Cotinus and the cousins of Cotinus

September 4, 2015

Noted at Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden earlier this week: Cotinus coggygyria. A handsome large shrub or small tree that I grew in my Columbus garden. A silhouette of the plant in Columbus, in a photo taken by Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky in 1998:

(#1)

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Two from xkcd

September 4, 2015

Two recent cartoons from xkcd: #1571 of 8/31, “Car Model Names”; and #1572 of 9/2, “xkcd Survey”, with one question about spelling (“What word can you never seem to spell on the first try?”) and one about words you know (“Which of these words do you know the meaning of?”):

(#1)

(#2)

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Continuation errors

September 3, 2015

Working on my “Flintstone days” posting this morning, I kept getting hung up on the name Barbapapa (the name of a fictional creature in a children’s book series): I’d start it and then get waylaid into typing Barbarpapa, due to the pull of the names Barbara and Babar. Again and again.

in a Language Log posting of 5/22/08, Mark Liberman posted on such “continuation errors” (to be distinguished from completion errors that result from software doing automatic completion). In continuation errors the impulse to continue with some familiar word comes not from software but from our minds/brains; we often say that the word is “in our fingers”.

Linguists are likely to start typing linguists but go on instead to linguistcs. On Facebook today, Mike Speriosu (a Stanford graduate) reported that for years he had a hard time typing “stands for” without typing “stanford” first. And so on.

Rhett to Scarlett

September 3, 2015

Heard in passing on KFJC’s Norman Bates show Saturday morning, Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) to Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) in the 1939 movie of Gone With the Wind, what I heard as:

No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.

I’m interested in the third sentence, boldfaced above. Transcribed as here:

 (Kiss1)

Two modifiers of kissed in the VP: often and by someone who knows how. These modifiers can be tightly adjoined (in speech, not set off prosodically; in writing, not set off by punctuation) or loosely adjoined (in speech, set off prosodically; in writing, set off by a comma); and the modifiers can be syntactically unmarked, or marked as coordinate (with and). The version in #1 has both modifiers marked with and, with the first tightly adjoined, but the second loosely adjoined.

My question about these matters is to what extent they involve linguistic structure, and to what extent they are (more or less literally) choices in performance, options indicated in writing in the fashion of stage directions, or options taken by actors.

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Flintstone days

September 3, 2015

In the local real estate news (from NBC Bay Area yesterday), “‘Flintstones’ House in Hillsborough Listed for $4.2M” by Tamara Palmer and Ian Cull:

Hillsborough’s most recognizable piece of real estate has hit the market.

The home at 45 Berryessa Way, though relatively small by the town’s standards at 2,730 square feet, is seeking a big price tag of $4.2 million

(#1)

A story that will take us through several twists and turns of pop culture.

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TV series circuit party animals

September 2, 2015

Yesterday’s Zippy takes us through 15 television series, of an extraordinary variety:

The strip ends with a cute POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau), Playboy After Dark + Dark Shadows.

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Flaunting it

September 2, 2015

About the display of the male body, but also about gesture and facial expression.

Today, from the Daily Jocks people, an ad for products from the Pump! firm, specifically for a line of socks for working out, but with links to the company’s larger catalogue, which tends to feature underwear models “projecting steamy desirability” (as I put it in my Rafael Nadal posting) — in fact projecting a male-hustler persona while teasingly flaunting the pleasures of their bodies.

There’s shirt-lifting (focused on the abs), pants-lowering in the front (pointing towards the crotch), pants-lowering in the back (pointing towards the butt-crack), and armpit displays. The models stare intently into the viewers’ eyes, narrowing their own eyes (signalling arousal combined with dominance, rather than anger), and sometimes opening their lips slightly (another sign of arousal). They are scruffily hypermasculine, projecting not fitness and athleticism, but intense, even urgent, sexuality.

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Scientists at play

September 2, 2015

Passed on by Chris Waigl, a piece on the Washington Post‘s blog: “Scientists celebrate the world of animal genitalia with #junkoff” (by Rachel Feltman):

Scentists: They’re just like you! They have good days, they have bad days, they glue themselves to angry crocodiles, and they recognize how utterly ridiculous and funny animal genitalia can be.

#junkoff is the latest hashtag to take off in the scientific corners of Twitter, and it’s exactly what it sounds like.

Scientists who work with animals contribute their favorite images of penises and vaginas. Including the remarkable 4-headed penis of an echidna (aka spiny anteater, an egg-laying mammal).

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Giving two hoots

September 1, 2015

A follow-up to my “What a hoot!” posting, which was about a set of senses of hooter that turn out almost surely to be related. One of these is mammary hooters (as in the restaurant’s name), and there’s some question about its history (though it’s clear that it predates the restaurant); there are sources that attribute the item to Steve Martin on Saturday Night Live, but for reasons I’ll expand on here, I was very wary of the idea.

That’s the first hoot.

Then, as so often happens when I post about specific uses of particular lexical items, people wrote me about other uses, which are really beside the point of my posting, or about other items that are merely similar to the target item (usually phonologically). Now it can be entertaining to follow up such associations, but that’s at the risk of losing the point. Occasionally I’ve followed these associations, though I try to mark associative chaining off from the main line of the posting, as when I branched from a posting on Ficus plants to a collection of loosely fig-related other things: the fig leaf of modesty, Fig Newtons, figgy pudding, giving a fig for, the fig sign,

So: soon to loosely hoot-related things. That’s the second hoot.

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Eat your weeds

August 31, 2015

Laboring on WWI (Weeds, Wildflowers, and Invasives), I was reunited with the work of Euell Gibbons, who (50 years ago) served as a cheerleader for eating foods from nature, rather than agriculture. Eat your weeds!

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