A Bay Area rhythm and blues band that had its finest hour backing Elvis Costello on Costello's debut My Aim is True. They later became the ubiquitous pop juggernaut Huey Lewis and the News, one of many reasons why the 80's sucked. Thankfully their 15 minutes of fame ran out. Guitarist/violinist John McFee had the good sense not to be a part of all that - he joined the Doobie Brothers instead, during their blandest period. That's still better than "Hip to Be Square", isn't it?

Clover is the common name for a number of species in the botanical group Trifolium. It is a low growing legume, belonging to the pea family, and is valued both as a green manure, as a forage crop and for its medicinal properties.

The distinctive leaves of clover plants are made up of three egg-shaped leaflets, usually 0.5-1.0 inch long, (although four-leaf mutations can sometimes be found if you are lucky!). Most clover flower-heads are made up of a globular mass of 20-50 individual florets and are white, pink or red depending on the trifolium species. The flowers are rich in nectar and are highly favoured by honey bees - the resulting clover honey being pale with a mild flavour. Interestingly, once a bee has depleted a floret of its nectar, the floret turns brown and shrivels, thus ensuring that bees only visit unfertilized florets.


Red clover - Trifolium pratense

Red clover is a very hardy plant, found almost everywhere in the northern hemisphere, from the Mediterranean to the Arctic circle, from the USA to central Europe. As the name implies, red clover has red or dark pink flowers. It is a typical member of the clover family, being similar, but slightly taller than, white clover. Red clover was elected to be the state flower of Vermont, even though it is not a native plant, due to its importance to the farming and honey industries there.

It is very important agriculturally because the roots fix nitrogen into the soil, thus enriching it, and the leaves, being rich in vitamin A and vitamin E, make nutritious fodder for sheep and cattle.

Medicinal use

Red clover tea* has been used traditionally in Chinese medicine and western folk medicine for countless centuries in the treatment of bronchitis and asthma, as a blood purifier and for skin conditions including eczema, acne and psoriasis. The tea can be applied as a compress for relief from arthritic pains and gout.

Medically, red clover is currently under the spotlight. Scientists have isolated many active constituents, including phenolic glycosides, salicylates, cyanogenic glycosides, coumarins and mineral acids. Red clover flowers have also been found to contain high amounts of isoflavone compounds, which have been shown to have estrogen-like properties, and are therefore often helpful to menopausal and perimenopausal women. Isoflavones are known to improve arterial function and are also being investigated in the fight against cancer, patricularly breast and protrate cancers. Modern scientific studies have found that a component, biochanin A, actively inhibits some cancer growth in vitro, although it is still too early to recommend as a general treatment for cancer.

* Red clover tea

  • Steep 6 dried red clover blossoms in 1 cup of boiling water for 15 mins.
  • Strain and sweeten with honey, if desired.
  • Drink 2-3 cups daily for 4 to 6 weeks.

Dried red clover tops are also available in capsules, tablets, and tinctures.

The only known side effect of using red clover is due to salicylates, chemicals capable of thinning the blood. While this is advantageous to many people, especially those eating a high-fat western diet, problems could arise if the patient is already taking a blood thinning drug such as warfarin. As with any complementary medicine, always check with your health care adviser before starting a new drug regime.


White clover or Shamrock - Trifolium repens

White clover is regularly planted as a forage crop but has become a nuisance weed, infesting lawns, orchards and landcaped gardens. It is low growing and bears white flowers. It has similar medicinal properties to red clover, but not so marked. It has been known to cause cyanotic or estrogenic (hormone) symptoms, especially in swine, as well as bloating when animals are unaccustomed to eating it.

White clover has its most famous incarnation as Shamrock, the Irish symbol of good luck which will ward off evil. The shamrock was used by Saint Patrick to demonstrate the Holy Trinity of the Christian faith, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Prior to Christianity, white clover was used as a charm against evil by the Celts and Druids

Four Leaf Clover

The four leaf clover is a mutation of the white clover which has 4 leaflets instead of 3. To this day it is supposed to be extremely fortuitous to find one, and it is traditional to pick it and press and dry it so that good luck will remain with you. The 4 leaves represent happiness, faith, love and inspiration (or God's Grace in the case of shamrock).


Subterranean clover - Trifolium subterraneum

Subterranian clover, or subclover, is widely used in hilly areas prone to very hot dry summers. It is planted as a forage crop alongside hardy grasses, especially in the sheep farming regions of Australia, the Cascade Mountains in Oregon, and in parts of California. It is an early crop, usually finished by mid-June, but can be harvested and dried without losing its nutritious quality.


