Sources and saucers

May 27, 2015

Today’s One Big Happy, with Ruthie once again rummaging in her mental lexicon:

The homey and familiar saucers takes over for the rarer sources, in the idiom have one’s sources.

Association by bracketing

May 27, 2015

A recent xkcd, “Bracket” (#1529):

Tremendously funny use of bracket diagrams for sports tournaments to do free association of names: shared first names (golfer Jack Nicklaus, actor Jack Nicholson), shared last names (golfer Arnold Palmer, musician Amanda Palmer), last shared with first (actor Tom Arnold, golfer Arnold Palmer), etc., often with other shared bits of form (like the /nɪk/ of Nicklaus and Nicholson). And more complex associations, like actor Rip Torn and singer-songwriter Natalie Imbruglia (and her song “Torn”).

Most of the associations run through long chains: Danny Glover to Donald Glover (last names, plus the D), Donald Glover to Donnie Wahlberg (first names, full and nick-), Donnie Wahlberg to Mark Wahlberg (last names — in fact they are brothers), Mark Wahlberg to Mark Ruffalo to Mark Shuttleworth (first names).

You could spend a day enjoying the trip through the diagram.

Great beauties and unconventional lives

May 27, 2015

(Not much about language, but about books, art, great beauties, and unconventional lives.)

A coincidence of two items in the June 4th NYRB: an essay by Robert Gottlieb on Lady Diana Cooper, ‘The Most Beautiful Girl in the World'; and an ad for the book The Prince of Minor Writers: The Selected Essays of Max Beerbohm — Max Beerbohm, the author of Zuleika Dobson, a comic novel about a woman so stunningly attractive that men fall hopelessly in love with her at first sight.

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Odds and ends 5/26/15

May 26, 2015

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A California breakfast

May 26, 2015

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

A liquid-free breakfast, in the California drought times.

So California in California breakfast here refers to the place, but then indirectly to the components of the preparation.

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Take the train!

May 26, 2015

Today’s Zippy gets us on the train in Zippy’s delicious dream:


The key thing in the strip is the name McCloud, which takes us to the McCloud Railway and Mount Shasta CA, with its Shasta Sunset Dinner Train (no longer, alas, operating).

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May 26, 2015

Five years ago I took note of the Teapartyganza segments on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show in 2010 (there’s a set of videos of the shows here). At the time, I took the name to be a one-off playful portmanteau (Tea Party + extravaganza), so I didn’t post about it; if I tried to take note of every portmanteau that comes past me, I’d go nuts.

Then in 2014, Eleganza came past me in a Zippy: Eleganza Fashions, a business that still seems to be going, So then there were two.

This morning, I stumbled upon my Teapartyganza note and thought to check on –ganza nouns. Oh my, it’s clearly gone the familiar route from portmanteau element to libfix (conveying, roughly, ‘an event of considerable size, scope, or complexity’): a Libfix-A-Ganza, to use one of the spellings that’s become customary in these situations.

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New Pages

May 26, 2015

Following up on yesterday’s “The abs/junk buddies” posting, which has a Daily Jocks ad together with a story that’s essentially a long caption for the image, some new Pages: under Captioning,

a Page on AZ captions, with my captions (and similar amendments) for ads, porn photos, male photography, and other images (most are slyly or flagrantly gay; many are X-rated);

and a Page On captioning, with my postings about captions, especially in relation to other genres and forms.

The abs/junk buddies

May 25, 2015

(Not really about language.)

For the holiday weekend, the Daily Jocks site offers a new Neon range from the Male Basics company.

Neon Yellow, the seriously butch, threatening guy on the right, says to Neon Magenta, his abs-cultivating, somewhat swishy buddy, “You can lean on me”. Yellow’s a top, Magenta a bottom, but they like to share their junk with each other. Or so I hear.

Why are they pets?

May 25, 2015

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

(Note the title: “Linguistics 101″.)

For the people:

We call them pets because we pet them.

For the cats:

We call them feeds because they feed us.

The two cases of nouning aren’t parallel, but reversed — in a sense, chiastic.

May 26th. Note of etymological truth, which I playfully omitted in the original posting. This is a cute story for pet, but it’s etymologically backwards. The noun came first, for ‘indulged child’, then for ‘animal companion’, and then the verb was derived from the noun, meaning something on the order of ‘to treat like a pet’, specifically ‘to stroke’.


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