Since 1895

March 2, 2015

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm, celebrating the history of the comics:

(#1)

The cartoon takes Outcault’s Yellow Kid to be (in some sense) the first comic strip. This is disputable, but Outcault certainly deserves recognition.

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Learning to tell jokes

March 2, 2015

Yesterday’s One Big Happy, in which Ruthie works at telling jokes:

Part of acquiring a language is acquiring a large assortment of social routines using that language — including joke patterns. Linguists studying conversation have looked at the acquisition of a number of different joke types, for example knock-knock jokes, where they see the gradual unfolding of the abilities involved in producing and appreciating jokes. For instance, many jokes turn on puns, so that a child has to learn that exact wording can be crucial to the joke; paraphrase won’t do. But children often fail to appreciate that, while still understanding that laughter is called for at a certain point in the joke.

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Inflamed tendon

March 2, 2015

My latest affliction is tennis elbow, inflammation of a tendon on the outside of an elbow, usually set off by repeated use of the joint (as in playing tennis, working as a carpenter, or the like), but often, as in my current situation, of obscure origin. (Discussion of tennis elbow on this blog here.) My right elbow went from being mildly sore yesterday to suddenly becoming excruciatingly painful. I’ve rested it for quite some time (and treated the elbow with cold), and the problem has retreated enough for me to be able to raise my arm some, cautiously.

Friends have been commiserating with me, and one — Max Meredith Vasilatos — passed on a Mark Anderson cartoon for the occasion:

(One earlier Andertoon on this blog, #2 in this 10/14/13 posting.)

St. David’s Day

March 2, 2015

Yesterday (March 1st) was the first of this year’s Saint’s Days of the Lands of the British Isles: Saint David, patron saint of Wales. Land of the leek and the daffodil and the Red Dragon national flag (see my 3/1/12 posting “Take a leek” for some discussion of these symbols).

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abduction

March 1, 2015

Today’s Bizarro, with a play on abduction:

So: abduction by aliens (‘extraterrestial beings’) — but for what purpose? In a significantly conventionalized use of alien abduction, the purpose is probing human beings, but here the purpose of the abduction is a more common one: kidnapping for ransom (where it happens that the kidnappers are alien creatures). There are other possibilities.

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Gormenghast, the name

March 1, 2015

My morning name today was Gormenghast, the name of a series of books and the title of the second volume in the series:

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Local pronunciations

February 28, 2015

Two notes on the pronunciation of proper names: on the city of Bangor ME and on the actor Ryan Phillippe.

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Books: cartoon/comic classics

February 28, 2015

Published late in 2014, two books on classic cartoons and comics, with non-overlapping subjects:

Richard Gehr. 2014. I Only Read it for the Cartoons: The New Yorker’s Most Brilliantly Twisted Artists.  Houghton Mifflin. (With a foreword by Matt Groening.)

(#1)

Monte Beauchamp. 2014. Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World. Simon & Schuster. (16 graphic biographies.)

(#2)

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Poets in Their Youth

February 28, 2015

Recently reissued: Eileen Simpson’s 1982 Poets in Their Youth: A Memoir (Random House), a wonderful recollection of poets John Berryman, Randall Jarrell, Robert Lowell, Delmore Schwartz and others in their circle (R. P. Blackmur, Jean Stafford, and more).

(On the cover: a young Berryman, Stafford, and Lowell in Damariscotta Mills ME.)

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Briefly noted: a misreading

February 27, 2015

I was startled to read on the front page of this morning’s NYT, the headline:

Move to Ban
A Ballet Adds
To Its Appeal

A closer reading revealed that it wasn’t Ballet, but Bullet: the armor-piercing 5.56 millimeter “M855 green tip” rifle bullet, used in AR-15 semi-automatic rifles.

As before, I wondered what disposed me towards the misreading. Well, at least, banning artistic performances is not an uncommon event in many parts of the world.

(Also on that page, the doubly appalling story headed:

ISIS Onslaught Overrums
Assyrians and Wrecks Art

in which militants were taking hammers to ancient Assyrian artifacts. More extreme art criticism, reminding us of the Taliban’s destruction of the great Buddhas of Bamiyan.)


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