August 21, 2014

The Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip of 8/18/14:


(Hat tip to Paul Armstrong.)

Background from NOAD2:

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Austenian humblebragging?

August 20, 2014

Another quotation from Jane Austen (once again via Chris Ambidge), this time from a letter of 11 December 1815 to James Stanier Clarke, about Austen’s novel Emma.

Surely this is false modesty — and couched as a boast, so that it looks like what we’d now call humblebragging.

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The mysteries of desire

August 20, 2014

From Xopher Walker recently, this cartoon (of 1/11/90) from Matt Groening’s Life in Hell strip:


Akbar and Jeff’s sexuality was the subject of a number of strips, including five posted here on 2/5/13 (“Jeff and Akbar explore their sexuality”), but this one wasn’t in that set. A notable feature of their interaction here is the role of the fez in indicating arousal: the tassel becomes erect.

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Abs of the week

August 19, 2014

… plus a kilt and an implied (sort of) apology:

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Ruthie (mis)interprets

August 18, 2014

Two recent One Big Happy cartoons with Ruthie’s misinterpretations of what she’s heard: a simple one today, and a very complex one a little while back:



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Another Page: parodies etc.

August 17, 2014

Continuing my gradual accumulation of (publicly available) inventories of postings on various subjects (replacing my in-house files, in MS Word): AZBlog postings on parodies, burlesques, and playful allusions, here.

It takes considerable work to create html files for this blog (though once created, they’re easily updated). My hope is that others will find these inventories useful, but frankly I have no evidence that this is so; I suspect that hardly anyone one pays attention to the Pages on my blog (listed on the right edge of the main page). It’s all kind of discouraging.

Farewell to the trees

August 16, 2014

On Wednesday morning the tree people arrived to deal with the last stand of trees in back of my Ramona St. condo — a silk tree and a (Chilean) potato vine — in a neighbor’s garden on the south side. A long, astoundingly noisy, and rather dusty operation that completely removed the last of the trees (though I was expecting something a bit less drastic). Now there is (sun)light.

I’ve posted about the silk tree  (Albizia julibrissin) before, and also about the privet trees (Ligustrum) back there, but not about the potato vine, Solanum crispum, a pretty and not very large shrub, which had gotten a bit ratty and was obviously in need of judicious pruning, but was completely removed anyway (for good reason, as it turns out).

The potato vine in bloom:


(More on the plant below.)

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Geezer talk

August 16, 2014

Yesterday’s Zits, with Jeremy on geezer talk:

(In talking this way, Jeremy is transformed into the old man in Grant Wood’s American Gothic.)

The strip raises a well-known issue in the analysis of language change: When older speakers have different variants from younger ones, are we looking at a change in progress or what’s often called age-grading? (Both things happen.)

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August 16, 2014

Today’s Zippy, on musical mashups:


The third panel veers into a Zippy favorite, Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL, in a parody version.

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Life among the artists

August 15, 2014

(Mostly for the silliness. Not much language-related here.)

Today’s Zippy:

First, the transformation into Rembrandt (admittedly, in a muumuu), then the appearance of the writer and art collector Gertrude Stein (also in a muumuu).

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