Archive for the ‘Language play’ Category

Ten-foot …

May 19, 2015

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm:

A pun — a phonologically perfect pun on pole / Pole — that works here only because the text in the strip is all uppercase, so that the orthographic distinction between the two items vanishes.

On the way to the Emerald City

May 17, 2015

Today’s Bizarro:

A play on the quote “Lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my!” from the 1939 movie of The Wizard of Oz, in a scene involving Dorothy Gale (the Kansas farm girl), the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man), on the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City.

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A chiastic riddle

May 17, 2015

From Benita Bendon Campbell, a riddle and its answer:

I wondered about the source of the image and of the riddle. (Bonnie found this version on the Writer’s Circle Facebook group, with no indication of its earlier history.) The riddle has appeared with quite a collection of artwork (on ecards, in particular), none of it attributed, and some posters characterize it as “an old riddle”, but that just might mean that they recall it from when they were younger; we could be looking at the Antiquity Illusion here.

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Flavor combos

May 9, 2015

Sonic Drive-Ins are currently advertising Master Blast flavor combos in a “Blast Scout” commercial featuring three of its ice cream plus mix-in desserts:

Waffleberry Brownie. Strawberry Pucker Pie. Banana-Bo-Bana Crumble.

The last has a bit of well-known word play.

(These have more inventive names than the flavors officially introduced to their menu recently: Triple Chocolate, Turtle Pecan, Pineapple Upside Down, Banana Split, Caramel Brownie, Cookie Dough. But then customers are free to create their own combos using the many mix-ins available.)

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A blogging puzzle

April 27, 2015

Recently I got a comment on a posting of a Bizarro cartoon (“Dinosaur connoisseur”), wondering why I hadn’t commented on the space alien and the stick of dynamite in it, and I explained — as I had a number of times before, to other readers of this blog — that this was just one of cartoonist Don Piraro’s things, a little game he plays with his readers: some number of “secret symbols” are salted in almost all his cartoons (they have nothing to do with the actual content of the cartoon), and then their number is noted in the cartoon, just above Piraro’s signature.

Here’s a recent Bizarro with a pun on boot, with two secret symbols:

The eyeball and the piece of pie. The symbols are listed here.

Now the question is: How can I provide this information to my readers?

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Elsa Lanchester

April 27, 2015

In idle chat with Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky at breakfast on Saturday, Elsa Lanchester’s album Bawdy Cockney Songs came up, including the double entendre in “Linda and her Londonderry Air”. My grand-daughter Opal finds these songs entertaining, but we’re not sure how much of this stuff she gets.

From the album, two songs (“The Husband’s Clock”, “Lola’s Saucepan”):

Then I pointed out that beyond her music hall performances, Lanchester was a well-known actress (most famous for Bride of Frankenstein but quite accomplished in many other, less campy, roles) and also the wife of Charles Laughton, with whom she often acted.

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A playful poetic footnote

April 26, 2015

In my “More detection” posting, we came across writer E. C. Bentley, with fame in two areas. From Wikipedia:

E. C. Bentley (full name Edmund Clerihew Bentley; 10 July 1875 – 30 March 1956) was a popular English novelist and humorist of the early twentieth century, and the inventor of the clerihew, an irregular form of humorous verse on biographical topics.

… His detective novel, Trent’s Last Case (1913), was much praised, numbering Dorothy L. Sayers among its admirers, and with its labyrinthine and mystifying plotting can be seen as the first truly modern mystery. It was adapted as a film in 1920, 1929, and 1952. The success of the work inspired him, after 23 years, to write a sequel, Trent’s Own Case (1936). There was also a book of Trent short stories, Trent Intervenes.

… From 1936 until 1949 Bentley was president of the Detection Club.

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Verbatim letter

April 21, 2015

A while back, in a comment on my word entertainment posting, I referred to a note I posted in Verbatim magazine — a letter in #1.4.6 (1975) — with (among other things) observations on –oon words in English. Now I have unearthed it:

Jim Dultz

April 21, 2015

A cartoonist, with this cartoon in the May issue of Funny Times:

(#1)

This works pretty well as a pun in print — Oedipus Rex / Oedipus Rx — with the mother theme and the prescription theme combined. Apparently there are people who treat the abbreviation Rx as an initialism /ar ɛks/, a noun meaning ‘prescription’ (“an Rx for Viagra”), and for them Oedipus Rx works as a (moderately distant) pun in pronunciation as well.

Now: more on this, a note on the cartoonist, and a couple more punning cartoons from him.

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Drag mashups

April 12, 2015

In the March-April 2015 issue of The Gay & Lesbian Review, the piece “Ryan Landry of the ‘Make ’Em Laugh’ School”, in which Jim Farley interviews Landry. From Farley’s intro:

A comic playwright and impresario of drag theater, his parody productions of classic movies, fairy tales, TV shows, and plays have long been a staple of Provincetown and Boston entertainment. More recently, along with his company, the Gold Dust Orphans, Landry has expanded his satiric reach to New York and beyond.

While he acts and often sings in most of his shows, Landry’s major gift is the ability to turn out hilarious camp burlesques with a punk attitude, sort of like Charles Ludlum crossed with Courtney Love. The titles of his bawdy pop culture mash-ups — of everything from classic films to classic rock — perhaps say it best: Phantom of the Oprah, Silent Night of the Lambs, Mary Poppers, Pornochio, Snow White and the Seven Bottoms, and on and on.

Wonderful titles, reminiscent of the language-play titles that are so popular with makers of porn flicks — on (some of) which, see my posting “Porn titles” of 3/21/11, where you can find, among others:

Catcher in the Fly, Fist and Shout, Terms of Endowment, Field of Creams, Blond Leading the Blond

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