Archive for the ‘Names’ Category

named after

August 10, 2014

Today’s Zits, about naming kids:

Now about the song, which the creators thought about as a “silly song” with some nonsensical words …

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The definite article of fame

August 6, 2014

In the NYT yesterday, an August 1st  letter from Pamela Shifman and Gloria Steinem in response to a July 30th op-ed essay on “The Girls Obama Forgot”. The letter-writers are identified in the Times as follows:

Ms. Shifman is executive director of the NoVo Foundation, which focuses on girls’ and women’s rights. Ms. Steinem is the writer and activist.

Both identifcations are semantically (or pragmatically) definite, conveying uniqueness in this case. The first has an anarthrous (article-less) title: executive director of X ‘the executive director of X'; in fact, the executive director of X would have been an entirely acceptable alternative, but the anarthrous version is shorter.

The second has the definite article, in a context where an indefinite article would have been entirely acceptable;

Ms. Steinem is a writer and activist

is not only syntactically well-formed, but also true. Why the definite article?

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Godzilla’s Manhattan

July 9, 2014

A recent Bizarro:

 

(I’ll get back later to the piece of pie in the center of the cartoon.)

Godzilla seems to hold an idea about proper names: roughly (though it’s hard to be sure about the mind of a cartoon monster) that referents sharing a name do so because of some intrinsic or natural identity between them, in this case that the Manhattan cocktail and the island (or borough) of Manhattan must share some intrinsic property: in Godzilla’s mind (given his experience), hordes of screaming people fleeing in fear.

But the cocktail comes up short in this respect.

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Japanese knotweed

July 9, 2014

My usual postings on plants are about plants that are ornamental or useful or both, but occasionally I look at invasives: recently, on privets and tumbleweed, and a bit earlier on monstrously invasive vines —  kudzu and mile-a-minute. Today, thanks to a piece in the 7/5/14 New Scientist (“Let them eat weeds” by Stephanie Pain), I turn to a dreadful pest, the Japanese knotweed. The plant will push aggressively through concrete, survive volcanic eruptions, and more.

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Cartooning at the diner

July 6, 2014

Today’s Zippy, with Zippy and Griffy on cartoon styles and men’s fashions:

(#1)

And, in the third panel, a diner — which turns out to be identifiable, and leads us to some surprising places (Mercury Comets and English pubs):

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From the Zwicky diaspora

July 2, 2014

Google Alerts has, well, alerted me to a story about a skateboarding cop, as has Horton Copperpot in e-mail. From a site provided by Copperpot, this story of June 25th, “Holy Kickflip Batman! Is that a Skateboarding Activist Cop?!”:

Meet Officer Joel Zwicky, “Skateboard cop,” of the Green Bay Police Department.

Zwicky is not your typical cop, for starters, instead of harassing skaters, he’s shredding right next to them.

Instead of lobbying for more strict laws on skateboarding, he’s fighting to get restrictions lifted; and he’s successful at it.

Earlier this year, Zwicky convinced the city of Green Bay to lift the skating ban on the 25 mile urban path known as Fox River Trail.

Zwicky is trying to change the stereotypes about skaters.

“Wanted to break that down and show people that skateboarders aren’t just punk kids causing trouble, they are all kinds of people in the community, and they’re even your police force,” Officer Zwicky told KHON 2 News.

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Name that product

June 29, 2014

Recent bulletins from the world of commerce: cricket chips, bed-hair mousse.

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Sunday jottings

June 22, 2014

Four items from the front matter in today’s New York Times Magazine: the compound poolside memoirs; the euphemism go to Spain; the term binky ‘pacifier'; and citronella for warding off mosquitoes.

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Arne

June 20, 2014

WHRB (Harvard’s student radio station) came along with a piece of pleasant Baroque music (for organ and strings) that was entirely unfamiliar to me, so I looked up at the identifying tag in iTunes. Which told me it was by Arne. Not my friend Arne Adolfsen (with his Norwegian-derived disyllabic personal name), but Thomas Arne (with his British, but presumably ultimately Scandinavian-derived, monosyllabic family name). I had just heard one of his six Concerti for Organ and Strings, probably #2 in G major.

A fascinating but little-known figure, who suffered musically by being overshadowed by Handel and personally by being Catholic (so he was barred from the usual sources of patronage) and also a renowned lecher.

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More octothorpe wrangling

June 20, 2014

In the previous round, this Mother Goose and Grimm (#4 here) on pound sign, hashtag, etc. And now a Zits on the subject, with a family argument, lined up by generation:


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