Archive for the ‘Penguins’ Category

From sadistic she-penguin convicts to wolves invading Britain

December 26, 2015

A trail of books (and illustrations). It starts with a book I got for Christmas, Janet Perlman’s graphic novel Penguins Behind Bars. That leads to writer, artist, and illustrator Edward Gorey and his unsettling narratives. And from there to author Joan Aiken and her Wolves Chronicles (where we will get a note of linguistic interest).

Gorey is the connective tissue. Together with Derek Lamb, Perlman did the animation for the PBS Mystery! series, bringing drawings by Gorey to life. And then Gorey did cover illustrations for some of Aiken’s most famous books.


The news for endangered penguins

December 2, 2015

In the NYT Science Times on November 24th, “Psst, Buddy, That Cute Penguin Is So Into You: To preseve a species in Africa, zookeepers are running a kind of animal dating service” (in print), “To Save African Penguins, Humans Set Up a Dating Service” (on-line), by Christina Cook:

Greensboro, N.C. — When the African penguins Derek and Geirfugl were given their own room last spring, keepers at the Greensboro Science Center questioned whether they liked each other enough to take their relationship to the next level.

Derek was more interested in interacting with her human keepers than with other penguins. And when she did start to flirt with Geirfugl, leaning toward him and flicking her head back and forth, the male bird did not return the sentiment.

By mid-September, though, the relationship had taken an amorous turn. On a recent afternoon, they nestled beside each other inside a plastic crate — on a nest containing two eggs.

… In the wild, African penguins, which inhabit the coast of South Africa and Namibia, choose their partners from a pool of thousands and mate for life. In captivity, the limited size of the colonies — and the need to perpetuate a genetically diverse species — make human intervention necessary.

A baby penguin born to Derek, a female, and Geirfugl


Novelty ties

November 17, 2015

On the penguin watch.

On the front page of yesterday’s NYT, a color-splash of an ad for Salvatore Ferragamo ties, one of which clearly had litte penguins on it. Ferragamo novelty ties, 100% silk, selling for $190 each (fashion doesn’t come cheap) from Ferragamo, somewhat less at fine men’s clothing stores. The fish and penguin tie, in a thumbnail:



Wednesday news for penguins

October 28, 2015

Passed on by Kim Darnell, a BuzzFeed posting yesterday, “23 Adorable Penguin Products You Need In Your Life: Because when you love penguins, you REALLY love them” by Elaina Wahl. Two of the 23:

The small: measuring spoons from Etsy:


The Love Song of J. Alfred Penguin:
I have measured out my life with penguin spoons

The large: a 5-foot stuffed penguin from Big Plush:


Keep Calm and Get Stuffed (here)

Airport penguin

October 23, 2015

From Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, working her way back home from meetings in Atlanta, a photograph of an art installation in the airport there:


This is a rear view, and you have to look for the beak. A front view, from the airport’s website:



Yoda on active and passive clauses

October 13, 2015

A meme-slogan card passed on by Bert Vaux on Facebook:


The person who composed this (more on the composition process below) was seriously confused about what active and passive clauses are: the text on the card is an active clause, and all the Yoda sentences I’ve seen are in fact active (though a fair number had no passive counterpart, because the verbs in them were intransitive, like the verb in #1).

I’m guessing that the creator of #1 thought that

(A) Talk in active voice I do not.

was a passive sentence because it had non-default syntax (from the point of view of standard English). But the syntax is non-default because of the fronting in it, not because of the status of the clause as active or passive.


Two recurrent themes

October 7, 2015

… on this blog: unintended phallicity, penguins. Both encountered yesterday.


Join in their penguin games

June 7, 2015

Advertised in several places (I saw it in the NYRB), a children’s game called Pengoloo (maybe a portmanteau of penguin and igloo, though there are no igloos in the game):

From the makers, on

Go on an eggs-pedition with this enchanting memory game for children. Detailed wooden playing pieces transport you to the South Pole where our quirky little penguins are ready to play with you! Roll the dice and look for the matching colored eggs underneath the penguins. A good memory and a little luck will help you be the first to collect six penguins on your iceberg to win! Pengoloo includes 12 penguins, 12 eggs, 4 scoring icebergs and 2 dice. [ages 4 and up]

One of those games that little kids are often better at than adults — and that’s a good thing.

Two political cartoonists

May 25, 2015

To link to a posting on Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes, some notes on Watterson’s favorite political / editorial cartoonists, Pat Oliphant and Jim Borgman.


Science and myth

May 7, 2015

Passed on by Gregory Ward, this New Yorker daily cartoon for yesterday, by Christopher Weyant:


Echoes of realiity-based vs. faith-based. From a posting of 12/12/14:

The term reality-based was coined in opposition to faith-based (relying on faith, assumption, or ideology)

with a quotation attributed to Karl Rove, saying that some people were

“in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”



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