Archive for the ‘Language play’ Category

Familiarity

October 24, 2014

Yesterday’s One Big Happy, in which Ruthie goes (as usual) with the familiar over the novel:

(#1)

Stovepipe hat (an unfamiliar expression for Ruthie) is transformed in Ruthie’s ears into Stove Top Stuffing, a familiar expression in her world (context is crucial!), even though the two are pretty distant phonologically (very imperfect as a pun).

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Erson of Pinterest

October 21, 2014

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

A Spoonerism for playful purposes, based on the expression (a) person of interest, and using the name of the software tool Pinterest.

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Abbott and Costello’s band

October 20, 2014

The Pearls Before Swine from yesterday (October 19th):

Rat and Goat reproduce a famous Abbott and Costello routine, “Who’s on First”, which has baseball players named Who (on first), What (on second), and I Don’t Know (on third). Another version in my posting “Chinese Abbott and Costello” of 3/18/11, with a play on the Chinese names Hu and Xi (the government figures Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping), and then a real-life basball player named Hu (the Taiwanese infielder Hu Chin-Lung, playing in Major League Baseball as Chin-Lung Hu) appears in the posting “Hu on base” of 3/30/14, with a video of the A&C routine. Now: bands (The Who, with drummer Keith Moon and guitarist Pete Townshend) and musicians (Charlie Watts, drummer for the Rolling Stones; Bob Weir, guitarist for The Grateful Dead; Steve Howe, guitarist for the band Yes; and Steve Winwood, guitarist for the band Traffic). An elaborate riff on the A&C original.

(That’s the cartoonist Stephan Pastis in the last panel, about to be punished for his puns by Rat.)

A youth hostile?

October 19, 2014

Today’s Bizarro:

A pun on the noun hostel vs. the adjective hostile — a perfect pun for those who have /ˈhastl/ (with syllabic l) for both (so that it’s ambiguous), an imperfect pun for those who have this pronunciation for hostel, but have /ˈhaˌstajl/ for hostile.

No stinkin’ budgies

October 15, 2014

Today’s Bizarro:

A famous cultural reference here, worked into a pun on badges and budgies.

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The Abdominal Snowman

October 12, 2014

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm:

We’ve been here before, in a 1/24/12 posting on images of the Abdominable Snowman (involving the complex portmanteau abdominable). This time, it’s just a pun, playing on abominable vs. abdominal (muscles).

Once more on background knowledge in the comics

October 10, 2014

Two of today’s cartoons — a Bizarro and a Zippy — bring us back to recurring questions on this blog: what do need to know to make sense out of what’s going on in a cartoon, and then what do you need to know to see why it might be funny? It’s all about background knowledge.

(#1)

(#2)

#1 brings back the clowns from an earlier posting on background knowledge. #2 is more intricate.

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Little Zippy and Gabby Goose

October 8, 2014

Today’s Zippy has Little Zippy appreciating comic art:

  (#1)

You suspect that the older boy’s original comic art in panel 1 is off-color, maybe even a strip from a Tijuana bible. Then we move to “Gabby Goose”, probably just a play on the alliterative “Donald Duck” (and “Mickey Mouse” etc.), but possibly (given Bill Griffith’s wide-ranging knowledge) an allusion to one (or both) of the existing Gabby Goose stories.

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Penguin Book cartoon

October 8, 2014

A cartoon by Sebastien Millon, posted on Janis Ian’s Facebook page and passed on to me by several friends (Aric Olnes got in there first):

(#1)

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Coffeenyms and reservation names

October 7, 2014

From Andras Kornai, a link on my Facebook timeline, tagged as “for Mr. Alexander Adams”: a Schwa Fire piece, “The Name on the Cup: Brewing the Perfect Coffeenym” by Greg Uyeno. About choosing a name for ordering in a coffee shop with lots of background noise. A related task is choosing a name for making reservations over the phone (I have a small amount of local fame in some circles for using Alexander Adams as a reservation name.)

Then there’s Uyeno’s playful coinage coffeenym.

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