Archive for the ‘Linguistics in the comics’ Category

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.

Tove Jansson tomorrow

October 19, 2014

From the “Goings On About Town” section in the 10/20/14 New Yorker:

Tove Jansson Celebration: N.Y.R.B. Classics and Scandinavia House mark the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the Finnish writer, known for the Moomin cartoon series and other works, as well as the publication of a new collection of her stories, “The Woman Who Borrowed Memories.” The novelists Philip Teir and Kathryn Davis will discuss Jansson’s fiction, the actor Thomas Hiltunen will give a reading, and the journalist Anu Partanen will moderate. (58 Park Ave., at 38th St. scandinaviahouse.org. Oct. 20 at 6:30.)

Another multiple talent who doesn’t usually get pegged as Artist (without qualification), like many others I’ve written about on this blog (Edward Gorey, for instance). Charming but complex books for children (a favorite in our household when my daughter was young), among other things.

(more…)

X bar

October 18, 2014

Yesterday’s Bizarro:

The compound hippo bar, with head bar ‘establishment where alcohol is served’ — so it’s subsective: a hippo bar is a kind of bar. It’s also an instance of a snowclonelet composite X bar, a snowclonelet I hadn’t previously looked at — in this case a subtype of X bar in which X characterizes (directly or indirectly) the patrons of the bar. The model for hippo bar in the cartoon is gay bar ‘bar catering to gay people (esp. men)’, and that adds to the humor in the cartoon: to start with, a hippo in a bar; then the idea of a bar catering to hippos; and then, the zinger, the guy who didn’t know the place was a hippo bar, the way some guys turn up in a gay bar maintaining that they had no idea the place was a gay bar.

(more…)

Extinction

October 16, 2014

Today’s Zippy:

Not a lot of linguistic interest here; this is mostly an assemblage of Bill Griffith’s passions, including comic strips (Funky Winkerbean), diners (a generic diner interior in the strip), and the print media, plus the surreal appearance of a dodo. The title, however, does give us a rhyming reduplicative double trochee. And then there’s the topic of extinction (with extinct or extinction in each of the four panels).

(more…)

Hidden symbols

October 16, 2014

After I posted a Bizarro in “No stinkin’ budgies” (here), Chris Hansen wrote in puzzlement over the stick of dynamite in the cartoon. I replied that this was just one of Dan Piraro’s “hidden symbols”, with no meaning in the context of the cartoon (or in the wider culture). I thought I’d posted the full inventory of these, but apparently not, so for reference here’s the list from the Wikipedia page on the strip:

Most Bizarro cartoons include one or more of these devices hidden somewhere in the cartoon:

an eyeball (the Eyeball of Observation)

a piece of pie (the Pie of Opportunity)

a rabbit (the Bunny of Exuberance)

an alien in a spaceship (the Flying Saucer of Possibility)

the abbreviation “K2″ (referring to his children Kermit and Krapuzar)

a crown (the Crown of Power)

a stick of dynamite (the Dynamite of Unintended Consequences)

a shoe (the Lost Loafer)

an arrow (The Arrow of Vulnerability)

a fish tail (The Fish of Humility)

an upside down bird (the Inverted Bird)

Piraro indicates how many symbols are hidden in each strip with a number above his signature.

The cartoon in “No stinkin’ budgies” has two symbols: the Dynamite of Unintended Consequences, and also the Eyeball of Observation. Over the years I’ve noted other hidden symbols from this list in Bizarro cartoons. (The Pie of Opportunity and the Bunny of Exuberance are especially common.)

Choosing your words

October 15, 2014

Two recent items on word choice: a One Big Happy with a set of synonyms; and a NYT Magazine piece on children’s breakfasts around the world, with a reference to Japanese natto as “putrid”.

(more…)

No stinkin’ budgies

October 15, 2014

Today’s Bizarro:

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

(more…)

No atheists in foxholes

October 14, 2014

Yesterday’s Scenes From a Multiverse:

(viewable on-line here).

Not the usual understanding of the aphorism.

(more…)

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).


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 242 other followers