured in this post, check out the Books & Goods section in the sidebar.

Also, I will be away for some time.  My posts are scheduled to be auto-published while I am away so please do not think that I am neglecting to reply to your comments.  I am not sure about internet availability, make that free and fast internet availaibility, where I am going but rest assured I will try to approve comments and reply as soon as I am able.  

Last but not least, please take the time to answer the poll posted on the sidebar at the top of the page.  I have very limited time in each place and would appreciate help deciding which of the 3 gardens I should prioritize.


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