IPrC 14: My Hobby

December 19, 2014

Just in: confirmation that Elizabeth Traugott and Arnold Zwicky’s abstract for a paper at the 14th International Pragmatics Conference in Antwerp next July has been accepted. The abstract (somewhat revised):

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Fabulous creatures on television

December 19, 2014

On ADS-L, an antedating for bunyip, a fabulous creature of the Australian aborigines, which I connected to a puppet character on American television, and that reminded Jon Lighter of the Flub-a-dub on Howdy Doody.

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Calvin on art criticism

December 19, 2014

On the 16th, Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes drifted into art criticism, in snow:

This snow sculpture transcends corporeal likeness to express deeper truths about the human condition!

There followed two more days of art talk from Calvin. On the 17th, “This scupture is about transience.”


And yesterday: “I’ve moved into abstraction!”


Well, yes, it is just snow.

Ambiguous sign

December 19, 2014

Yesterday’s Mother Goose and Grimm:

Two readings for the sign: the intended one, as a NP, labeling the dog and so warning that it’s an attack dog (N + N compound, ‘dog for attack’); or, alas, as a (telegraphic) imperative sentence, urging the reader to attack the dog. To pick out the former, you need a bit more text, say DOG WILL ATTACK.

The Zip-man

December 19, 2014

Yesterday’s Zippy:

Two things: the diner in the strip; and the name pattern in the Zuck-man.

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December 18, 2014

Yesterday’s Frazz:

The strip turns on an ambiguity of the (separable) V + Prt combination throw out: the high-frequency sense ‘discard’ and the very specialized sense in throw out one’s back ‘experience sudden acute back pain’. Naturally, kids go for the ‘discard’ sense.

Two more penguin postings

December 18, 2014

In the mail (of the old-fashioned sort) recently, a postcard from Anne Cutler featuring New Zealand Yellow Eyed Penguins; and via Facebook from Michael Palmer, penguin colony research by the gay pornstars Kinky Angels.

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Audio-lingual meatballs

December 18, 2014

From dinner at Reposado (‘quiet, restful’) — an upscale and elegant Mexican restaurant in Palo Alto — on the 14th, albondigas (‘meatballs’):

From the menu:

Pork and beef meatballs, root vegetable puree, tomato oregano sauce, demi glace, cotija cheese

Here, just the meatballs in a tomato sauce; but albondigas are most often served in a broth, as meatball soup.

Photo by Ned Deily, who ordered the dish in a bow to his high school Spanish class, which was taught resolutely by the audio-lingual method; students had to memorize and repeat dialogues, in particular one about albondigas that has stuck with him through all the years since.

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Rainbow Xmas

December 17, 2014

Via Laura Antoniou on Facebook (on the 13th), this Rainbow Tie-Dye Christmas Tree:

From Antoniou:

Gayest Tree Ever. Although, according to the reviews, it is pretty pathetic once you get it home.

The construction of truth

December 17, 2014

Today’s Pearls Before Swine:

Truth by assertion.

Compare other alternatives to truth based on reality (discussion here): reporting of facts based on fear vs. based on reality (via evidence), and truth created from faith, assumption, or ideology vs. based on reality (via evidence). Evidence comes out poorly in these confrontations.


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