Alsike clover - Trifolium hybridum

This is another white flowered clover, distinguishable from Trifolium repens by its more upright habit and longer leaves. It is grown as animal feed but care must be taken because some animals are susceptible to 'dew fever' caused by eating too much of this clover when the dew is still on it. The mechanism for the disease is unknown but the symptoms of diarrhea and colic do not occur if the animals are put out to graze after the dew has dried. Consumption of large quantities of alsike clover can also cause photodermatitis, causing animals to suffer from sunburn in areas of skin with low pigmentation, especially in newly shorn sheep. None of these problems occur when animals are fed dried alsike clover.


Strawberry clover - Trifolium fragiferum

This plant looks very similar to white clover until it blooms. The blooms are white or pink, but resemble a strawberry in shape. It flowers earlier than white clover and is very attractive to bees.


Crimson clover or Italian clover - Trifolium incarnatum

As the name suggests, this type of clover has beautiful dark red or crimson flowers. It is taller than other clovers and very hardy. It is a good forage crop and it is also often used for erosion control on roadsides and meadows due to its ability to grow through the winter months.


http://www.fourleafclover.com/4fact.html http://cancerresourcecenter.com/articles/alt074.html
http://www.geobop.com/World/NA/US/VT/Flower.htm
http://www.goatworld.com/health/plants/alsikeclover.shtml
http://www.laurushealth.com/Library/HealthGuide/CAM/topic.asp?hwid=hn-herb-red-clover
http://gears.tucson.ars.ag.gov/book/chap3/strawberry.html

              ____   ___
             /4444\ /444\
             |44444|44444|
             |44444444444|
             _\444/ |444/
            /4444//||44/____  Clover
           /4444|__ |44\   \\
           |4444444_|444\   \\
           \44444|444444|   | \
            \444/\44444/       
                  \444/
                       

so take me someplace far away
I want happiness.

From the title pages

Clover is a manga by members of artistic collective CLAMP. It is typically categorized as shoujo manga, or "girls' manga", like most of CLAMP's work. This is not without reason - it follows shoujo trends of having a young girl as the main character, and featuring thin, wispy, possibly-homosexual bishounen (literally, "pretty-boys").

It was serialized in the United States in the shoujo magazine "Smile", and has since been released in collections by Tokyopop. The collections are wonderfully designed, with glossy paintings before and after the story, and translucent dust jackets of thin paper, with illustrations and text that overlay the illustrations and text on the covers themselves. Here they juxtapose original Japanese text with translations on the overlay, as they do in the glossy opening pages with song lyrics and chapter titles in both languages side-by-side. The artwork is reversed to follow English reading conventions, but it does not pose a problem (except for a minor point about Kazuhiko's missing hand - the translation is altered to refer to his "right hand", and match the artwork, which confused me since I expected it to not match because of the reversal).

The art is absolutely stunning, and is the reason I love the series. With a fine, delicate line and a good sense of detail, the artists are nevertheless unafraid of looser, messier illustration when the atmosphere calls for it. This is mostly confined to the backgrounds, though, and there's an almost cartoony lack of variation in characters' appearences, considering the gritty, violent circumstances they go through (Kazuhiko takes a lightsabre through the shoulder at one point, but while he was recovering someone seems to have bought him a new jacket). Still, whatever shortcomings or oversights I can nitpick, the art is consistently graceful, and I never get tired of it. The layouts are a big part of it - text and speech balloons form the visual composition of the page, and panels (or art without a border) and careful expanses of negative space fill the page around them. It's almost as if the entire story was done as one long scroll, and then slid around magnetic poetry-style to fill each page in turn. The layouts give a wonderful sense of space and location - though there are often visual gaps between one setting and another, each place is introduced with several establishing shots on one page, different sizes and from different angles, showing the lay of the land or just what a character is looking at. The only problem that the sprawling, composed pages pose is one of dialogue - because there are no "tails" on the speech balloons, it can be hard to tell which side of a conversation represents which character sometimes. But for all I know, this could be a problem because of the uniform type of the translated edition - I get the idea that the creators wouldn't have let this ambiguity slip past, so it may have been something clarified by lettering or phrasing of the Japanese edition.


Setting

Clover takes place some unspecified time in the future. Significant changes include:

  • Great advances in robotics, both in prosthetic limbs and in lifelike robot animals.

  • Lightsabre-like weapons, and "weaponry modules" that mechanically rebuild themselves - able to configure into a firearm, blade or shield, or compress into a small disc. Presumably they're made with force-fields or nanotechnology.

  • The existence of teleportation, through the "Instant Travel Transporters", and the quicker, short-range "local transporters". Though teleportation must be manually guided, it is difficult to point to a destination, and the process itself seems quite unreliable.

  • Travel in general seems simpler and more efficient than it is today. On top of teleportation, there's little ground traffic, and prevalence of strange, graceful airships.



