Archive for the ‘Figurative language’ Category

Elephants

July 18, 2014

Today’s Zippy, set not in a diner but at a carwash:

(#1)

Given the Space Needle in the background, the cartoon is clearly set in Seattle. And in fact Elephant Car Wash locations are all over the area. A representation in a Michael Birawer canvas painting:

(#2)

The title alludes to the idiom the elephant in the room.

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Fathers Day Five

June 15, 2014

An unusually big crop of cartoons this morning, including one (a Rhymes With Orange) on stereotypes about men’s tastes (for Fathers Day). Plus another Zits with the stereotype of chatty teenage girls; another strip (a Mother Goose and Grimm) on Yoda’s syntax; a Zippy on synonyms for disapproving; and a Bizarro on the extension of metaphors to simulacra.

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Coping with the new

June 2, 2014

In today’s One Big Happy, Ruthie and Joe are back on the track of trying to make sense of things they haven’t heard before:

  (#1)

Lots of knowledge needed here — about the words of English and about sociocultural conventions:

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May-June turnover

June 1, 2014

A One Big Happy from yesterday (May 25), on conversational organization; and then three from this morning’s (June 1st) crop: a Bizarro with an ambiguity introduced by truncation; yet another meta-Zippy, this time on reports of Zippy’s death; and a Rhymes With Orange with a pun from the Black Lagoon.

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An epicene protest

May 13, 2014

In a bizarre response to the winning of the Eurovision Song Contest by a bearded drag queen, Conchita Wurst singing “Rise Like a Phoenix” (reported in almost every media outlet), some Russian men have taken to shaving off their beards (if they had them). The position seems to be that Wurst’s beard so poisons beards as a symbol of masculinity that real men have no way to protest except by going beardless. (The idea here seems to some degree to be similar to the position that same-sex marriage diminishes and debases opposite-sex marriage — except that in the Wurst case, the threat comes from a single case: just one, though admittedly very visible, bearded man in a dress.)

The result is paradoxical.

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Go with the flow

April 30, 2014

Yesterday’s Partially Clips (hat tip to David Craig):

I can’t say that I appreciate the details of Zener diodes, but conventional diodes allow the (electrical) current to flow in only one direction, hence the pun (involving water currents).

The use of current for talking about a phenomenon of electricity is, of course, a metaphorical extension of the water flow term.

The poetry of green tea

April 25, 2014

Among the many teas sold by Tazo (from South Seattle WA) are three green teas that my daughter got for me recently, to replenish my supplies. The company is into lush, poetic descriptions of its products — quite entertaining, if you’re in the right mood.

The descriptive material comes in two parts: one part characterizes the taste of a tea, the other is copy poetically evoking a scene or feelings associated with it. Sometimes I think these are cool, but often I think they’re just funny.

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Three for today

April 18, 2014

Three cartoons for today: a Dilbert, a Bizarro, and a Mother Goose and Grimm:

(#1)

(#2)

(#3)

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Zippy on figures of speech

April 7, 2014

Today’s Zippy:

 

 

Zippy runs through an inventory of figures of speech. Then there’s the language play: oxymoron / moron, and (in the title) idiomatic pressing ‘urgent’ vs.one of the literal senses of pressing (Zippy is ironing clothes).

Faint damns, faint praises

March 6, 2014

On Facebook on the 4th, this charming story from Sally Thomason:

Back in about 1964, when I was in graduate school at Yale, I was moaning and groaning during one of our regular tea-time gatherings about a test I thought I’d blown in Warren Cowgill’s Indo-European class. Warren listened fairly patiently for a bit and then starting saying almost inaudibly, “damn damn damn damn damn damn.” I stopped complaining and asked him what on earth he was doing. “I’m praising you with faint damns,” he said. — Fast forward to today: Rich [Thomason, Sally's husband] just showed me p. 206 of a fantasy novel he’s reading, Point of Hopes, by Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett: “That Rathe seemed to think well of him, or at least to praise him with faint damns, was something of a reassurance…”. Probably the authors weren’t plagiarizing from Warren, because I know they weren’t in the Linguistics tea room on the third floor of the Hall of Graduate Studies in 1964. (Probably Warren wasn’t the first person to have said this either, of course. But this is only the second time I’ve heard it.)

I noted this an inversion of damning with faint praise and suggested that it was older that Warren Cowgill’s use. (I also missed Warren, who died in 1985.) Now some details. (more…)


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