Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Dictionary Day

October 16, 2014

The folks at Mental Floss tell me that today, October 16th, Noah Webster’s birthday, is Dictionary Day, described on the Days of the Year site as follows:

A day for lexicographers everywhere, Dictionary Day was founded to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Noah Webster – the father of the modern dictionary. Why not take the opportunity to learn some new words?

Several things to annoy the careful reader here, starting with the narrow American focus and going on to the ideas that we’d all be improved by learning some new words and that the primary job of lexicographers is giving us a great big list of words.


October occasions

October 12, 2014

Thursday, the 9th, was Hangul Day, which reminded me of my wonderful linguistics colleague Jim McCawley, who was a notable exponent of the holiday (but died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1999, so there’s some sadness in the day). And then yesterday, the 11th, was National Coming Out Day (NCOD), a joyous occasion in many ways, but also the day my husband-equivalent Jacques Transue and I chose to celebrate as our anniversary; alas, Jacques died in 2003, so NCOD is also a sad occasion. Then yesterday, the mail brought an ad for University Health Care Advantage, a Medicare HMO plan providing “comprehensive care at Stanford Health Care” for Santa Clara County residents — mail for Ann Zwicky at my home address in Palo Alto. Alas, Ann never lived in California, and certainly not at this address, and she died 29 years ago, so this mail was a grotesque reminder of Ann.

Tomorrow is Columbus Day in my country (also Thanksgiving Day in Canada, so mail doesn’t work in either country) — not a sad occasion, but now a rather bizarre holiday, celebrated (or not) in different ways in different places.


Mexican independence

September 16, 2014

A Mexican acquaintance reminded me that today is Mexican Independence Day (commemorating September 16th, 1810), and I was moved to an appreciation of the Mexican flag:

The flag of Mexico (Spanish: Bandera de México) is a vertical tricolor of green, white, and red with the national coat of arms charged in the center of the white stripe. While the meaning of the colors has changed over time, these three colors were adopted by Mexico following independence from Spain during the country’s War of Independence, and subsequent First Mexican Empire.

… The central emblem is the Aztec pictogram for Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City), the center of the Aztec empire. It recalls the legend that inspired the Aztecs to settle on what was originally a lake-island… A ribbon in the national colors is at the bottom of the coat of arms. Throughout history, the flag has changed several times, as the design of the coat of arms and the length-width ratios of the flag have been modified. However, the coat of arms has had the same features throughout: an eagle, holding a serpent in its talon, is perched on top of a prickly pear cactus; the cactus is situated on a rock that rises above a lake. (link)

A fine flag: the customary few bands or stripes of color, making it easy to recognize (though not necessarily easy to distinguish from other national flags); plus the dramatic coat-of-arms scene in the center, involving the eagle, the serpent, and the nopales.

Everything changes after Labor Day

September 1, 2014

A Leo Cullum cartoon from the 9/9/02 New Yorker:


The idea that men shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day has been much disputed, but here’s another Labor Day stricture, recognizing that (US) Labor Day is conventionally the end of summer.

(Hat tip to Michael Palmer.)

Cullum (who died in 2010) drew a great many gag cartoons that have been posted on this blog.

More holidays and anniversaries

July 4, 2014

Here in the U.S., it’s July 4th: Independence Day. So yesterday was, I suppose, Independence Eve. The 2nd was a notable anniversary, of the signing of the (U.S.) Civil Rights Act (of 1964, so that’s a 50th anniversary). And the 1st was Canada Day, to the north of us.



June 29, 2014

Today I’m watching (on television) this year’s San Francisco Pride Parade (which was supposed to kick off with Dykes on Bikes at 10 a.m., but it’s already 10:15 — hey, we’re on Gay Standard Time!). This year the parade aligns beautifully with Stonewall Day, the 28th; the Stonewall Inn riots in NYC took place 45 years ago, in 1969, providing impetus for the growing movement towards gay liberation on many fronts.

The 28th was also, alas, Sarajevo Day, the anniversary of the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, an event that, improbably, set off the extraordinary tragedy that was the Great War (World War I, as it later came to be known). One hundred years ago yesterday, a dreadful monument to human folly.

Ah, 10:30, and the dykes are off. For the moment, things are good.

(Linguistic note from one of the parade’s announcers: “I hardly ever use the word dyke, but at the Pride Parade it’s DYKE DYKE DYKE!” Fashion note: there are Dykes on Bikes proudly wearing tiaras.)


DILF days

June 13, 2014

(Warning: Very high (gay) sexual content in the text of this posting. Pass on if you are under 18 or if such content doesn’t suit you.)

Father’s (or Fathers or Fathers’) Day is about to be upon us, so of course purveyors of porn are offering dad-oriented films. Well, daddy-oriented films, daddy-boy relationships being a gay specialty, in real life and even more in the fantasy world of Gayland, where DILFs abound.


Three on Mothers Day

May 11, 2014

This morning’s crop of cartoons with some linguistic interest: a Rhymes With Orange that is, among other things, about Mothers Day; a Mother Goose and Grimm with, in passing, an interesting example of out as a preposition; and a Doonesbury on outsider / folk art.


Mom likes ’em hot, hairy, and hung

May 11, 2014

(Mostly about gay sexuality rather than language.)

As usual, purveyors of gay porn have special offers for a holiday, in this case Mother’s Day. TitanMen thinks Mom is aching for hours and hours of big dick, in the collection Daddy Meat 2. (This is not to deny that some women like ‘em big.)

The ad copy, unsurprisingly, doesn’t mention mothers, or indeed any women at all:

If you like your Daddy Meat twice as thick and twice as juicy you’ve come to the right place! Daddy Meat 2 features six hardcore scenes of the very best in hot, hairy TitanMen Daddies fill up this best-of series volume 2. Hand-picked scenes by Bruce Cam and Brian Mills feature the most iconic Daddies in the TitanMen vault: Donkey dicked Cliff Rhodes, silver fox Allen Silver and more! Over 2 hours of the hottest hairy and hung daddies fucking, sucking and rimming their way right into your hearts. A true collector’s item for the connoisseur of masculine, muscular and hairy men.

It’s pitched at gay men.

After Cinco de Mayo

May 7, 2014

The 5th was (surprise!) Cinco de Mayo and also National Cartoonists Day, as I reported yesterday. So yesterday was the day after. Cartoonist Lalo Alvarez considers that day:


One too many Dos XXs!



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