There may be some spoilers after this point, but there's only one major surprise in the first three volumes - what happens to Kazuhiko and Sue when they reach Fairy Park - and I've carefully left that entirely unmentioned.

To-do: Incorporate volume four, especially more details about the Parliamentary Council, the Clover Leaf Project, and of course A, B, and C, the three-leaf clovers.


Characters

  • Sue - A fourteen-year-old girl. She has a pair of mechanical wings on her back, which allow her to fly, and can be folded up tightly against her back. She has been living in an enormous, guarded, glass-enclosed garden for the past ten years. Originally her mother turned her in to a government search for psychic children, but she is imprisoned of her own free will when Kazuhiko comes for her. She is a powerful psychic, and has a four-leaf clover with a bar code tattooed on her arm - she is a "Clover", a "four-leaf", and it is the mark of some the government's secret Clover Leaf Project (which is slightly reminiscent of Akira, in its numbering of psychic children).

    She seems attracted to Kazuhiko, which is unsurprising for several reasons. She is a teenage girl, and he's probably the first man she's ever known. Despite their age difference, he's still young and handsome. His job is to protect her, and he seems to honestly care about her welfare on top of it being his duty. It's as if fate is pushing them together, while the circumstances of reality make love impossible...

  • Kazuhiko Fay Ryu - A former soldier, called back into service by his superiors to escort Sue to some location. His rank was Deputy Commander, in "Secret Operations". He lost his hand once, in a fight with Bols. Though he cares about Sue, he seems uncomfortable with her attraction to him, and his reactions to her are alternately tempting and rebuffing.

  • Ora - The woman who wrote the song, and a former lover of Kazuhiko's - once the subject to competition between Kaz and Gingetsu for her attention. She and Sue grew to know each other during Sue's imprisonment, through the radio, telephone, and their mental link, for she is a Clover as well, a one-leaf. The only thing she ever achieved with her psychic ability was the prediction of her own death. She died years before Kazuhiko met Sue, but she is still known because of one song...

  • Bols - A soldier in command of a unit of the Azaiean Special Forces. Despite having taken Kazuhiko's hand (which he claims to still have, in his bedroom), he appears to be attracted to Kazuhiko, referring to him as "Prince", and making suggestive comments about him. He's after Sue as much as Kaz, apparantly as his official assignment, though he doesn't show any concern for capturing her until she's in danger.

  • Lieutenant Colonel Gingetsu - A soldier, and former colleague of Kazuhiko's. A formidable fighter, though apparantly not thought of as highly by their superiors as Kazuhiko is. Seemingly held in reserve by General Ko, he nonetheless is watching Kazuhiko's back - by following him, Gingetsu can avoid the attention that is directed towards Sue and show up to bail Kazuhiko out if necessary. Surprisingly, Gingetsu tends to wear his full uniform in public, accented with a pair of large sunglasses and his katana or no-dachi.

  • Ran - An attractive, effeminate-looking young man, another of Kazuhiko's former colleagues. He's been Gingetsu's partner since the Lieutenant Colonel brought Ran to either the military or his particular division two years ago - that is, Ran is definitely Gingetsu's colleague/assistant in the military, though it's suggested that he is also Gingetsu's lover. Ran seems to be proficient with computers and communications, and is able to run a Transporter. He is also a Clover, which may explain why he's good at coordinating teleportation. He's only designated "three-leaf", which is why he is allowed to have a somewhat normal life, rather than consenting to imprisonment as Sue had to.

  • General Ko - One of the five members of the Parlimentary Council in Kazuhiko's nation, this immensely old woman is in charge of Secret Operations. She, like the other Council-members, is a "wizard", one of the most powerful psychics aside from the three- and four-leaf Clovers, who are called "sorcerers" by comparison.

  • Shiao Mao - An underground rebel group in Azaiea, apparantly with a large amount of children in its ranks. The Azaiean underground is supposedly controlled by the Parliamentary Council. The Shiao Mao's young leader owns a large housecat that has several nonfunctional mechanical prosthetics, so that people will think it's a synthetic animal and not want to steal it.

Songs

In the manga, there are omnipresent images - statues, holograms, video images - of an angelic or fairy-like woman with butterfly wings (The largest of these statues is in Fairy Park, an amusement park that is the initial goal of Kazuhiko and Sue's journey). She is usually accompanied with the playing of one of Ora's recorded songs... the first shown to us in the story is called simply "Clover", and we later learn that it was written by Ora and Sue together. The second song, shown in Volume 3, is called "Love", and actually predates "Clover" - since Volume 3 starts around the time Sue first contacted Ora, it was before they wrote "Clover". "Love" was probably written about Kazuhiko. If I ever write up "Love", I'll do it in its own node - it would take a lot of reading and checking, because Ora actually mentions changing the lyrics during her friendship with Sue, and we see her singing different versions.

