Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

On the portmanteau beat

October 7, 2014

Today’s Zippy:

A complex portmanteau in the last panel: marshmallegro has all of marshmallow and all of allegro in it (thus combining the otherwise disparate marshmallow-toasting and musical-tempo themes), but the shared material — /ælo/ — is discontinuous, first /æl/ in the middle of the portmanteau, then /o/ at the end. (The portmanteau is also prosodically pleasing: a double trochee, S W / S W, which could easily be set to music.) (more…)

Homage to Marky / Mark

October 4, 2014

(The first of two postings with vanishingly little linguistic comment, but plenty of appreciation of male bodies, plus material on the projection of sexuality in photographs. Not technically X-rated, but certainly steamy, so you might want to use your judgment in viewing these postings.)

First, Nick Jonas paying homage (in Flaunt magazine) to the boy-band star and original Underwear God Marky Mark / Mark Wahlberg (hereafter, MM), in this photographic homage to MM’s famous Calvin Klein photos — crotch-grabbing, abs-displaying, flagrantly challenging, and homoerotic all at once.

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He’s pulled his jeans down just for us!

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Saying but disavowing

October 1, 2014

From the NYT on Monday (9/30), “Some Judicial Opinions Require Only 140 Characters: Justice Don Willett of the Texas Supreme Court Lights Up Twitter” by Jesse Wegman:

One of Justice Willett’s tweets in 2013 showed a Bundt cake covered in chocolate sauce. The caption — “I like big bundts & I cannot lie” — was a pun on a line in “Baby Got Back,” a hugely popular and sexually explicit 1990s rap song. (When asked about that tweet, he said in an email, “Believe me, I’d never tweet the actual lyrics, or anything close to them.”) He said he has heard no complaints about that tweet, or any other.

Of course, the justice would never utter those words (and openly accept the sexist import of the rap song), but he’ll do his best to allude to them so clearly that anyone in the know will get the message. He’s saying, as clearly as he can, but disavowing the substance of what he’s saying. I’m not sure what the right term is for this speech act, but it certainly deserves one.

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Wichita is falling

September 28, 2014

In The Economist of 8/16/14, a piece on guitarist Pat Metheny on the occasion of his 60th birthday, “Guitar hero: A giant of the jazz world just keeps on innovating”, which gives me an excuse to mention his 1981 album As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls, because of its linguistically playful title and because of its role in my own life.

On the title, from Wikipedia:

As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls is a collaborative album by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, released in 1981. The title makes reference to Wichita, Kansas and Wichita Falls, Texas.

(Both phrases in the title have inverted word order, with the verb falls preceding the subjects — Wichita and Wichita Falls, respectively — rather than following them.)

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Puns and their allies

September 23, 2014

It starts with today’s Zippy, with a punning title; continues with a Discover Card tv commercial for fraud protection (or frog protection); and ends with some bilingual play involving Nadia Boulanger. There will be digressions at each stage.

The Zippy:

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The title, “Getting a Bad Feline”, puns on feeling and (with reference to the actual theme of the strip, the cat-replacement phenomenon in Dingburg) feline. Feline survivalism in the last panel (which I won’t comment on here), and, throughout, an entertaining pattern of naming from trade names (which I will).

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Bad to the Bone

September 22, 2014

Today’s Zits:

Ah the young, failing to appreciate musical history!

The video, with George Thorogood and the Destroyers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7VsoxT_FUY

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Ages

September 21, 2014

On the 12th, a Facebook posting announcing that the day was Maria Muldaur’s 71st birthday. How could that have happened? Well, we age; I’m now 74. Only slightly less startling is the report in the latest Out magazine that Stevie Nicks is 66.

Back on my birthday, two comments on age: one from my grand-daughter, distinguishing between really old and just old; and one from my first male lover, now 66 (like Stevie Nicks) to my 74, an age difference that no longer seems significant.

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LGBT stamp year

September 9, 2014

Issued on 7/31/14, this Canadian stamp featuring k.d. lang (in a series honoring Candian country-music artists — also Shania Twain, Tommy Hunter, Renee Martel, and Hank Snow):

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lang follows gay artist Tom of Finland (on Finnish stamps, covered here) and American gay political activist Harvey Milk (US stamp issued 5/22/14):

(#2)

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Cantus Arcticus

September 6, 2014

(Nothing much about language here. Music and birds instead.)

Caught in the middle of the night from WQXR, the NYC classical music station (I sleep to music), this musical oddity:

Cantus Arcticus, Op. 61, is an orchestral composition written by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara in 1972. It is probably his best-known work.

Subtitled Concerto for Birds and Orchestra, it incorporates tape recordings of birdsong recorded near the Arctic Circle and on the bogs of Liminka in northern Finland.

The work is in three movements: The bog opens with a flute duet, after which the other woodwinds join in, followed by the birds. The second movement, Melancholy, features a slowed-down recording of the song of the shore lark. The final movement, Swans migrating, takes the form of a long crescendo for orchestra, with the sounds of whooper swans. At the end both birdsong and orchestra fade, as if into the distance.

Cantus Arcticus was commissioned by the University of Oulu for its first doctoral degree ceremony. (Wikipedia link)

I’m enchanted that a university (a university specializing in science and technology, in fact) would commission a musical composition to inaugurate its doctoral program. In this case, a substantial composition, and one especially crafted to fit the university’s location, way up in northern Finland.

Mashup

August 16, 2014

Today’s Zippy, on musical mashups:

 

The third panel veers into a Zippy favorite, Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL, in a parody version.

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