There are two English versions of "Clover" - one translation inside the dust jacket, and another presented in excerpts within the pages of the books. The in-story lines are absolutely pervasive - they're in every other scene, whether heard, sung, or just repeated in the margins. The original Japanese is inside the dust jacket as well, but I'm not proficient enough to know how to display it here - anyone who is, is welcome to. The version in the story is tricky to write down, since it's split over many pages, repeats itself several times, and never is presented in one continuous, complete version. It repeats barely-altered sections like "I wish for happiness/I seek happiness/To find happiness with you/To be your happiness" and "Take me/Somewhere far from here" many times, but it's the parts that aren't in the dust jacket version that really stand out - these following are repeated a few times in Volume 1:

An unbreakable spell
A never-ending kiss
An endless dream
Eternal happiness
****
The birds sing a song
In a foreign tongue
In a place where words
Are not enough
A place
Not reachable alone
(this is my favorite of any passage from the song)
****
I don't want your past
I seek your present
Retrace my broken future
****
Soaked feathers
Fingers locked
The warmth of skin
Two hearts

There are a few other variations in the lyrics in Volume 2:

A bird in a cage
A bird without wings
A bird without voice
A lonely bird
****
My first thought is of you
My last thought is for you
A promised land where fairies dwell
With room just enough for two
(This rephrasing of the "original" lyrics is another of my favorites.
It's more musical and less literal than the others in this volume,
and unlike them is actually an improvement over the lyrics in the dust jacket.)

****
I want to forget reality
To be in my dreams with you
Where I can be thinking of you forever

Below I've transcribed the lyrics exactly as they appear in the dust jacket.

I want happiness
I seek happiness

to cause your happiness,
to be your happiness.

take me
to a true Elsewhere.
deliver me,

a bird in a gilded cage,
a bird bereft of flight,
a bird that cannot cry,
a bird all by itself.

so take me
I want happiness

happy just to be with you,
happy just to see you smile.

so take me
to a true Elsewhere

please, take me
to happiness.

my first thought
and my last wish,

a promised land where faries wait*
with room just enough for two.*

so deliver me, help me

to forget the tribulations of day
and to stay in this dream of night
where I can be thinking of you forever

take me

to my bliss.




I only want your happiness, knowing
I can never be yours to share it.

How I wish to make you happy,
Though I won't be able to see you


From the back covers

A four-volume Japanese manga by CLAMP, Clover contains at least four different poem/songs with two having multiple versions. One of them is about the idea of the four-leaf clover itself, and another of them, having to do with the theme of seeking happiness, repeats itself in various pieces throughout the volumes. The front of the dustjackets for volumes 1 and 2 contain the Japanese text for different versions of this second poem, and the back of the dustjackets contain the corresponding near-literal English translations for the poem. The Japanese versions of it repeat the phrase "しあわせになりたい" (shiawase ni naritai) a number of times, so this would seem to be the title of the poem, while the English versions repeat the translation, "I want happiness." The back covers of these two volumes have the same version of the four-leaf clover poem in Japanese with the translation on the dustjackets covering it. The third volume has a slightly different version of the four-leaf clover poem from the first two volumes, with the translation shifted accordingly. The poem in the dustjacket seems to be called LOVE, and it is completely different from those in the first two volumes. The fourth volume contains yet a fourth poem in the dustjacket; "To be born again in your arms" is repeated enough times that it would seem to be a title. The back of the fourth volume contains a significantly different version of the four-leaf clover poem from the first two volumes. The poems from the third and fourth volumes do have English translations in the back of the dustjackets with the Japanese text in the front, just like the first two volumes.

The green shamrock (trefoil or seamairog) is the national symbol of Ireland however they may come in white, red or yellow. Druids, ancestors of the modern Irish people believed in the holiness of the shamrock because of the sacred symbol formed by its three leaves ( hope, love, and faith).

The Legend Behind The 'Four-leaf clover'
The Druids belived a four-leaf clover could help in spotting witches or other demons. Some modern-day spiritualists claim that a four-leaf clover releases energy and helps one's judgment. Others feel that finding a four-leaf clover brings good luck and fortune on days other than St. Patricks Day.

Clo"ver (?), n. [OE. claver, clover, AS. clfre; akin to LG. & Dan. klever, D. klaver, G. klee, Sw. klfver.] Bot.

A plant of differend species of the genus Trifolium; as the common red clover, T. pratense, the white, T. repens, and the hare's foot, T. arvense.

Clover weevil Zool. a small weevil (Apion apricans), that destroys the seeds of clover. -- Clover worm Zool., the larva of a small moth (Asopia costalis), often very destructive to clover hay. -- In clover, in very pleasant circumstances; fortunate. [Colloq.] -- Sweet clover. See Meliot.

 

© Webster 1913.

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